Westar Institute—home of the Jesus Seminar—sponsors both large and small-scale, collaborative research projects to examine questions about religion that matter. More than 200 scholars of religion, called Scholars, have participated in the Jesus Seminar and other Westar projects since 1985. A culture of collaboration, collegiality, and public outreach sets Westar apart from other academic societies.
In global contexts of war, oppression, racism, and sexism, radical theologies about Christ and Jesus have sometimes served to repair broken social relationships. The seminar explores the liberating metaphors of Christ in diverse contexts and histories.
The Christianity Seminar, Phase II, studies the continued diversity among Jesus and Christ groups from the fourth century and beyond. This is the first era of history with surviving physical evidence in archaeology, art, and texts.
The God Seminar asks philosophical and theological questions designed to explore the most pressing questions that change thinking about God and humanity today.
The goal of this mini-seminar was to examine biblical texts relevant to the topic of human sexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. A Westar book will be published as a resource for the general public.
The Christianity Seminar, Phase I, engaged new research on Jesus and Christ movements active in the first four centuries of the Common Era. The seminar concluded with the publication of the best-selling After Jesus before Christianity.
The Christian Origins Seminar was a three-year that examined the emergence of Jesus traditions in the first two centuries. This was the Westar’s first attempt to develop a new history of Christianities. The seminar stimulated the birth of the Christianity Seminar, Phase I.
The Acts of the Apostles Seminar was Westar’s first successful attempt to re-tell the story of Christian origins. The traditional story based on Acts as history was successfully challenged. The seminar findings are published in Acts and Christian Beginnings (Polebridge Press).
After systematically examining the sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus, the Profiles of Jesus turned attention to the figure of Jesus was emerging from the sayings and deeds.
The Paul Seminar attempted to bring the voiceprint of the authentic Paul back to life from the first-century context. The seminar published its translation and commentary as The Authentic Letters of Paul.
The Jesus Seminar (Deeds) examined 387 reports of 176 events, in most of which Jesus is the principal actor. The seminar reported its startling conclusions in The Acts of Jesus.
The original Jesus Seminar (Sayings) is Westar’s first and best-known project. What did Jesus really say? The findings of the seminar sparked widespread debate and controversy. Its major book is The Five Gospels.
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