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Taking Jesus Seriously

Building on the Wisdom Tradition

February 2–3, 2018

Cupertino, California

Biblical scholars and theologians are traditionally in different camps. Biblical scholars care about texts and contexts; theologians care about ideas and the history of ideas. The Westar Institute has forced a marriage between the Bible and theology. The changing understanding of the historical Jesus and the God of Jesus in turn changes the foundation of theology and the future of God.

Photo of Bernard Brandon Scott

Bernard Brandon Scott (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is the Darbeth Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A charter member of the Jesus Seminar, he is the author of several books including The Real Paul (2015), The Trouble with Resurrection (2010).

Photo of David Galston

David Galston (Ph.D., McGill University) is Executive Director of the Westar Institute, a University Chaplain, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He is the author of Embracing the Human Jesus (2013) and God’s Human Future (2016).


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Program Details

The Historical Jesus

Brandon Scott 

From the time of Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) to the time of Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) the Jesus of history was described as an apocalyptic prophet, a Jesus whose principal proclamation was his own messianic identity. The Westar Institute turned this Jesus upside down when the Jesus Seminar voted consistently that the sayings, teachings, and significance of Jesus are found in aphorisms and parables.

Friday evening, 7:30–9:00 PM

Jesus as a Wisdom Teacher

David Galston 

The parables and aphorism of Jesus are similar to forms of wisdom teaching in other traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism, but how does Jesus compare? It is not easy to create out of the teaching of Jesus a program of enlightenment. However, there are clues in the parables and in comparing what Jesus has to offer with insights from world religion.

Saturday 9:30–10:30 AM

The God of Jesus

Brandon Scott 

Access to God through Jesus comes in the form of parables. Parables are metaphorical ways of taking everyday reality to imply more than the default world. Jesus used images and situations from his everyday world but posed these images as an alternative reality. What clues about the God of Jesus are given in parables and aphorisms?Access to God through Jesus comes in the form of parables.

Saturday 11 a.m.-Noon

God and the Human Future

David Galston 

Thinking about God in ways consistent with the historical Jesus is called theo-poetics. This form of theology is inspired by the parables, which are elusive and do not offer ultimatums. Parables remain open to the future. Historically, theology has been about closure: about divine revelations and unchanging doctrines. A poetic theology is creative and changing. It asks what value has religion for the human future?

Saturday 1:30-2:30 p.m.


Brandon Scott and David Galston

Saturday 3-4 p.m.


Saint Jude’s Episcopal Church

Local Contact and Information

All events at:

Saint Jude’s Episcopal Church
20920 McClellan Road
Cupertino, CA 95014

For local information, contact:

Jan & Howard hill
(408) 973-1457


All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (by Jan 19) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.