Westar Spring Meeting 2013

Elaine PagelsRevelations

Elaine Pagels

Early “Christians” seized on the Book of Revelation as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds—Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies. But were they its original targets? Elaine Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. She argues that its author, John of Patmos, was taking aim at the Roman Empire following the “Jewish War” in 66 ce, when militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome’s occupation of Judea, and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple.

Elaine Pagels is Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University. She is the bestselling author of several books, including The Gnostic Gospels (1979), Beyond Belief (2003),Reading Judas (with Karen L. King, 2007), and most recently Revelations(2012).

Robin MeyersThe Underground Church
Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus

Robin Meyers

Theories abound as to why the church is declining so rapidly in the West. Could the reason be that no one expects anything important to happen on Sunday morning? The first Jesus people practiced pacifism, radical egalitarianism, and the redistribution of wealth (and paid for it with their lives). Today’s church largely defends the status quo. But what if churches today became, once again, an underground movement, taking on the power structures of our times? In this workshop, a minister from the reddest of states will tell how the scholars of Westar helped corrupt at least one church in Oklahoma.

Robin Meyers is a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma City University, a syndicated columnist, an award-winning commentator for NPR, and Senior Minister of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church of Oklahoma City. His books include Why the Christian Right Is Wrong(2006), Saving Jesus from the Church (2009), and The Underground Church (2012).

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufreMary Magadalene Leads the Way

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre

Mary Magdalene was a much more important figure in early Christianity than either the New Testament or traditional histories allow. Her reputation as a repentant prostitute is a fiction. The New Testament both includes and sidelines her. Beyond the canon, some early Christians regarded her as a visionary and leader. Why was her story so contested? If some speak of Petrine and Pauline Christianity, can we speak of Magdalene Christianity? This workshop explores the texts, issues, and scholarly proposals that reconfigure Mary Magdalene’s place in the history of Christianity as well as in the Christian theological imagination.

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre is Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Drew Theological School in New Jersey. She is the author of Jesus Among Her Children (2006), Mary Magdalene Understood, with Jane Schaberg (2006), and co-editor of The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

Bernard Brandon Scott From Jesus to Constantine
Why we need a Christianity Seminar

Bernard Brandon Scott

The Acts of the Apostles, Irenaeus, the Canon, and Constantine tell of the pure teaching of Jesus that was handed on to the twelve apostles and then sullied by heretics. This is the orthodox story as we know it today. The real story is very different. How did a movement whose hero was crucified by an official of the Roman Empire end up as the official religion of that Empire? How did the historical Jesus become the second person of Trinity? How did a movement birthed in Judaism come to be anti-Jewish? The Christianity Seminar will tackle these and other seminal questions.

Bernard Brandon Scott (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is the Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, OK. He is the author of several books, including The Trouble with Resurrection (2010) and Re-Imagine the World (2002).

Review & Commentary

12 thoughts on “Westar Spring Meeting 2013

  1. This is such a great opportunity for those of us struggling to maintain a Christian focus in spite of all the “stuff” it has accumulated. Are there any Santa Rosa participants who could put me up for the duration of the seminar? I am on disability and cannot afford to come if I have to pay for a hotel. If I do not get to participate, good work to all who are carrying on this effort to resurrect the core truths of an amazing tradition and focus for finding love and community in this very confusing world!!

  2. Me encantaría poder participar en alguno de estos encuentros. Llevo años leyendo y estudiando las obras de los principales protagonistas como Pagels, Brosssan, Borg, Spong, etc. Veo imprescindible la renovación profunda del cristianismo, pues de lo contrario está llamado a desaparecer. Y por otra parte, estudiado en sus orígenes, puede responder a los anhelos y necesidades de nuestro tiempo para cambiar las estructuras injustas (económicas, políticas, culturales, religiosas…) que oprimen a la mayor parte de la humanidad. Pero la “era constantiniana” sigue reprimiendo el mensaje auténtico del evangelio de Jesús y de sus seguidores fieles. Desde mi retiro de maestro jubilado sigo con interés vuestros esfuerzos y trabajos. ¡Ánimos y adelante! Saludos desde la isla de Mallorca.

  3. How we would love to be at this event. However the cost of the program without the costs of hotel and travel are just not possible. This must be an event for those employed full time, younger, or retired with great pension and SSI income. We are the working seniors over 70!
    The cost of this seminar would equal the cost of our mortgage and lot rent!
    Will there be cd’s or some other way to view the classes?
    Thank you

  4. I am so sorry I will not be able to attend such a wonderful seminnar.
    Some of you may know that I live in Paraguay, Southamerica, and is quite far away to go there, especially for a country priest.
    I will pray for the success of the seminnar, may the Holy Spirit guide all participants.

    Fr. Olimpio C. Armoa
    (the country priest)

  5. Is there an opportunity to publishers to display books at your Spring conference?
    Can I get addresses to send copies to speakers/participants?
    The title is “Seeing God” , very much i n the tradition of your theology, and endorsed by Elaine Pagels.

    Thomas A. Williams, PhD

    • Thomas,
      The Westar table is reserved for Westar and Polebridge Publications only. As a partner organization we(PC.org) have our own table but it is filled to with our own publications. I suggest that you have your publisher send a review copy to our office in Portland-check for our address on our website. We will do a review and post the review on our site. if it fits we may feature it in one of our monthly eBulletins.
      Thanks for your interest.

  6. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would love to be there, but can not. Will the content be video-taped for later distribution? Will there be any other way to audit the sessions without attending?

  7. This sounded so-o-o interesting! I also am writing to inquire (after the fact) if there are any tapes, CDs, or the sort of the speakers during this conference I am esp. interested in Robin Meyers. Thank you. Mary Lou Campbell

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