For more information, please contact:

Ian Werrett, Ph.D.
Associate professor of religious studies
Director, Spiritual Life Institute

The 32nd Annual Spiritual Life Institute

Jesus and Judaism
June 23-27, 2014


In the years following the crucifixion of Jesus, individuals who had taken it upon themselves to carry the Christian narrative to the ends of the Earth faced a multitude of challenges. Although many of these obstacles were external, such as the violent persecution of Christians at the hands of the Roman Empire, other challenges came from within the community of believers itself. Without the charismatic presence of Jesus to guide his followers, internal disagreements began to immerge as to whether or not gentile converts to Christianity needed to adopt the rituals and purity practices of Judaism. After all, Jesus was a Jew and, by his own admission, he had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets not to reject them (Matt. 5:17).

Since the end of the 18th century, scholars have attempted to create an accurate, historical portrait of Jesus through a variety of methods and approaches. Focusing primarily on the witness of the New Testament and the writings of several ancient historians, numerous competing images of Jesus have emerged. For some scholars, Jesus was a failed political claimant, a sage, or a charismatic preacher. For others, he was Cynic philosopher, a miracle worker, or an eschatological prophet. But regardless of the scholar, or the interpretation, the one thing that every academic can agree upon is Jesus’ ethnic and religious identity as a Jew. In this weeklong intensive program, we will endeavor to place Jesus of Nazareth in his proper historical context, not to mention his proper ethnic and religious context, by exploring the cultural, political, theological, and socio-economic worlds of ancient Judaism at the turn of the millennium.

Over the last 30 years, the Spiritual Life Institute at Saint Martin’s University has explored a wide range of topics that are meant to cultivate religious literacy, challenge preconceived notions, and shed light upon the spiritual journey. In this, the 31st annual meeting of the Spiritual Life Institute, an internationally recognized group of scholars will participate in a weeklong discussion on the history, beliefs and writings of Gnostic Christianity. This course fulfills the University’s General Education requirement for Religious Studies. For more information, please contact the program’s director, Dr. Ian Werrett.


(Please note that fees and tuition are subject to change)

Academic credit

RLS 494: Spiritual Life Institute (3 semester credits)
Fee: $1,890

Saint Martin's University undergraduates receive three semester credits for the successful completion of RLS 494, which satisfies the General Education Requirement for Religious Studies. The requirements for those wishing to receive three semester credits include: attending all lectures and presentations, reading the required texts, participating in discussions, authoring a daily journal, and submitting a 4,000 word research paper.

Please visit Saint Martin's Summer Session for registration information.


RLS 094: Spiritual Life Institute (non-credit)
Fee: Approximately one half of the regular tuition fee.

For a reduced fee, students may attend the Institute without receiving academic credit. Students should inquire at the Office of Student Financial Services for an exact fee auditing schedule.

Please visit Saint Martin's Summer Session for registration information.

Continuing Education Certificate

CEC 080: Spiritual Life Institute (30 clock hour credits)
Fee: $200

Saint Martin's University invites those who are seeking continuing education credit to attend the Spiritual Life Institute for their own personal enrichment and spiritual growth. Participants are required to attend all lectures and presentations in order to receive their certificate of continuing education.

To register for continuing education credit, please use the Spiritual Life Institute registration form.

Daily Attendance Fee

DAF 080: Spiritual Life Institute
Fee: $40

For those individuals who are unable to attend the Institute in its entirety, Saint Martin's University now offers a daily attendance fee. This non-credit attendance option enables those individuals with busy schedules or prior commitments to participate on a level that works for them. Simply select the number of days that you would like to attend the Institute, submit your payment in advance, and participate on the days that suit you best.

To register for the daily attendance option, please use the Spiritual Life Institute registration form.

Evening Public Presentation



On-campus living is encouraged as an important part of Spiritual Life Institute. Residence halls are located in a peaceful, forested setting. Please contact the University director of residence life at 360-438-4299/4546 in order to make reservations for University housing. Note: Housing fees are billed separately from the Spiritual Life Institute program tuition.