Department of Ancient History

SSEC: About Us


The Society for the Study of Early Christianity (SSEC) was established at Macquarie University within the Ancient Cultures Research Centre (ACRC). This assists SSEC to fulfill its aims through the study of the New Testament in its times, including its Jewish and Graeco/Roman context, and the development of early Christianity.

The Society was launched by the Vice-Chancellor on 8 May 1987, and a Constitution for the Society was approved by the Council of Macquarie University in December 1987.

The study of Christianity poses important historical questions and intense interest has surrounded the investigation of its origins in the first century and the early phases of its growth. Fresh information on this period continues to become available in astonishing quantities, ripe for research. Macquarie University is also committed to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in these areas.

The Society has no ecclesiastical ties but may collaborate on academic occasions with theological colleges of all denominations and with the Jewish community.

Aims of the Society

  • To encourage the study of the New Testament in its times and related topics.
  • To build up resources for this study (for example, books, papyri, coins).
  • To organise conferences, public lectures, seminars and other activities to which the Society's members are invited.
  • To circulate three Newsletters a year outlining forthcoming activities.


Membership is open to the public by payment of the annual subscription. Donations above this amount may be claimable as a tax deduction. See our web page called Membership.

  • A Visiting Fellow of high academic standing is invited to be the key speaker at the annual Conference each May.
  • If you wish the register for our next annual Conference; then phone us on (02) 9850 7512 or see our web page called Conference.
  • Or if you would like details of our upcoming events then see our web page called Calendar of Events.


See our web page called Newsletters. Please let us know if you want to receive your future SSEC Newsletters electronically. This will significantly lower our printing & postage costs, email:

SSEC Newsletter PIC

Online Academic Journal

Our new on-line academic journal was announced at the recent May 11 SSEC conference AGM. A test version of the journal created the following comment from one academic:

"Thanks for this; an ambitious idea! But the format is nice and simple, so people should have no problem exploring it."

SSEC online journal picture  At this stage, this project has been placed on hold.    SSEC conference proceedings are, however, being pursued electronically, and have been prepared for the annual SSEC Conferences for 2011, 2012, 2013 and are well under way for 2014.   In addition SSEC has its own page and some articles are also loaded onto this website.

Bequests and Research Donations

For ongoing research into the history of early Christianity the SSEC relies on funding from University grants, donations and bequests.

Research Donations to SSEC (on-line Donation website updated June 2015)  are vital in supporting research projects relating to early Christianity at Macquarie University. All funds donated for research purposes are tax deductible and attract a pro-rata grant from the Federal Government. We are extremely grateful for any support received. Donors may direct their support to specific research work such as our Papyrus project, the Postdoctoral Fellowship, or to general support of a specific area of study.

If you would like to support this research by either a donation or a bequest, please contact Professor Alanna Nobbs on (02) 9850 8844 or Dr Don Barker on (02) 9850 9962 .

Make a donation to SSEC

Click here to go to the SSEC donation page

There are two ways you can make a donation to support our research.

  1. Make a donation to SSEC. Print, sign and return the form to support SSEC. Download the SSEC donation Form (PDF  Revised June 2015)
  2. or Donations to SSEC (on-line Donation website updated May 2015) on this secure Macquarie Uni website.


Projects supported by the Society

The Society supports a number of associated projects - see our web page Associated projects.


Major projects have attracted good support for some years from the Australian Research Council and from Macquarie University.  Funding from these sources is dependent on annual decisions and is insufficient for their proper continuance and development, and the Society seeks strong support from outside the University so that such research, unique in many ways in its scope and concentration, may be carried on at the level which it deserves.

Tax Deductibility

Monies given for research may be tax deductible and the Macquarie university will match dollar for dollar any monies given for research by an institution or business through an external collaborative grant arrangement. For further information please contact Professor Alanna Nobbs on (02) 9850 9944 email:

 Table 1: SSEC Management Committee 2014 - 2015
Position Name
SSEC Management Committee 2014 - 2015
  The following SSEC members have been elected to the Management Committee.
President Professor Alanna Nobbs
Vice President Dr Chris Forbes
Hon. Secretary Dr Don Barker
Treasurer Dr Peter Edwell
Committee Members

Elected: Mrs Angela Abberton, Alice Baker, Dr Malcolm Choat, Mr Peter Eyland, Lydia Gore-Jones, Ms Leigh Hess, Dr Paul March, Benjamin Overcash, Gillian Spalding-Stracey and Lisa Agaiby.

Post-doctoral fellows are TBA (to be advised).

Related Activities

The Ancient Cultures Research Centre (ACRC) sponsors the Macquarie Ancient Languages Schools (Co-ordinator: Ms Jon Dalrymple). The Society co-operates with the Macquarie Ancient History Association (MAHA) and the Rundle Foundation for Egyptian Archaeology in holding seminars and other functions.

See our web page for links which will take you to interesting sites such as the Macquarie Ancient Languages School (MALS).

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Chi-Rho used as the SSEC logo.

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About the image Chi-Rho

Chi is the 22nd letter in the Greek alphabet (it looks like an "X"). Rho is the 17th letter (it looks a "P"). When Chi and Rho are shown together this forms "CHR" a short hand way of expressing the word "Christ". This is what is called a "Nomina Sacra" or an abbreviation of a sacred name.

SSEC Management Committee

ancient-staff nobbsPresident Prof Alanna Nobbs





ancient-staff chrisforbes Vice Pres Dr Chris Forbes





SSEC secretary don barkerSecretary Dr Don Barker




ancient-staff peteredwellTreasurer Dr Peter Edwell