Department of Ancient History

SSEC Annual May Conference

SSEC May 2015 Conference

The early Church: Cults and Controversies

  • Day Conference will be on Saturday 2 May 2015
  • Conference Curtain Raiser will be on Thursday 30 April 2015

2015 Visiting Speaker - Professor Paul Trebilco

Prof Paul Trebilco 

Paul Trebilco is Professor of New Testament. He studied Chemistry at the University of Canterbury, and then did a Bachelor of Divinity at Otago before completing his PhD in the New Testament in 1987 at the University of Durham.

He has published work on the Jewish and Greco-Roman backgrounds to the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul, early Christians in Ephesus, the relationship of Scripture and Church tradition, and the Self-designations used by the earliest Christians in the New Testament.  He is currently the General Editor of the Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, published by Cambridge University Press.

The Society for the Study of Early Christianity holds an annual conference in May each year. Join us at next year's special annual event : Sat 2 May 2015. 

More details on our conference will be distributed with the SSEC newsletter in March 2015.  We will have six speakers.

List of Speakers for 2 May 2015

  • Professor Paul Trebilco (Otago) Topic: Identity Formation in Earliest Christianity: Constructing Outsiders in New Testament Letters
  • Professor James R. Harrison (Sydney College of Divinity & Macquarie) Topic: Ephesian Cultic Officials, Their Benefactors and the Quest for Civic Virtue:  Paul's Alternate Quest for Status in Ephesians
  • Dr Bruce Winter (Queesnland Theological College) Topic: Exile and Execution: The Swords of Damocles for the First Christians? : Hebrews and Revelation.
  • Dr Christopher Forbes, (Macquarie) Topic: The Early Christian Churches and their religious environment: "A World full of gods" (Keith Hopkins).
  • Dr Bernard Doherty (Macquarie), Topic: Beyond The Myth of Persecution: Toward a Sociological Theory of early Christian Persecution."(note change in topic advised on 26 April 2015).
  • Lyn Kidson (Macquarie PhD Candidate), Topic: False Teachers or Disputing Sophists?
  • Q&A session,  to conclude the day.

Last updated  26 April 2015 by SSEC webmaster BJ Eyland

Conference Program

Download 2015 Conference program (PDF 398 kB). A handy one page summary of speakers, program/timetable and topics.   Note: change in topic for Bernard Doherty advised on 26 April 2015 - Beyond The Myth of Persecution: Toward a Sociological Theory of early Christian Persecution.

Register Now 

Download Conference Registration form  (PDF 111kB)

Colour brochure will be available in due course.  If you require a paper colour brochure please phone Karyn Young, Conference Manager, at the SSEC office on (02) 9580 7512.  As the office is attended on a voluntary basis, please leave a message on our answering machine.

2015 SSEC conference details  

Two Dates - for your calendar

Thursday 30 April 2015 "Conference Curtain Raiser" - The early Church: Cults and Controversies

  • Venue: Museum of Ancient Cultures X5B 321 
  • Time: 7:05 pm
  • Costs:
    • members $5
    • alumni $7
    • non members $8
  • Speaker: Prof Paul Trebilco (Otago) ,  SSEC Visiting Fellow for 2015 Topic: The Artemis Cult in Ephesus and the Johannine Letters
    Chair: Professor James R. Harrison, (Sydney College of Divinity)
  • Light Supper provided

Saturday 2 May 2015 - Annual Conference- The early Church: Cults and Controversies

  • Venue: Robert Menzies College, 136 Herring Road, Macquarie Park, just near the Macquarie Uni Railway Station.
  • Time:   Registrations  from 9:00am to 9:30am,  first speaker at 9:30am and finish approximately 5:00pm
  • Costs: 
    • Normal rate = $145  
    • Alumni rate =$140
    • SSEC Financial Members = $130
    • Pensioner (age, disability or carers) = $95
    • Student = $55 (need to provide student number)
    • Part day at $25 per lecture (or $20 SSEC/ Concession) per lecture.
    • All costs include GST.
    • Conference fees include  morning & afternoon tea and lunch.  Conference attendees will also receive a "Book of Notes" with all topics, abstracts, speakers bio, and further details about the conference.
    • Receipts for 2015 will be sent via email to keep costs down.  Paper receipts will be available at the conference registration desk on the morning of the conference.
    • Please indicate Special Dietary Requirements on your registration form.

Disclaimer. SSEC Newsletter Editors' Note: "The Society takes no position on the intellectual content of papers and articles."
"The unique emphasis of our Society is one of history. The study of Early Christianity in its Jewish and Graeco Roman Setting." Prof Alanna Nobbs has asked for this disclaimer to be added to all SSEC correspondence eg SSEC eNewsletters, SSEC website & SSEC facebook etc.

  • RSVP: please return registrations form with your payment details to The Secretary, Dr Don Barker, or the Karyn Young, Conference Manager, SSEC Office / Ancient History, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, NSW 2109.
  • Parking: very limited at the venue.    However, we suggest you travel by public transport.: namely by government bus or by train - alight at the closest railway station which is called "Macquarie University" and then a very short walk.
  • If you require disability parking please contact Karyn Young at the SSEC office on (02) 98507512 in advance.
  • The Society for the Study of Early Christianity wishes to thank the Co-op Bookshop most warmly for their support of the Conference.



Thanks to the Co-op Bookshop


SSEC Speakers in previous years

Professor Brigitte Kahl The 2014 SSEC Visiting Speaker was  Professor Brigitte Kahl (Columbia University NY).  She is also the Professor of New Testament at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.   Brigitte Kahl is an innovative New Testament scholar whose work has been groundbreaking in Pauline studies. She brings a new perspective to Biblical scholarship by analysing the dynamic relationship between the New Testament and the Roman Empire.

Prof James McLaren Keynote Speaker for 2013 was Professor James McLaren, Professor of Ancient History and Biblical Studies in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. He is also currently the Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty and is a member of the Centre for Early Christian Studies.

Dr Konstantinos D. PolitisDr Konstantinos D. Politis, who is currently Director of the Hellenic Society for Near Eastern Studies in Greece.   Speaker for 2012.



SSEC - Lawrence WelbornProf Laurence WELBORN is Professor of New Testament Studies at Fordham University New York & Macquarie Uni. Speaker at the 2006,  2010,  2011, 2012 & 2014 SSEC Conferences. 

SSEC - John FitzgeraldProf John T. FITZGERALD is the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. Speaker at the 2011 SSEC Conference.



SSEC - Beverly GaventaProfessor Beverly GAVENTA is the Helen HP Manson Professor of New Testament Interpretation & Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary. Speaker at the 2009 SSEC Conference.




Kim HainesAssociate Professor Kim HAINES-EITZEN, Cornell University. Speaker at 2008 SSEC Conference



SSEC - Felicity Harley-McGowanDr Felicity HARLEY-MCGOWAN lectures in Medieval Art History at the Uni of Melbourne, School of Culture & Communication at Trinity College Theological School. Speaker at the 2010 SSEC Conference.



SSEC - Lucy Anne HuntProfessor Lucy-Anne HUNT of Manchester Metropolitan University is an expert in Byzantine, Coptic and Christian-Muslim art & culture in the Middle Ages. Speaker at the 2010 SSEC Conference.



SSEC - Judith LieuProfessor Judith LIEU is the Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity and Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge University. Speaker at the 2009 SSEC Conference.




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More Information

Correct as at 26 April 2015

Conference Program

Download 2015 Conference program (PDF 398 kB). A handy one page summary of speakers, program/timetable and topics.

Note: change in topic for Bernard Doherty advised on 26 April 2015 - Beyond The Myth of Persecution: Toward a Sociological Theory of early Christian Persecution.

Register Now

Download 2015 Conference Registration form  (PDF 111kB)

Note: Full conference brochure in colour - with list of speakers, program/ timetable and all conference details including costs, venue etc may possibly be available in due course.

Past SSEC Conference Proceedings

Tiberius Caesar AugustusMay 2014 Conference - Christ or Caesar: Render Unto Caesar? Details & photos of speakers, Bios, abstracts. Some papers have already been made available in past SSEC newsletters. Go to the SSEC 2014 Conference Proceedings

Dura-Europa Synagogue Mosaic May 2013 SSEC Conference : Church and Synagogue: the Interaction between Jews and Christians in Antiquity. Go to the Conference Proceedings 2013 web page.

Conference 2012 Stone Small May 2012 SSEC Conference : Desert Sands - Desert Secrets: Archaeology, the Bible & Early Christianity. Go to the Conference Proceedings 2012 web page.


SSEC 2011 conference May 2011 SSEC Conference - Corinth: Paul, People and Politics. Go to the SSEC 2011 Conference Proceedings web page.