About us

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.

The Chi-Rho image (left) is used as the SSEC logo.

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.

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 two Newsletters a year outlining forthcoming activities.  (this changed by agreement of the SSEC committee in 2015.)


Membership is open to any person over the age of 16, within Australia or internationally, by payment of the annual subscription. Donations above this amount may be claimable as a tax deduction

  • 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 8844.
  • If you would like details of our upcoming events then see our Calendar of Events.
  • Multi-purpose form for Memberships, Renewals & Conference Payments Combined payment Form (PDF 195Kb revised 28Feb 2018)
    Sign, scan and return the form via email to SSEC@mq.edu.au

    Please help us keep our printing and postage costs low, please let us know your email address, so we can keep in touch electronically.

    Annual Membership Fees

    Annual Membership is payable by the end of February annually.

    SSEC Membership gives a discount at the SSEC activities and a newsletter is forwarded two times a year. (SSEC committee approved this in 2015).

    If you would like to become a new member of the society then print out & complete a membership form now. Note: if you use credit card payment please sign the form and  return to the address on the form.

    Multi-purpose form for memberships, renewals and conference payments Combined payment Form (PDF 195Kb revised 28Feb 2018)
    Sign, scan and return the form via email to SSEC@mq.edu.au

    Membership fee structure

    Category Price P/A
    Ordinary members AU$30
    Family rate AU$35
    Concession (pensioner only not senior or full-time student) AU$15

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."

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 to 2016 (inclusive) and are well under way for 2017. Go to the Conference Proceedings 2017. In addition SSEC has its own Academia.edu page and some articles are also loaded onto this website.

Bequests and research donations

Make a gift to The Society for the Study of Early Christianity

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

Research donations 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 +61 (02) 9850 8844 or Dr Don Barker on +61 (02) 9850 9962.

There are two other ways to make a donation to the Society for the Study of Early Christianity:

Many thanks for helping us further research in this important area.

(updated 21 June 2015)

SSEC management committee 2017-2018

  The following SSEC members have been elected to the Management Committee on 6 May 2017.
PresidentDr Chris Forbes
Vice PresidentProfessor Alanna Nobbs
Hon. SecretaryKaryn Young
TreasurerKaryn Young
Committee Members

Elected: Alice Baker, Dr Don Barker, A/Prof Malcolm Choat, Peter Eyland, Dr Lloyd Graham, Lydia Gore-Jones, Leigh Hess, Dr Paul March,  Sue Price, Gillian Spalding-Stracey, Dr Gareth Wearne

Last updated 8 August 2017 by volunteer webmaster

Order CDs and DVDs

There are no DVDs (movies) and CDs (audio) of the SSEC events, currently available.

  • DVDs and/or CDs of the SSEC events were once regularly produced. Due to very low demand these have been discontinued. Also the costs of producing DVDs and CDs and the cost of postage were prohibitive. The time taken to record, edit and produce the DVDs or CDs was not proportional to the very low demand for them.
  • Podcasts (audio) and Youtube or iMovies (video) of SSEC events have been produced in the past and loaded onto our SSEC website (eg Coptic talks)  - but due to low demand have been discontinued.
  • Recently, (early 2016), we had a very talented videographer called Liam, who recorded videos of SSEC talks and incorporated the speaker's slide shows into the video. These were made available on Youtube. This was excellent work, but again demand from SSEC members was very low.
  • Skype has been also investigated for real-time remote viewing of our SSEC events in other locations (other than Sydney). Due to very low demand, there is no plan to continue this for SSEC, although other areas of Ancient History at Macquarie University are using Skype to broadcast ancient history lectures.

If you have any queries about ordering CDs, DVDs, tapes or books then please phone +61 (02) 9850 7512 (SSEC office).

The SSEC office is only open on a part time basis.

We prefer to hear from you by email: SSEC@mq.edu.au

Last updated 18 September 2015 by SSEC webmaster BJ Eyland

Content owner: Studies of Early Christianity Last updated: 30 May 2018 12:55pm

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