Come and hear what’s new. Each quarter there’s a chance to gather, have a drink, and hear from a historian about their research. Sometimes it will be a PhD candidate, and sometimes it will be a leading researcher in their field. There’ll be a chance to ask our guest speaker probing questions.

We’ll also let you know about other important information here too.

Special In Person Event (will be streamed)

6.30pm to 9pm in Language Room C227, 25 Wally’s Walk (see campus map). It will be streamed but we’d love to see you in person if you can make it.

If you would like to attend in person then please RSVP to our secretary by Monday 15th July:

If you would like to stream then please email our secretary for the zoom link:

Professor James F. McGrath is Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature of Bulter University, Indianapolis, Indiana will speak on:

Merry Baptistmas? Recovering a Lost Ancient Infancy Narrative and What it Tells us about John the Baptist

The Gospel of Luke is not our only ancient source about the parents of John and Baptist and his childhood. In this talk Prof. James McGrath shows how it is possible to detect an even more ancient story that influenced both Christian and Gnostic traditions.

Calendar of Meetings for 2024

March 2024 Meeting via Zoom Thursday 21, 7:00 PM (AEDT)

Danijel Dzino will be speaking on the Macquarie University excavations on Bribirska Glavica (2014-2019) in context of early Christianity in Dalmatia.

This lecture will provide an outline of early Christian period in Dalmatia until ca. 600 AD, with particular emphasis on Late Antique/Early Christian layers uncovered by Macquarie University excavations on Bribirska Glavica (ancient Varvaria) in Croatia from 2014 to 2019. Main outcome of the excavations is discovery of large early Christian rotunda, built around 500 AD and uncovering of earlier built early Christian crypt with sarcophagi, which was renovated and extended at the times when rotunda was built.

Reconstruction of the building by P. Rathsman

Email the SSEC secretary ( for the zoom link by Tuesday 19th 5pm. Members can find the zoom meeting details in the Members’ Only Portal (password required)

September Meeting via Zoom Monday 18th of September, 7pm

Email the SSEC secretary for the zoom link by Monday 5pm. Members can find the zoom meeting details in the Members’ Only Portal (password required)

Julien Cooper will be speaking on

“Pagans par excellence? Evidence for Christianity amongst the Blemmyean nomads of Eastern Sudan”.


The story of the “rise of Christianity” is well documented across the major states of late antique Northeast Africa, from Coptic Egypt, Christian Nubia, and the Aksumite state of Ethiopia. However, the story of Christianity as adopted by “peripheral” nomadic groups living in the desert margins of the Nile basin is largely speculative, or left wholly untold. Motivated by archaeological surveys in Eastern Sudan, the heartland of the ancient Blemmyean nomads, this paper will shed light on this undocumented “theatre” of the Christian world. Given to be somewhat unexpected Christian adherents due to their being characterized as a “pagans” in Coptic literature, there is a surprising variety of evidence attesting to the adoption of the Christian faith by individual Blemmyes or Blemmyean lineages. This paper will attempt to harmonize this evidence into a putative model for the adoption of Christianity in such nomadic social settings, also chronicling the eventual demise of Christianity in Eastern Sudan after a long history of cultural contact and entanglement with the wider Arab-Islamic world.

“Menologion of Basil II, (C) Vatican Library”

About Julien:

Julien Cooper is an archaeologist and Egyptologist who graduated from Macquarie University (2016). Since then he has held postdoctoral fellowships at Oxford and Yale universities, most recently teaching ancient history and archaeology at United International College-Beijing Normal University (Zhuhai, China). He rejoined Macquarie University in 2023 on the Theban Tomb Project, recently obtaining ARC Future Fellowship. Julien’s research focuses on the archaeology and history of Nubia (ancient Sudan), with an interest in ancient nomadism and desert surveying. He directs a project in Eastern Sudan, the Atbai Survey Project, a large field survey investigating an under-explored desert filled with goldmines, rock art, and nomadic camps, a research theme that is the subject of his Future Fellowship.

June Meeting via Zoom 20th June, 7pm (AET)

Edwina Murphy will be speaking on “Imitating the Devil:  Cyprian on Jealousy and Envy.”

“According to Cyprian, bishop of Carthage in the mid-third century, jealousy and envy are dangerous vices which lead to the destruction of innocent lives. Christians must avoid these and instead pursue peace and unity, imitating Christ rather than the devil.”

TO JOIN THE MEETING Please send your request to join to Karyn Young


March Meeting via Zoom 7th March, 7pm  (AEDT)

The first SSEC talk for  2023 is by Lyn Kidson. She was the the Macquarie Gale British School in Rome scholarship for 2021 for her project “Coins of the New Testament world:  the intersection between early Christianity, imperial ideology, visual communication and the Roman economy.” At this SSEC meeting she will be discussing the minting operations in Rome under the Flavians and the production of the Capta Judaea coins, which advertised the squashing of the Jewish rebellion by Vespasian and Titus.

TO JOIN THE MEETING Please send your request to join to Karyn Young

2022 NEWS

6th Australasian Egyptology Conference 

Macquarie University is hosting the 6th Australasian Egyptology Conference from Thursday 9 June until Saturday 11 June PLUS ‘Life and Times of Tutankhamun’ Day of lectures on Sunday 12 June.

Featuring two international speakers, Dimitri Laboury and Simon Connor (both Université de Liège, Belgium)who have both written extensively on Tutankhamun. Joining them will be Anna Stevens who is Assistant Director of the Amarna project working at Tell el-Amarna.

The Conference will include museum visits, a cocktail party, the chance to hear the best local and international Egyptology, and more!

Take advantage of Early Bird rates (available until 13 May) to register for one day, or all four – see    

March Meeting via Zoom Thursday 10th March, 7pm  (AEDT)

Martin Shadwick, is presenting on “Brothers and Sisters in the Early Church.” 
“In the early church ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ were not confined to fellow Christians one knew personally or associated with locally. Rather, ‘brotherhood’ was a rich, multi-correspondence metaphor which both expressed and reinforced Christianity as an interconnected, worldwide fellowship. This talk will present the central elements of Martin’s MRes thesis, ‘The translocal dimension of Christian siblingship in the early church’.”

Email, 24 hours before the meeting, the SSEC secretary Ms Karyn Young for the Zoom link

Martin is the AFES staff team leader at the University of Newcastle, where he has engaged in student ministry since 2007. He previously studied science (BSc, Macquarie 2000) and theology (BD, MTC 2006), and last year completed a Master of Research in ancient history through Macquarie University. He’s married to Jen, and together they have four children. Martin also serves on the committee of the Gospel Workers Advocacy Group – an organisation established to assist ministry workers who have suffered mistreatment.

June Meeting via Zoom Wednesday 9th June 7pm

Michael P Theophilos will be speaking on “Jewish Christian relations prior to 70 CE in light of the Coins of the First Jewish War”  The numismatic record of the first Jewish war (66-70 AD) provides direct and specific material culture which bears on the question of Jewish Christian relation prior to 70 AD. Despite the limited textual information typically included, the benefits of coins as historical sources are well known and include known patterns of distributions and confirmed dates. This paper will investigate Jewish Christian relations in light of the numismatic record of the First Jewish Revolt and compare and contrast it with select themes in the New Testament. This will be explored along four lines of evidence, 1) linguistic 2) iconographic, 3) messianic, and 4) illocutionary intention of the materials. The presentation will be illustrated with high-definition images of the numismatic material under discussion. 

Coins of the first Jewish revolt 68-69 AD (Image from Wikipedia)

March Meeting via Zoom

Geoff Jenkins, “Luke and the Godfearers”, 16th March. Please send your request to join to Karyn Young