Honorary awards

Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge

The degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) was conferred upon Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge at the Arts ceremony held at 4.00pm on 12 May 2006.

Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge

Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge, photo, copyright Memento Photography.

Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge

Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge with Chancellor the Hon Justice Kim Santow at the conferring ceremony, photo copyright Memento Photography.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa).

Professor Judge is one of the leading academic figures in modern Australia. After a brilliant career of studies at Canterbury University, New Zealand, and Cambridge, England, he spent twelve years at Sydney University and contributed decisively to the development of Ancient History as a major subject. He then accepted the inaugural History Chair in the field of Ancient History at Macquarie University. For twenty-five years as professor at Macquarie, and since then in other capacities, he has inspired excellence in Ancient History and the study of Early Christianity. He initiated a collection of study materials in these fields, enshrined in the Ancient History Documentary Research Centre. So too the Museum of Ancient Cultures, one of the finest institutions of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. He was instrumental in introducing Ancient Near Eastern Studies, which now embrace the Australian Centre for Egyptology. Professor Judge has also edited, for Sydney University Press, a series of monographs in the series ‘Sources for Ancient History’ and played an important role as editor of the Journal of Religious History a major international journal produced by Australian scholars.

When still at Sydney University, he was a prime mover in founding a new learned journal, under the auspices of the Australian - now Australasian - Society for Classical Studies, Antichthon: a name that suitably alludes to its locale (it means ‘land at the opposite end’). Antichthon flourishes today as an eminent periodical embracing wide field of classical studies: literary, historical, philological and philosophic. At Macquarie he helped to establish the equally lively journal now named Ancient History, whose readership includes both schoolteachers and academic scholars. The internationally respected series, New Documents illustrating Early Christianity, likewise began under his leadership.

Professor Judge is distinguished for his studies on the first Roman emperor, Augustus, and still more for his monographs on the social and structural aspects of early Christianity in the Roman empire, and how the Romans responded to it. Several books explore these themes, notably The Social Pattern of the Christian Groups in the First Century in 1960, and The Conversion of Rome: Ancient Sources of Modern Social Tensions (in 1980). Augustus too has kept him busy: for example, his essay On Judging the Merits of Augustus, published in 1985. A tally (apparently provisional) of his articles, reviews, occasional papers and other ‘effusions’ - as he calls them - totals over 400.

Besides scholarship and teaching, Professor Judge has served Macquarie University in many capacities: as a department head, an elected member of the University Council, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (‘acting’ for three years). In all these positions, he has been a byword for poised and conscientious administration. He has contributed tirelessly and significantly, too, to the Anglican community over many years and in many activities, notably as a member of the Sydney Synod. Australia’s public community has recognised his contribution to the intellectual and academic quality of our national life. In 1995 he received the honour of Membership of the Order of Australia, and in 1999 the Australian Academy of the Humanities elected him an Honorary Fellow.

Cicero writes that to remain ignorant of what happened before our own time - in other words to remain ignorant of history - is to remain a child forever. With this axiom Professor Judge is surely in full agreement. Cicero wrote no history himself, but Edwin Judge has the Ciceronian ability to arouse, excite, alarm and electrify his listeners and readers. Many of his students now themselves hold high positions in academic life. All revere the man who brought ancient history to life for them.

Chancellor, for his distinguished career of scholarship and service to his universities and Australia’s intellectual and spiritual life, I have great pleasure in presenting to you, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa), Emeritus Professor Edwin Arthur Judge and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.