INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES OF COPTIC STUDIES
The International Committee for the publication of the Nag Hammadi Codices founded in 1970 and responsible for the preparation and edition of a facsimile edition of the codices envisaged a greater activity in Coptic studies than entailed by their work alone.
Under the sponsorship of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and UNESCO, the First International Congress of Coptology was held in Cairo, 8-18 December, 1976. About one hundred scholars from sixteen countries attended the congress. Most of the papers read were published in three volumes. The main papers appeared in The Future of Coptic Studies (ed. R. McL. Wilson, Coptic Studies 1, Leiden, 1978). The papers about Nag Hammadi and gnosis were printed in Nag Hammadi and Gnosis. Papers read at the First International Congress of Coptology (Cairo, December 1976) (ed. R. McL. Wilson, Nag Hammadi Studies 14, Leiden, 1978), and papers about philology and linguistics as “1. Internationaler Kongress für Koptologie Kairo 08.-18. Dezember 1976,” in Enchoria. Zeitschrift für Demotistik und Koptologie (Sonderband :1*-125*).
At the end of the congress, an International Association for Coptic Studies (I.A.C.S.) was launched, statutes were adopted by the participants, a board was elected, and it was agreed to publish a newsletter. According to the statutes (published in Newsletter 1, March 1977, changed in Newsletter 24, June 1988), the I.A.C.S. would have close relations with the Société d’archéologie copte and would hold congresses at four-year intervals.
The Second International Congress of Coptic Studies was held in Rome, 22-26 September 1980. Again, about one hundred scholars from twenty countries attended the congress. Thirty papers of the congress were published in Acts of the Second International Congress of Coptic Studies, Rome, 22-26 September 1980 (ed. T. Orlandi and F. Wisse, Rome, 1985).
The Third International Congress of Coptic Studies was held in Warsaw, 20-25 August, 1984. About 150 scholars and students from more than twenty countries attended the conference.
The Fourth International Congress of Coptic Studies was held in Louvain-la-Neuve, 5-10 September, 1988. The congress was attended by about 200 scholars and students from about twenty countries.
Beside the international congresses of the I.A.C.S., the French section regularly holds national congresses. The first such conference met in Strasbourg on 28 May 1982 and the papers were published in Ecritures et traditions dans la littérature copte (Journée d’Etudes Coptes – Strasbourg 28 mai 1982) (Cahiers de la Bibliothèque copte 1, Louvain, 1983). The second conference was held in Strasbourg on 25 May, 1984; the fifteen papers were published in Deuxième Journée d’Etudes coptes Strasbourg 25 mai 1984 (Cahiers de la Bibliothèque copte 3, Louvain, 1986). The third conference was held in Paris on 23 May 1986. The fourth conference met in Strasbourg on 27 May 1988.
In addition, at the Martin-Luther-University, Halle, six congresses have been organized since 1964, and their acts have been published. The first was held on 14-15 December, 1964 (Koptologische Studien in der DDR, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg, 1965, Sonderheft). The second was held on 12-13 December 1966 and was devoted to problems of Coptic literature (Probleme der koptischen Literatur, ed. P. Nagel, Wissenschaftliche Beiträge der Martin-Luther- Universität, Halle-Wittenberg, 1968). The next congress was held on 22-24 February, 1971 (Studia Coptica, ed. Nagel, Berliner Byzantinistische Arbeiten 45, Berlin, 1974).
The fourth symposium in 1976 (25-27 November) was devoted to studies about man in gnosis and Manichaeism (Studien zum Menschenbild in Gnosis und Manichäismus, ed. Nagel, Wissenschaftliche Beiträge der Martin- Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg, 1979). The fifth symposium in 1983 (25-27 May) was devoted to studies of Greeks and Copts in Egypt during the Byzantine period (Graeco-Coptica. Griechen und Kopten im byzantinischen Ägypten, ed. Nagel, Wissenschaftliche Beiträge der Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg, 1984).
The sixth conference was held in 1988 (27-29 April) and was devoted to the scientific work of Carl Schmidt (1868-1938), whose studies were concentrated on the Coptic Period of Egypt. Twenty- nine papers were read by scholars of eleven different countries.
[See also: International Association of Coptic Studies.]