History of the IACS

When it started

The IACS was founded during the First International Congress of Coptology in Cairo (actually: Colloquium on the Future of Coptic Studies, 11-17 December 1976), sponsored by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, at the end of the UNESCO project to publish a facsimile edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices. An important predecessor of the newly founded association was the Cairo-based Société d’Archéologie Copte (formerly, 1934-1937, Association des Amis des Églises et de l’Art Coptes), whose president, Mirrit Boutros Ghali, became one of the first honorary presidents of the IACS.

Including the meeting in Cairo, there have now been twelve International Congresses of Coptic Studies sponsored by the IACS, as follows: (1) Cairo, 11-17 December 1976; (2) Rome, 22-26 September 1980; (3) Warsaw, 20-25 August 1984; (4) Louvain-la-Neuve, 5-9 September 1988; (5) Washington, 12-15 August 1992; and (6) Münster, 21-26 July 1996; (7) Leiden, 27 August-2 September 2000; (8) Paris, 28 June-3 July 2004; (9) Cairo, 14-20 September 2008; (10) Rome, 17-22 September 2012; (11) Claremont, CA, 25-30 July 2016; (12) Brussels, 11-16 July 2022. The 13th International Congress of Coptic Studies will take place in Göttingen in 2026.

At a business meeting during each of these congresses, the members of the IACS have elected officers, as well as honorary presidents:

HONORARY PRESIDENTS: Mirrit Boutros Ghali (1976-1992†), Pierre du Bourguet (1976-1988†), Alla I. Elanskaya (1984-), Labib Habashi (1976-1984†), Pahor Labib (1976-1994†), Gamal Mokhtar (1976-1998†), H.J. Polotsky (1976-1991†), Hans Quecke (1996-1998†), Torgny Säve-Söderbergh (1976-1998†), Alla I. Elanskaya (1984-2005), Hans Quecke (1996-1998), Rodolphe Kasser (2000-2013), Martin Krause (2000-), James M. Robinson (2000-2016), Bishop Samuel (2000-2003), Tito Orlandi (2022-)

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 1976-1980: Martin Krause (president), Bentley Layton (president-elect), Tito Orlandi (editor-treasurer), Frederik Wisse (congress secretary), Oswald H.E. Burmester (director, Cairo Center); Barbara Aland, Rodolphe Kasser, Jacques-É. Ménard, Peter Nagel (members at large).

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 1980-1984: Bentley Layton (president), Rodolphe Kasser (president-elect), Tito Orlandi (editor-treasurer), Włodzimierz Godlewski (congress secretary), Leslie S.B. MacCoull (director, Cairo Center); Peter Grossmann, Antoine Guillaumont, Peter Nagel, Julien Ries (members at large).

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 1984-1988: Rodolphe Kasser (president), Peter Nagel (president-elect), Tito Orlandi (editor-treasurer), Julien Ries (congress secretary), Peter Grossmann (director, Cairo Center); Stephen Emmel, Søren Giversen, Antoine Guillaumont, Marguerite Rassart-Debergh (members at large).

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 1988-1992: Peter Nagel (president), Søren Giversen (president-elect), Tito Orlandi (editor-treasurer), David W. Johnson (congress secretary), Peter Grossmann (director, Cairo Center); Stephen Emmel, Marguerite Rassart-Debergh, Gawdat Gabra, Paul-Hubert Poirier (members at large).

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 1992-1996: Søren Giversen (president), Stephen Emmel (president-elect), Tito Orlandi (editor-treasurer), Martin Krause (congress secretary), Peter Grossmann (director, Cairo Center); Anne Boud’hors, Gawdat Gabra, Włodzimierz Godlewski, Paul-Hubert Poirier (members at large).

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 1996-2000: Stephen Emmel (president), Tito Orlandi (president-elect), Martin Krause (editor-treasurer), Jacques van der Vliet (congress secretary), Peter Grossmann (director, Cairo Center); Nathalie Bosson, Anne Boud’hors, Włodzimierz Godlewski, Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya (members at large).

In 1990 the IACS published An International Directory of Institutions Holding Collections of Coptic Antiquities outside of Egypt, edited by Stephen Emmel (Rome: Centro Italiano Microfiches) and also founded the Journal of Coptic Studies, edited by G.M. Browne and Stephen Emmel (Louvain: Peeters Press).

As of 2023, the official address of the IACS is: Institut für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Schlaunstrasse 2, D-48143 Münster, Germany. Telephone: +49 251 8324940, or +49 251 8324537; fax: +49 251 8329933; e-mail: emmstel@uni-muenster.de