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This first full study of the subject discusses how 17C Catholic missionaries tried to force the Copts (Egyptian members of the Church of Alexandria) into union with the Church of Rome, and the slow accumulation of knowledge of Coptic beliefs, undertaken by Catholics and Protestants. Includes a survey of the study of the Coptic language in the West.
Educated at Eton and King's College Cambridge. Taught at the University of Urbino from 1977 to 1992, Professor of the History of the Radical Reformation at the University of Amsterdam from1987 to 2001, and Dr. C. Louise Thijssen-Schoute Professor of the History of Ideas at Leiden University from 1985 to 2005. Now Arcadian Visiting Research Professor at the School of Advanced Study, London University, attached to the Warburg Institute and General Editor of the Arcadian Series (London/Oxford). Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.