Shorter Epistles

J. K. Elliott

in The Apocryphal New Testament

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780198261827
Published online April 2009 |
Shorter Epistles

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The basic sources for the legend of the conversion of Edessa to Christianity are the Doctrina Addai (as edited by Phillips) and a shorter version found in Eusebius, HE 1. 13 (cf. 2. 1. 6–8) (Schwartz, GCS 9.1 pp. 82–97 (letters in Greek with Rufinus' Latin translation, pp. 86–9)). The latter is the earliest Greek text; Eusebius claims that it was extracted by him from the archives of Edessa and translated from Syriac word for word. According to Eusebius, Abgar, who was king of Edessa from 4 bc to ad 7 and again from ad 13 to 50, sent a letter to Jesus asking him to come and heal his malady. Jesus did not accede to this request, but in a letter said he would send a disciple to Edessa after his resurrection. After Jesus' death Thomas sent Thaddaeus (Addai in the Syriac tradition) to visit the king. Thaddaeus healed Abgar and converted Edessa to Christianity. According to the Pilgrimage of Etheria 17.1, 19.6 (ed. P. Geyer, CSEL 39 (Prague, Vienna, Leipzig, 1898), pp. 60, 62), a letter of Christ's was preserved and copied and miraculous powers ascribed to it. Other evidence exists, stating that the letter by Christ enjoyed wide circulation as an amulet affixed to doorposts and walls.

Chapter.  5686 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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