Doctrina Addaei

DOCTRINA ADDAEI. A Syr. account of the origins of Christianity in Edessa, related to the Abgar legend recorded by Eusebius (see ABGARUS, EPISTLES OF CHRIST and) and to the Gr. ACTS OF THADDAEUS (6th cent.). Messengers sent by Abgar to the governor of Syria report the deeds of Jesus on their return. Abgar sends a letter, to which Jesus gives a verbal reply (in Eusebius, it is a letter): He cannot come Himself, but will send a disciple. The king’s envoy also paints and takes home a portrait of Jesus (in the Acts of Thaddaeus, a towel imprinted with His likeness). After the ascension, Thomas sends Addai, one of the Seventy, who heals Abgar, makes converts, and builds a church. His deeds are said to have been recorded by the king’s scribe and placed in the official records, but references to “the Old and New Testaments,” to Acts and the Epistles of Paul and esp. to the Diatessaron, show that the document belongs to a later date (c. a.d. 400: Bauer, NTAp. I.438). An interesting feature is an account of the finding of the true cross by Protonice, wife of the emperor Claudius (cf. the story of Helena, mother of Constantine).

Bibliography

Phillips, The Doctrine of Addai the Apostle (1876); see also NTAp. I. 437ff.