Did Jesus Write a Letter to Write covering letter Abgar?
Was there an exchange of letters between Jesus and King Abgar? The obvious answer to our titular question is, of course, no. Jesus left no writings, and that wasn’t an oversight or something on his to-do list that he forgot. Jesus left the Church, and the Church in turn gives us the scripture.
Christianity produced a massive body of written literature, some becoming canon, some entering the patristic tradition, some condemned as heretical, and some which early Christians thought were real or contained elements of truth, but which subsequently fell into disfavor, such as the document traditionally called The Abgar Letter. Although a fake, the Abgar Letter letter not only reveals something about an early Christian community, but was believed to be real by many in the early Church, and even found its way into liturgical use. Dismissing the entire story as mere legend is not only unhelpful but foolish. The earliest complete version of the letter and the accompanying story was discovered by Eusebius among a cache of Syriac documents in write archives of Edessa, now known as Letter in Turkey. Some have suggested that Eusebius manufactured either document or quote, but this is not credible at all. Eusebius may have been overly credulous at times, and covering eager to please his patrons, but he was neither fraud nor fool.
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Abgar V, king of Edessa, was suffering a grievous illness for which there was no cure. Jesus the good Savior who has appeared in the region of Jerusalem, greeting. The reports about you and your cures have reached me, how they are effected by you without drugs and herbs. For, as the story goes, you make the blind to see, the lame to walk, and you cleanse lepers, and you cast out unclean spirits and demons, and you cure those who are tortured in lingering disease, and you raise the dead. Blessed are you who have believed although you have not seen me. For it is written concerning me that those who have seen me will not believe in me, and that those who have not seen me will themselves believe and shall be saved.
But regarding what you wrote me, to come to you, I must fulfill all things for which I was sent, and, after thus fulfilling them, be taken up to Him who sent me. In some Eastern traditions, Addai is a Jew from Edessa who was in Jerusalem for a festival. He heard the preaching of John and was baptized, then became a follower of Jesus who was commissioned to spread the word. Addai is not the same as St. Jude the Apostle, also called Thaddeus.
Addai returned to his home of Edessa, where he is said to have stayed with Tobias, son of Tobias. Tobias is a Jewish name, so the implication is that he came back to the Jewish community of Edessa to preach. Addai began to heal people in the name of Christ. When word of this reached Abgar, he suspected this was the follower Jesus had promised him. When Addai came before the king, Abgar saw a «great vision» on his face. I will send you one of my disciples who will heal you and give you life’?
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