Doctrine of Addai

The Doctrine of Addai is a Syriac Christian text, written in the late 4th or early 5th century CE, recites the Legend of the Image of Edessa as well as the legendary works of Addai and his disciple Mari in Mesopotamia.[1]


The story of how King Abgar and Jesus had corresponded was first recounted in the 4th century by the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea in his Ecclesiastical History (i.13 and iii.1) and it was retold in elaborated form by Ephrem the Syrian.


Helmut Koester regards the development of tradition of Thaddaeus' activity in Edessa as part of an effort to build the authority of the orthodox or Palutian[a] faction in Syria against the Manicheans and gnostics, who had an older and stronger presence in the area and traced their lineage to Thomas the Apostle.[2][b] He considers the Palutian faction to have come to Edessa around 200 CE and only become significant in the fourth century.[3]


  • ms Saint-Pétersbourg, Bibliothèque Publique Saltykov-Shchedrine, N.S. Syr. 4 (Pigulevskaya 48), , f. 1v33
  • ms Londres, British Library, Add. 14654, f. 33r-v (fgt) + Add. 14644, f. 1-9v + Add. 14535, f. 1r (fgt) + Add. 12155, f. 53v + Add. 17193, f. 36v-37 (extrait)
  • ms Alqosh, Église paroissiale chaldéenne, cod. 87 ?
  • ms Londres, British Library, Add. 12161, f. 1v (fgt)
  • ms Londres, British Library, Add. 14612, f. 165r (fgt)
  • ms Londres, British Library, Add. 14644, f. 1-9v (mutilé du début et au milieu)
  • ms Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, syr. 62, f. 102v-108 (extraits)
  • ms Birmingham, Selly Oak College Library, Coll. Mingana, Syr. 405, f. 1
  • ms Jérusalem, Couvent syrien orthodoxe Saint-Marc, cod. 153, p. 241-259[4]
  • Pseudo-Abdias (x. 1)
  • Nicephorus (H. E., ii. 7)[5][better source needed]

Published editions[edit]

  • Phillips, George, ed. (1876). The Doctrine of Addai, the apostle (in Syriac). London: Trübner & Co. p. 51–106.
  • Meščerskaja, Elena Nikitična (1984). Legenda ob Avgare — rannesirijskij literaturnyj pamjatnik: istoričeskie korni v ėvoljucii apokrifičeskoj legendy [The Legend of Abgar — early Syrian literary monument: Historical roots and evolution of an apocryphal legend] (in Russian). Moscow: Nauka. p. 119–184. OCLC 715504370.

Modern translations[edit]



  • Desreumaux, Alain (1993). Histoire du roi Abgar et de Jésus: présentation et trad. du texte syriaque intégral de "La doctrine d'Addaï" [History of King Abgar and Jesus: Presentation and tradition Of the Syriac text of "The Doctrine of Addai"] (in French). Paris: Brepols. p. 53–117. ISBN 978-2-503-50305-9. This also contains an Ethiopian version.[6]
  • Dutch: Jan Willem Drijvers, Helena Augusta, waarheid en legende ( Groningen: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 1989), pp: 153–157, Note: partielle
  • Russian: Elena Nikitična Meščerskaja, Legenda ob Avgare — rannesirijskij literaturnyj pamjatnik: (istoričeskie korni v ėvoljucii apokrifičeskoj legendy) ( Moskva: Nauka, 1984), pp: 185–203
  • Armenian: A Carrière, La légende d'Abgar dans l'Histoire d'Arménie de Moïse de Khoren ( Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1895), pp: 357–414
  • Ethiopic: Getatchew Haile, " The Legend of Abgar in Ethiopic Tradition," Orientalia christiana periodica vol. 55 ( 1989), pp: 375–410[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The group now understood as the orthodox faction was known as the Palutians in Syria at this time. (Koester 1965, p. 305)
  2. ^ Cf. Bauer, Walter (1909). Das Leben Jesu im Zeitalter der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen (in German). Tübingen, Germany: J. C. B. Mohr. p. 444–445.


  1. ^ Noegel, Scott B.; Wheeler, Brannon M. (2010-04-01). The A to Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism. Scarecrow Press. p. 89. ISBN 9781461718956.
  2. ^ Koester 1965, p. 296,305.
  3. ^ Koester 1965, p. 305-306.
  4. ^ a b c Saint-Laurent et al. 2015.
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Walker, Alexander (1885). "Translator's introductory notice to the apocryphal acts of the apostles" . In Roberts, Alexander; Donaldson, James (eds.). Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.. Note: Walker conflates the 'Acts of Thaddeus with the Doctrine of Addai.
  6. ^ French national library


  • Bauer, Walter (1991) [1934]. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. Translated by Steely, John E.; Kraft, Robert A. Archived from the original on 18 August 2000.
  • Koester, Helmut (July 1965). "ΓΝΩΜΑΙ ΔΙΑΦΟΡΟΙ: The Origin and Nature of Diversification in the History of Early Christianity". Harvard Theological Review. 58 (3): 279–318. JSTOR 1508818.
  • Saint-Laurent, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon; Michelson, David A.; Zanetti, Ugo; Detienne, Claude, eds. (5 November 2015). "Addai (Teaching of) (text)". Bibliotheca Hagiographica Syriaca. Retrieved 31 August 2017.  Note: This page contains text copied from this freely licensed work

Further reading[edit]