• Kelli Bryant Gibson is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas.

  • ‘The Friend of Jesus’: Jacob of Serugh’s Version of the Abgar Legend

    August 18, 2021, at 10:00 am (Washington, DC Time)

  • Abstract

    The legends of King Abgar of Edessa’s epistolary exchange with Jesus and the apostle Addai’s conversion of the city of Edessa have fascinated historians from Eusebius of Caesarea to the present. This paper highlights one episode in the reception history of the Edessan church’s foundation myth: Jacob of Serugh’s cycle of homilies on Abgar, Addai, and Edessa. After a brief orientation to the mimre, the paper assesses Jacob’s engagement with earlier versions of the legend and explores the major themes of Jacob’s retelling. Through careful analysis of what he repeats and omits of the tradition, as well as how he adapts and reimagines the story, one may discern aspects of Jacob’s own agenda.

  • Select Bibliography

    “Festal Apologetics: Syriac Treatises on the Feast of the Discovery of the Cross”. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oxford, 2015.

    “An Early Syriac Apologia Crucis: Memra 54 ‘On the Finding of the Holy Cross” in Narsai: Rethinking His Work and His World, edit. Aaron M. Butts, Kristian S. Heal, Robert A. Kitchen (Tubigen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020) 117-132.