I’m currently watching with great interest a series of history courses given at Yale University in 2009 (I think) concerning the New Testament that are available on Youtube and I came across one very interesting part in which the professor (a very good one) talk about the so-called exchange of letters between King Abgar and Jesus. This can be found at the very beginning of this video: 17. New Testament Yale – Colossians and Ephesians*
* Note: the professor is Dale Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University (first watch 1. New Testament Yale- Introduction)
I would like you to watch this and note how evident it is for this expert in history (as well as it is for all the other experts if we believe what the teacher says about that) that those letters are not authentic at all. In fact, after the long research I have done personally on the subject, I’m very confident to state that those letters were probably produced by a forger in Edessa between the late 2nd and the 3rd Century in order to back-up the “orthodoxy” of the main Christian Church in this city (by making believe that the Church was founded right after the Ascension of Christ, by someone (Addai or Thaddeus) who was a direct disciple of Jesus), at a time when there were many “heretical” doctrines proposed by various groups of Christians (some of which were already present in the region of Edessa around that time).
Taking this HISTORICAL FACT into account (look like this is something Ian Wilson haven’t done), I ask you this: Since the whole Abgar legend is mainly resting on those (false) letters supposedly written by Abgar and Jesus, how in the world can the Mandylion (which is a much later addition to the legend) can have any chance to be authentic?
I ask you this good question on a personal level, but feel free to share my email (and my question) with all the bloggers out there… It’s up to you!
I have never believed the letters were real but thought it was reasonable that the shroud made its way to Edessa. That something was in Edessa that sounds like the shroud still seems like a real possibility.