That is how Hugh Farey, in a comment to another posting, describes Mark Guscin’s The Tradition of the Image of Edessa, a 400+ page PhD thesis recently published on a University of London website.
The abstract of this paper begins:
The Image of Edessa was an image of Christ, which according to tradition was of miraculous origin. It was taken from Edessa (mod. Sanliurfa, Turkey) to Constantinople in 944, and disappeared from known history in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It generated, however, a vast amount of literature and hundreds of copies in churches all over the Byzantine world. This thesis is a study of the literature, paintings, icons and other aspects related to the Image of Edessa. It examines how it was used as a tool to express Christ’s humanity and for various other purposes, and how some of the related literature became completely decontextualised and was used as a magical charm, especially in the West….
The photograph of Mark is a publicity photo from ArcheBooks Publishing for his novel All the Diamonds in the World.