Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret by Jack Markwardt (minpin05 @ verizon.net). Saturday, August 16, 3:45 p.m.–4:15 p.m.
The Mandylion Theory, by which Ian Wilson attempted to link the earliest history of the Shroud of Turin with ancient Edessa, was grounded substantially upon various permutations of the Abgar Legend, all of which dated the conversion of that city to the post-Crucifixion years of the first century. The best modern authority on Edessa has labeled the legend as one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity and the weight of historical evidence clearly supports the conclusion that Edessa was evangelized during the late second-century reign of Abgar the Great; however, a satisfactory identification of the circumstances under which this pagan king permitted Christianity to be preached in his kingdom has never been made.
In this paper, the author describes an ancient Church custom, known as the Discipline of the Secret, which dictated the content of all clergy-authored writings during the early centuries of Church history and, by applying the principles of this practice, seeks to resolve the historical inaccuracies of the Abgar Legend, identify the missionaries who brought Christianity to Edessa and baptized its king, and confirm the critical role played in that historic event by the Shroud of Turin.
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