Adventures with the Apostles: Thaddeus

As one drudges through the writings of the ancient Church one finds many exciting details about the Apostles, Yeshua, and the early believers not found in the four canonical Gospels. These stories can be found mostly in the Acts of the Holy Apostles. Each Apostles is given a work such as acts of the holy Apostle Thomas, Acts of the Holy Apostle Matthew, Philip, and so on; they serve has a midrash on the deeds and lives of the apostles.

Yesterday on Shabbat as I was reading these accounts I came across the most wonderful story (midrash) it was found in the, “Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddeus.”

According to the legend the Governor of Edessa Abagarus by name, hears of the fame of Yeshua and desires to know what this man is about and what he looks like, he sends one of his servants Ananias to inspect this Yeshua, but Ananias is unable to explain this remarkable man.

After Yeshua’s ascension Thaddeus is chosen to go the land of Edessa, and to speak to the governor of Edessa about Yeshua.
We pick up in the middle of the story:

And after the passion, and the resurrection, and the ascension, Thaddeus went to Abgarus; and having found him in health, he gave him an account of the incarnation of Christ, and baptized him, with his entire house. And having instructed great multitudes, both of Hebrews and Greeks, Syrians, and Armenians, he baptized them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, having anointed them with the holy perfume; and he communicated to them of the undefiled mysteries of the sacred body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and delivered to them to keep and observe the law of Moses, and to give close heed to the things spoken by the Apostles in Jerusalem. For year by year they came together to the Passover, and again he imparted to the Holy Spirit.

And Thaddeus along with Abgarus destroyed idol-temples and built Churches; ordained as bishop of one of his disciples, and presbyters, and deacons, and gave them the rule of the psalmody and the holy liturgy. (Taken from ‘Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddeus’)

Once again we see how the apostles of Yeshua impacted the world. In this case Thaddeus; the impact that the Holy Apostles had on the world to bring it out of the darkness of idolatry into the realization of Hashem will serve has a blessing, it will also serve has a blessing to all those Gentiles who have heeded the call of the Apostles to come out of idolatry to take a look at the beauty and life found within the law of Moses, as Thaddeus instructed in his account.


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3 responses to “Adventures with the Apostles: Thaddeus

  1. Jeremiah,

    Fascinating article! I am unfamiliar with this early work, it’s quite enlightening to see he encouraged them to “keep and obey the law of Moses” and “give close heed” the to the apostles in Jerusalem. One wonders what whether modern studies on the Acts 15 ruling have taken into consideration writings like this which imply the apostles approved of teaching the Torah.

    What do modern scholars think of this work? Is it an authentic early work? I know there were many forgeries later on parading as early writings.

  2. That’s definitely a very interesting passage–I’d also like to know more about the history of this work!

  3. Shalom Judah,
    I do not believe this document is a forgery, or unauthentic. Although I am not an expert, I have a few reasons for my thoughts:
    • That I know of, the document does not contain any heresy in regards to theology, (i.e. Ebinoite, Maricon, gnostic)
    • Eusibus was aware of this document and had other documents from the Eddesa library. Eccl History, i, 13.
    • I think the mention of baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, and then instructing them to keep Torah would lead me to believe it is authentic.
    Re: Acts 15
    It may seem that Thaddeus is supporting One Law theology by teaching great multitudes, both of Hebrews and Greeks, Syrians, and Armenians to observe the Law of Moses.
    However, I believe it can be read a different way. It says he instructed Hebrews (along with those of other ethnicity’s) regarding observing the Law of Moses. Perhaps these Hebrews where not observing the Law of Moses—or else why would he have to instruct them in regards to it?
    Also he is reported as instructing them to give special heed to what was spoken by the apostles. In Acts 15 and 21, the apostles give very clear instructions in regards to Torah observance for Jews and Gentiles, and what commandments where obligatory on Jews and Gentiles.
    Paul the Apostle also speaks of these things, (Rom. 2:25, 1 Cor. 7:17-24, Gal. 5:3, and Col. 2:16-17).
    So I would read this as Thaddeus instructing them in the Law of Moses as it applied to them.

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