Bardesane e la sua scuola, l’Apologia siriaca ascritta a Melitone e la Doctrina Addai
| AEVUM - 2009 - 1
The relationship between Bardaisan (and his school) and three Syriac documents has been so far
overlooked by scholars. I shall here analyse these documents and endeavour to point out their connections
with Bardaisan’s milieu. 1) Striking correspondences are highlighted, in thought and even in
expression, connecting the Syriac apology ascribed to Melito with the so-called Liber Legum
Regionum, stemming from Bardaisan’s school, and some authentic fragments of Bardaisan. 2)
According to Moses of Chorene and Barhebraeus, the original nucleus of the Abgar-Addai legend,
subsequently expanded into the Syriac Doctrina Addai, was included in Bardaisan’s historical work
(which Moses calls History of Armenia). Also in the light of Eusebius’ knowledge of Bardaisan’s
work against Fate, I suggest that the initial part of Eusebius’ account of the Abgar-Addai legend
may derive from the aforementioned historical work. 3) The Syriac Acta Thomae ascribe to Thomas,
the apostle of India, a remarkable part of Bardaisan’s argument against Fate, as attested in his Katà
Heimarmenes (partially preserved by Eusebius in Greek) and in the Syriac Liber Legum Regionum.
This convergence is all the more significant in that Ephraem attests that apocryphal Acts of Apostles
were composed by disciples of Bardaisan.