Saint NameJohn the Baptist : S00020
Addai/Thaddeus the Apostle, one of the seventy-two : S00255
Saint Name in Sourceܝܘܚܢܢ ܡܥܡܕܢܐ
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before506
Evidence not after600
Activity not before497
Activity not after498
Place of Evidence - RegionMesopotamia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcEdessa
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Edessa
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsDistribution of alms
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesAristocrats
SourceThe Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite is a historiographical work that deals for the most part with the events in the city of Edessa and the neighbouring region during the period 494-506. It is an original Syriac composition, most likely produced not long after the year 506 by a Syriac-speaking citizen of Edessa. In its present form, it is preserved as a part of a larger historiographic work, the Chronicle of Zuqnin (known also as the Chronicle of Pseudo-Dionysius of Tel-Mahre), an 8th c. West-Syrian composition.
Syriac text: Martin 1876, 1-82; Wright 1882, 1-92; Chabot 1927-1933, v. 1, 235-317; English translation: Wright 1882, 1-84; Trombley and Watt 2000; French translation: Martin 1876, ix-lxxxvi; German translation: Luther 1997. For general information, see Trombley and Watt 2000, xi-lv; Luther 1997, 1-32; Watt 1999.
DiscussionThe Chronicle reports that Alexander, the Roman governor of Osrhoene in 497-498 (PLRE II, 'Alexander 14'), aiming to improve the administration of justice, used to hold regular audiences in the martyrium church dedicated to John the Baptist and Addai/Thaddeus the Apostle, during which he would settle lawsuits. This was apparently an act of Christian charity: the governor dispensed justice without demanding the fees or bribes that were normally expected, and did so in a church. Whether the choice of this particular church (with its relics of John the Baptist and Addai) was significant, is not clear from the text.
The church was built during the episcopate of Nonnus (457-471) and dedicated originally to John the Baptist alone. It is uncertain at which point in time Addai/Thaddeus the Apostle received a shrine of his own inside the building, perhaps in one of the apses.
The chronicler may have been an eyewitness of the events described. There is no reason to doubt this information.
BibliographyMain editions and translations:
Chabot, J.B., Incerti auctoris Chronicon Pseudo-Dionysianum vulgo dictum. 2 vols (CSCO 91, 104, Syr. III.1-2 [43, 53]; Paris: Typographeo Reipublicae, 1927, 1933).
Trombley, F.R., and Watt, J.W., The Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite (Translated Texts for Historians 32; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000).
Others editions and translations:
Luther, A., Die syrische Chronik des Josua Stylites (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 49; Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1997).
Martin, J.-P.P., Chronique de Josué le Stylite écrite vers l’an 515 (Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 6.1; Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus, 1876).
Wright, W., The Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite Composed in Syriac A.D. 507 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1882).
Watt, J.W., “Greek Historiography and the “Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite”,” in: G.J. Reinink and A.C. Klugkist (eds.), After Bardaisan: Studies on Continuity and Change in Syriac Christianity in Honour of Professor Han J.W. Drijvers (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 89; Louvain: Peeters, 1999), 317-327.