Title: A Copy of a Letter written by our Blessed ...
Publisher: Evans, Printer, Long-lane, London
Publication Date: 1795
Binding: No Binding
Book Condition: Good
Single sheet broadside. Within printer's scrolling decorative border. In top center is an oval woodcut illustration of Jesus (size 7.5 x 9 cm) holding an orb in his left hand and with a crown of thorns floating above his head which is surrounded by a sunburst halo. In a band around the oval: "FAIRER THEN THE CHILDREN OF MEN PSALXIV" . Some creases along the edges and folds, very slight wear to the centre of the two folds, and slight marginal tear at the top centre. 25 x 36 cm. Typography mispellings of "intreating", "chesnut". The final line of the text reads "wise. A Man, for his singular Beauty far exceeding all the Sons of Men". These points, together with the distance from Iconiam and the number of years (53) after the Crucifixion conform to the 1795 edition located at the University of London. There is an earlier c.1725 edition in English. Imprint "Evans, Printer, Long-lane, London" confirms date of this imprint to the 1790s (Sir Frederick Madden s Broadside collection (http://microformguides.gale.com/Data/Introductions/30330FM.htm). Broadside print of three apocryphal texts; Jesus's so-called 'Letter from Heaven', first promulgated in the fourth century, that found its way into liturgical use (in Celtic and Syriac rites). The earliest complete version of the letter and the accompanying story was discovered by Eusebius (263-339AD) among a cache of Syriac documents in the archives of Edessa; the correspondence between Jesus and 'Agbarus' (i.e. the King Abgar of Edessa), dating from the third century, and reported in Eusebius, Historia, i:13:6 9; and the letter of the non-existent 'Publius Lentulus, Governor of Judea'. A similar broadside printed in the same year is one of the 49 exhibits in the John Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries exhibition of the FAKES, LIES AND FORGERIES: RARE BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS FROM THE ARTHUR AND JANET FREEMAN BIBLIOTHECA FICTIVA COLLECTION . This and similar broadsides were part of the evolution of the chain-letter, apocryphal letters claiming divine origin circulated for centuries in Europe. They were essentially sent to discourage disbelief and sometimes passed on to others with a request that the recipient continue to pass it on to yet others, as some great misfortune is likely to befall him if he does not" . FREEMAN, Arthur, Bibliotheca Fictiva: A Collection of Books & Manuscripts Relating to Literary Forgery, 400BC AD 2000, London: Bernard Quaritch Limited, 2014, p. 105. . It is scarce, copies being located at the NLS, Univ. Oxford and UCLA, in addition to four copies in America. Bookseller Inventory # 4449