Library & Research

The Crisler Library in Oxford

The research collection of B. Cobbey Crisler remains intact, though considerably enhanced since the building and establishment of Crisler Library Ephesos in Selcuk, Turkey opposite the archaeological site of Ephesos. The main part of the books and works held at the Crisler Library at Ephesos constituted the cornerstone for the foundation of Crisler Library in Oxford. Those books and archaelogical pieces are the main assets provided for researchers working at the Library.

The library

Research projects

At the moment, two of the subjects close to the heart of Cobbey Crisler are the core of the research program: Heraclitus of Ephesus and the Abgar Inscription originally discovered by Eusebius of Cesarea at Edessa.

Project on The Abgar Inscription - Eusebius of Cesarea

The Ephesian Abgar inscription was found on the underside of a marble door lintel and dates to the fifth or sixth A.D. several inscriptions of this correspondance were found elsewhere on buildings in Greece and Turkey, probably because of the last life of Jesus’ letter, where he promises to protect the city.

The inscription contains the text of a letter from Jesus to Abgar, king of Edessa in Syria. King Abgar writes to Jesus to request him to come heal his incurable illness. Jesus replies that he cannot leave Jerusalem until he has finished his work, but that he will send someone at a later time. Eusebius, the church historian, identified in 325 CE this apostle as Thaddeus, one of the seventy apostles mentioned in the gospels, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Edessa.

B. Cobbey Crisler, for the last decade of his life has searched Ephesus for this inscription. After his death, Mrs Janet Crisler discussed with Prof. Dieter Knibbe, epigrapher for Ephesus, the whereabouts of the Abgar Inscription. Prof. Knibbe invited Janet to Vienna to see the original Abgar at the Ephesus Museum in Vienna. Subsequently, the Austrians gave the curator of the Ephesus Museum in Selcek, Turkey, permission to have a copy of the Abgar Inscription. The curator made three copies two for the museum and one for Crisler Library Ephesus. When Crisler Library moves to Oxford, Mrs. Janet Crisler, gifted the cast of the Abgar Inscription to the Ashmolean Museum, in memory of her husband, where it is presently exhibited in the Cast Gallery.