The Cura Sanitatis Tiberii according to Ernst von Dobschütz

Zbigniew Izydorczyk

(University of Winnipeg)


The Cura sanitatis Tiberii is generally assumed to be the earliest textual witness to the legend of Veronica’s image of Christ. This work, attested in manuscripts since the eighth century (the Lucca codex), was critically edited by Ernst von Dobschütz in 1899 as part of his Christusbilder. Dobschütz based his edition on thirty-­‐seven manuscripts and two old prints of the Cura, (plus thirty-­‐two additional manuscripts of Pilate’s letter). Impressive and magisterial, Dobschütz’s text has been adopted as a point of reference by most modern scholarship on Veronica’s legend. However, more than a century after its publication, there are several reasons to reassess its reliability and to confront it with the actual texts preserved in manuscripts. As Dobschütz himself admits in the introduction to his edition, he knew a number of his sources only second hand; the flaws of his immediate sources are thus reflected in his own edition. Moreover, his focus on the earliest form of the Cura resulted in near dismissal of a later but immensely influential form.

During the last three decades, over ninety new manuscripts of the Cura have come to light, more than twice the number used by Dobschütz, including one ninth-­‐century and three tenth-­‐century copies; one of the tenth-­‐century manuscripts preserves a version very close to the Lucca text. The purpose of this presentation is to offer a critique of Dobschütz’s edition, arising from an ongoing project of new collation of the Cura manuscripts, with a special emphasis on chap. 9 that concerns the origin of Veronica’s image of Christ.

The European Fortune of the Roman Veronica ​in the Middle Ages