Features > In search of the wise men: the mystery of Magi

19 December 2017 | by Dwight Longenecker

In search of the wise men: the mystery of Magi

In search of the wise men: the mystery of Magi

The mystery of the Magi


A few years ago I was asked to write an article about the origins of the three wise men. I hesitated because I was familiar with the standard conclusion among academics that the story of the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel was likely to be a pious fable. This is the view, for example, taken by scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in their book, The First Christmas.

In his monumental work on the infancy narratives, the eminent biblical scholar Raymond Brown admits that relegating the Magi story to the fiction shelves was a kind of test of orthodoxy among New Testament scholars. Even today, a noted authority on the New Testament told me that if one wants a career in biblical scholarship, one daren’t suggest that the story of the Magi is in any way historical.


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