Biblical scholars dismiss the story of the three wise men as a pious fiction or a pretty parable. Meanwhile traditional believers continue to tell the story of the three magician-astrologers Balthasar, Melchior and Caspar, who went on a long desert trek following a miraculous star.
Fr Longenecker skirts around both extremes and starts with Matthew’s simple account in the New Testament. Digging into the historical, cultural and religious background of the time, he makes the case that the wise men were real historical figures with strong motivations to journey from their capital in Arabia to pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews.
“Longenecker’s Magi are no longer exotic kings from distant lands; they are real figures, the pieces missing from many ancient puzzles.”
Dr Margaret Barker is a former President of the Society for Old Testament Study and co- founder of the Temple Studies Group.
“The book is aimed at readers with no prior knowledge of the Bible and also at biblical scholars. I believe it succeeds admirably for both audiences. In addition, it is a mine of useful information about the Middle East at the time of Christ. It is the best book I know about the Magi and throws new light upon the birth narratives in the gospels. Buy it as a present for others or for yourself! “
Sir Colin Humphreys CBE, Author, The Mystery of the Last Supper