In my new book The Mystery of the Magi-The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men I actually believe I have done the research and gathered the evidence and made a strong argument that the Magi were diplomats from Arabia to the court of Herod the Great.
What? You may ask. Father. Really. Why do you imagine that after 2000 years you are the one who has identified the Magi?
I know. I know. It sounds preposterous.
But there are some very good reasons why.
First, most traditionalists have taken the many traditions about the wise men at face value. They were told that the Magi came from Persia or India and we don’t really know who they were. Part of the charm of the story is that they were mysterious wizards from afar.
These folks therefore, never looked into the question any further.
Second, the scholars and skeptics didn’t believe the story was factual at all. They figured the whole thing was a fairy tale so why would anyone even waste their time looking for the historical characters. That would be like the search for the historical Peter Pan right?
So the first reason nobody has identified the Magi as Nabateans from Arabia is because they didn’t bother to look.
The second reason is that the Nabateans were notoriously mysterious. In the first century BC they were actually a major power, but today little is known of them because they left no written history. They were overlooked.
The third reason is that new discoveries have been made, and I have taken these new discoveries and put together the pieces of the puzzle in a way no one else has. So, for example, in the 1930s a stone carved astrological zodiac was discovered in the ruins of a temple in Nabatean territory in Arabia. This is archeological proof that they were astrologers and their religion was astral.
Then within the last ten years a new science called archeoastronomy has developed which studies the astral positioning of ancient monuments and temples. The temples of the Nabateans in Arabia were lined up with the stars–also confirming that the Nabateans were expert and enthusiastic stargazers.
Other evidence has arisen which pieces together to make my case: textual evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, evidence from Biblical scholarship about dating of Matthew’s gospel, evidence from historians who are piecing together the Abrahamic roots of Arabian culture, evidence about Herod the great and the politics and power struggles of the time.
Is it possible after two thousand years to uncover truths previously hidden? Of course. It happens all the time. That’s why archeology and history are so fascinating.
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