The Mystery of the Magi

The Mystery of the Magi


(1 customer review)

Digging into the archeology, culture, history and Biblical background of the ancient world at the time of Christ’s birth, Fr Longenecker has put together an astounding case for the historical roots of the story of the three wise men.




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

Go here to read a full review of Mystery of the Magi by Roger Thomas.

1 review for The Mystery of the Magi

  1. Jeffrey Dundon (verified owner)

    I finished this book over the last couple of days. I found Father Longenecker’s theory very interesting and compellingly argued. The theory that the three wise men were Nabateans is supported by several arguments and is backed by copious footnotes and has a large bibliography as well.

    My only suggestion is that future editions of the book contain a map of the areas discussed to make it easier for readers to understand the geography that is part of the argument.

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