The Lost Tale of the Wise Men's Journey to Bethlehem
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The English Translation of the
“Revelation of the Magi” 26
1:1About the revelation of the Magi, and about their coming to Jerusalem, and about the gifts that they brought to Christ.28 1:2An account of the revelations and the visions, which the kings,29 [sons of kings, 30] of the great East31 spoke,32 who were called Magi in the language of that land because in silence, without a sound, they glorified and they prayed.33 1:3And in silence and in the mind they glorified and prayed to the exalted and holy majesty of the Lord of life,34 to the holy and glorious Father, who is hidden by the great brightness of himself and is more lofty and holy than all reasoning. 1:4And the language of human beings is not able to speak about him as he is, except as he has wished, and when he has wished, and by means of whom he wishes. 1:5And neither his heavenly worlds nor the lower ones are able to speak about his majesty, except as it is fitting for the will of his majesty to reveal to the worlds so that they are able to partake from the gift35 of his majesty, because (his majesty) is great and they are not able to speak of it.
2. THE MAGI – THEIR NAMES AND LINEAGE
2:1And so, there were those wise men,36 who were called Magi in the language of the land because in silence, without a sound, they praised the God of all, that one who, by his word and will, has come to be all that is, all that exists and arises, and all that is going to be. 2:2And there is nothing that exists outside of his will,37 and furthermore, there is no one who will stand against the will of the Father of all. 2:3The names of the wise men and kings were called as follows:38 Zaharwandad son of Artaban; Hôrmizd son of Sanatruq; Austazp son of Gudaphar;39 Arsak son of Mihruq; Zarwand son of Wadwad; Arîhô son of Kosrau; Artahsisat son of Hawîlat; Astanbôzan son of Sîsrawan; Mihruq son of Humam; Ahsiras son of Sahban; Nasardîh son of Baladan; Merôdak son of Bîl. 2:4 These are kings, sons of Eastern kings, in the land of Shir,40 which is the outer part of the entire East of the world inhabited by human beings, at the Ocean,41 the great sea beyond the world, east42 of the land of Nod,43 that place in which dwelt Adam, head and chief of all the families of the world. 2:5And these sons of kings received commandments, laws, and even books from their fathers. 2:6And generation from generation, one by one, they received (them,) from the time of Seth, the son of our father Adam, because Adam revealed (them) to his son Seth when he had him.44 2:7And Adam taught Seth about his prior greatness, before he transgressed against the commandment, and about his expulsion from Paradise.45
From the book REVELATION OF THE MAGI: The Lost Tale of the WiseMen's Journey to Bethlehem by Brent Landau. Copyright © 2010 by Brent Christopher Landau. Reprinted by permission of HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
The Magi, or Three Wise Men, are the most well-known visitors to the baby Jesus in the story of Christmas. Yet for their enduring fame and connection to the holiday, only one short, rather vague passage in the Gospel of Matthew tells of the Magi. It does not explain how the Magi came to know that the Star of Bethlehem—which appeared and reappeared in the sky throughout their long journey—revealed the birth of Jesus. How then did the Magi become such an integral part of the Christmas story? The answer lies in the Revelation of the Magi, an ancient Syriac manuscript that languished in the Vatican Library for centuries. This volume presents the first-ever complete English translation of the work.
The manuscript “is an outstanding example of how much influence writings outside of the Bible can have on our conceptions of biblical texts, people, and events,” explains Brent Landau, an expert in ancient biblical languages and literature. Versions of the story were well known in Christian Europe throughout the Middle Ages. The Magi—Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar—were three kings from the East who followed the Star of Bethlehem to the manger where Mary had just given birth to Jesus. There, the trio presented the newborn with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, thus beginning a tradition that has linked them forever with the rite of holiday gift giving.
Narrated by the Magi in the first person, the sweeping, imaginative work purports to be the personal testimony of the Magi themselves on the events of Christ’s coming. The Magi write of the prophecy of God’s incarnation, and the startling visitation in the form of a star that led them on their long and treacherous journey to Bethlehem. They recount their skeptical reception by Mary, the teachings they receive from the baby Jesus, and their joyous return to their homeland to spread the good news in the East. A complex ritual and religious system for the Magi, who hail from the mysterious land of Shir and embody the ideal of "pre-Christian" religious belief, is also laid out.
The work takes an unusual stance on the world’s religions. It was common for early Christians to view non-Christian religions as products of human vanity or demonic inspiration. However, the text adopts a more tolerant view of differing religions, viewing potentially all revelation as coming from Christ himself. “Because the star-child never reveals himself to the Magi as Christ, the Revelation of the Magi apparently believes that having an experience of Christ’s presence is much more important than being a Christian,” Landau contends. Accessible to English readers for the first time, this work sheds new light on the origins of the Magi.
Hardcover Book : 176 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers ( November 01, 2010 )
Item #: 13-196341
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.44inches
Product Weight: 11.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
A very interesting book about a little know and long forgotten non-canonical account of the Wise Men who visited the Christ. Landau does a fine job in explaining the origins of the account; his translation is easy to read. And it is a fascinating read. My only problem with the book is that Landau uses end-notes to explain in detail various parts of the text. It would have been easier on the reader had they been foot-notes.