The Revelation of the Magi: The Long Lost Tale of the Wise Men’s Journey to Bethlehem, Brent Landau, HarperOne, 2010
Not long ago, someone in passing brought up an internet article regarding an early Christian text unfamiliar to me. It seems that this text has recently been translated into English for the first time, so I thought I would look into it further.
This probably isn’t the same article that I was given, but the various articles I have seen on the internet seem to have drawn from one source, probably publicity by the publishers. This particular one titled the article “Ancient rediscovered text ‘Revelation of the Magi’ calls Christ a ‘star-child’”.
Since this is brand new and kind of fits into the theme of the posts from December, I thought I would try to bring this text into the picture.
This wonderful piece of early Christian fiction is purported to be eyewitness testimony written by the Magi of their experience with the Christ child. I have purchased and am currently reading the book, written by Brent Landau, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. I will spend some time in January looking at both the text and the book.
In the meantime, have a look at what the publisher says about the manuscript, which appears to have originated in the 3rd or 4th century CE, and then I will close with a brief quote from the Landau’s English translation of the manuscript.
Ripped from: Harper Collins
Each Christmas, adults and children alike delight at the story of the kings from the East who followed the star to Bethlehem to offer gifts to the newborn Christ. While this familiar tale is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, another little-known version later emerged that claimed to be the eyewitness account of the wise men. This ancient manuscript has lain hidden for centuries in the vaults of the Vatican Library, but through the determined persistence of a young scholar, Brent Landau, this astonishing discovery has been translated into English for the very first time as the Revelation of the Magi.
Everything we know about the wise men is based on only a few verses from the Bible. With the Revelation of the Magi, we can now read the story from the Magi’s perspective. Readers will learn of the Magi’s prophecies of God’s incarnation from the beginning of time, their startling visitation in the form of a star, the teachings they receive from the baby Jesus, and the wise men’s joyous return to their homeland to spread the good news.
This ancient version of the Christmas story is guaranteed to astonish and delight. It will also raise larger questions of the significance and meaning of Christ’s birth, and the mission to spread the good news to every corner of the globe. All the drama and intrigue of the brief description of Jesus’s birth in the Bible is filled out in greater, more colorful detail, offering for the first time the complete story of these beloved characters.
This Christian text describes the Magi as being descendants of Adam’s son, Seth, who had been waiting for generations for the one who would provide salvation for mankind. According to the text, the star, which shined brighter than the sun, came to rest over a cave and then transformed into the Christ child, hence the reference to the “Star-Child”, who then began to teach them. Consider this brief excerpt a belated Christmas present.
“And the glorious infant and the ancient light perfecting the will of the Father of majesty opened his mouth, and he said to us with a love of abundant and sweet mercy: “Peace to you, sons of my hidden mysteries, sons of the East, of the heavenly light, because you have been found worthy to see the ancient everlasting light, you and also your fathers. And as you were worthy, behold, you have received him in perfect love without doubt. And again, you will be worthy to see him in his great light before which there will no longer be any mysteries, because they all are fulfilled in him.”
Rediscovered Ancient Text tells a Different Three Wise Men Tale by CBS News (with video)