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Star of Bethlehem/Adoration of the Magi from “Ben Hur”

Video from LaCanadaPC

In this excellent scene from the movie Ben Hur (1959 ) we see a cinematic depiction of the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi. A book worth reading is "The Revelation of the Magi" (Rev. Magi) by Brent Landau is a pseudepigraphical early Christian writing purporting to be the personal testimony of the Magi (the “Wise Men” or the “Three Kings”) on the events surrounding the coming of Christ. Rev. Magi is a lengthy text of about 6,500 words written in Syriac. According to Rev. Magi manuscript, the Magi are an ancient order of mystics from a land called “Shir,” located at the extreme eastern edge of the inhabited world. They are descendants of Adam’s son "Seth", who received a prophecy from his father Adam about the coming of a star that would signify the birth of God in human form. This prophecy is written down by Seth in the world’s first book, and is transmitted through the generations by his offspring, the Magi.

The Rev. Magi is found in a single eighth-century manuscript housed (and rediscovered) in the Vatican Library. The manuscript also contains a world encompassing chronicle known as the Chronicle of Zuqnin (the monastery in southeastern Turkey where it was made). In its recounting of the history of the world from Creation to the late eighth century, Chron. Zuq. includes a number of previously separate documents, such as a legend about Alexander the Great, the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, and Rev. Magi.

Is this really a manuscript written by the Magi of the Bible? Little is known about them so this find was of course very exciting.

“Sadly, I don’t think this is actually written by the historical wise men,” said Landau in an interview with National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm. “In terms of who wrote it, we have no idea. But the description of the magi and [their religious practices] is so remarkably detailed and I’ve often wondered whether it’s reflecting some actual community out there that practiced and kind of envisioned themselves in the role of the magi.”

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