The Magi of nativity scenes are romanticized as well-dressed wisemen bringing gifts to Jesus. Traditional Chrstians tell of a miraculous star that guided exotic kings from Persia, India, and Africa. Academics dismiss both accounts as no more than a pious legend.
Who is right?
In The Mystery of the Magi, Dwight Longenecker shows that all sides are wrong and the Magi were diplomats from Petra, the capital of the Nabatean kingdom of Arabia. Weaving together the history, politics, and religion of first century Palestine, Longenecker makes his case with archeological evidence, modern technology, ancient texts, and a startling new discovery by a Spanish archeo-astronomer. Longenecker's re-assessment of the Magi tradition overturns established understandings of the New Testament and revolutionizes our reading of the Bible, and the implications demand a fresh examination of the historical roots of Christianity.
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