106: The “Myth” of the Magi—Father Dwight Longenecker (Free version)

106: The “Myth” of the Magi—Father Dwight Longenecker (Free version)


This is an offbeat look at the Nativity Story through the lens of the mysterious Magi from Matthew’s Gospel 2:1-12. Popular imagination, Christian art, movies, and Christmas carols have shaped the way we think about the Magi. Popular blogger and author Father Dwight Longenecker lays out the facts, based on his book Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men.

Most of what you know about the Magi and the scenes of the may be wrong: The Bible doesn’t mention that there were three, doesn’t say they were kings (although they were clearly wise), and they didn’t find Jesus in a manger or cave but in a house. Listen and, as I did, learn.


In this episode you will learn:

  • How reliable Matthew is as an historian
  • Why describing the Magi a function of myth doesn’t not take away from their historicity
  • How the colorful additions (Caspar? Melchior? Balthasar? Camels?) to the biblical story arose
  • The multiple meanings of “the East” for the Jewish people
  • How the arrival and worship of the Magi set the Incarnation onto an international setting
  • How to see the accretions of the Magi part of the story with Santa Claus and the original story of St. Nicholas


Resources recommended in this episode:


Question of the week

In what way am I a lost foreigner trying to find the Lord Jesus in my life?



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