Saturday, 6 January 2018


#epiphany #magi #persians #iranians

Matthew 2:1

"behold magi from the east

There is a tradition of translating magi as "Wise men" however the word used in Greek is MAGI and hence a reference to priests from what is now Iran although Iran was then Parthia and covered a far wider area. So this Mosaic from Ravenna is possibly a fairly accurate depiction

Much as people love the Three Kings from the East legend or the variant of them being multi-ethnic which seemed to have started in the Middle Ages further on in Matthew it states they returned to their own country "eis teen khooran autoon" which suggests one point of origin ?

However given only Matthew mentions this visit and his witnesses were locals remembering events that happened 30 to 40 years or longer earlier its not impossible that someone misunderstood what the strangers said about where they came from though Matthew does make a point of mentioning they also visited Herod's court and were seen by the public in Jerusalem inquiring about recent births.

Anatoloon means the direction of  the sunrise so the magi could have included a group of people from various Eastern nations, Arabia, Iran, Mesopotamia, even India, whose paths converged on the way to Jerusalem.

Matthew does say MAGI not wise men so Magi from somewhere in the Parthian Empire!