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New Research Suggests Christmas Story Of Visit By Wise Men Was ‘Historically True’
Breitbart ^ | 12-25-2017 | Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

Posted on 12/25/2017 10:17:56 AM PST by blam

Despite attempts by modern biblical scholarship to debunk the gospel account of three magi visiting the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem, the stories were “historically true” according to extensive research by author Dwight Longenecker. In his new book, Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men, Longenecker, a scholar and Catholic priest, states that an impartial study of the relevant data “shows beyond reasonable doubt” that the Magi of Matthew’s gospel were historical figures.

For many years, Longenecker writes, skeptical scholars have rejected the possibility that the infancy stories about Jesus could be historical for a number of reasons, such as the fact that they contain supernatural elements.

“The first problem with this is that the skeptic simply assumes supernatural experiences are impossible, therefore any story that contains supernatural elements must be a fanciful invention,” he notes.

“In the early twentieth century, Bible scholars began to write off the stories of Jesus’ birth—especially the story of the wise men—as pious fantasies,” he continues. “They did so without considering if the stories might, at least, be rooted in real events.”

Because of this prejudice, most scholars never did the necessary research to “sift out the historical element buried beneath levels of legend,” he says.

Moreover, the idea that there might be a historical basis to the magi story “became an academic no-go zone,” Longenecker says. “When one’s academic reputation might be at stake the motivation to challenge the academic dogma and entertain the possibility of a historical basis to the magi story becomes even more remote.”

As one Biblical scholar noted: “If you want a career in New Testament scholarship that’s somewhere you just don’t go.”

As a result, within the vast realm of Biblical scholarship there is surprisingly little research


(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: astrologers; astrology; bethlehem; christ; christmas; dwightlongenecker; faithandphilosophy; godsgravesglyphs; jesus; mysteryofthemagi; wisemen
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To: fso301
My bet is still with the magi being from the vicinity of Iraq/Persia rather than the Nabataeans living “next door”

Good possibility, like maybe they heard about this during the Babylonian captivity, from the children of Israel.

21 posted on 12/25/2017 11:12:52 AM PST by Mark17 (Genesis chapter 1 verse 1. In the beginning GOD....And the rest, as they say, is HIS-story)
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To: blam
The Breitbart article does little to displace the commonly held misconstructions of Jesus' birth and early years.

Fact: There was no wondrous star reported to be present at the moment of Jesus' birth.

Fact: The Magoi arrived in Jerusalem some two years later, when Joseph, Mary, and little Jesus were living at a house in Bethlehem.

Fact: The men of wisdom were from Anatolia (the word translated "East" is the Greek word ανατολη, a location north of Israel, but east of Greece, an isthmus of Asia where all the wars with Persia were fought), now caled "Turkey."

o Fact: They were of Padan-Aram, the region of Ur of the Chaldee mountains, from which Abraham left his family and migrated to Canaan, to the south.

o Good hypothesis: Doubtless, they knew of the history, prophecies, and traditions of the Hebrews, since Jacob came back from Canaan for at least fourteen years, to get his wives and start his family. It was on the way back to the land given to his fathers, Isaac and Abraham, that he wrestled with a Christophany and was named "Israel" by God.

Take the story from there. Time for me to go to dinner . . .

22 posted on 12/25/2017 11:20:01 AM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: Alberta's Child

It was probably a group of magi 10,20 30, who knows. Wise men, support persons, drivers, food wagons...expedition type group complete with the means to defend themselves. The had seen his star “in the east” which means they came from the WEST to the East to see him!( perhaps from the south west or northwest...since the Mediterranean was due west) and there is nothing that says they didn’t sail partly on ships to get there as well. ( Unless the phrase “ saw his star in the east” meant “while dwelling in the east, the wise men saw the star to the west of them” (Hence, when they were in the east, they saw his star, only west of them?). I wonder how the greek or Aramaic translates the sense of “in the east”.

My sense was some wisemen some place west of Bethlehem looked up one night and saw a strange star to the east of them and due to their readings on cultures and history decided that they needed to investigatw this strange sight.

Being wise men they knew that the heavens moved with the seasons and that only the North star would seem to be fixed, so why was this strange star remaining fixed over Israel? They may have observed it for a number months before deciding that something was very unusual going on an decided to investigate.

That is why Herod had young boys 2 years and under killed because the star may have been apparently visible for 2 years from time it appeared, to the time the wisemen decided to investigate it (as the star was fixed and nonmoving in comparison to the rest of the heavenly bodies). The Bible says that the magi came “to the house where the child was”...not the “manger”. This was an unusual star as the Bible says that as the Magi left Herod to seek the child in Bethlehem, that the Magi rejoiced as the star appeared and “went before them” and “stood over the house where the young child was”. Apparently God loved old gentile wisemen as well as he teasingly wooed them from their westerly location and then doubled down once in Israel with the “star” actually physically moving in a way that they could follow to by then was a house in Bethlehem. The child was probably 2 years old by then!

23 posted on 12/25/2017 11:33:20 AM PST by mdmathis6 (Men and Devils can't out-"alinsksy" God! He knows where "all the bodies are buried!")
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To: Leaning Right

Actually Josephus, Tacitus and Philo of Alexandria mentions him in their writings. None of these writers were Christian. As far as I know, no one has doubted the existence of Pontius Pilate.

24 posted on 12/25/2017 11:53:28 AM PST by Eternal_Bear (AND)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; pax_et_bonum; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...
Thanks blam.

25 posted on 12/25/2017 12:03:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (,,
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To: blam

A number of passages in the gospel of Luke seem to be Mary’s perspective. It mentions shepherds. But if Matthew says there were Magi, there were Magi.

26 posted on 12/25/2017 12:19:33 PM PST by Buttons12
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To: Eternal_Bear

> Actually Josephus, Tacitus and Philo of Alexandria mentions him in their writings. <

Josephus and Tacitus were not adult contemporaries of Pilate. Their writings were based on what other people told them. Only Philo was an adult contemporaries of Pilate. And Philo lived in Egypt, not Judaea. He never saw Pilate. That single source (Philo) was not enough for many scholars.

> no one has doubted the existence of Pontius Pilate <

Many secular historians left his existence as a question mark. Remember, those folks were working hard to deny the truth of the Gospels. There was no hard proof that Pilate existed until the Pilate Stone was discovered in 1961.

27 posted on 12/25/2017 12:24:08 PM PST by Leaning Right
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Keyword: dwightlongenecker
28 posted on 12/25/2017 12:57:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (,,
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To: blam

Seminaries were long ago annexed by the Frankfurt School. So-called Biblical Scholars never go anywhere that will lead to the Truth.

Some of the most heretical and hypocritical “Christians” I have known are seminarians.

It is why I ultimately chose not to pay money to be subverted, even though both laity and clergy sought to recruit me.

I am content with the Word. The only real seminarian among the Apostles was the one born out of time, a conspirator in persecution and murder. The rest of them merely knew Jesus.

I feel more comfortable in the company of fishermen.

29 posted on 12/25/2017 2:17:07 PM PST by YogicCowboy ("I am not entirely on anyonse's side, because no one is entirely on mine." - J. R. R. Tolkien)
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To: Mark17

That is a good hypothesis, otherwise old Herod would have killed the Wisemen as he did with so many. Heartless Herod had no qualms about murdering the innocents.

30 posted on 12/25/2017 2:18:45 PM PST by madison10 (Merry Christmas and hugs to President Trump)
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To: madison10

I suspect ole Herod is “getting his,” As we speak.

31 posted on 12/25/2017 2:35:20 PM PST by Mark17 (Genesis chapter 1 verse 1. In the beginning GOD....And the rest, as they say, is HIS-story)
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To: blam

32 posted on 12/25/2017 2:38:55 PM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: mdmathis6

“saw his star in the east”..

My copy of the KJV has the word east with a capital E - East.

A parsing of “East” reveals that this is indicative of being of Asian origin. The Magi were Astrologers. They studied their charts in the East, where they saw the ‘star’ in their charts.

So, though they traveled West, they had discerned the ‘star’ while they were in the East...

33 posted on 12/25/2017 4:10:42 PM PST by Paisan
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To: mdmathis6

The correct interpretation is “We in the East (Anatolia, to the north of Jerusalem) have seen His (prophesied) “star.” (Meteor? Planetary body or stellar configuration lying on the southern horizon? Totally “miraculous” UFO?)

34 posted on 12/25/2017 6:48:40 PM PST by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: mdmathis6; daniel1212; metmom; boatbums; Mark17; MHGinTN; redleghunter; blam; ...
No, I don't think so, not at all.

I believe this also is not a correct interpretation of the New Testament Greek text upon which your theory is built. The Magoi are from the locality of Padan-Aram in the land called Anatolia to this day (also referred now as Turkistan, or Turkey) because it is to the east of Greece/Macedonia, Alexander's homeland, from the direction against which he defended his empire, and into which he spread it.

Here's the criticism, translating correctly the thrust of the underpinnings:


". . . μαγοιG3097 N-NPM αποG575 PREP ανατολωνG395 N-GPF to this day because it is to the east of Greece/Macedonia,παρεγενοντοG3854 V-2ADI-3P ειςG1519 PREP ιεροσολυμαG2414 N-ASF (Mt. 2:1c TR)


"Learned-ones from Anatolia (anarthrous) appeared/arrived/presented (themselves, active tense, deponent voice, indicative mode, 3rd person plural) in(to) Jerusalem (also anarthrous)."


"ειδομενG3708 V-2AAI-1P γαρG1063 CONJ αυτουG846 P-GSM τονG3588 T-ASM αστεραG792 N-ASM ενG1722 PREP τητG3588 T-DSF ανατοληG395 N-DSF" (Mt. 2:2cTr)


"For (post-positive) we in/locative (from the vantage point of) the (Aramaian land of) Anatolia perceived the Star of (/belonging to) Him." Koine:

"καιG2532 CONJ ιδουG3708 V-2AAM-2S οG3588 T-NSM αστηρG792 N-NSM ονG3739 R-ASM ειδονG3708 V-2AAI-3P ενG1722 PREP τηG3588 T-DSF ανατοληG395 N-DSF προηγενG4254 V-IAI-3S αυτουςG846 P-APM . . . " (Mt. 2:9c TR)

"And behold, the Star went before them, (the one) which they had seen in (from the vantage point of) the (location of) Anatolia (their homeland to the north).

You may not agree with this, but a star which at night is seen to be in the eastern sky will soon before morning be in the west, and will appear in different places throughout the year; whereas one that appears on or only above the horizon in southern skies, will be there in the same general locality night after night, although for part of the year it may disappear due to precession of the earth relative to it throughout the year. While those at the north of the equator will always see Polaris in the same place, as one's location moves to the South Pole, the North star will appear only part of the night until it finally disappears the farther south one moves. That is similar to the fact that the people of USA do not see the Southern Cross constellation: Exploring the Famous Southern Cross Constellation (click here)

From the article:

"According to the writings of Richard Hinckley Allen (1838-1908), an expert in stellar nomenclature, the Southern Cross was last seen on the horizon of Jerusalem around the time that Christ was crucified. But thanks to precession — an oscillating motion of the Earth's axis — the Cross ended up getting shifted out of view well to the south over the ensuing centuries."

I believe the wise astronomer/astrologers (the Aramaic relatives of Abraham of Ur of the Chaldean mountains and their descendants) believed in moon gods and other stellar beings. But if they looked to the Southern Cross when it appeared to them as a true prophecy of the coming of the Savior, from the vantage point of the Chaldees (Mount Ararat, where Noah's Ark landed, was pretty high, for instance), and it seemed to be finally disappearing, would they not trek to more southern latitudes to keep it in sight? And finally, if they had to stay in a line until it led them first to Jerusalem, heard the prophecies of the Old Testament, and realized that they were nearer and nearer to the time predicted in Daniel's prophecies regarding timing. would they not realize when their last sighting of the star was above Joseph's house on a hill of Bethlehem, that they were in the presence of the King of Kings. Would they believe it if dear Mary told them that this was their Savior?

Well, my FRiend, I believe you have just read, for the first time, the TRUE Christmas story of the Magoi and the Star that prophesies that Jesus, Anointed, Savior, and Lord is to die upon another hill nearby, on Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, translated "Calvary."

In fact, the direction of the prophetic Southern Cross Constellation, telling of the instrument where both humans' and the Mighty God's wrath fell upon the innocent Lamb for me, is pointed as far away from The Jehovah God as could be.

Ponder on this, eh?

35 posted on 12/25/2017 10:12:05 PM PST by imardmd1 (er hill nearby, on Golgotha. the place of the Skull, that i.<p>s translated CalvaryFiat Lux)
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To: mdmathis6; daniel1212; metmom; boatbums; Mark17; MHGinTN; redleghunter; blam; ...
ERROR!: Strike

to this day because it is to the east of Greece/Macedonia

from the first Koine text passage. It was simply dumped there by me, somehow, and I missed it while reading the copy.

Please put it somewhere back in the previous paragraph, somewhere appropriate, eh? Thank You!

36 posted on 12/25/2017 10:21:26 PM PST by imardmd1 (er hill nearby, on Golgotha. the place of the Skull, that i.<p>s translated CalvaryFiat Lux)
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To: YogicCowboy

The Outlaw [Larry Norman, from ‘Only Visiting This Planet’]

Some say he was an outlaw that he roamed across the land
With a band of unschooled ruffians and few old fishermen
No one knew just where he came from or exactly what he’d done
But they said it must be something bad that kept him on the run

Some say he was a poet that he’d stand upon the hill
That his voice could calm an angry crowd and make the waves stand still
That he spoke in many parables that few could understand
But the people sat for hours just to listen to this man

Some say he was a sorcerer, a man of mystery
He could walk upon the water, he could make a blind man see
That he conjured wine at weddings and did tricks with fish and bread
That he talked of being born again and raised people from the dead

Some say a politician, who spoke of being free
He was followed by the masses on the shores of Galilee
He spoke out against corruption and he bowed to no decree
And they feared his strength and power so they nailed him to a tree

Some say he was the Son of God, a man above all men
That he came to be a servant and to set us free from sin
And that’s who I believe he is ‘cause that’s what I believe
And I think we should get ready ‘cause it’s time for us to leave

37 posted on 12/25/2017 10:31:01 PM PST by BlueDragon
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To: BlueDragon

Nice poem BD. That is also who I believe He is.

38 posted on 12/26/2017 12:04:35 AM PST by Mark17 (Genesis chapter 1 verse 1. In the beginning GOD....And the rest, as they say, is HIS-story)
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To: BlueDragon; aMorePerfectUnion; ealgeone; metmom
Perhaps you have seen this one too

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).

39 posted on 12/26/2017 12:14:48 AM PST by Mark17 (Genesis chapter 1 verse 1. In the beginning GOD....And the rest, as they say, is HIS-story)
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To: Mark17
Our pastor last night preached on how Jesus is God - come down to earth. The only religion that has that. Not us trying to reach Nirvana - but God reaching down to us - in the nitty-gritting - the earthy - even the literal crap associated with a manger. (I personally think they brought the manger into the house - but it still probably had that barn-yard stink to it).

But in doing so, Jesus confronts and transforms REAL people, REAL thinking, and REAL sins. Which - carrying that to your excerpt - He DOES transform the world - having a huge, miraculous effect on the entire earth.

40 posted on 12/26/2017 12:36:51 AM PST by 21twelve ( FDR's New Deal = obama)
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