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In Search of the Birth of Jesus
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In Search of the Birth of Jesus

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The author recounts his adventurous search through Israel and Iran, and through the Christian gospels and other writings of the time, for the truth about the visit of the Magi, an event shrouded in mystery and controversy. Reprint. K. NYT.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Riverhead Trade (first published October 31st 1995)
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I read this some years ago and was rather dazzled by the entertaining approach to Biblical archeology but on re-reading I was a bit less impressed; the foul-mouthed, conniving, superstitious Iranian guides who conduct our protagonist-journalist around are a bit too much like stock characters from some 19th century imperialist comedy, and the writer's rather casual dismissal of academics who've spent their whole career on subjects like Zoroastrianism is a bit arrogant. But presuming you don't min ...more
Good for some laughs, and would probably have been an excellent travelogue if he had left out the attempting to trace the birth of Christ bit. Several chapters in, I'm still unsure how to take this book as a work that purports to be non-fiction. In the introduction, Roberts professes his profound distrust of academics but then he wants us to choke down some wild speculation he dreamed up himself because he spent a year reading at a library and he personally visited some of the sites he thinks pr ...more
Agnostic journalist gets a bible for christmas. Wonders about the account of the Magi, because they seem to have come from Persia. Since he had reported extensively on that region, he became interested in the question of whether there was any historical proof for the magi.

Also, he had read the Travels of Marco Polo, in which Polo gives an account of coming across three mumified kings who legend held had been zoroaster priests who visited a divine child.

He decides to travel to remote and restrict
This is a fascinating book visiting sites the author believes the Magi must have visited on route to see the Baby Jesus. The sites are fabulously important connectors of ancient beliefs in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Judea. Zoroaster is the basic belief linking Judaism, Christianity and Islam and was the faith of the Magi. Roberts shows that Jesus actually taught something quite different from Pauline Roman Christianity, which he believes is a dogmatic state religion for political control. The Essenes ...more
Margot Peter
I loved this book. It can be a bit too arcane at times, but well worth sticking with it, if for nothing other than the marvelous, humorous people descriptions Dr. Roberts adds to lighten the load. The connections to Zoroastrianism were new to me - equally as valid as any other theories imho.
I can't really comment on the accuracy of Roberts' scholarship as to The Holy Arrival, but it made a pretty funny travel narrative.
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