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Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men’s Journey to Bethlehem

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  115 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
“Astonishing, delightful, and theologically sophisticated.” —Marvin Meyer, Griset Professor of Religious Studies, Chapman University

Theologian Brent Landau presents the ancient account of Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, the three “wise men” who journeyed to Bethlehem to greet the birth of Jesus. The Revelation of the Magi offers the first-ever English translation of an an
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ebook, 176 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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(showing 1-30 of 213)
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Kathleen Dixon
A nicely presented book about a recently discovered tale that purported to tell the truth about the wise men (commonly known as the Three Kings of the Orient - at least according to the still popular Christmas carol). Apparently this was well-known for many centuries, but gradually all the apocryphal stories became unused.
Cheri Powell
May 10, 2011 Cheri Powell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sheds new light on many bible stories and is a must-read for anyone who is seeking to know more.
Terry
Nov 11, 2011 Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myth
I was going to give it 4 stars until it haunted my dreams and earned its fifth.

Revelation of the Magi is the second part of an artistic diptych of sorts. It began as the dissertation part of the exercises toward a Th. D. (Doctor of Theology) from Harvard Divinity School. The HarperOne version is an adaptation for a wider audience. The actual translated text of the “Revelation of the Magi” takes up only about one-third of the larger volume. The remaining two-thirds are comprised of Landau’s intro
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Steve Cran
Jan 23, 2012 Steve Cran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When it comes to the stoy of the three magi who travelled to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus not too much is mentioned in the Bible. THis text part of a larger group of working copied by a Syriac monk in Southern Anatolia m,ade it's way to Egypt and then finally there was a copy in the Vatican. Not too much was said about thjis manuscript that was first authored in what is believed to be fthe second century.

The Magic are descended from Seth, Adams third son. They come from the land of Sh
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Al Gritten
Jul 21, 2012 Al Gritten rated it liked it
This is a translation and analysis of an ancient manuscript that is purported to be from the magi who traveled to Bethlehem. The author/interpreter does a good job of introducing and offering insight into text and its possible ramifications for Christians. He then offers the only extant English translation of the text. It is an interesting read and offers food for thought, but of course, the real issue is historical reliability. The author explores both pros and cons of its historicity. Still, e ...more
Justin
Jul 30, 2013 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I find so fascinating from non-canonical books is how much of a cultural impact they can still have on society. From promoting the notion of secret knowledge in the gnostic books to adding to the mythos of Old Testament adventures, these stories illustrate the culture in which the First and New testaments were written while also portraying the struggle, at least in the Nee Testament, the struggle proto-Christianity had in solidifying its identity.

This book adds to that wonderful history. I
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Christina
Apr 27, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating translation of an ancient text purportedly written by the original Magi. And by fascinating, I mean, I couldn’t put it down. So much of this text, translated for the first time into English, rings true to me, including a powerful passage on the mission of Jesus Christ spoken to the Magi by the Father. The only part that felt like it was a later addition (and an odd, disjointed one at that) was the final passages about the visit of the Apostle Thomas to the land of the Magi. ...more
Nick
May 06, 2012 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book to say the least. It's difficult to say to what extent any of the story is applicable to what is captured in the Christmas Story. Without being able to identify who wrote the book, where it may have originated, or even pegging a timeframe for when it was written it is very difficult to determine whether this story was the influencer or the influenced.

Dr. Landau makes mention of the fact that there seems to be some inconsistent Gnostic influences. I found that there are more N
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Victoria Adams
Nov 10, 2012 Victoria Adams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This delightful book was acquired for Christmas one year, because I couldn’t resist. The author received his Th.D. from Harvard University with an emphasis on ancient biblical languages and literature. He knows his stuff.

Whatever your religious inclination, most folks are aware of the Christmas story including the part where the three kings of the east arrive at the manager to pay homage to the new born child. Landau had a lifetime fascination with the story and while studying at Harvard, he rea
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Phillip
Feb 19, 2011 Phillip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Translated from a Syriac manuscript copied in the 5th century by a monk at the Zuqnin monastary in southeastern Turkey, probably from a text originating from the 2nd or 3rd century, this first English rendition of the magi quest to find the newborn messiah offers intriguing details to both the traditional and scriptural versions.

Brent Landau provides a an abundance of scholarly background and deductive thoughts to the reading of the text throughout his introduction, conclusion, and informative f
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Chris McClinch
Jan 02, 2011 Chris McClinch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating document, if likely of limited general interest. It's a translation of a lost tale of the Magi dating from about the fifth century. How interested you are in this book is likely to depend directly on how interested you are in the nature of Christianity back in the days when it was just another obscure mystery cult within the panoply of religions that was the rapidly declining Roman empire. The literary style is mostly nonexistent, as one would expect for an early religious ...more
Fred Kohn
Jan 06, 2015 Fred Kohn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would make a nice short read for the day of Epiphany, and indeed it did! My only beef is that it is way too short for such a fascinating subject. Fortunately the author has written several papers on this subject and gives a link to them towards the back of the book.
Peg
Jan 04, 2015 Peg rated it liked it
Interesting apocraphal story of what might have led the wise men on their journey to Bethlehem. I found the author's reflections on this centuries old text as interesting as the story itself. Always fascinating to speculate on those parts of the stories that the Bible accounts don't tackle.
Badger
Dec 16, 2013 Badger rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To each his own. I found this to be nothing more than a story, a legend put together by someone at some time between the 2nd and 5th centuries to fill in details of an already made up story (the account of the Magi in Matthew). No historical interest whatsoever. But if you like a good legend, then I can see why you might enjoy this one.

If you are looking for any historical connections or "real" explanations for the original of the Magi story in Matthew, then you won't find it here.

The author's i
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Beth
Fasinating! If you've ever wondered about religious texts that are not included in the Bible, this would be a good book to start with. I think it's amazing that the world recognizes the Magi, 3 kings, or wise men as part of the Christmas story when they are scarcely mentioned in the Bible. The fact that this first person account circulated around the 7th century seems to glue together the missing pieces as to why so many cultures embrace them. I also like Landau's introduction and conclusion to ...more
Joshua Gage
A pretty disappointing book. Landau only gives the translation, with no context or history, which leads to a difficult interpretation and understanding of the text.
Parker Douglas
Dec 27, 2013 Parker Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The single translation of a very interesting Syriac text. The translator is a careful scholar who provides very interesting background information. The text itself is fascinating, suggesting forms of early Christianity fostered religious pluralism quite apart from those taught by, say, St. Paul. It's suggestion that Christ appears in different form and in different lands will intrigue many. If you're interested in just how multifaceted early Christianity was, this book will capture your attentio ...more
John Alvord
Semi-scholarly treatment of a late apocryphal writing. Meh.
John
Jan 02, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne
Some thoughts:
Religious pluralism sanctioned by God in the giving of Himself to the world. All religions emanate from Him. God is shown to us in images we can accept.
Magi meaning silence or praying, being the descendants of Seth, prayed with raised arms in silence.
WHAT? Mary didn't ride to Bethlehem on a donkey? There were more than 3 Magi?
Linda Anderson
Jan 14, 2013 Linda Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is of course not divinely inspired and not in the Bible. I was surprised there were more than 3 Wise Men. The book also contained things we have all heard about the wise men that are not in the Bible. It reinforced my beliefs and also corroborated the Bible. I thought it was great!
Mary Egan
Dec 03, 2010 Mary Egan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fresh and fascinating account of the Magi's Christmas journey. I was expecting this to be a challenging read, but the author did a great job of translating this ancient manuscript into modern English, I think. The introduction is quite comprehensive as well.
Peggy
Mar 24, 2011 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I skipped a lot of the first of the preface and skimmed the end of it to get the gist because it seemed to drag on and on. Now that I've read it I may go back and reread the preface.
Kathie
Jun 27, 2013 Kathie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
Not sure weather to believe what the author has to say about this or not.
I agree as to why it was not included in the Holy bible, though.
Becky
Jun 26, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book!! And even cooler that it was written by my cousin, Brent :)
Roberta
Apr 01, 2012 Roberta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was authentic but discovered that it's mostly imaginative.
Lisa
Jan 10, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting but heavy. Will need to reread to absorb more.
Drew Schmidt
Mar 18, 2011 Drew Schmidt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book on a piece of apocrypha.
Kriss
Dec 28, 2010 Kriss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Christmas reading.
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