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Priest debunks myths about Christmas story in book “Mystery of the Magi”

Christians are well-versed in the Christmas story, including the three Wise Men who visited baby Jesus, but what if it's been told wrong all along? Fr. Dwight Longenecker aims to set the record straight with his new book “Mystery of the Magi.”

Author, “Mystery of the Magi”
“It doesn't mean we can't have three kings and camels in our nativity set. It just means that this story will go to the history behind it all and be able to cut through a lot of the legends to find the facts.”

The priest believes there are mainly three of these commonly accepted “legends.” The first two insist there were three Wise Men who were also kings. The third places these kings on a spiritual quest to find the Messiah. 

Fr. Longenecker, whose argument relies heavily on biblical studies of both the New and Old Testaments, also provides evidence from other sources, venturing as far as astronomy. 

Author, “Mystery of the Magi”
“This fits what we know about the history of the time perfectly, so let's look again at the historical accuracy of the New Testament. It also fits hand-in-hand with a lot of other archaeological and textual discoveries that have been made over the last 30 or 40 years increasingly showing the historical reliability of the New Testament.”

In addition to presiding over a parish in the United States, the author also maintains a blog and speaks at conferences. But he hadn't pondered the case of the Magi further until a few years ago, when he was commissioned to write a magazine article on their origin. His findings were so captivating, the idea eventually blossomed into “Mystery of the Magi.”

Although some New Testament scholars may dismiss the Magi as a “fairy tale,” this priest assures his latest work will unveil the truth to everyone else about this so-called “legend.” 

Author, “Mystery of the Magi”
“The book is not an explicitly religious book; it's not a spiritual book; it's a history book. It, therefore, will leave people with a renewed appreciation for the facts which lie behind the infinite narrative of our Lord.”

This Christmas season, Christians may want to think twice before telling the story of the three Wise Men as they always have.