The story of the Three Wise Men has been told and retold since antiquity - but who were they? An intriguing ancient text, discovered in the Vatican archives by Brent Landau, suggests that they were ... Chinese!
"It's an incredibly grand story," Landau said. "So who the Magi are in this text is, they are descendants of Adam and Eve's third son, Seth. They live in this far eastern land. The text calls the land 'Shir' and from other ancient texts, it seems like the place it had in mind is the land of China."
And that's not the only surprise in the ancient text:
Landau said the rediscovered text described the Magi as practicing religious rituals, waiting for the Star of Bethlehem to appear. When the star finally did, they embarked on their journey to the City of David.
But the version of the Wise Men's story in this text is strikingly different than the traditional one in the Bible, told in 12 verses in the Gospel of Matthew.
In the "Revelation of the Magi," Landau said, the Star of Bethlehem not only led the Wise Men, but actually became the Christ child.
"The cave is filled with light," Landau said, describing the transcribed text. "They're kind of hesitant about this, but eventually the star...its light concentrates and reveals the small luminous human being...a star child, if you will...it's Christ."
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