In Christian tradition, the Magi (pronounced:ˈmæ:dʒaɪ; Greek: μάγοι, magoi), also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men, (Three) Kings, or Kings from the East, are a group of distinguished foreigners who are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity and in celebrations of Christmas.
The Gospel of Matthew, the only one of the four Gospels to mention the Magi, states that they came "from the east" to worship the Christ, "born King of the Jews". Although the account does not tell how many they were, the three gifts led to a widespread assumption that they were three as well. Their identification as kings in later Christian writings is linked to Old Testament prophesies such as that in Isaiah 60:3, which describe the Messiah being worshipped by kings. This interpretation was challenged by the Protestant Reformation.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'" Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offerred him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path.
They are mentioned twice shortly thereafter, in reference to their avoidance of Herod after seeing Jesus, and what Herod had learned from their earlier meeting.
The Magi are popularly referred to as wise men and kings. The word Magi is a Latinization of the plural of the Greek word magos (μαγος pl. μαγοι), itself from Old Persian maguŝ from the Avestan magâunô, i.e. the religious caste into which Zoroaster was born, (see Yasna 33.7:' ýâ sruyê parê magâunô ' = ' so I can be heard beyond Magi '). The term refers to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic Translated in the King James Version as wise men, the same translation is applied to the wise men led by Daniel of earlier Hebrew Scriptures ( ). The same word is given as sorcerer and sorcery when describing "Elymas the sorcerer" in , and Simon Magus, considered a heretic by the early Church, in .
Traditions identify a variety of different names for the Magi. In the Western Christian church they have been commonly known as
- Caspar or Gaspar (and several other Greek or Latin variants such as Gathaspa, Jaspar, Jaspas, etc.).
- Melchior (Melichior, Melchyor)
- Balthasar (Bithisarea, Balthassar).
These names apparently derive from a Greek manuscript probably composed in Alexandria around 500 CE, and which has been translated into Latin with the title Excerpta Latina Barbari. Another Greek document from the 8th century, of presumed Irish origin and translated into Latin with the title Collectanea et Flores, continues the tradition of three kings and their names and gives additional details.
Caspar is also sometimes given as Gaspar or Jaspar. One candidate for the origin of the name Caspar appears in the Acts of Thomas as Gondophares (21 CE – c47 CE), i.e., Gudapharasa (from which 'Caspar' might derive as corruption of 'Gaspar'). This Gondophares declared independence from the Arsacids to become the first Indo-Parthian king and who was allegedly visited by Thomas the Apostle. Christian legend may have chosen Gondofarr simply because he was an eastern king living in the right time period.
In contrast, the Syrian Christians name the Magi Larvandad, Gushnasaph, and Hormisdas. These names have a far greater likelihood of being originally Persian, though that does not, of course, guarantee their authenticity.
In the Eastern churches, Ethiopian Christianity, for instance, has Hor, Karsudan, and Basanater, while the Armenians have Kagpha, Badadakharida and Badadilma. Many Chinese Christians believe that one of the magi came from China. This final idea is used by Christopher Moore in his novel Lamb.
Origin and journey
The phrase from the east is the only information Matthew provides about the region from which they came. Traditionally the view developed that they were Babylonian or Arabs or Jews from Yemen as the Makrebs or kings of Yemen then were Jews, a view held for example by John Chrysostom. The majority belief was they were from Babylon, which was the centre of Zurvanism, and hence astrology, at the time; and may have retained knowledge from the time of their Jewish leadership by Daniel. Raymond Brown comments that the author of Matthew probably did not have a specific location in mind and the phrase from the east is for literary effect and added exoticism.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi found Jesus by following a star, which thus traditionally became known as the Star of Bethlehem. Various theories have been presented as to the nature of this star.
On finding him, they gave him three symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Warned in a dream that Judean king Herod intended to kill the child, they decided to return home by a different route. This prompted Herod to resort to killing all the young children in Bethlehem, an act called the Massacre of the Innocents, in an attempt to eliminate a rival heir to his throne. Jesus and his family had, however, escaped to Egypt beforehand. After these events they passed into obscurity. The story of the nativity in Matthew glorifies Jesus, likens him to Moses, and shows his life as fulfilling prophecy. Some critics consider this nativity story to be an invention of the author of Matthew.
After the visit the Magi leave the narrative by returning another way so as to avoid Herod, and do not reappear. Gregory the Great waxed lyrical on this theme, commenting that having come to know Jesus we are forbidden to return by the way we came. There are many traditional stories about what happened to the Magi after this, with one having them baptised by Saint Thomas on his way to India. Another has their remains found by Saint Helena and brought to Constantinople, and eventually making their way to Germany and the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral.
A model for the homage of the Magi might have been provided, it has been suggested, by the journey to Rome of King Tiridates I of Armenia, with his magi, to pay homage to the Emperor Nero, which took place in 66 CE, a few years before the date assigned to the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.
In recent tradition the Magi have been portrayed as three kings, or noble men, of different origin. One from Western Europe (usually Celtic-like from the British Isles or France), another of African origin (usually Ethiopian), the last from Asia either from the Arabian Peninsula (e.g. Yemen or Oman) or the Far East (usually China). The European is often portrayed with the gold as the other two gifts were native to Africa and Asia so the myrrh and frankincense vary between "king".
The Magi are described as "falling down", "kneeling" or "bowing" in the worship of Jesus. This gesture, together with the use of kneeling in Luke's birth narrative, had an important effect on Christian religious practices. They were indicative of great respect, and typically used when venerating a king. Inspired by these verses, kneeling and prostration were adopted in the early Church. While prostration is now rarely practiced in the West, it is still relatively common in the Eastern Churches, especially during Lent. Kneeling has remained an important element of Christian worship to this day.
Three gifts are explicitly identified in Matthew: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Many different theories of the meaning and symbolism of the gifts have been brought forward. While gold is fairly obviously explained, frankincense, and particularly myrrh, are much more obscure.
The theories generally break down into two groups:
- All three gifts are ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. Myrrh being commonly used as an anointing oil, frankincense as a perfume, and gold as a valuable.
- The three gifts had a spiritual meaning : gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of priestship, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.
Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations until the 15th century. The "holy oil" traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as "receiving the Myrrh".
The Syrian King Seleucus II is recorded to have offered gold, frankincense and myrrh to Apollo in his temple at Miletus in 243 BCE, and this may have been the precedent for the mention of these three gifts in the Gospel of Matthew (2:11). It was these three gifts, it is thought, which were the chief cause for the number of the Magi becoming fixed eventually at three.
This episode can be linked toand to which report gifts being given by kings, and this has played a central role in the perception of the Magi as kings, rather than as astronomer-priests. In a hymn of the late 4th-century Hispanic poet Prudentius, the three gifts have already gained their medieval interpretation as prophetic emblems of Jesus' identity, familiar in the carol "We Three Kings of Orinet Are" by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., 1857.
John Chrysostom suggested that the gifts were fit to be given not just to a king but to God, and contrasted them with the Jews' traditional offerings of sheep and calves, and accordingly Chrysostom asserts that the Magi worshiped Jesus as God.
What subsequently happened to these gifts is never mentioned in the scripture, but several traditions have developed. One story has the gold being stolen by the two thieves who were later crucified alongside Jesus. Another tale has it being entrusted to and then misappropriated by Judas.
In the Monastery of St. Paul of Mount Athos there is a 15th-century golden case containing purportedly the Gift of the Magi. It was donated to the monastery in the 15th century by Mara Branković, daughter of the King of Serbia Đurađ Branković, wife to the Ottoman Sultan Murat II and godmother to Mehmet II the Conqueror (of Constantinople). Apparently they were part of the relics of the Holy Palace of Constantinople and it is claimed they were displayed there since the 4th century CE. After the Athens earthquake of September 9, 1999 they were temporarily displayed in Athens in order to strengthen faith and raise money for earthquake victims.
Marco Polo claimed that he was shown the three tombs of the Magi at Saveh south of Tehran in the 1270s:
In Persia is the city of Saba, from which the Three Magi set out and in this city they are buried, in three very large and beautiful monuments, side by side. And above them there is a square building, beautifully kept. The bodies are still entire, with hair and beard remaining.
A Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral, according to tradition, contains the bones of the Three Wise Men. Reputedly they were first discovered by Saint Helena on her famous pilgrimage to Palestine and the Holy Lands. She took the remains to the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; they were later moved to Milan (some sources say by the city's bishop, Eustorgius I), before being sent to their current resting place by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I in 1164 CE. The Milanese celebrate their part in the tradition by holding a medieval costume parade every 6 January.
A version of the detailed elaboration familiar to us is laid out by the 14th century cleric John of Hildesheim's Historia Trium Regum ("History of the Three Kings"). In accounting for the presence in Cologne of their mummified relics, he begins with the journey of Helena, mother of Constantine I to Jerusalem, where she recovered the True Cross and other relics:
Queen Helen… began to think greatly of the bodies of these three kings, and she arrayed herself, and accompanied by many attendants, went into the Land of Ind… after she had found the bodies of Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar, Queen Helen put them into one chest and ornamented it with great riches, and she brought them into Constantinople... and laid them in a church that is called Saint Sophia.
The identification of the Magi as kings is linked to Old Testament prophesies that have the Messiah being worshipped by kings in Isaiah 60:3, Psalm 72:10, and Psalm 68:29. Early readers reinterpreted Matthew in light of these prophecies and elevated the Magi to kings. By 500 CE all commentators adopted the prevalent tradition that the three were kings, and this continued until the Protestant Reformation.
Though the Qur'an omits Matthew's episode of the Magi, it was well known in Arabia. The Muslim encyclopaedist al-Tabari, writing in the 9th century, gives the familiar symbolism of the gifts of the Magi. Al-Tabari gave his source for the information to be the later 7th century writer Wahb ibn Munabbih.
Some religious traditions take a critical view of the Magi. Jehovah's Witnesses do not see the arrival of the Magi as something to be celebrated, but instead stress the Biblical condemnation of sorcery and astrology in such texts as Deuteronomy 18:10–11, Leviticus 19:26, and Isaiah 47:13–14. They also point to the fact that the star seen by the Magi led them first to a hostile enemy of Jesus, and only then to the child's location — the argument being that if this was an event from God, it makes no sense for them to be led to a ruler with intentions to kill the child before taking them to Jesus.
- Holidays celebrating the arrival of the Magi traditionally recognise a distinction between the date of their arrival and the date of Jesus' birth. The account given in the Gospel of Matthew does not state that they were present on the night of the birth; Joseph and Mary remain in Bethlehem until it is time for Jesus to be circumcised, in Jerusalem, and then return to their home in Nazareth.
- Western Christianity celebrates the Magi on the day of Epiphany, January 6, the day immediately following the Twelve Days of Christmas, particularly in the Spanish-speaking parts of the world. In these Spanish-speaking areas, the three kings (Spanish; los Reyes Magos de Oriente, also Los Tres Reyes Magos and Los Reyes Magos) receive wish letters from children and magically bring them gifts on the night before Epiphany. In Spain, each one of the Magi is supposed to represent one different continent, Europe (Melchior), Asia (Caspar) and Africa (Balthasar). According to the tradition, the Magi come from the Orient on their camels to visit the houses of all the children; much like Santa Claus with his reindeer, they visit everyone in one night. In some areas, children prepare a drink for each of the Magi, it is also traditional to prepare food and drink for the camels, because this is the only night of the year when they eat.
- Almost every Spanish city or town organizes cabalgatas in the evening, in which the kings and their servants parade and throw sweets to the children (and parents) in attendance. The cavalcade of the three kings in Alcoy claims to be the oldest in the world, having started in 1886. There is also a "Roscón" as explained below.
- A tradition in most of Central Europe involves writing the initials of the three kings' names above the main door of the home to confer blessings on the occupants for the New Year. For example, 20 + C + M + B + 08. The initials may also represent "Christus mansionem benedicat" (Christ bless this house). In Catholic parts of Germany and in Austria, this is done by so-called Sternsinger (star singers), children, dressed up as the Magi, carrying the star and singing Christmas carols. In exchange for writing the initials, they collect money for charity projects in the third world.
Roscón de Reyes
- In France and Belgium, the holiday is celebrated with a special tradition: within a family, a cake is shared, which contains a small figure of baby Jesus, known as the broad bean. Whoever gets the "bean" is "crowned" king for the remainder of the holiday and wears a cardboard crown purchased with the cake. The practice is known as tirer les Rois: drawing the Kings. A queen is sometimes also chosen.
- This tradition also exists in Spain and Portugal, where it is called Bolo-rei), but with one small variant; the cake, in this case actually a ring-shaped pastry or Roscón de Reyes, is most commonly bought, not baked, and it contains a small figurine of a baby Jesus (or another present depending on the region) and a dry broad bean. The one who gets the figurine is crowned, but whoever gets the bean has to pay the value of the cake to the person who originally bought it. This is eaten on January 6.
- In Mexico they have the same ring-shaped cake Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bagel or Thread), it contains figurines of the baby Jesus. The figurine of the baby Jesus is typically hidden inside the cake. Whoever gets a figurine is supposed to take the figurine to the local church and buy tamales for the Candelaria feast on February the second, which is the feast of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
- In New Orleans, Louisiana, parts of south Texas, and surrounding regions, a similar ring-shaped cake known as a "King Cake" traditionally becomes available in bakeries from Epiphany through Mardi Gras. The baby Jesus is represented by a small, plastic doll inserted into the cake from underneath, and the person who gets the slice with the figurine is expected to buy or bake the next King Cake. There is wide variation among the types of pastry that can be called a King Cake, but most feature baked cinnamon-flavored twisted dough, thin frosting, with additional sugar on top in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of gold, green, and purple. To prevent accidental injury or choking, the plastic doll is frequently not hidden in the cake at the bakery, but instead included in the packaging for optional use. Mardi Gras-style beads and doubloons may be included as well.
Adoration of the Magi in art
The Magi most frequently appear in European art in the Adoration of the Magi; less often The Journey of the Magi has been a popular topos, and other scenes such as the Magi before Herod and the Dream of the Magi also appear in the Middle Ages. In Byzantine art they are depicted as Persians, wearing trousers and phrygian caps. Crown appear from the 10th century. Medieval artists also allegorised the theme to represent the three ages of man. Beginning in the 12th century, and very often by the 15th, the Kings also represent the three parts of the known (pre-Columbian) world in Western art, especially in Northern Europe. Balthasar is thus represented as a young African or Moor and Caspar may be depicted with distinctive Oriental features.
An early Anglo-Saxon picture survives on the Franks Casket, probably a non-Christian king's hoard-box (early 7th century, whalebone carving); or rather the hoard-box survived Christian attacks on non-Christian art and sculpture because of that picture. In its composition it follows the oriental style, which renders a courtly scene, with the Virgin and Christ facing the spectator, while the Magi devoutly approach from the (left) side. Even amongst non-Christians who had heard of the Christian story of the Magi, the motif was quite popular, since the Magi had endured a long journey and were generous. Instead of an angel, the picture places a swan, interpretable as the hero's fylgja (a protecting spirit, and shapeshifter).
Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein depicted a more controversial tableau in his painting, Epiphany I: Adoration of the Magi (1996). Intended to represent the "many connections between the Third Reich and the Christian churches in Austria and Germany", Nazi officers in uniform stand around an Aryan woman, a Madonna. The Christ toddler who stands on Mary's lap resembles Adolf Hitler.
More generally they appear in popular Nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations that have their origins in the Neapolitan variety of the Italian presepio or Nativity crèche.
Representation in other art forms
In the film Donovan's Reef, a Christmas play is held in French Polynesia. However, instead of the traditional correspondence of Magi to continents, the version for Polynesian Catholics features the king of Polynesia, the king of America, and the king of China.
Further sentimental narrative detail was added in the novel and movie Ben-Hur, where Balthasar appears as an old man, who goes back to Palestine to see the former child Jesus become an adult.
In Michael Ende's children books Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver and Jim Button and the Wild 13, one of the Three Kings plays a major role in one of the main character's background.
The Biblical Magi were the subject of the 1980 novel Gaspard, Melchior and Balthasar by the French author Michel Tournier.
The names of the Biblical Magi are used in characters related to ancient and almost-lost knowledge in the videogames Chrono Trigger and Xenogears.
The Magi are the subject of Norah Lofts' novel How Far To Bethlehem? (1965)
References and notes
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers. 2003. p. 1066. ISBN 0-8054-2836-4.
- Geza Vermes, The Nativity: History and Legend, London, Penguin, 2006, p22
- Also Psalm 72:10, and Psalm 68:29.
- Mary Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism: The Early Period (Brill, 1989, 2nd ed.), vol. 1, pp. 10–11 online; Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: their religious beliefs and practices (Routledge, 2001, 2nd ed.), p. 48 online; Linda Murray, The Oxford companion to Christian art and architecture (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 293; Stephen Mitchell, A history of the later Roman Empire, AD 284-641: the transformation of the ancient world (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), p. 387 online.
- Excerpta Latina Barbari, page 51B: "At that time in the reign of Augustus, on 1st January the Magi brought him gifts and worshipped him. The names of the Magi were Bithisarea, Melichior and Gathaspa.".
- Hugo Kehrer (1908), Die Heiligen Drei Könige in Literatur und Kunst (reprinted in 1976). Volume I, page 66. Online version. Quote from the Latin chronicle: primus fuisse dicitur Melchior, senex et canus, barba prolixa et capillis, tunica hyacinthina, sagoque mileno, et calceamentis hyacinthino et albo mixto opere, pro mitrario variae compositionis indutus: aurum obtulit regi Domino. ("the first [magus], named Melchior, was an old white-haired man, with a full beard and hair, [...]: the king gave gold to our Lord.") Secundum, nomine Caspar, juvenis imberbis, rubicundus, mylenica tunica, sago rubeo, calceamentis hyacinthinis vestitus: thure quasi Deo oblatione digna, Deum honorabat. ("The second, with name Caspar, a beardless boy, [... gave incense].") Tertius, fuscus, integre barbatus, Balthasar nomine, habens tunicam rubeam, albo vario, calceamentis inimicis amicus: per myrrham filium hominis moriturum professus est. ("The third one, dark-haired, with a full beard, named Balthasar, [... gave myrhh].") Omnia autem vestimenta eorum Syriaca sunt. ("The clothes of all [three] were Syrian-style.")
- Collectanea et Flores in Patrologia Latina. XCIV, page 541(D) Online version
- Hugo Kehrer (1908), Volume I, page 70 Online version Kehrer's commentary: "Die Form Jaspar stammt aus Frankreich. Sie findet sich im niederrheinisch-kölnischen Dialekt und im Englischen. Note: O. Baist page 455; J.P.Migne; Dictionnaire des apocryphes, Paris 1856, vol I, p. 1023. ... So in La Vie de St. Gilles; Li Roumans de Berte: Melcior, Jaspar, Baltazar; Rymbybel des Jakob von Märlant: Balthasar, Melchyor, Jaspas; ein altenglisches Gedicht des dreizehnten oder vierzehnten Jahrhunderts (13th century!!) Note: C.Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, Paderborn 1875, p.95; ... La Vie des trois Roys Jaspar Melchior et Balthasar, Paris 1498"-->]
- Acta Sanctorum, May, I, 1780.
- Concerning The Magi And Their Names.
- Hattaway, Paul; Brother Yun; Yongze, Peter Xu; and Wang, Enoch. Back to Jerusalem. (Authentic Publishing, 2003). retrieved May 2007
- Eliza Marian Butler, "The Myth of the Magus By Eliza Marian Butler". Cambridge University, 1993. 281 pages. Page 20. ISBN 0521437776
- J. Duncan M. Derrett, "Further light on the narratives of the Nativity". Novum Testamentum 17.2 (April 1975), pp. 81-108: "Jean Danielou's conclusion that the Magi were an invention of Matthew"
- A. Dietrich, „“Die Weisen aus dem Morgenlande“, Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, Bd.III, 1902, S.1-14; cited in J. Duchesne-Guillemin, “Die Drei Weisen aus dem Morgenlande und die Anbetung der Zeit”, Antaios, Vol.VII, 1965, p. 234-252, p.245; cited in Mary Boyce and Frantz Genet, A History of Zoroastrianism, Leiden, Brill, 1991, p. 453, n.449.
- Page, Sophie,"Magic In Medieval Manuscripts". University of Toronto Press, 2004. 64 pages. ISBN 0802037976Page 18.
- Gustav-Adolf Schoener and Shane Denson [Translator], "Astrology: Between Religion and the Empirical".
- "Frankincense: festive pharmacognosy". Pharmaceutical journal. Vol 271, 2003. pharmj.com.
- August Friedrich von Pauly et al., Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Vol.XVI, 1, Stuttgart, 1933, col.1145; Leonardo Olschki, “The Wise Men of the East in Oriental Traditions”, Semitic and Oriental Studies, University of California Publications in Semitic Philology, Vol.11, 1951, pp.375-395, p.380, n.46; cited in Mary Boyce and Frantz Genet, A History of Zoroastrianism, Leiden, Brill, 1991, p.450, n.438.
- Lambert, John Chisholm, in James Hastings (ed.) "A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels". Page 100.
- Polo, Marco, The Book of the Million, book i.
- Sant' Eustorgio I di Milano
- We, three kings of Orient were.
- "Christmas Customs -- Are They Christian?". Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 2000-12-15. http://www.watchtower.org/e/20001215/article_01.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- "Jesus' Birth The Real Story". Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 1998-12-15. http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/2000/12/15/article_01.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- À mesa com o tradicional Bolo-rei - Uma instituição nacional Matosinhos Hoje, 6 January 2010.
- Franks Casket.
- Baker, Kenneth (9 August 2004). "Dark and detached, the art of Gottfried Helnwein demands a response.". San Francisco Chronicle (accessed with EBSCOHost).
- Denver Art Museum, Radar, Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan, Gwen F. Chanzit, 2006 
- Dudley-Smith, Timothy (1984). Lift Every Heart: Collected hymns 1961-1983 and some early poems. Collins. ISBN 0-00-599797-6.
- General references
- Albright, W. F. and C. S. Mann. "Matthew." The Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.
- Alfred Becker: “Franks Casket. Zu den Bildern und Inschriften des Runenkästchens von Auzon (Regensburg, 1973) pp. 125–142, Ikonographie der Magierbilder, Inschriften.
- Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. London: G. Chapman, 1977.
- Clarke, Howard W. The Gospel of Matthew and its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel. Bloomington.
- Chrysostom, John "Homilies on Matthew: Homily VI". circa fourth century.
- France, R. T. The Gospel According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985.
- Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982.
- Benecke, P. V. M.. "Magi". in James Hastings. III. pp. 203–206. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hastings/dictv3/Page_203.html.
- Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981
- Lambert, John Chisholm, A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. Page 97 - 101.
- Levine, Amy-Jill. "Matthew." Women's Bible Commentary. Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe, eds. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.
- Molnar, Michael R., The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi. Rutgers University Press, 1999. 187 pages. ISBN 0813527015
- Powell, Mark Allan. "The Magi as Wise Men: Re-examining a Basic Supposition." New Testament Studies. Vol. 46, 2000.
- Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975.
- Watson, Richard, A Biblical and Theological Dictionary Page 608 - 611.
- Mark Rose, "The Three Kings & the Star": the Cologne reliquary and the BBC popular documentary
- Alfred Becker, Franks Casket
- Caroline Stone, "We Three Kings of Orient Were"
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Magi
- "Procession of the Three Kings in Valencia"
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