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-Archbishop of Canterbury says 3 Wise Men are a ‘legend’

by Dr. D ~ December 21st, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams believes that the traditional depictions of the Nativity along with the Three Wise Men are largely ‘legend’:

“Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t tell us there were three of them, doesn’t tell us they were kings, doesn’t tell us where they came from. It says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that’s all we’re really told.”

The Archbishop goes on to say that the Star that led the Magi to Bethlehem was also improbable since “stars don’t behave like that.”

Response: The Archbishop is correct about the Magi. We don’t really know how many there were. The Gospel merely mentions that they gave three gifts. I have posted about this on my Bible Q & A site.

However, Dr. Williams is wrong to discount the star. It is obvious from the Biblical record that they came to Jerusalem because they saw an actual star or convergence heralding an important birth. However, the ‘star’ which lead them from Jerusalem to the house where the child was living had to be some kind of supernatural guiding light that reminded them of the original star which they had seen.

Also, it is doubtful that the first Christmas Eve happened in December. Shepherds and sheep are never ‘abiding in the fields’ during the cold winter months and the Romans normally would collect their taxes during times of good weather following the harvest. The Gospels do not actually tell us what time of the year that Jesus was actually born. However, the evidence seems to point to early Fall as a good possibility.            *Top

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