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The philosophy of the Magi, erroneous though it was, led them to the journey by which they were to find Christ. xiii, 7) think the Magi saw in "his star" a fulfilment of the prophesy of Balaam : "A star shall rise out of Jacob and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel " ( Numbers ).
Magian astrology postulated a heavenly counterpart to complement man's earthly self and make up the complete human personality. But from the parallelism of the prophesy, the "Star" of Balaam is a great prince, not a heavenly body; it is not likely that, in virtue of this Messianic prophesy, the Magi would look forward to a very special star of the firmament as a sign of the Messias.
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(Greek nous ; Latin mens , German Geist , Seele ; French ame esprit ).
Only a miraculous phenomenon could have been the Star of Bethlehem.
it was like the miraculous pillar of fire which stood in the camp by night during Israel's Exodus ( Exodus ), or to the "brightness of God " which shone round about the shepherds ( Luke 2:9 ), or to "the light from heaven " which shone around about the stricken Saul ( Acts 9:3 ).
The purpose of the gold is clear; the Child was poor. It is said that after their return home, the Magi were baptized by St.
Thomas and wrought much for the spread of the Faith in Christ. This author admits that he is drawing upon the apocryphal Book of Seth, and writes much about the Magi that is clearly legendary.
The Magi now followed the star some six miles southward to Bethlehem, "and entering into the house [ eis ten oikian ], they found the child" (v. There is no reason to suppose, with some of the Fathers (St. cc, "In Epiphan.", I, 2), that the Child was still in the stable.The story is traceable to an Arian writer of not earlier than the sixth century, whose work is printed, as "Opus imperfectum in Matthæum" among the writings of St. The cathedral of Cologne contains what are claimed to be the remains of the Magi; these, it is said, were discovered in Persia, brought to Constantinople by St.Helena, transferred to Milan in the fifth century and to Cologne in 1163 (Acta SS., I, 323). All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online.(See THEOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE AVESTA .) The Gospel narrative omits to mention the number of the Magi, and there is no certain tradition in this matter.Some Fathers speak of three Magi; they are very likely influenced by the number of gifts. Early Christian art is no consistent witness : The names of the Magi are as uncertain as is their number. Balthasar, on the eleventh of January (Acta SS., I, 8, 323, 664). Passing over the purely legendary notion that they represented the three families which are decended from Noah, it appears they all came from "the east" ( Matthew 2:1, 2, 9 ). From Persia, whence the Magi are supposed to have come, to Jerusalem was a journey of between 10 miles.
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They probably crossed the Syrian Desert, lying between the Euphrates and Syria, reached either Haleb (Aleppo) or Tudmor (Palmyra), and journeyed on to Damascus and southward, by what is now the great Mecca route ( darb elhaj , "the pilgrim's way"), keeping the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan to their west till they crossed the ford near Jericho. xviii in Epiphan.); and Theodotus of Ancyra (Homil. Once Herod was wroth at the failure of the Magi to return, it was out of all question that the presentation should take place. Jud., II, vii, 3) or tenth (Josephus, Antiq., XVII, xviii, 2) year of office during the consulship of Lepidus and Arruntius (Dion Cassis, lv, 27), i.e., A. 3, 7), not in Jericho, i.e., either the beginning of 4 B. Taking this for the time of the Child's birth, he slew the male children of two years old and under in Bethlehem and its borders (v. Some of the Fathers conclude from this ruthless slaughter that the Magi reached Jerusalem two years after the Nativity (St. The Magi could scarcely have reached Jerusalem till a year or more had elapsed from the time of the apperance of the star. Augustine (De Consensu Evang., II, v, 17) thought the date of the Epiphany, the sixth of January, proved that the Magi reached Bethlehem thriteen days ofter the Nativity, i.e., after the twenty-fifth of December. Neither liturgical date is certainly the historical date.