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Mystery of the Magi  By  cover art

Mystery of the Magi

By: Dwight Longenecker
Narrated by: Stephen McLaughlin
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Publisher's Summary

The Magi of nativity scenes are romanticized as well-dressed wisemen bringing gifts to Jesus. Traditional Chrstians tell of a miraculous star that guided exotic kings from Persia, India, and Africa. Academics dismiss both accounts as no more than a pious legend.

Who is right?

In The Mystery of the Magi, Dwight Longenecker shows that all sides are wrong and the Magi were diplomats from Petra, the capital of the Nabatean kingdom of Arabia. Weaving together the history, politics, and religion of first century Palestine, Longenecker makes his case with archeological evidence, modern technology, ancient texts, and a startling new discovery by a Spanish archeo-astronomer. Longenecker's re-assessment of the Magi tradition overturns established understandings of the New Testament and revolutionizes our reading of the Bible, and the implications demand a fresh examination of the historical roots of Christianity.

©2017 Dwight Longenecker (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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A Fascinating Deep Dive into the Story of the Magi

This is a thoughtful exploration of the Bible's tradition of the Magi who visited the young child Jesus. Longenecker begins by deconstructing the common story of the "We Three Kings" from the Christmas carol and offers instead a thesis that locates the Magi in a neighboring kingdom. His evidence is by no means definitive, but he makes a compelling circumstantial case. I read the book as part of my Advent preparation and reflection and my only complaint is that the book lacked a profound "a ha" at the end. I left with some fantastic cultural context and a viable historical proposal, but it didn't rock my world. With all that said, I enjoyed the book thoroughly.

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Longenecker hits it out of the park!

The author takes you on a journey in the style of a detective proving his case. The details and information he pieces together, based on a story that hold a few verses in the Bible, is astounding. The narrator has a cadence that takes a minute to get used to. But before the first chapter is over, you’re thankful for his narration.

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Mystery and History

A great read! Very interesting ancient middle eastern history lesson and some fascinating exploration of possible explanation for the Magi and the star. Narrator was good, but mispronounced words and names that are commonly known.

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Remarkable

I enjoyed the depth of this book. From time to time I choose books I expect to represent an opposing philosophy in order to flesh out my own ideas or understand others better. Last few years I have listened to a few books and lectures on Christianity- finding I prefer Catholic historians and thinkers. I thought a book about believing in the Magi an amusing distraction from the my other struggles with faith. I was curious what a priest would write about the Magi and was willing to be amused by it. I had no idea such a rich history existed. I am impressed and interested to hear more about early Church history. Lack of reality on the civilization the New Testament was forged in seems to be be the exact void I suffer from. I learned a great deal. I am amazed at how much I loved this book. I completely agree with the author on his summation on why a book on the Magi matters. Tky for the time you took to write it. Enjoy your blog as well.

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Makes so much sense!

I loved it and will recommend it to anyone! Well done, Father Longenecker! Well done!

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5 stars!

As I have been digging into the Christmas story more deeply, I looked into the theology, history, and theories of the magi, the star, and King Herod. This books presents some intelligent questions, unique angles, and well thought out points along with a blend of Christian perspectives and historical facts that make for an interesting read. I really loved it.

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very plausible historical explanation of the Magi

main theme of Magi as historical Nabateans highly plausible, though some of the side points seem a little odd.

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  • Teresa Lo
  • 01-09-21

Well researched

Packed full of facts, historical and biblical. The author has gone to great pains to give evidence for the historicity of the Magi and also, to point out later additions that are not in the Bible, but familiar at Christmas. I also like the fact that Dwight is very explicit when his writing is more speculative and this element represents the smaller part of the book. The writing is important as, so Dwight explains, when people doubt that the Magi were real people, they start doubting the rest of the Gospels too.