Original Research

The magi: Gentiles or Jews?

David C. Sim
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 55, No 4 | a1660 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v55i4.1660 | © 1999 David C. Sim | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 1999 | Published: 13 December 1999

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David C. Sim, School of Theology, Australian Catholic University, Australia

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Abstract

From the second century onwards the Chrisian tradition has almost without exception accepted that the magi in Matthew's infancy narrative were Gentiles, and this view also completely dominates modern Matthean studies. Yet this idenification of the magi as Gentiles is built upon a number of unconvincing arguments, which fail to stand up to closer scrutiny. A re-assessment of the evidence reveals that the evangelist did not sipulate the racial origins of the magi. They may have been Gentiles, but it is equally plausible that they were Jews.

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