Home > D. Religion: Received and Interpreted, EE. The Bible & the Z Revolution, I. Books > Revelation of the Magi–A Rediscovered Gospel

Revelation of the Magi–A Rediscovered Gospel



Small libraries can contain important books; RT has found this to be the case on more than one occasion, and several times with the library he currently frequents, the Berkeley County Public Library. RT is pretty sure that he will continue to post on this remarkable public resource, but in the meanwhile he is focusing on yet another worthwhile book he has stumbled across in the stacks: The Revelation of the Magi by Brent Landau.

Reasons why this particular volume is important:

1) It contains the first English translation of a single surviving manuscript that claims to report the entire story of the Magi–going as far back as the Garden of Eden.

2) The story contained in TRM varies significantly from the accounts in the Gospels; for instance, it claims that the Magi came from the extreme east of the world (China?)

3) The story does parallel accounts in obscure apocrypha (e.g., the Opus Imperfectum in Mattheum).

4) The story dates to late in the second or early in the third century and is written in Syriac.

5) The manuscript is virtually intact, having been preserved in the Vatican Library.

RT has suspected for some time that the Nativity story has a long and complex tradition, both oral and written. The Revelation confirms the existence of such a tradition, its diversity, and its importance to understanding the life of Jesus. The fact that in TRM the Magi travel the entire length of the Silk Road suggests the extent of the early Christian presence in Asia. The story, at least to RT’s eye, also reflects early Gnostic influences, yet at the same time accepts the Creator God as glorious; in fact, the story offers a remarkably broad and inclusive vision of the role of Jesus in the history of the world. Above all, the Revelation forces readers to face a very difficult question: what was the origin of the Magi and their pilgrimage? What was the response in Persia and cultures farther east to the struggle between Judaism and Rome–and to the appearance of Jesus and his followers? The answers to these questions may well lead to a more balanced understanding of the emergence of the Gospels and Jesus’ life.    RT


PaintingPolyptych with scenes of the life of Mary (ca. 1490-1499); oil on panel. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


  1. June 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to do this research!!!

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