magi

The ‘Wise Men’ from the East (Matt. 2:1–18), probably astrologers. They are portrayed as Gentiles, ignorant of the OT (Matt. 2:2–6), and presumably three in number (2:11). Later tradition supposed, on the basis of Isa. 60:3, that they were kings, and even accorded them the names Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The story contains impossible features—a moving star (could the magi have only travelled by night?) which stopped over exactly the right location (2:9), though in spite of this celestial guide the magi were obliged to ask directions from Herod (2:8–9). It is better to regard the story as midrash rather than history and Matthew's way of showing Christ's universal kingship (Gentiles acknowledge it) and of the submission of magical arts and superstition to the Lord—the point made by Luke in his account of the destruction of magical texts at Ephesus after listening to Paul (Acts 19:19).

Dictionary of the Bible.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Magi — Ma gi, n. pl. [L., pl. of Magus, Gr. ?; of Per. origin. Cf. {Mage}, {Magic}.] A caste of priests, philosophers, and magicians, among the ancient Persians; hence, any holy men or sages of the East. [1913 Webster] The inspired Magi from the Orient… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • magi — (n.) c.1200, skilled magicians, astrologers, from L. magi, plural of magus magician, learned magician, from Gk. magos, a word used for the Persian learned and priestly class as portrayed in the Bible (said by ancient historians to have been… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Magi — as in the three Magi, is pronounced may jiy. It is the plural of magus (may gǝs), which denotes a member of a priestly caste in ancient Persia …   Modern English usage

  • Magi — [mā′jī΄] pl.n. sing. Magus [mā′gəs] [L, pl. of magus < Gr magos < OPers magus (or Iran magu ), member of a priestly caste, magician < IE base * magh , to be able > MIGHT2, L machina] 1. members of a priestly caste of ancient Media and …   English World dictionary

  • Magi — Magian /may jee euhn/, adj. /may juy/, n. pl., sing. Magus / geuhs/ 1. (sometimes l.c.) the wise men, generally assumed to be three in number, who paid homage to the infant Jesus. Matt. 2:1 12. Cf. Balthazar (def. 1), Caspar (def. 1) …   Universalium

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