When I was researching my book Mystery of the Magi – The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men I discovered the extraordinary amount of legendary and mythical material surrounding the magi story.

More than any other gospel story, the tale of the wise men who came to pay homage to the Christ child attracted elaboration and legendary and mythical accretions. From the early second century the Protoevangelium of James began to add levels of detail to the story, but from there the storytelling went into the stratosphere.

An apocryphal writing from the third century is  The Legend of Aphroditianus. This fairy tale begins with the account of a miracle in the temple of a pagan goddess in Persia at the time of Christ’s birth. According to the myth, the statues in the temple dance and sing and announce that the goddess Hera has been made pregnant by Zeus.

Praise the Lord

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