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Waghmar, Burzine (2010) Matthew's Midrashic Magi. In: Zoroastrianism in the Levant: Twenty-Eighth Conference, ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, 5-7 July, 2010, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford. (Unpublished)

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No feature of Zoroastrianism in the Levant is of greater signification than the passing albeit contrived inclusion of the Magi in the Infancy Gospels. It is proposed here that their incorporation was deliberate and exceptional. For although the Iranian magoi were exaggerated or vilified in Greek and Judaic writings, they are exceptionally treated on two counts, namely, the prophecy of Balaam and gospel of Matthew, whose evangelist was adept with the midrashic method. The magi were artfully drawn into Matthew—essentially a reworking of Mark but for the infancy narrative—wherein the universalist kingship of Christ was elaborated and vindicated by their insertion. Diverse and contrary evidence from Patristics, the Synoptic narratives, Jewish and Classical sources do, however, permit one to sketch a suggestive outline. The astral apparition linked with the magi’s sojourn must be discussed in light of not just premonitory portents of a saviour as in the Sefer ha-Yashar but also royal symbolism associated with the birth, accession and travels of two half-Iranian sovereigns, Tiridates I and Mithradates VI.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Administration and Professional Services > Library and Information Services
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2011 14:59

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