When did the magi (wise men) who visited Jesus start to be called kings instead?

I'm asking this question for the second time because I only got one very useless and grammatically challenged answer for it last night. I've tried my hand at some research and have thus far found nothing.

It seems somewhere in history someone got mixed up and changed the magi (wise men) in the Christmas story into kings. This is evident in modern tradition, where the magi are depicted as three men with kingly garments and crowns, or songs such as "We Three Kings". But the Bible makes no mention of that they were kings, it calls them magi (that is, wise men, astrologers, the first century Mesopotamian version of scientists and scholars). When and how did this error come into being?

Note: Yes, I am well aware that the number of magi that visited Jesus may have been something other than three. There may have been two, three, four, ten, or fourty-two for all we know. There were three gifts, but the Bible never mentions the number of magi. So please don't lecture me about it, thanks!

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I would venture to say that it is because people who studied the Bible (back in the day) knew that the magi were very important men. They were members of the Zoroastrian priestly caste of the Medes and Persians. Priests were very important men in Biblical times and put on a pedestal almost as high as the king. Perhaps Biblical scholars of old thought that these men could have been kings. I know that them being kings is just one theory. I am not sure, however, when the actual date they started calling them kings was. We Three Kings was written by Rev. John Henry Hopkins in 1857 so we know that at this point they were already calling the magi kings, I would assume that he did not come up with this by himself. It is a mystery to me where this un-Scripturally-correct term came from.

  • 1 decade ago

    Hey, this is something i've wondered about before and never found a real solid answer- but I've come to my own personal conclusion that the "royal" status of the Magi is a mix between children's understanding and/or interpretation, and the fact that perhaps the Magi were "kings" of their wisdoms. Like Teachers held in extremley high regard...

    Hope this helps :)

  • ravelo
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    there are various adjustments between what the scriptures incredibly say and what's classic and folklore. we don't know precisely how many "wisemen" there have been. It grew to become into assumed 3 by using 3 presents that have been given to Jesus. The babylonian historic writings contained a number of the Jewish prophecies with regard to the recent celebrity performing on the start of the Jewish Messiah. those men have been probably astrologers from that area, yet we don't know that the two. The Catholic traditions have an incredible style of extra-biblical innovations, alongside with the stainless concept, the concept that Mary grew to become right into a perpetual virgin and had not extra toddlers, and the concept of Mary. Many different extrabiblical innovations got here out of the previous traditions from a time whilst no one yet clergymen ought to envision or had get admission to to the scriptures. those previous traditions bolstered the religion of many non secular human beings, and perplexed others and delivered approximately, at last, the Reformation.

  • 1 decade ago

    ok well i heard (and im not sure this is fact) that sense the "3" magi gave gifts of such wealth, and they were wise, that its believed that they were kings

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because the Bible is fictional so anyone can add onto it at any moment.

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