Word of the Week: Magi Journey of the Three Kings

Word of the Week: Magi Journey of the Three Kings ...
bozemandailychronicle.com 23/12/2016 History

Keywords:#American, #Bozemandailychronicle.com, #Christ, #Christmas, #French, #Greek, #Journey_of_the_Three_Kings, #Leopold_Kupelwieser, #Magi, #Persian

By Chrysti the Wordsmith, Local Columnist
Journey of the Three Kings by Leopold Kupelwieser, 1825

* * * The magi, or the “three wise men” are an important tradition in the story of the nativity of Christ. The American minister John Henry Hopkins immortalized the magi in his 1857 Christmas carol “We Three Kings,” the traditional story, in song, of the magi’s star-led journey from the Orient to Bethlehem.
The identity of the magi and their homeland has been a matter of debate among biblical scholars for centuries. A theory favored by many is that the “wise men” were not kings, as the song writer Hopkins proposed, but educated Persian astrologer-priests. A new light in the heavens inspired the astrologers to seek its earthly significance. According to the New Testament account, their search led them to Bethlehem, where they met the Christ child, whose birth the star heralded.
The plural noun magi (the singular is magus) has its origins in a Persian word meaning “sorcerer.” From Persian, the word passed to Greek, to Latin, to French, and finally in the 1500s, to English.
The word magi is significant to modern English because from it came the noun and adjective magic, a sense that developed out of the perceived supernatural aspects of the sorcerer’s or astrologer’s art.
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