The identity of the magi from the east has become a very popular, very misunderstood, and therefore very mythical component of the story of the star.

All of the original ancient manuscripts all read “magi”, and not “wise men.”

Because the identify of the magi has become such a popular misunderstanding, depictions of their visit has fueled a lot of the modern skepticism about the entire story of the star. The skepticism could be because of the obvious religious imagery of three mythical – perhaps wise men – perhaps kings, somehow following an abnormally bright star over some great distance and then witnessing the star as it stops and hovers like a spotlight over the exact location of the nativity.

The story of the star often grinds to a halt when we try to reconcile with the popular myth of the magi. But just like Herod the Great, the magi were real people too.