New Testament

What were the names of the Wise Men?


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The Wise Men

  • The Bible doesn't mention any names for the Magi (wise men). In fact, it doesn't even say how many of them there were. It says they brought three gifts, and that is why many people assume that they were three of them. In addition, Jesus wasn't a baby any more by the time the Magi visited them because it took them a long time to travel. He was probably a toddler at the time. The Book of Matthew simply states that "wise men from the East came to Jeruselem" Evidence in the Book of Matthew indicates that the men, following "His star" arrived in Jerusalem after Jesus' birth; when the wise men showed up they saw a "young child" when they entered "the house", not the stable.
  • The "Three Kings" reading comes from two elements: the number of gifts given, and a passage from Psalms 72, which describes three kings (of Tarshish, Sheba, and Seba) offering gifts and giving praise to God.
  • There are a variety of names traditionally used, but in the Western church they are usually named as Caspar or Gaspar ... a derivative of current day Jasper , Melchior, and Balthasar. These names were found in some early historical documents and have been broadly accepted.
  • They have collectively been called The Magi, The Three Kings, or Kings from the East. (Although the Bible does not say they were kings.) It is also understood that they offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
  • The wise men were a sect called magi, extremely accurate as early astrologers. they traveled in groups of 30 to 50 and they have been mistakenly thought to be only 3 because of the 3 gifts.
  • Nobody knows. The Gospel just says Wise men (magi), but long tradition has made them three; one Semitic, one European, one African; one young, one middle-aged, one old; by name Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Caspar is old and semitic, Melchior is middle-aged and European, Balthasar is young and African.
  • The western church had the names Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar and coming from Syria.

    The eastern Church had the names Hor, Karsudan, and Basanater.

    Another tradition uses the names Kagpha, Badadakharida and Badadilma.

    Some Chinese Christians think the Chinese sage and astrologer Liu Shang may have been one of them.

    All of these traditions have arguments for and against them being true. It is really uncertain for sure who they were or if they were even three of them. The bible doesn't say the names or how many there were.

  • In the West the names of the Wise Men have been settled on since the 8th century as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. These were from an early 6th century Greek manuscript in Alexandria.

    The Latin text Collectanea et Flores continues the tradition of three kings and their names and gives additional details. This text is said to be from the 8th century, of Irish origin. Caspar is also sometimes given as Gaspar or Jasper.

    Syrian Christians name the Magi- Larvandad, Gushnasaph, and Hormisdas.

    In the Eastern churches, the Wise Men are named- Hor, Karsudan, and Basanater.

    The Armenians list the names of the Wise men as Kagpha, Badadakharida and Badadilma.

  • Scripture doesn't name the Magi nor does it give the number of them. Many believe that the three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh somehow coincides with the number of wise men but Scripture never says this.
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John Shelby Spong (A Bishop Rethinks the Birth of Jesus) says that among people he knows in New Testament circles, the universal assumption is that the magi, or wise men, were not actual people. They therefore did not have names.