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Balaam And The Star Of The Magi

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Chapter Summary

In Ulrich Luz's important commentary on the Gospel of Matthew the following sentence can be found: 'Über den Stern ist sehr viel Tinte vergossen worden'. Matthew's infancy stories want to illustrate the significance of Jesus Christ, and they do this by the help of characters, images and ideas taken from what we call 'the Old Testament'. Therefore attempts which try to explain the motive of the star on a level of 'Traditionsgeschichte' or 'Religionsgeschichte' seem to be much more promising. Origen's interpretation of the scene is a witness to the idea that Jesus' birth brings an end to all demonic and magical powers. When the 'magicians' had noticed that their magic powers were fading and looked for the reason of this, they had seen a heavenly sign which they interpreted with the help of Balaam's oracle.

Keywords: Balaam's oracle; Gospel of Matthew; magic powers; Old Testament; Ulrich Luz



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