Rediscovered Ancient Text Tells a Different Three Wise Men Tale


Gibson acknowledged that the landscape described in the Gospel of Matthew is similar to what one sees in modern Israel, but it would be "impossible" to prove that the famed Wise Men actually traveled to Bethlehem.

"But there is a tradition there that's linked into a certain reality," he said.

Gibson added that the elements of the familiar Nativity scene made sense based on the historical and archeological data of the time.

"If you were arriving in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago and someone said, 'We're going to give you the stable to sleep in,' this is not being rude, they're actually being nice," Gibson said. "It's the warmest room in the house...very different than the story of Sunday school approach."

Biblical Scholar: 'The Wise Men Represent Blessing'

The rediscovered text won't change the treasured Biblical story of the Journey of the Magi. But their destination to the Holy Land continues to inspire awe and wonderment for the Christian pilgrims who travel to Bethlehem every year to trace their path.

According to Israeli government tourism figures, 1.4 million people have visited the sacred ground of Bethlehem so far this year. Millions more have been coming for centuries. In ancient times, travelers from the East would cross miles of desert for months to reach Bethlehem, as the Wise Men did in the Gospel of Matthew.

"[The Wise Men] represent blessing, maybe unexpected blessing," said Paul Wright, Biblical scholar and president of Jerusalem University College.

"There is something here," he added. "Coming from the east, into this land of Canaan, of Israel, that brings people home, to the place they're supposed to be. Somehow they were coming to a place where they belonged."

ABC News' Lauren Effron contributed to this report.

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