Dec. 23, 2010— -- An ancient text called the "Revelation of the Magi," has been rediscovered and tells a very different version of the Three Wise Men's journey to Bethlehem.
"It ends up being the most complex, richest, most strange, the strangest story of the Wise Men to come out of Christian antiquity," said Brent Landau, an expert in ancient Biblical languages and literature. "Until now, it had never been translated into English."
Landau, who teaches in the Religious Studies program at the University of Oklahoma, translated the text from Syriac and published it in his book, "The Revelations of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men's Journey to Bethlehem."
The ancient text's original author is still unknown, although it is written from the point of view of the Magi themselves. Landau tracked it down in the Vatican archives and believes it is about 1,700 years old.
"It's an incredibly grand story," Landau said. "So who the Magi are in this text is, they are descendants of Adam and Eve's third son, Seth. They live in this far eastern land. The text calls the land 'Shir' and from other ancient texts, it seems like the place it had in mind is the land of China."