Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came Magi from the east to Jerusalem saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him. NEW LIGHT ON AN ANCIENT MYSTERY The Star of Bethlehem is still one of the most popular and puzzling mysteries of the Bible. Its inclusion, at the very beginning of the very first Gospel, raises so many awkward questions for orthodox Christianity that one has to wonder how it ever made the canonical cut in the first place. So why would the authors (and editors) of the Christian Gospels choose Zoroastrian Magi and astrology to herald the coming of Jesus Christ? Did the Magi have some special significance then that we have since lost? After all, the New Testament narrative opens with them. So who were the Magi, and did their astrological beliefs really lead them to Jesus? Now, for the first time, in The Star of the Magi, an author with a solid background in the history of astrology in ancient religion examines the Star. The result is a breathtaking blend of history, religious studies, astronomy, and astrology that tells the whole story as it has never been told before. The Magi had definite expectations of a coming world savior who would be born of a virgin, all mysteriously encoded and foretold in Magian astrology. These ancient Persian beliefs had tremendous bearing on the development of Jewish messianic expectations - they inspired early Christians and their Jewish and Persian neighbors, and gave them hope in their desperate battles against the Romans. Astronomy alone cannot unlock the secrets of the Star. There are simply too many phenomena to choose from - even astronomers concede that that we must now look to astrology for better answers.