Courtney Roberts’ provocative and well-researched book, The Star of the Magi, takes a critical look at the Bible story in Matthew. Roberts reviews the previous work on this topic and concludes that most writers have sought a literal star, using a rather narrow focus. None were astrologers. Her perspective is much broader and she has added insight from studying a wide array of historical, religious and astrological texts to reach her conclusions.
To put Matthew’s statement about the star in the context of its time and place, Roberts begins by reviewing the history and politics of Judea and especially the Magi and their beliefs. Her overview of Zoroastrianism, Persian astrology, the great conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn and the traditions of messianic prophecy is fascinating. While the author often disagrees with previous writers on the subject, her intent is not to cut down others’ contributions, but rather to correct common misconceptions.
Courtney Roberts’ analysis is illuminating and sensible, and she makes it clear that we in the west have a particular bias and that these events happened a very long time ago. The Star of the Magi is a scholarly work and deserves serious study by anyone interested in the history of astrology, world ages and the Christmas star.