The Coming of the Star-Child: The Reception of the Revelation of the Magi in New Age Religious Thought and Ufology

In: Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies
Author: Brent Landau1
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  • 1 University of Texas at Austin

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The Revelation of the Magi is the longest and most complex ancient Christian apocryphal writing devoted to the Magi. In this paper, after discussing the basic issues surrounding the interpretation of this text, I explore the popular reception of the text after my publication of it in 2010. This popular reception has been dominated by New Age and ufological (that is, the theorizing of unidentified flying objects) interpretative perspectives. Rather than viewing these interpretations as anachronistic, the paper argues that they may have far more in common with the circumstances that gave rise to the Revelation of the Magi than might initially be supposed. Ultimately, the Revelation of the Magi can be profitably characterized as a “gnostic” text—despite its lack of a demiurge—because of its strongly countercultural religious outlook, an outlook it shares with much New Age religious thought.

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  • 5

    DeConick 2016.

  • 8

    See Landau 2010. Apart from my dissertation and book, see Landau 2016 for a summary of the Revelation of the Magi’s narrative and an overview of the main scholarly issues concerning it.

  • 9

    See Reinink 1975.

  • 12

    See Witakowski 1987, 124–136.

  • 13

    See Witakowski, 2008, 813.

  • 14

    See Landau 2016.

  • 15

    See Roig Lanzillotta 2015.

  • 17

    See Jacobus de Voragine, 1995.

  • 18

    See Brock 2006, who observed this independently of my own research.

  • 23

    DeConick 2013, 56. See also her discussion in DeConick 2012.

  • 24

    Personal correspondence, December 15, 2015.

  • 28

    Henry 2011, loc. 277.

  • 29

    Henry 2011, loc. 312.

  • 30

    Landau 2010, 97.

  • 31

    Roberts 2013, 4.

  • 33

    Personal correspondence, November 30, 2015. See Fox 2008 for similar narratives about encounters with “lightforms.”

  • 34

    Personal correspondence, December 17, 2015.

  • 36

    Vallee 1969. See also his cataloguing of unexplained aerial phenomena from the period before human flight in Vallee and Aubeck 2010.

  • 37

    See the arguments presented in Vallee 1990.

  • 39

    See Fox 2008.

  • 40

    See Escolar 2012.

  • 41

    DeConick 2016, discussing Roszak’s understanding of the “counter culture.”

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