For my last sermon in the Jesus and His World Series, I preached about the magi yesterday and spoke about Jesus and his relationship to magic. Please give it a listen and also check out the following resources to go further.
Again, William A. Simmons book Peoples of the New Testament World helped me better understand the main topic, in particular the chapter “Charlatans, Exorcists, and Magicians—The Challenge of Syncretism.” His writing style is so clear and he includes so much good information.
Also, I echoed Greg Lanier’s point that we need to be careful about letting popular imagination influence too much our understanding of what happened. He goes into greater detail than I did in “We Three Kings of Orient Aren’t”. Great article.
Finally, I briefly mentioned that the star may be a comet. Though I didn’t get into this aspect of it, and I’m not an astronomer, even an amateur one, I find Colin Nicholl’s case compelling (astronomers do too) enough to believe what he says, and a really interesting read overall.