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The Test of the Magi

The Test of the Magi

A Novel

By Johannes Bergmann

254 pp

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About the Book

From Medieval miniatures to Renaissance paintings to modern Christmas cards, few Western images are as evocative and enigmatic as the Three Wise Men at the Nativity. After twenty years of research and travel by the author, this new novel explores why and how these mysterious figures braved such dangers and survived such fearsome challenges that they have endured in our minds and culture for two thousand years.  The Test of the Magi reveals the timeless emotional bond between student and teacher, as the Three Wise Men discover a new-born star, survive court intrigue, and then mount an expedition to the Holy Land amid desert bandits in the bitter Cold War between Persia and the Roman Empire. Nothing prepares them for arrest in Jerusalem, their startling discoveries in Bethlehem, or unexpected danger after their return home. Melchior fights for his life, while his niece struggles against bias. King Balthazar dreams of regaining his lost kingdom. And the youngest magus, Caspar, is drawn deeper and deeper into unexpected mystery.


“Johannes Bergmann’s The Test of the Magi is a great exemplar of what careful research can yield when applied to familiar scriptural passages. In this case it is the journey of mysterious men from the East, alerted by a new star in the skies, to pay homage to the infant Christ. Told from the point of view of Caspar, student of the eminent Persian astronomer Melchior, this dramatic exegesis of the Epiphany story grips the reader from start to finish.”


co-editor of Second Spring and director of the Centre for Faith & Culture

“A beautifully evocative rendering of the legend of the The Three Wise Men, with haunting echoes of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem on their epochal journey adding to its rich store of wonder.”


co-author of the “Legacy of the Stone Harp” series

“Starting with just a few threads of ancient scriptures, Johannes Bergmann weaves an intricate tapestry of religion, discovery, and adventure. Armed with his vast knowledge and sweeping vision of the history of the eastern Roman Empire, the author reveals the Three Wise Men in the context of their turbulent times. The reader joins the caravan of characters in The Test of the Magiand arrives at the end of this journey rewarded beyond measure.”


author of The Distance Between and This Road Will Take Us Closer to the Moon

“Johannes Bergmann re-imagines the delightful story of the Magi that makes up a key part of St. Matthew’s ‘infancy narrative’ in a way that could be told only by a man who has lived immersed in the great cultures of the West, the Middle East, and Africa. Anyone who is on a spiritual journey is taking the Magi’s test, and should read this stunning story which spans vast distances of territory, mind, and spirit.”


Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative; professor of history emeritus, Hillsdale College

About the Author

Johannes Bergmann is a writer, poet, and artist—and sometime adviser to senior government officials and royalty in Europe, South Asia, and Africa. He makes his home in the forests of the Low Countries and the lesser Himalayas.

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