Please post your comments and suggestions for this article.

Comment by Charles Cosper on March 11th, 2009 at 8:02 am

There are a few errors in the article on the Magi. Consider the section beginning “The traditional names of the Magi in the West are Caspar (or Gaspar)…etc.” Actually, it is the other way around. Had the top of the mosaic picture of the wise men at the Basillica at Ravenna, Italy NOT been cropped would see that the name is clearly “Gaspar”..and not “Caspar” since both the letters “G” and “C” appear in the wording. This mosaic and inscription date back to the 6th. century. Moreover, your own reference of the Catholic Encyclopedia states that the name was “Gaspar” and not “Jaspar” stated in the article.

Later, you state that “…Caspar is sometimes given as Gaspar, a variant of the Persian Jaspar (sic)-“The Master of the Treasure” from which the name of the mineral jasper is derived. You should know that the letter “J” did not enter the English language until the 17th.century. The name “Jasper” does indeed appear in the King James Old and New Testament but refers to “a polished stone”. And that word is derived from the ancient Chaldean word “yashpe”…which just happens to be close to the modern Persian (Farsi) word for the gemstone…NOT “treasurer”.

Curiously, the name “Jasper” (a gemstone) is mentioned in the Bible but Caspar or Gaspar are not. Where then did we get the idea that “Gaspar” or “Caspar” means “Treasurer”? Consider the following: in the OT Book of Ezra (1:8) we see the word “treasurer”. In Strongs Concordance you can see that “treasurer” comes from the Chaldaic/Hebrew word “GIZBAR”…which, by the way, in Modern Hebrew, still means “treasurer”. But then, if you compare the same word in the Septuagint, you see that the word has been translated into the Greek as “GASBARNOU”. Then by the 6th. century, you see the word “GASPAR”…in Ravenna, Italy used as the name of one of the Magi. The name “CASPAR” could easily have been a misreading or mispronunciation of “GASPAR”. As you know, the name “Kaspar” is pronounced the same as “Caspar”…but since the Italian alphabet did not contain the letter “K” we can assume that the word “Caspar” came first.

The Catholics have long maintained that “CASPAR” is a Persian)word meaning “Master of the Treasure”. The problem with that is neither “Caspar” nor “Gaspar” are Persian words..neither in ancient nor modern Persian (Farsi), let alone meaning “Master of the Treasurer”. There is, however, a Farsi word pronounced “YASHB”… which refers NOT to “treasurer” but the “gemstone” we call jasper.

The name “Jasper”, would therefore, would seem to have no relevance to your article on the Magi.

Comment by Jim Hanson on December 18th, 2009 at 1:17 am

Nowhere in the Bible or Christian history are three magi mentioned. The number of the “Wise men” is never mentioned. Only the number of gifts is mentioned.

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