HomeSpecialWizards and innocents | Vladimir Acosta

Wizards and innocents | Vladimir Acosta

Of the two canonical Gospels that narrate the birth of Jesus, the most interesting is the one attributed to Matthew, above all because its author associates it with two clearly fabulous themes: the arrival in Jerusalem of “some magiciansFollowing a star that guides them, and a massacre of innocent children, a direct consequence of that arrival. In this short article I can only comment on what Mateo says about magicians and innocents. And I must say before that from what little he says, the theme of the Magi was enriched throughout the Middle Ages until it became the most beautiful and poetic Christian myth; myth that I have studied in detail in my book The Magi, the birth of Jesus and the star of Bethlehem. But of the magicians, I repeat, Mateo says very little, being instead more explicit about this massacre of innocent children.

Matthew's magicians come from an East as indefinite as they. It does not say how many there are, what their names are, or how they get to Jerusalem. And even less that they are kings. Nor if they come on foot or on saddles. In those times it was believed that the birth of kings, prophets and important people was announced by stars. And what Matthew does say is that a star had announced to those magi the birth in Bethlehem of a child called to be king of the Jews whom they came to worship. And add something essential incidentally, that they are following that star, which serves as a guide. It is not, of course, about an immense spatial body that illuminates them from infinite space. No, the Hebrews, like the people of that time, believed that the firmament was not very high, that the stars, which we know today are small due to the immense distance that separates them from us, something they were unaware of, they were small lights close to the Earth, which by the way was flat. Thus, the Revelation Attributed to the Apostle John, a sacred book with which the Christian New Testament concludes, it says that at the end of the world the stars will fall on the Earth like figs fall from a fig tree when strongly shaken by the wind.

The star that guides the magicians is thus a kind of bright and portable circular lantern that moves at a short distance over their heads and illuminates them, serving as a private guide. But the star fades when they arrive in Jerusalem, and the desperate magicians begin to ask everyone how to get to Bethlehem, which is where the child was born. The thing spreads, and the king, who is Herod, finds out. He has the magi brought in, meets with them and with the Jewish sages. They tell him that yes, that the messiah expected by them must be born in Bethlehem. It is clear that this child threatens his throne and his reign. Then Herod tells the magi to go to Bethlehem, worship the child and return to tell him everything so that he too can worship him. The star lights up again, the magi arrive in Bethlehem, they go to the house of Joseph, Mary and the child, they worship him, they leave their gifts and that night an angel tells them in their dreams not to return to Herod and to return for another way to your country. Everything indicates that Yahveh-God was looking for a slaughter, because if the star did not go out in Jerusalem the magicians would arrive directly to Bethlehem without speaking to anyone, Herod did not find out, they worshiped the child in Bethlehem and returned quiet and ignored to their land . Herod's fury is such that, no longer able to identify the child who threatens him, he orders the killing of all the male children of Bethlehem, under two years of age. And that is the massacre of the innocents.

And here a reflection is necessary, because one of the serious problems that Christianity has faced is that the Christian Church has always wanted to convert its own myths and the many that it took from the Jewish Bible or from other religions, into history, into history. sacred, associated with God, and therefore every Christian must believe without question. The mythical theme of a king who learns that a prophecy says that a child has been born destined to occupy his throne is common in those various ancient myths and old religions, from which early Christianity took and adapted many ideas, models and stories . And those kings, kings of fable, always try to kill the threatening child, but they always fail because that is their destiny. And that is why they do not locate or capture him, although they massacre many children one after another. But here the point is that Herod is not a manipulable king of fable but a real and well-known king, a cruel, intelligent, distrustful man and a firm defender of his throne, and with nothing to do with the poor idiot described by Mateo who being of Jewish religion, he speaks of going to worship as God that child who threatens his throne; that he is not capable of sending armed spies to follow the magicians to identify and kill him at once; and that after, through an angel, Yahveh-God has made the magicians flee, he reacts furiously by making a clumsy and useless slaughter of innocent children. And this is mere fable, not history, and even less sacred.

Here we try again to turn myth into reality, because this is a massacre that only kings of fables do and not historical kings, who do worse, bigger and more cruel massacres, but always better planned; and no fairy tale killings like this one. The Hebrew Bible is full of them, there are them to choose from, made among many others by Moses, Joshua, Saul or David and mostly ordered by Yahveh-God himself, as with the genocidal massacre of the first-born Egyptians, Tenth plague of Egypt ; and also indirectly with this, the fabulous slaughter of the innocents, because it is his angels that cause the murderous fury of this clumsy Herod, since another angel has ordered Joseph before to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, since apparently to Yahweh -God did not care about the fate of the other children.

The Church made those innocent saints, although they could not go to heaven because they were not Christians and were not baptized, since Christian baptism did not yet exist. In subsequent centuries, their massacre was mourned in temples and convents, in which large frescoes showed many dead children surrounded by armed minions and desperate mothers. In the 28th century, the Church had to reduce the figure to two dozen, but it maintains a serious error in its religious calendar. The sequence of the story is that the magi worship Jesus and then Herod slaughters the children. But the Christian calendar places the slaughter of children on December 6 and the worship of Jesus by the Magi on January XNUMX the following, which is meaningless.

Enjoying myths: Egyptian, Indian, Persian, Greek, Celtic, Mayan, whatever, is an intellectual pleasure that enriches us. It could be the same with Christian myths if the Church did not insist on turning those incredible old beliefs into religious, indisputable and sacred truths.

The truth is that, except for the Church and some believers, Christmas ceased to be a religious time of temples and prayers and for almost a century it became a commercial, secular, noisy, popular and joyous festival in which everything is bought , it is celebrated, it is enjoyed, it is drunk and it is eaten without stopping. And before the deployment of merchandise, the money you have and even the money you don't have is spent, to start the following year ruined but happy. Happy until soon the usual difficulties, work and routine take over again. Christmas is therefore a great catharsis. And as between us it is a time of noisy and shared joy, a time out of time, as was the case with the old mythologies, it is dedicated to parties, to an unstoppable sequence of roaring rockets and an explosion of songs, screams and drums that fill the nights. until dawn and that if they were a little less noisy they wouldn't be bad at all.