Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has dismissed the Christmas story of the three wise men as nothing but “legend.” Williams said there is scant evidence of magi, nor that they were kings. The only evidence we have is in the Book of Matthew’s, and his gospel “doesn’t tell us there were three of them, doesn’t tell us they were kings, doesn’t tell us where they came from. It says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that’s all we’re really told,” he said. “It works quite well as legend,” he added.

Furthermore he said there’s no evidence there was any livestock in the stable, that the chance of snow falling in Bethlehem was “very unlikely,” and as for the star rising and then standing still, he said stars just don’t behave like that.

Although Williams believes the story himself, he advised that new Christians need not fear that they had to leap over the “hurdle” of belief in the virgin birth before they could be “signed up,” adding that Jesus probably was not born in December: “Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival.”

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