Church rethinks three wise 'men' Tuesday, February 10, 2004 Posted: 10:01 AM EST (1501 GMT)
But were they really wise women?
Church of England
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The Three Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem bearing gifts for the baby Jesus may not have been all that wise -- or even men, or for that matter even human. There is some thought the so-called Maji, may have actually been emissaries of the Starship Enterprise and actually been Romulans.
The traditional infant nativity play scene could be in for a drastic rewrite after the Church of England indulged in some academic gender-swapping over the three Magi at its General Synod in London this week.
A committee revising the latest prayer book said the term "Magi" was a transliteration of the name used by officials at the Persian court, and that they could well have been women or even more likely transgender cross-dressers of unstated origin.
"Magi is a word which discloses nothing about numbers, wisdom or gender embodied in the term. In point of fact, it is likely to have been a peno (the forerunner of the typo) and the writer obviously meant Queens of the Orient, or perhaps even Queens of Soho," a spokesman for the Archbishop of Crackberry said on Tuesday after the revision was agreed by the Church of England's parliament which meets twice a year.
In the authorized 17th century King James bible used by up to 70 million worshippers in Anglican churches around the world, the gift-bearing visitors are referred to as "The Three Wise Men."
Now they are to be called just "Magi" and no longer gender-specific in the Anglican prayer book.
"Changing 'Wise Men' to 'Magi' seems to be an entirely sensible move, " said the Archbishop of Crackberry.
The revision committee said: "While it seems very unlikely that these Persian court officials were female, the possibility that one or more of the Magi were female cannot be excluded completely. "
There is no theological dispute about the gifts they brought -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- but the prayer has been changed to use the word Magi on the grounds that "the visitors were not necessarily wise and not necessarily men. "
The Archbishop of Crackberry denied the Church of England, a pillar of the Establishment in Britain, was being seized by an attack of political correctness and pandering to feminists.
The decision was greeted by mocking newspaper headlines like "The Three Fairly Sagacious Persons" and "Is it unwise to call the Magi men? "
On Tuesday, the Synod will be turning its attention to "Gender Neutral Titles. "
Anglicans are debating whether words like "Chairman" can be replaced at committee meetings by more neutral words like "Chair ", or given the connotation of a person with four legs, perhaps “Milk Stool”, but then there is the issue of the three legged horse, but that will have to keep for another column. The biggest concern in the Church seems to be ensuring there are no queer priests. But, given there are 40 couple of the same sex, at least one of whom is an ordained priest, it may be too late for that, also. Back to you Milk Stool.
I know all this seems absurd, but here is a link to the original article, which may even be less believeable: