Memory and Mystery: a reflection for Epiphany
Extract: Dominican Fr. Benedict Thomas Viviano, an authority on the Gospel of Matthew, believes it’s entirely possible that women could have been among the mages in his birth narrative. Matthew is the only Gospel that says anything about them, and his use of the Greek masculine plural magoi for magi can be used inclusively, just as the English word “men” often includes women.
Viviano specializes in examining the book of Matthew in light of its literary connections to the Hebrew Bible. Even though Matthew 1-2 is not strictly a Midrash—since it is not about the Old Testament—it “employs Midrashic techniques” to interpret the person of Jesus. He relates “the presence of one or more women among the magi [to] the background story of the queen of Sheba, with her quest for Israelite royal wisdom, her reverent awe, and her three gifts fit for a king.”