For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, there was a recent find near Bethel of a manuscript that describes a first-hand account of an olive merchant that traveled and spoke with the lead Magi during the census. Of special note – notice how “purple hat” speaks of how many outside of Judaism being aware of Abraham, Moses, the Prophets and the coming King, and how these stories made there way into their own religious books. The link is provided with some commentary from Paul Helm, who is an excellent historical theologian and scholar. He would not have put this on the Reformation 21 site if he felt the manuscript was a fraud. Enjoy and Merry Christmas.

Due to the tight security in the region it is not widely known that in the past few years there have been significant manuscript finds on the site of ancient Bethel, near modern Tell Beitin, 12 miles or so north of Jerusalem. Some of these, found (it is said) in a set of old olive jars, are surprisingly well-preserved.

Read the full script of what has become known as the “purple hat papyri” in scholarly circles.


  1. I haven’t read the whole thing yet. But what I have read is interesting, especially where he describes Joseph’s and Mary’s personality.

    And as one who does not like the Christmas song “Away In a Manger”, I really appreciated the following…

    He began to cry, and Mary picked him up, comforting him.

    So much for “The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.”

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