I don’t often talk about my own high-school years on this podcast, but I remember in high-school jazz band playing a Christmas medley called “Heaven and Nature Swing.” It led with a “Caravan”-inspired arrangement of “We Three Kings”–if you don’t know “Caravan,” hit YouTube post-haste–and when I hear the hymn, these thirty years later, I always feel cheated when it doesn’t break out into snake-charmer saxophone runs at the ends of the rhyming lines. Today we’re not talking about jazz, but we are talking about what we think we should see and we should hear when we take on stories and characters that we think we know. Eric Vanden Eykel’s recent book The Magi: Who They Were, How They’ve Been Remembered, and Why They Still Fascinate treats the Magi (and my pronunciation of that word is going to move around as we talk–blame seminary Greek and T.S. Eliot) as a kind of jazz standard–we do well to study the first recording, and we also learn some really cool things when we take on later arrangements and reimiginings and even deconstructions of these mysterious figures from Matthew. Christian Humanist Profiles is glad to welcome Dr. Vanden Eykel to the show.

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