Writing Biblical fiction (or any kind of historical fiction) requires a great deal of research. But that excites me! Research uncovers facts about people, their beliefs and cultures that I never knew. When world history and the Bible intersect, one-dimensional words on paper become three-dimensional people and events—all the makings of a great story.
My research always starts with the Bible. The first book in my series, The Magi’s Encounters, began with my reading and re-reading Matthew 2 and Luke 2, as well as Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 9. After that came exhaustive research to understand world events, people, and cultures of the first century. I don’t believe in serendipity; but every time I needed to know something for my plot, God guided me to research that provided aha moments and details I needed.
So what was the Wise Men’s world like when they first saw the star that heralded Jesus’ birth?
- The Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire were the world’s two superpowers.
- One in four people in the world lived under Rome’s rule.
- Persia was the heart of the Parthian Empire.
(In my books, that’s where the Wise Men came from.)
- Latin was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire. Aramaic was spoken throughout the Parthian Empire and Judea.
- Persia to Jerusalem was a trek of at least 1,000 miles one way.
- Religion and politics were an intermingled hot mess in both empires. (That was true in other cultures, too.)
- Parthia had an official religion but was tolerant of other religions.
- The Magi weren’t just a small group of men but an entire society that wielded tremendous influence over Parthia’s religion and government.
- Magi society paralleled Jewish culture in some striking ways.
>> The Pharisees were akin to Magi’s Lower Council, which was comprised of priest-scholars.
>> The Sanhedrin, the Jews’ highest governmental authority, had an equivalent with the Magi’s Upper Council.
For a glimpse into more about the people, culture, and beliefs of the day, click here.
With each book launch, the Family-friendly Extras portion of this website will post supplemental information about people, places, events, and more that are mentioned in my book.
In my books, culture, religion, politics and people work against the Wise Men. I hope you enjoy the fruits of my research! Drop me a line any time!