By Eloise Horsfield
THE Pope has caused outcry after claiming in a new book that the Three Wise Men came from Andalucia – and not the Far East as previously thought.
In his tome Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, Pope Benedict XVI claims the gift-bearing trio came from Tarsis – or Tartessosa – a kingdom that historians place somewhere between the provinces of Huelva, Cadiz and Sevilla.
Using sacred texts by Matthew the Evangelist and the Prophet Isaiah to back up his statement, the Pope also said there were no donkeys, no camels used to carry the kings – nor any oxen in the manger when Jesus was born.
“In the gospels there is no mention of animals,” he writes, adding that the presence of cattle was probably invented.
Nativity-scene organisers across Spain have been left speechless by the claims, with many wondering what on earth to do with the props – and sometimes live animals – they use to decorate their belen displays every year.
The Pope however said nativity scenes should not ‘give up’ these elements because ‘tradition is here to stay’.