The Magi and asbestos

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Claudio Bianchi
Tommaso Bianchi



In the realm of legends and myths, asbestos not rarely takes on religious meanings (1). This is also the case of the tale of the Magi’s visit to the infant Jesus, reported by theapocryphal Arabic Infancy Gospel of the Savior (2). In comparison with the succinct Gospel of Matthew,the apocrypha are much richer in details. After the Magi have offered their gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) to the child, the Lady Mary gives them as a gift one of the swaddling-bands of the infant. The Magi are very glad and
begin their long trip home. When they arrive back in their own country, they report in detail their travel, and show the swaddling-band of Jesus. Then, they put the swaddling-band into the fire. The fabric remains undamaged. The Magi place the fabric on their heads and their eyes, and conclude that
the nature of Jesus is truly divine. Once again, a fabric with the fire resistance properties of asbestos plays a key role in a religious context, by testifying that Jesus is God.


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