The KJV Wise Men vs. Modern-Version Magi
At times transliteration can't be avoided, but translation is always a preferred course. In the case of Greek magoi, modern translators transliterate, evidently seeing the term as referring to personages like astrologers, sorcerers, court magicians & the like, who were esteemed by their contemporaries as wise men, but just practiced superstition.
In the NIV/NASV of Matthew 2, magi, the transliterated Latin form of Greek magoi is rendered, while in the KJV magoi is translated and rendered, wise men. Rendering of magi is unfortunate, for persons noted by the term in ancient times included Persian cultists worshiping the elements, earth, fire & water. One of their practices was the disposal of dead bodies on a high tower for vultures & ravens to eat in trying to avoid contamination of “sacred” soil or water by decaying bodies (see internet references, Zoroastrianism & "towers of silence").
signifies men of wisdom, and the Magi were thought to be such by
their peers, but such men were far removed from the practice of
wisdom. On the other hand, the three men of the east were true wise
men. They knew scripture & the prophecy about Israel’s true
king, and they spent much time and substance to reach Him and pay Him
honor, as all wise men should do. The right terminology must be
preserved, as it is in the KJV where magoi
is rendered wise men to
denote the true wisdom of these men, and thus distinguish it from the superstition of the ancient magi.