The debate over what Jesus looked like will live forever  

by Ghost writers

T

he  appearance of Jesus has long been and still is, under scrutiny by Christian scholars. The portrait of the Son of God was a white man with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and a beard, often wearing a long-sleeved white robe or cloak.

Sometimes, he would be depicted holding a blue mantle and a lamb in his arms. But is this what Jesus looked like? If so, what proof is there? And if not, what did he look like?

Jesus from the Byzantine Age

Well, the familiar image of Christ we’ve all grown up around dates back to the Byzantine era, from the 4th century onward.

The image purported to be a representation of Christ was actually of the emperor Theodosius posed on the altar of Santa Pudenziana church in Rome.

While the initial art of the halo depicted the god of the sun and light, Apollo, artists in the Byzantine error, reinvented this image. Since then, the model has been refined and used as a depiction of the early Christ.

GETTY IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES some think Jesus look like this

Jesus from the Renaissance Age

Artists from the Renaissance era went an extra mile to portray Jesus in his adult life, from birth to crucifixion.

A good chunk of the Renaissance Christian doctrine represented Jesus according to his life’s events.

For instance, some portrayed him as a baby, with his mother and Joseph beside him and the three shepherds. Others are a crucifixion depicting Jesus’ last days as he was praying and his disciples were asleep. The death of Christ has also been explored by Medieval and Renaissance writers, where creativity unfolded the image of Christ on the cross.

Nevertheless, all these representations included a white man, as originally presented in the Byzantine era, but under different occurrences.

Modern-day Christ

A British expert in forensic anthropology, Richard Naeve, used modern research to recreate the face of Jesus.

Referencing an Israeli skull from the 1st century, Naeve likened the facial features of Christ to a Jewish and Middle Eastern man with programs.

How Jesus became so white - The Washington Post
GETTY IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

This invention was featured on the BBC documentary series ‘Son of God’ and was backed by its producer, Jean-Claude Bragard, who commented, “Using archaeological and anatomical science rather than artistic interpretation makes this the most accurate likeness ever created.”

Although Naeve’s work did not show the actual face of Christ, it was the closest researchers came close to what a Judean man like Jesus would look like. His work depicted a man with olive-toned skin, a short beard, and dark, curly hair cut close to his head.

Joan Taylor, a professor of Christianity and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, also believes Jesus resembled the Middle Eastern people from the 1st century.

 In her book, “What Did Jesus Look Like?”, Taylor marvels at how little the physique of Jesus is uncovered in the Bible. Nevertheless, his clothing and disciples wore mostly garments and sandals Taylor, however, suggested Jesus could have been around 5’5” tall, as many skeletons of men from Judea date back to the 1st century.

She states that a man of Jewish descent would likely have dark short hair, brown eyes, and tan skin. Taylor’s discovery matches Neave’s from forensic detail.

But with all the contrasting features shown above, what does the Bible portray Jesus to be like?

The biblical representation of Christ

One thing is for sure, Jesus was a Jew. According to the first Gospel book of the Bible, Matthew, Jesus’ lineage is traced from Abraham to David down to his parents, Joseph and Mary.

GETTY IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES some think Jesus look like this

This proves that his appearance mirrored other Jews from his lineage. Additionally, as was the Orthodox Jewish law, “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard,” Jewish men considered the beard the greatest feature of a man. It was also the norm to grow long hair on the sides of their head.

The story of Zacchaeus climbing a tree to see Jesus from the crowd only confirms that Jesus was not any taller than the average Jewish man. Otherwise, Zacchaeus would have been able to see him despite his shortness.

Most researchers agree that Jesus took the form of the early 1st-century Jewish man, but regardless of what is argued, the current image of Jesus that people have come to know will last forever.

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