What Did Jesus Look Like?
In Western cultures, the most popular representation of Jesus Christ has been that of a bearded, fair-skinned man with long, wavy, light brown or blond hair and (often) blue eyes, who has been shown in this manner for millennia. However, the Bible does not describe Jesus’ physical appearance, and all of the evidence we do have shows that he looked significantly different from how he has been shown for so many years.
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible provides only a few hints as to Christ’s physical appearance. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which comprise the first four volumes of the New Testament, contain the majority of what we know about Jesus. According to the Gospels, Jesus was a Jewish man who was born in Bethlehem and reared in the town of Nazareth in Galilee (then Palestine, now northern Israel) around the first century A.D., according to the New Testament. While the Bible informs us that Jesus was around 30 years old when he began his ministry (Luke 3:23), it tells us almost little about his physical appearance, other than the fact that he didn’t stand out in any particular manner.
WATCH: JESUS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Photograph by VaultGodong/UIG, courtesy of Getty Images According to several academics, the passages from Revelation 1:14-15 provide evidence that Jesus’ complexion was a deeper shade and that his hair was of a shaggy texture.
In the light of day, his eyes were like a blaze of fire, and his feet were like burnished bronze, purified as though by fire.” ‘We have no way of knowing what he looked like,’ says Robert Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, and editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review.
Thus, his appearance was that of a Palestinian Jewish guy living in the first century AD.
How Have Depictions of Jesus Changed Over the Centuries?
Some of the oldest known artistic images of Jesus date back to the mid-third century A.D., more than two centuries after his death, according to archaeological evidence. These are the paintings that were found in the ancient catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome more than 400 years ago, and they are still in existence. The paintings represent Jesus as the Good Shepherd, a youthful, short-haired, beardless man with a lamb wrapped over his shoulders, which was one of the most popular depictions of Jesus at the time of their creation.
- Photograph by Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images Another early image of Jesus was discovered in 2018 on the walls of a damaged chapel in southern Israel, marking the discovery of yet another rare early portrait of Jesus.
- It was painted in the sixth century A.D., and it is the earliest known image of Christ found in Israel.
- During the fourth century A.D., the long-haired, bearded picture of Jesus began to develop, which was significantly influenced by portrayals of Greek and Roman gods, notably the all-powerful Greek deity Zeus.
- In these drawings, “the objective was never to depict Jesus as a human being, but rather to establish theological arguments about who Jesus was as Christ (King, Judge, and divine Son”) and divine Son,” says the artist.
- “They have progressed through time to become the typical ‘Jesus’ that we know today.” To be sure, not all depictions of Jesus are consistent with the prevailing picture of him that has been presented in Western art.
Cultures tend to represent major religious leaders as having the appearance of the prevailing racial identity, as Cargill elucidates. READ MORE:The Bible Claims That Jesus Was a Real Person. Is there any further evidence?
What Is the Shroud of Turin?
One of the most well-known of the many probable relics associated with Jesus that have appeared throughout the years is the Shroud of Turin, which was discovered in 1354 and has since become a worldwide sensation. According to believers, Jesus was wrapped in the piece of linen after he was crucified and that the shroud has a distinct image of his face. Many scholars, however, believe the shroud to be a forgery, and the Vatican even refers to it as a “icon” rather than a relic in its own documents.
Fine Art Photographs/Heritage Photographs/Getty Images “The Shroud of Turin has been refuted on a couple of occasions as a medieval fake,” says Cargill.
READ MORE: According to a forensic study, the Shroud of Turin does not represent Jesus’ burial cloth.
What Research and Science Can Tell Us About Jesus
Using an Israeli skull dating back to the first century A.D., computer modeling, and their knowledge of what Jewish people looked like during that time period, the retired medical artist Richard Neave collaborated with a team of Israeli and British forensic anthropologists and computer programmers to create a new image of Jesus. Though no one claims that this image is an exact reconstruction of what Jesus himself looked like, scholars believe that this image—roughly five feet tall, with darker skin, darker eyes, and shorter, curlier hair—is more accurate than many artistic depictions of the son of God, despite the fact that no one knows what Jesus actually looked like.
The typical man’s height at the period was around 5-feet-5-inches (166 cm), so he may have stood about that height.
“Can you imagine what Jewish Galileans looked like 2,000 years ago?” he wonders.
“It’s likely that they didn’t have blue eyes or blond hair.”
What did Jesus really look like?
Everyone is familiar with the appearance of Jesus. He is the most portrayed character in all of Western art, and he is easily recognized by his long hair and beard, as well as his long robe with long sleeves (typically white) and a cloak, which he wears everywhere (often blue). As a result, Jesus may be recognized on pancakes and slices of bread. But did he truly have this appearance? In truth, this well-known image of Jesus dates back to the Byzantine period, from the 4th century onwards, and Byzantine portrayals of Jesus were symbolic rather than historically accurate – they were concerned with symbolism rather than factual accuracy.
Image courtesy of Alamy Caption for the image Although the halo derives from ancient art, it was originally a characteristic of the sun deity (Apollo, or Sol Invictus), and was later put to Jesus’s head to demonstrate his celestial nature (Matthew 28:19).
A statue of long-haired and bearded Olympian Zeus on a throne is well-known across the globe; in fact, the Roman Emperor Augustus had a duplicate of himself built in the same manner.
Alamy/Getty Images is the image source.
This depiction of the heavenly Christ, which is occasionally updated in hippy fashion, has evolved into our typical model of the early Jesus as a result of historical development. So, what was Jesus’ physical appearance like? Let’s take it from top to bottom.
1. Hair and beard
In those instances where early Christians did not depict Christ as the celestial king, they depicted him as a regular man with a short beard and short hair. Yale Collections/Public Domain is the source of the image. Caption for the image Ancient paintings of Jesus, from the church of Dura-Europos on the Euphrates River, which is the world’s oldest surviving church (dating from first half of the 3rd Century AD) Nevertheless, as a traveling sage, it is possible that Jesus wore a beard, for the simple reason that he did not visit barbers.
- Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher, thought it was “acceptable in accordance with Nature.” Being clean-shaven and having short hair was thought extremely necessary in the first century Graeco-Roman civilization, if for no other reason.
- Even a philosopher wore his hair in a rather short style.
- In reality, one of the difficulties for oppressors of Jews at various eras was distinguishing them from everyone else when they looked the same as everyone else (a point made in the book of Maccabees).
- So Jesus, as a philosopher with a “natural” appearance, may have had a short beard, like the men represented on Judaea Capta coinage, but his hair was most likely not extremely long, like the males depicted on Judaea Capta coinage.
- When it came to Jewish males, those who had untidy beards and slightly long hair were instantly identified as those who had taken a Nazirite vow stood out.
- However, Jesus did not adhere to the Nazirite vow, as evidenced by the fact that he is frequently spotted drinking wine – his enemies accuse him of consuming an excessive amount of it (Matthew chapter 11, verse 19).
During the time of Jesus, affluent men wore long robes on important occasions in order to flaunt their social standing in front of others. The following is from one of Jesus’ teachings: “Be wary of the scribes, who seek to stroll around the temple courts in long robes (stolai), to be saluted in the markets, to have the most important seats in the synagogues, and to be seated in the places of honour at feasts” (Mark chapter 12, verses 38-39). Because the sayings of Jesus are widely believed to be the more accurate sections of the Gospels, we can infer that Jesus did not actually wear such clothes.
- As a result, when Thecla, a woman, dresses in a short (male) tunic in the 2nd Century Acts of Paul and Thecla, it comes as a bit of a surprise.
- It was customary to wear a mantle over the tunic to protect one’s shoulders from the elements, and we know that Jesus wore one of them since it was this that a lady touched when she desired to be cured by him (see, for example, Mark chapter 5, verse 27).
- Histation, which could be worn in a variety of ways, including as a wrap, would fall beyond the knees and entirely cover the short tunic.
- Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
- The quality, size, and color of these mantles all served as indicators of power and status in their respective societies.
- Because the dyes used to create these colors were extremely uncommon and expensive, they were referred to as “royal colors.” Colors, on the other hand, might signify something else.
- Real men, unless they were of the greatest social position, should, according to this, dress in undyed garments.
- A notable feature of this hairstyle was that it required bleaching or chalking, and it was linked with a sect known as the Essenes, who adhered to a stringent interpretation of Jewish law.
As Mark describes it, Jesus’shimatia (which may refer to “clothing” or “clothes” rather of particularly “mantles”) began to shine “glistening, exceedingly white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them,” and eventually became “glistening, extremely white.” As a result, before his transfiguration, Jesus is depicted by Mark as an average man, dressed in ordinary garments, in this instance undyed wool, the kind of material that would be sent to a fuller for processing.
More information regarding Jesus’ attire is revealed after his death, when the Roman soldiers split his himatia (in this context, the term most likely refers to two mantles) into four portions, each of which contains a different piece of clothing (see John chapter 19, verse 23).
This cloak with tassels (tzitzith) is expressly mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 23:5 when he speaks of the kingdom of God.
A lightweight himation, typically constructed of undyed creamy-colored woollen material, and it was likely embellished with some sort of indigo stripe or threading, as was the case here.
Jesus would have walked about with sandals on his feet. Everyone walked about in sandals. Sandals from the time of Jesus have been discovered in desert caverns between the Dead Sea and Masada, allowing us to observe firsthand what they were like during the time of the Savior. The soles were made of thick strips of leather that were sewed together, and the top sections were made of leather straps that went through the toes. They were extremely plain and straightforward. Gabi Laron is the photographer that captured this image.
Exhibition catalogue for The Story of Masada, published by G.
The Hebrew University, the Israel Antiquity Authority, and the Israel Exploration Society are all located in Jerusalem.
And what about Jesus’s physical characteristics? They were of Jewish descent. The fact that Jesus was a Jew (or a Judaean) is unquestionable since it is repeated in a variety of literary sources, including the writings of Paul, provides more evidence. Furthermore, as stated in the Letter to the Hebrews, “it is unmistakable that our Lord was descended from the tribe of Judah.” So, how do we see a Jew at this time, a guy who, according to Luke chapter 3, was “around 30 years of age when he began,” in this situation?
- He did not assert that it was the face of Jesus.
- Image courtesy of Alamy Caption for the image Despite what some painters, such as the artist who created this fresco in Crete, may believe, Jesus did not have blue eyes as others have imagined.
- Moses is depicted in undyed garments, and his one cloak is in reality a tallith, since tassels (tzitzith) can be seen at the corners of the Dura depiction of Moses splitting the Red Sea.
- Image courtesy of Alamy A tallith (used as a cloak) with blue ornamentation seems to be worn by Moses in the image description; the blue in both garments is most likely the result of indigo dye being applied to them.
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What Did Jesus Really Look Like? New Study Redraws Holy Image
Following new study by Joan Taylor, it has been suggested that Jesus was of normal height, with short black hair and brown eyes, as well as olive-brown complexion. (Image credit: Painting by Cathy Fisher, depicting Jesus with shorter garments and hair in conformity with the latest results.) Quickly searching for “Jesus” on Google will provide a range of photos depicting a tall, white person with long, blondish hair and a beard, with a beard. But what didJesus look like in his natural state? According to a recent book by a professor, Jesus most likely did not look anything like the image we have today.
- in Bethlehem and spent a brief period of time in Egypt as a kid before settling in Nazareth with his family.
- (T T Clark et al., 2018) “It’s very interesting how little is made of it, and what he looked like,” Taylor said in an interview with Live Science.
- Additionally, Taylor writes in her book that the oldest creative portrayals of Jesus date back at least two centuries after he died, and that they give little trustworthy information about what Jesus may have looked like.
- She also looked at beautiful images on coins as well as Egyptian mummy paintings for more inspiration.
Average, short-haired guy
According to Taylor’s study, rather than towering over his contemporaries in Judea, Jesus was around 5 foot 5 inches (1.7 meters) tall, which corresponds to the typical height observed in skeletal remains of males from the region at the time of his death. As evidenced by the presence of archaeological remains, historical writings, and portrayals of individuals in Egyptian mummy pictures, Taylor asserts that people in Judea and Egypt tended to be of dark complexion with brown eyes, black hair, and olive-brown skin, among other characteristics.
- Taylor discovered that because Jews in Judea and Egypt preferred to marry among themselves at the period, Jesus’ complexion, eyes, and hair were most likely similar to the skin, eyes, and hair of the majority of the people in Judea and Egypt.
- According to Taylor, historical records also revealed that individuals in Judea tended to maintain their hair (and beards) moderately short and well-combed, most likely in order to keep lice out, which was a major problem at the period.
- In order to cut his hair and beard, he might have used a knife, according to Taylor, who pointed out that individuals in the ancient past were generally more competent with knives than people are today.
- This busy lifestyle, combined with a lack of regular eating, resulted in his being likely lean but slightly muscular, according to Taylor.
- In any case, he shouldn’t be portrayed as someone who was content with his lot in life; unfortunately, that’s the type of picture we sometimes receive.” Taylor stated that other elements of Jesus’ face, such as his lips and cheeks, are a mystery at this time.
She expressed skepticism about representations of Jesus in which he is shown to be particularly attractive. Taylor asserted that if Jesus had been attractive, the gospel authors or other early Christian writers would have stated as much, just as they did for Moses and David.
A few suggestions regarding Jesus’ attire may be found in the gospels, as well as in archaeological remnants that have been discovered. He was most likely dressed in a woolen, undyed tunic that exposed his lower legs; a loincloth; and a “mantle,” or outer cloak, to keep warm. His shoes would have looked like modern-day sandals, and because clothing was so expensive at the time, it is probable that Jesus performed a lot of repairing. Furthermore, unless someone gave him with new clothing, the clothes he was wearing would get increasingly damaged with time.
- Taylor’s book received generally excellent reviews from biblical experts who have studied it, including Helen Bond, a professor of theology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and Jim West, an adjunct professor of biblical studies at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong.
- Aside from that, she expressed excitement at the prospect of seeing additional artists attempt to rebuild depictions of Jesus in light of her results.
- The original version of this article appeared on Live Science.
- A bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and a journalism degree from Ryerson University are among Owen’s qualifications.
What did Jesus really look like?
Mummy portrait with a beard by ALAMYA (161-180) from Fayyum, Egypt, done in encaustic on wood and mounted on the mummy. In the second and early third centuries, identifying the appearance of Jesus was made more difficult by the fact that most men had beards, and in some cases had hair reaching the nape of their necks. MORE IMAGES CAN BE FOUND IN THE GALLERY. “Identifying the face of Jesus in the second and early third centuries,” says the artist of this picture on a mummy from Fayyum, Egypt, painted with encaustic on wood.
- and inquired as to how I became interested in this subject.
- There were drawings of Jesus with light-brown hair and blue eyes in my children’s Bible, but I also had a King James Bible (given to me by an uncle at my baptism) with illustrations by Edward S.
- The artist Evelyn Stuart Hardy, like many other artists working in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, represented Jesus and his disciples as Europeans dressed in Palestinian garb.
- Clearly, Hardy was attempting to depict a more realistic Middle Eastern Jesus in her film, and she succeeded.
- I had a passion for painting and continued to sketch depictions of Jesus throughout my adolescence.
- My Jesus was the traditional long-haired, bearded Jesus in long robes, with light brown hair that was slightly Eastern-styled, but otherwise the standard Jesus.
- When I was in my twenties, I went on a trip to Israel and Palestine, where I got attracted with the discovery of old pieces of fabric in archaeological digs.
As a result, they are consistent with attire seen on the walls of Pompeii or in pictures on Egyptian mummies.
There were undoubtedly some regional variations — for example, Judaean women tended to wear veils when they didn’t in Roman circumstances — but, in general, the clothing code was the same across the empire.
ALAM In the fourth-century church of Santa Pudenziana in Rome, a mosaic in the apse, which was repaired in the sixteenth century.
A few years later, I authored a book about John the Baptist, titled The Immerser: John the Baptist in His World.
It was critical to include a description of John’s clothing in order to help people understand his significance.
After spending so much time describing what John looked like, Jesus is merely described as “coming from Nazareth of Galilee” in St Mark’s Gospel, with no more physical description of himself.
We don’t notice since we “know” what Jesus looked like based on depictions in art.
Without this, however, the absence of a description is concerning, since as people of faith, we desire to correctly visualize and describe Jesus’ story and person.
In my book, I take the reader on a trip through time, from the Veronica cloth to the Turin Shroud, to see whether there is anything in these sacred artifacts that indicates a genuine memory of Jesus’s apparition.
I did learn some interesting things along the way, though, such as the fact that the tale of Veronica is considerably older than I had previously realized, and that the original Veronica (in Greek, Berenice) was believed to be the woman who had the issue of blood with the devil (Mark 5.25-34 and parallels).
- The message was clear: Jesus was divine in every way.
- He is dressed in regal clothing (as befits a king) that are lengthy, highly colored, and have broad sleeves.
- Moses appears to be quite attractive in this image, with shorter, coarser hair and a light beard (Moses was regarded beautiful), while one school of thought in the Early Church felt he was ugly and short, most likely based on reading Isaiah 53.
- Another school of thought said that Jesus’ appearance changed on a regular basis, depending on whether or not the spectator believed in him.
- People have also inquired as to why I believe this research is significant.
- Actually, as I attempt to demonstrate in the book, if we begin to hunt for signs and proof of Jesus’s true appearance, we will learn something about him as a result of our efforts.
- It is not just about our ethnicity, but also about the color of our skin, hair, and eyes.
We all dress our bodies in specific ways and style our hair in specific ways.
Jesus would have dressed in the traditional manner of his day, in a woollen tunic and a mantle (a big rectangular fabric), both of which would have been uncolored.
Tunics for affluent men might also be lengthy and fashioned of luxurious fabrics, which served to advertise their riches, social standing, and leisure.
ALL RIGHTS RESTRICTIONS APPLY JOAN TAYLOR’S PERSONAL WEBSITE In the Letter of Lentulus, a fabricated account of Jesus’s trial that appeared in the late 14th century, depictions of Christ with a European appearance are influenced by the story of the emerald vernicle (c.
1500), an English example of depictions of Christ with a European appearance (Matthew 9.20, 14.26).
Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for wearing tassels (“edges”) on their garments to advertise their piety.
He then donned a short tunic with short tassels and a cloak with shorter fringes.
When I looked into what was stated about Jesus in the second century, as documented by the anti-Christian scholar Celsus, I discovered that there were some strange recollections of the way he appeared to be.
He was described as “a wanderer.
a disheartening appearance Jesus’ tunic was composed of a single piece, which corresponds to what we know from John 19.23-24, which states that Jesus’ tunic was one piece.
Tunics for the outside of the body were formed of two sections that were linked at the shoulder and sides.
He urged his followers to give away their goods to the destitute, which they did (Matthew 19.20-22).
Those who are destined for the Kingdom of God are described as follows in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats: “I was unclad, and you placed something around my waist” (Matthew 25.36).
Jesus was more than only compassionate toward the poor; he also dressed in the manner of those in need.
Joan E. Taylor is a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College, London, where she has taught for more than 30 years. What Was the Physical Appearance of Jesus? Bloomsbury publishes (Books, 23 March) at a cost of £17.99 (CT Bookshop at a cost of £16.20).
What Did Jesus Really Look Like?
Is there anyone who can provide an answer to the question “What did Jesus look like?” Biblical Archaeology Society StaffJuly 24, 20214 Comments81336 views What was Jesus’ physical appearance like? The cover of the November/December 2010 edition of BARfeatures a juxtaposition of two creative renderings of Jesus’ face. The cover is quite popular. Photo courtesy of the BBC Photo Library (on the left); mosaic of Jesus from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey/photo courtesy of Pavle Marjanovic (on the right) (right).
- Jesus is perhaps one of the most well-known and talked-about figures in ancient history, if not the most well-known.
- In many ancient stories of a person’s life, we can get a sense of what the individual looked like physically.
- In contrast, the New Testament makes no mention of the question, “What did Jesus look like?” We also don’t know much about Jesus’ personal life, as Smith points out in his piece, which you can read here.
- Although Jesus is referred to as “son of Joseph” in John 1:45, Joseph is not featured as a player in the subsequent Nativity tales.
- The Gospel of John depicts a strong relationship between Jesus and his mother, as well as her participation in the resurrection account.
- Most Jewish males would have been married by this time, but it does not appear that this was the case with Jesus’ contemporary, John the Baptist.
- As a result, the possibility of Jesus being unmarried and celibate was extremely real.
- But did the people of Rome have any idea what Jesus looked like in real life?
- He was shown as a shepherd with no beard in the painting.
Become a Member ofBiblical Archaeology SocietyNow and Get More Than Half Off the Regular Price of the All-AccessPass!
With an All-Access pass, you may access more than 9,000 articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extensive collection, as well as much more. Since antiquity, gaps in the historical record of Jesus have encouraged writers to concoct other narratives. According to the Thomas’s Infancy Gospel, a child Jesus is shown as sculpting birds out of clay. The Gospel of Judas takes a more favourable view of Jesus’ connection with Judas Iscariot than the other gospels.
In his article “Painting a Portrait of Jesus,” D. Moody Smith poses the following question: Any of these authors were able to provide a more specific solution to the question “What did Jesus truly look like?” No, not at all. We’ll simply have to make do with our imaginations.
Painting a Portrait of Jesus
We are inundated with stories about Jesus. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Although Jesus is the most well-known historical figure, he is also the least well-known in many aspects. This would be an excellent subject for a novelist. The look of the subject is described in most ancientbioi(the Greek plural of the word for “life”), just as it is in current biographies. Even portrayals of King David in the Old Testament, for example, make reference to his physical loveliness (1 Samuel 16:12; 17:42).
- We don’t know what he looked like when we met him.
- We are given very little information about his personal life or connections.
- Throughout the gospel account (Mark 6:1–6), his mother, brothers, and sisters play important roles.
- After that, James rose to prominence as a significant figure in the early church (Galatians 1:18–19; 2:9).
- From antiquity, it has been deduced that Joseph died before the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
- Joseph is just missing from the scene.
- Mary Magdalene was one of the most prominent of these women.
This heartwarming scenario implies a deep friendship between the two characters that is not else portrayed in the Gospels.
Was she the mother of Jesus’ progeny?
The purported truths about Jesus that are “exposed” along the course of the book’s story are, in reality, fabricated inventions.
You may get further free articles about Jesus by visiting the historical Jesus study page in Bible History Daily (Bible History Daily).
But was Jesus a “typical” person, or were the times atypical?
John the Baptist served as Jesus’ preceptor.
The Baptist, like the Jewish occupants of the Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) group, lived in the wilderness, practicing asceticism and waiting for God’s involvement in ordinary history, as did the Jews of the Qumran community.
In Matthew 19:12, Jesus himself talked of individuals who had chosen to be eunuchs (celibate) for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, a reference that was very certainly intended to allude to his own practice.
The portrait is stereotyped, as are many other portraits from this time period as well.
But by the fourth century, he has grown a beard and is beginning to resemble a more recognisable figure.
A tale told in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (which is not to be confused with the Nag Hammadi gospel attributed to Thomas) describes a young Jesus, who is five years old at the time, creating 12 birds out of clay in a stream, probably ignorant that it was the Sabbath.
Peter’s Gospel, often known as the Gospel of Peter, recounts the emergence of the resurrected Jesus from the tomb in amazing and plainly legendary language.
Recent novels and films have continued to fill in the gaps left by the previous generation.
– Adapted from D. Moody Smith’s article “Painting a Portrait of Jesus,” which appeared in the March/April 2007 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review. The piece was originally published in Bible History Daily in December 2011 and has since been republished several times.
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What Did Jesus Look Like?
Many people have pondered, “What did Jesus look like?” after reading the Bible or hearing someone speak about Jesus. Given that Jesus lived more than 2,000 years ago, we don’t have any photographs or even sketches of what he looked like. We may, however, draw some broad conclusions about Jesus’ physical appearance based on his society and archeological evidence, which we will discuss below. Professor Joan Taylor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London conducted research for her book What Did Jesus Look Like?
She believes that Jesus had a physical appearance similar to that of the majority of people in the Middle East throughout the First Century.
The majority of first-century Jewish men, according to archeological data, stood around 5’5″ tall and had brown eyes. Another school of thought holds that Jesus was 5′ 1″ tall and weighed 110 pounds.
Jesus Likely Had Black Hair and a Beard.
“And do not swear by your head, for you will not be able to make even one hair white or black,” Jesus instructed his disciples (Matthew 5:36). Jesus most likely wore a beard and short curly hair with long sideburns or “payot,” as the Greeks called them. “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or ruin the corners of your beard,” according to Leviticus 19:27, therefore Jesus adhered to the rules of grooming. In modern times, Orthodox Jewish men continue to have a lengthy beard on the sides of their heads.
“Does not the very nature of things tell you that if a man has long hair, it is a source of embarrassment for him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is a source of pride for her?” Paul says to early Christians in Corinth.
Jesus Was neither Tall nor Remarkably Good Looking.
They would have made a comment if Jesus’ arrival had been noteworthy in any manner, according to the gospels’ writers. For example, in the Gospel of Luke, a tax collector by the name of Zachaeusas short is described. “Jesus was on his way to him, and Zacchaeus was interested in seeing what he was like. Zacchaeus, on the other hand, was a small man who couldn’t see above the crowd. As a result, he went ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree,” says the author. (Luke 19:3-4, Christian Standard Version) If Jesus had been taller than the average person in the throng, Zacchaeus would have been able to see him clearly over the rest of the people.
“Kish had a son named Saul, who was better-looking and more than a head taller than everyone else in all of Israel,” according to the story.
The giant Goliath was mentioned in 1 Samuel 17:4 as being six cubits and a span tall, which equates to more than nine feet tall.
Jesus Was Not Beautiful and Wasn’t Considered Majestic.
When the disciples were writing their personal narrative of Jesus’ life and career, they drew on prophecy from the book of Isaiah 53 to inspire them. This chapter of Isaiah, according to many Christians, is a description of Jesus’ coming to earth as the Messiah and the suffering He would face. “Because he sprang up before him like a young plant, and like a root emerging from parched earth; he has neither shape nor grandeur that we should admire, nor beauty that we should love him,” he said. He was hated and rejected by mankind; he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with sadness; and like one from whom folks hide their faces, he was despised, and we did not see him as someone to be respected.
(Isaiah 53:2–3, Isaiah 53:5) The Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Isaiah 53:1-3 draws a connection between this prophetic scripture and Christ’s lack of beauty and appearance, as well as his suffering and ministry, according to the commentary.
According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah’s lowly status and public appearance did not comport with their conceptions of him.
In his explanation, he stated that “it is written of the Son of Man that he should endure many things and be regarded with disdain.” He added that (Matthew 9:12) According to Matthew 8:17, Jesus cured those who were demon-possessed as well as all others who were sick in order to “fulfill what was declared by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our ailments and bore our diseases.'” “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we may die to sin and live to righteousness,” Peter wrote.
“You have been healed by His stripes” (1 Peter 2:24).
Why Aren’t There Pictures of Jesus from His Lifetime?
Jesus’ ministry and message had a profound impact on the entire globe. People were martyred and died as a result of their faith in him, but we have no physical evidence of what he seemed to be like. Throughout the First Century, carvings, sculptures, and mosaics representing military commanders like Caesar as well as ordinary people have been discovered. Why didn’t early Christians erect portraits or sculptures in Christ’s honor? What was the reason for this? Having been raised as Jews, Jesus and the earliest followers observed the Law and relied on Old Testament principles to guide them in every aspect of their life, including marriage.
God’s people were not allowed to worship any other gods.
A carved figure or any likeness of anything in the heavens above, or anything in the earth beneath, or anything that is in the sea under the ground shall not be made for yourself” (Exodus 20:4).
A critical instruction with far-reaching implications was issued.
“So that you do not become corrupt and create for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed in the shape of a man or a woman, or in the shape of any animal on the earth, or in the shape of any bird that flies in the air, or in the shape of any creature that moves along the ground, or in the shape of any fish in the waters beneath” (Deuteronomy 4:15-18).
Why Do We Have Pictures of Jesus If Early Christians Didn’t Create Images?
The images of Christ in stained glass, icons or sculptures in the sanctuary, or depictions of Jesus in your Children’s Bible may have been a part of your childhood experience. These are examples of the artist’s imaginative abilities. One of the earliest known depictions of Jesus goes back to 235 years after his death and resurrection. This painting of Jesus curing the paralytic was discovered on a wall at Syria’s Dura-Europos church, which is one of the world’s earliest Christian churches and is considered to be the oldest in the world.
- It wasn’t until the fourth century C.E.
- The Bible was taught to Christians via the use of art in the early church.
- Art was an important aspect of Roman civilization, and it was later absorbed into early Christian culture.
- Ancient artwork, paintings, and even current visuals are representations of an artist’s imagination as well as the culture in which they were created.
We can easily see how the artist’s point of view and society impacted the attire, hair color, and even hairdo that Jesus wore in this painting.
What Does All This Mean for Us Today?
Knowing that no images or sculptures of Jesus were created during his lifetime serves as a reminder to us that God looks at the heart and not the external appearance of a person. Once, when God enlisted the prophet Samuel to pick the king of Israel, God gave him extremely precise instructions to avoid Saul, who had the appearance of a king but did not have a desire to serve the Lord. In response, the Lord instructed Samuel to disregard his outward appearance or the height of his stature because he had been rejected by Me.'” Because the Lord views things differently than men do: men gaze at the external appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Samuel 16:8) It is critical that we learn from this and refrain from judging ourselves or others based on our external looks.
Similarly to what Jesus instructed his followers, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with sound judgment” (John 7:24).
Considering that none of the texts written by Jesus’ disciples contain any description of his looks, it is astonishing that they do not.
Whenever we feel unattractive or unattractive, or when people detest or criticize us because of our appearance, we must remember that Jesus himself was unattractive and unattractive; he wasn’t regarded good-looking or handsome; and people laughed at him and even spat on him (Matthew 26:67).
This is not the behavior that Christians should exhibit.
According to James 3:9, our value is founded on God’s love for us, for he created every human being in His image.Sources: BibleStudyTools.com, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary.
Isaiah 53, according to BiblicalArchaeology.org “Can you tell me what Jesus looked like?” CNN.com, “A New Face of Jesus emerges from the realms of science and computers.” Jeordan Legon’s work from 2002.
TimesOfIsrael.com, “During a forensic pilgrimage, a researcher inquires, ‘What did Jesus look like?'” the article states.
Penny Noyes, M.Ed., is the author of Embracing Change – Learning to Trust God through the Women of the Bibleas well as two books on Hezekiah.
Penny Noyes may be found on her blog and on Instagram, where she goes by the handle @pennynoyes.
Bethany Pyle is responsible for the design.