What did Jesus really look like?
Everyone knows what Jesus looks like. He is the most painted figure 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 (often white) and a mantle, 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 fact, this well-known image of Jesus dates back to the Byzantine period, from the 4th century onwards, and Byzantine representations of Jesus were symbolic rather than historically accurate – they were concerned with meaning rather than historical accuracy.
Image courtesy of Alamy Caption for the image Although the halo derives from classical art, it was originally a feature of the sun god (Apollo, or Sol Invictus), and was later added to Jesus’s head to demonstrate his heavenly nature (Matthew 28:19).
A statue of long-haired and bearded Olympian Zeus on a throne is well-known throughout the world; in fact, the Roman Emperor Augustus had a copy of himself made in the same style.
Alamy/Getty Images is the image source.
What has transpired through time is that this vision of heavenly Christ – now often remodelled along hippy lines – has become our normal paradigm of the early Jesus.
Let’s go from head to toe.
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).
If he had long hair and looked like a Nazirite, we would have expected someone to point out the contradiction between what he appeared to be doing and what he was actually doing – the problem would be that he was actually drinking wine.
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 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.”
According To Science, This Is What Jesus Would Actually Look Like
What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think about the Lord Jesus Christ? What do you think of a white man with long blonde hair and blue eyes? Nonetheless, just because everyone seems to be in agreement that Jesus looked like a regular white guy does not imply that this is correct. Neave created a picture of the Christian figure that is a long way from the face we’re used to seeing — but one that was guided by historical data and computational tomography, according to the New York Times.
- Jesus “had no beauty nor grandeur to allure us to him, nor was there anything in his look that we might want him,” according to the passage.
- In contrast, up until now, Jesus has been overwhelmingly represented as a Caucasian man.
- In order to build this image, how did he go about it?
- He came up with the image you see above based on anthropological and genetic data he collected.
- Jesus was a white man, too, according to her.
- As human beings, we have a tendency to project our own personalities onto the people we like, and without a thorough grasp of the historical context, it might be easy to embrace the picture of Jesus that has been most frequently presented over the years.
But, at the end of the day, does it really matter how he looked? While it’s nice to put a face to a name, if you’re religious, it’s important to remember that his teachings should come first. It is, nevertheless, something that should be taken into consideration.
What Did Jesus Look Like?
Various depictions of Jesus are available. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons He’s the most well-known blonde-haired, blue-eyed white man in the world. After his death in the year 30 C.E., Jesus Christ’s philosophies were transformed into a new religion, Christianity. He was widely regarded as the son of God across the world. Because Jesus is a revered religious figure, his physical appearance has been depicted in a variety of ways throughout history. First and foremost, we must look at his life, which is described in the New Testament Bible’s four Gospels, in order to understand his characteristics.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons In the Bible, Jesus accomplishes everything under the sun, including walking and healing, to name a few examples.
When he was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas had to point out Jesus among the other disciples, implying that they all appeared to be the same size and appearance.
Although painters were aware of the factual tale of Jesus’ appearance for centuries after his death, they did not take it into mind when creating their works.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul contains a magnificent mosaic of Christ Pantocrator (“ruler over all”), which is worth seeing. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons In the catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome, a portrayal of Jesus going back to the 3rd century A.D. has been discovered, and it is considered to be one of the oldest known images of Jesus. Jesus is shown as the Good Shepherd, a beardless man with a lamb wrapped over his shoulders, in the picture. Byzantine painters frequently employed mosaic art — which consisted of glass, stone, marble, and other materials — to create modest representations of Jesus, such as the one shown here.
Byzantine painters were influenced by the look of the ancient Greek gods, who had long hair, beards, and thin bodies, and they depicted Jesus in a similar fashion.
Correggio, testa di cristo (Christ’s testa). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons After the Byzantine Era came to an end, the picture of Jesus that was inspired by Greek culture survived and eventually became the worldwide image of Jesus. During the Renaissance, painters often depicted Jesus in a more expressive and gestural manner, as well as from a more linear viewpoint. The Byzantine Era’s depiction of him was also far more three-dimensional, realistic, and vivid than it was during the Renaissance.
But there are subtle variances in his look between different European locations, which are worth noting. For example, painters in Spain and Portugal represent Jesus in a more Mediterranean style, but artists in Orthodox churches show Jesus in a “darker” style.
The restoration of a T’ang dynasty Ching-chiao (Church of the East) picture discovered in Cave 17 in Mo-kao Caves, Tunhwang, which was damaged during the excavation process. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A large number of Asians perceived Jesus as a tribal deity of white Europeans during European colonization. As Christianity spread throughout Asia, however, Jesus was reinterpreted as a variety of cultural characters, including bodhisattvas, Confucian scholars, and Shamanistic priests. He was re-created using the physical characteristics of the local population.
Researchers might deduce the following characteristics about Jesus’ physical appearance based on archaeological artifacts, scriptures, and preserved human bones, among other sources:
- 5 feet 5 inches tall
- Brown eyes
- Black hair
- Olive-brown skin
- Short hair
- Trim beard
We can assume that Jesus was slim and strong since he worked as a carpenter and walked around a lot in his life. In addition, Jesus claimed in the Gospels that he did not wish to wear two tunics. In order to fit in with Galilee’s villages, it’s most probable that he dressed a basic tunic with a plain shirt. A new picture of Jesus, based on the typical 1st century, Palestinian Jewish characteristics, was produced in 2001 by medical artist Richard Neave in collaboration with a team of Israeli and British forensic anthropologists and computer programmers.
- With all of the additional evidence now available, this depiction of Jesus’ physical appearance is far more realistic.
- However, it is reasonable to infer that the traditional representations of him have become out of date in recent years.
- Traverso is credited with inventing the term “Traverso” (2018, May 03).
- (2019, February 20).
- (2015, December 24).
Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
was able to get the information on December 19, 2020.
An exciting new book offers intriguing insights into the story of worldwide Christianity, according to World News and Firstpost — World News and Firstpost.
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.
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. He loves learning about fresh research and is always on the lookout for an interesting historical story.
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 and a cloak with short tassels.
I tried out what was stated of Jesus in the second century, as documented by the anti-Christian philosopher Celsus, and there were odd memories of the way he appeared.
He was “a wanderer.
In later centuries, especially in Egypt, there were one-piece tunics that were well-made, and woven to shape, but, at this time, a one-piece was invariably an under-tunic.
Jesus’s look, then, coheres with his teaching.
Wandering around Galilee, he called people to a band of disciples divested of personal wealth, where no one was completely destitute, without clothing, or without food: among those seeking the Kingdom and his righteousness, enough clothing would be provided (Matthew 6.25-34).
(Matthew 6.25-34). Joan E. Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College, London. What Was the Physical Appearance of Jesus? (Books, 23 March)is published by Bloomsbury at £17.99(CT Bookshop £16.20).
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.
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 Bible says (1 Samuel 9:2, CEV). 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.
What did Jesus really look like, as a Jew in 1st-century Judaea?
Everyone is aware of how to identify Jesus’ appearance. In art, cinema, and literature, he is depicted in a similar manner. His picture may be found in innumerable churches and other Christian structures on a regular basis. He is typically European in appearance: a man with nut-brown hair (sometimes blond) and light brown or blue eyes, generally with a beard. His face and nose are both long, and he has long hair and a beard. His clothing is equally lengthy, consisting of a tunic that reaches the ground, big baggy sleeves, and a thick mantle that covers his shoulders.
- But what did Jesus actually look like as a Jew in 1st-century Judaea, and how did he behave?
- What was his height?
- These are the kinds of questions I wrestled with while researching and writing my book, What Did Jesus Look Like?
- It is a subject that has piqued my curiosity for quite some time.
- In the Gospels, Jesus is neither characterized as tall or short, good-looking or plain, strong or feeble, nor is he described as tall or short.
We “know” what he looked like
We don’t notice this exclusion of any description of Jesus since we “know” what he looked like because of all the images we have of him in our possession. However, the Jesus we are familiar with is the consequence of centuries of cultural history. Early portrayals of Jesus, which served as a model for the way he is shown now, were based on the idea of an enthroned monarch and were influenced by presentations of pagan gods, according to the Christian tradition. The long hair and beard have been intentionally borrowed from the iconography of the Graeco-Roman era to create this look.
- As time progressed, the halo of the sun god Apollo was placed to Jesus’s head in order to demonstrate his celestial origins.
- Rather than depicting Jesus as a human being, these paintings were intended to express theological statements about who Jesus was as Christ (King, Judge) and divine Son.
- So, can we picture Jesus in a way that is suitable in light of the evidence from the first century?
- Was it in part due of their physical appearance that this happened?
- Such gentlemen, according to popular belief, did not bother to see barbers very often since they were preoccupied with more essential matters.
- It was considered appropriate in the Roman civilization to have clean-shaven and short-haired facial hair.
- (1 Corinthians 11:14).
You let your hair to grow and abstained from drinking alcohol as part of this promise, among other things.
These depict captured Jewish fighters (some of them are partially clothed) after they revolted against Rome between 66 and 70 AD.
The “philosopher” appearance is shown on Roman coins released by the emperors Vespasian, who issued these coins, and Titus who issued coins depicting Jewish men.
What I’ve discovered is that the Judaeans of this period were the most genetically similar to Iraqi Jews living in the present world.
Jesus would have seemed to be a guy with a Middle Eastern build.
Our whole look, on the other hand, is not simply about our physical appearance. A great deal is dependent on what we do with our bodies. The Gospels provide a few accidental facts that tell us what Jesus was wearing at the time.
He wore a tunic, which is known as a chiton in Greek. Frequently, you’d have two: an outer one and a thinner inner one, which was sometimes referred to as a sindon (Mark 14:63). In Judaea, an outer tunic was always comprised of two pieces of material, one on the front and one on the back, which were linked at the shoulders and sides and had stripes going from the shoulder to the hem. The inner tunic might be constructed from a single piece. This is an interesting element for me because Jesus is supposed to have worn a one-piece garment in the Gospel of John (19:23-24), which I find to be historically accurate.
Wouldn’t Jesus have done the same thing?
Men’s tunics were often worn to the knees.
“But beware of the scribes who seek to stroll around in long tunics (stolai), to be saluted in the marketplaces, to be seated in the most prominent seats in synagogues, and to be seated in positions of honour at feasts,” Jesus warns (Mark 12:38).
A mantle would be worn over a tunic by a guy (himation, Mark 10: 50).
A high level of quality and color (purple and particular shades of blue and red) was associated with power and status.
17:2), Jesus’ followers saw his garments (mantle and tunic) change from a coloured to a dazzling white hue, indicating that these were not usually coloured or bright white in appearance.
Following a thorough study of the Gospels, it becomes clear that Jesus’ physical appearance is fully consistent with his teaching.
19:20-22), he put into practice what he preached.
Joan E Taylor is a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, where she has worked for over a decade.