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 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.
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.
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).
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.
Instead of portraying Christ as a divine ruler, early Christians depicted him as an ordinary man with no beard and short hair, much like everyone else. Yale Collections/Public Domain is the source of the photograph. Caption for image Ancient paintings of Jesus from the church of Dura-Europos, on the Euphrates River, which are the earliest surviving paintings of Jesus (dating from first half of the 3rd Century AD) For the sole reason that he did not see barbers, it is possible that Jesus wore a beard in his role as a type of itinerant guru.
- “It is acceptable according to Nature,” Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher, said about it.
- Male design has failed to capture the divine features of a huge mane of luxurious hair and a beard.
- Back in antiquity, having a beard did not distinguish one as a Jew.
- Jewish captives who are beardless, however, appear in depictions of Jewish males on Judaea Capta coins, which were minted by Rome following the conquest of Jerusalem in 70AD.
- A response would have been expected if his hair had been a few inches longer.
In other words, they would dedicate themselves to God for a period of time, refraining from drinking wine or cutting their hair – and at the conclusion of this period, they would shave their heads in a special ceremony held at the Temple in Jerusalem (as described in Acts chapter 21, verse 24).
In the event that he had long hair and appeared to be a Nazirite, we would have expected some sort of comment about the disconnect between his appearance and what he was doing – the problem would be that he was drinking wine in the first place.
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.
Sicarii sandals belonging to three generations of the Sicarii family: a child, a man, and a woman. Exhibition catalogue for The Story of Masada, published by G. Horowitz in 1993. 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 born in Bethlehem and reared in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee (then Palestine, now northern Israel) around the first century A.D. 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. He would have had the appearance of a Jewish Galilean.” READ MORE:Who Wrote the Bible?
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.
- 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 Look Like?
It was in 2001 that 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, which was based on an Israeli skull dating to the first century A.D., computer modeling, and their knowledge of what Jewish people looked like during that time period. Although 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.
According to historical records, he was around 5-ft-5-inches (166 cm) tall, which was the height of the ordinary male at the period.
His question is, “What did Jewish Galileans look like 2,000 years ago?” “The question is, what do you do? Their eyes were most likely blue, and their hair was most likely blond.”
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.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul houses a magnificent mosaic depicting Christ Pantocrator (“ruler over all”). Wikipedia is the source of this image. In the catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome, a portrayal of Jesus going back to the 3rd century A.D. is one of the oldest known representations of him. Rather of having a beard, Jesus is depicted as the Good Shepherd, with a lamb wrapped over his shoulders in the picture. Typical Byzantine painters employed mosaic art — which consisted of pieces of glass, stone, marble, and other materials — to create basic representations of Jesus.
Byzantine painters were influenced by the image of the ancient Greek gods, who had long hair, beards, and had thin bodies, and they depicted Jesus in the same way.
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. In 2001, medical artist Richard Neave — working with a team of Israeli and British forensic anthropologists and computer programmers — developed a new portrait of Jesus, based on the usual 1st century, Palestinian Jewish features: The Character of Jesus as portrayed by Neave and His Team BBC News is the source of this information.
- Yet, at the same time, we will never know what Jesus looked like in his natural state.
- What was Jesus’ physical appearance like?
- was able to get the information on December 20, 2020.
- What Was the Physical Appearance of Jesus?
- was able to obtain this information on December 19, 2020.
- What was Jesus’ physical appearance like?
- (2019) Retrieved on December 19, 2020 from their website (2020, July 09).
(2018, June 20). An exciting new book offers intriguing insights into the story of worldwide Christianity, according to World News and Firstpost — World News and Firstpost. In Byzantine Art, the day of retrieval is December 21, 2020. (n.d.). The date of December 21, 2020, was obtained from
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? But just because everyone tends to believe that Jesus looked like an average white guy, it doesn’t make it 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. The bible does not go into much detail about his physical appearance.
- I’m not going to go overly precise.
- He has a darker complexion, darker eyes, and a more wide-set nose, and his hair and beard are both coarser in texture than other men his age.
- He was then able to make a replica of Jesus’ face using computer-assisted x-ray and ultrasound procedures.
- Because Jesus was born in the Middle East, he would have looked like the people around him, rather than the way he is frequently depicted in the West.
- In the same way that we have, he’s a historical character who is a provable truth, just like Santa, and I just want kids to be aware of this.” “How can you rewrite it in the midst of the narrative and alter Santa from being white to being black?” says the author.
- He most certainly wasn’t the attractive, radiant, muscular man that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in movies.
- 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.
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, the earliestartistic portrayals of Jesusdate to at least two centuries after he died, and they give little trustworthy information about what Jesus may have looked like, Taylor stated in her book.
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 tended to marry among themselves at the time, Jesus’ skin, 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 kind of image we sometimes get.” Some parts of Jesus’ visage, such as his lips and cheeks, are anyone’s guess, Taylor added.
- She expressed skepticism about depictions of Jesus in which he is shown to be particularly attractive.
As a result of Taylor’s research, rather than towering over his contemporaries in Judea, Jesus stood at around 5 foot 5 inches (1.7 meters) tall, which corresponds to the average height observed in skeletal remains from males living at the period. As shown by the presence of archaeological remains, historical writings, and pictures of humans in Egyptian mummy paintings, Taylor asserts that people in Judea and Egypt had brown eyes, black hair, and olive-brown complexion, among other characteristics.
- Because Jews in Judea and Egypt tended to marry among themselves at the period, Taylor discovered that the skin, eyes, and hair of Jesus’ ancestors were most likely the same as the skin, eyes, and hair of the majority of individuals in Judea and Egypt.
- Traditions in Judea also revealed that individuals kept their hair (and beards) relatively short and well-combed, maybe to prevent lice out of their hair, which was a major problem at the period, according to Taylor’s research.
- People in the ancient world were often more competent with knives than people are now, so he may have trimmed his hair and beard using a knife, according to Taylor.
- The combination of his busy lifestyle and his inability to eat regularly resulted in his being likely slender, but slightly muscular, according to Taylor.
- In any case, he shouldn’t be portrayed as someone who was content with his or her lot in life, which is occasionally the case.” Taylor stated that other elements of Jesus’ face, such as his lips and cheeks, are a mystery at this time.
She remarked that she is wary of representations of Jesus in which he is shown to be very 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, according to Taylor.
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. A picture on a mummy of a bearded man (161-180) from Fayyum, Egypt, painted in encaustic on wood. “Identifying the appearance of Jesus in the second and early third centuries is difficult by the fact that most men had beards, and sometimes may even have hair to the nape of their necks.” “Identifying the appearance of Jesus in the second and early third centuries.Since the release of my bookWhat Did Jesus Look Like?, I’ve been asked this question: Several individuals have inquired as to how I became interested in this subject.
- I’m sure I’d been thinking about it since I was asked to draw Jesus at Sunday school for the very first time.
- The artist Evelyn Stuart Hardy, like other artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, showed Jesus and his disciples as a European dressed in Palestinian garb, as did other artists of the same period.
- Clearly, Hardy was attempting to depict a more realistic Middle Eastern Jesus in her film, and she succeeded.
- One of them was based on one of Hardy’s pictures, and another was based on a photograph of an Afghan guy, both of which I recall doing.
- The way Jesus is depicted in films, albeit he is becoming increasingly rough-looking, is, of course, the way he is depicted in real life.
- Such relics demonstrate that the inhabitants of Judaea wore a different form of clothing in the first century than the kind that I had envisaged.
- This is because, culturally, Judaea was a part of the Graeco-Roman civilization, and individuals dressed in “Western” fashion.
I authored a book on John the Baptist a few years later, The Immerser: John the Baptist in Second Temple Judaism (Eerdmans, 1997), and highlighted how important his appearance was: he appeared like people envisioned Elijah, wrapped in camel hair (sackcloth), with a skin knotted around his waist (Mark 1.6 and parallels).
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 have a template of what Jesus looked like imprinted on our minds from an early age, and we envisage him in the manner in which we were taught.
My book takes the reader on a trip through time, from the Veronica cloth to the Turin Shroud, in search of any evidence of a genuine recollection of Jesus’s apparition in these hallowed artifacts.
I did learn some interesting things along the way, however, such as the fact that the legend of Veronica is much older than I had previously realized, and that the original Veronica (in Greek, Berenice) was understood to be the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5.25-34 and parallels).I also looked at the earliest artistic depictions of Jesus from the Byzantine era (fourth century onward) and early Christian art from the third century, and found Jesus portrayed in the style of various artists.
The message was clear: Jesus was divine in every way.
There were catacomb paintings depicting Jesus as a type of Moses, with Moses’s miracle-working staff, depicting him as a kind of philosopher.Moving back even further, there were catacomb paintings depicting Jesus as a type of Mosaic, with Moses’s miracle-working staff, depicting him as a philosopher.
- Another school of thought believed that Jesus’ appearance changed on a regular basis, depending on the viewer’s faith.
- People have also inquired as to why I believe this research is necessary.
- “, for example.
- Appearance is not just about our physical appearance.
- What we do with our body has an impact on our overall look.
We are defined by our overall appearance, which is a combination of our physical appearance and the actions we choose to display ourselves to the world.Jesus would have dressed in the traditional fashion of his time, in a woollen tunic and a mantle (a big rectangular fabric), most likely undyed.
- Tunics for affluent men might also be lengthy and fashioned of luxurious fabrics, which served to advertise their riches, social standing, and leisure.
- While we may think of a hem as something simple, the Greek wordkraspedon, which means “edge,” is used as a technical phrase to translate the Hebrewtsitsith, a tassel made of blue thread that was required of all Israelite men to wear on the four corners of their mantles (Numbers 15.38-9).
- He clearly utilized the attire of other individuals as a means of identifying the source of the problem.
- But there’s more.
- “Jesus walked around very shamelessly in the presence of everyone,” the Bible says (Origen,Contra Celsum6.10; translated by Henry Chadwick).
- “He was a social pariah who walked the streets with his body in disgracefully disheveled” (2.38).
- While there were one-piece tunics produced well and woven to shape in subsequent centuries, particularly in Egypt, at this time a one-piece tunic was generally an under-tunic, as was the case in the Middle Ages.
- Proper outer tunics were formed of two sections that were linked at the shoulder and sides.
- It is likely that he would have followed John the Baptist’s instruction, which states: “Whoever has two tunics, let them give one to the one who has none” (Luke 3.11).
- He dispatched his disciples, instructing them not to wear two tunics (Mark 6.9).Jesus was more than just compassionate towards the poor; he dressed in the manner of one of them (Mark 6.9).
- Johnson is a professor of religion at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College in London. What Did Jesus Look Like? What Did Jesus Look Like? Bloomsbury publishes (Books, 23 March) at a cost of £17.99 (CT Bookshop at a cost of £16.20).
Expert Says This Is What Jesus Would Have Actually Looked Like
Jesuschristsavior.net Christ has been pictured as a small, white-skinned guy with blue eyes, long dark hair, and a beard for thousands of years in many religious traditions. From the depictions of Jesus in children’s first Bibles and stained-glass displays in churches to his appearances in cartoons such as South Park and The Simpsons, Jesus has always appeared as variants of the same white male figure. According to one expert, however, this imaginative depiction of what the son of God may have looked like could be far from the truth.
Commons image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Joan Taylor, a professor of Christian origins and second temple Judaism at King’s College London, believes that Jesus would have had shorter hair and darker skin than the rest of the disciples.
According to the professor, there is already a photograph available that most accurately shows what Christ would have looked like: Commons image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Professor Taylor writes in an essay for the American Schools of Oriental Research that “Everyone knows what Jesus looks like: he is the most portrayed figure in all of western art, recognized worldwide as having long hair and a beard, a long gown with sleeves (typically white), and a mantle” (often blue).
- But what did Jesus look like in real life as a man living in Judaea in the first century, exactly?
- I’ve previously written about John the Baptist and his garments, but I haven’t written anything about Jesus yet.
- So that I could provide them with clear guidance, I researched what Jesus looked like, or rather, what he is claimed to have worn, in order to provide them with accurate information.
- It is important to emphasize that representations of Jesus throughout history provide us with indications as to how he was imagined in various situations, but they tell us absolutely nothing about what he actually looked like.
- When it came to Jesus, Byzantine images were based on the image of a Graeco-Roman deity, such as the famous statue of Olympian Zeus by Phidias, which was built in the 4th century BCE.
- If you have a story you’d like to share, you may send it to UNILAD by email.
Having graduating from Preston’s University of Central Lancashire in 2013, she began her professional career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (previously Pretty 52) in 2017 and going to UNILAD in 2019.
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.
Jesus advised his people, “And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black” (Matthew 5:36). (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 short man who couldn’t see over 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 despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with anguish; and like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we respected him not… Nevertheless, he was pierced for our trespasses and crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and it is by his wounds that we are healed.
As the author says, “Nowhere else in the entire Old Testament is it so obviously and completely promised that Christ should suffer and ultimately enter into his glory, as in this chapter.
The splendour that one may have expected to see in his presence was completely lacking.” Jesus used the passage from Isaiah 53 to describe himself.
“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 pictures or statues 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 ofEmbracing Change – Learning to Trust God through the Women of the Bibleandtwo volumes about Hezekiah.
Photo credit (in order from top to bottom, left to right): Wikimedia Commons/Rembrandt; Unsplash/Paul Zoetem Eijer; Wikimedia Commons/ Chateau des Moines, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Carl Bloch and Dieric Bouts are two of the most famous composers in the world.
Bethany Pyle is responsible for the design.