Ever since the beginning of Christianity, Jesus Christ is often portrayed as a fair, tall and gentle-looking Caucasian with long light brown hair and light-colored eyes. But we all know perhaps that the face of Jesus we’ve been seeing in pictures, paintings, and other religious artworks is just an intricate imagination of the artists who depicted him. No one knows exactly how Christ looks like. However, a forensic expert believed they have recreated the ‘real face of Jesus’ using state of the art science.
This is how we usually see Jesus.
But experts revealed that Jesus probably had a dark complexion, wide face, and short curly hair which is more appropriate during his time.
Without a skeleton or remains that can be categorically confirmed as Jesus, and a lack of physical descriptions in the Bible, past renditions of the Son of God have been mostly based either on hearsay or the artist’s imagination, mainly influenced by the artists’ society where they live in, cultures and traditions.
With this in mind, Dr. Richard Neave, a retired medical artist from the University of Manchester, used a technique called forensic anthropology (which is usually used to solve crimes), as well as fragments of information from the Bible, to shed light to the real appearance of Christ.
Dr. Neave, the co-author of ‘Making Faces: Using Forensic And Archaeological Evidence’ has reconstructed dozens of famous faces before, including Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, and King Midas of Phrygia.
To uncover the mystery of the real face of Jesus, Neave and his research team X-rayed three Semite skulls from the time of Christ, previously discovered by Israeli archaeologists, and used computerized tomography and specialist programs to work out how the muscles and skin should look.
From this data, they created a 3D model and a cast of the skull, then begun the reconstruction of Jesus’ face, including his eyes, lips, and ears.
But the analysis of the skull could not reveal the color of his eyes nor how his hair looked. So the team studied first-century artwork from various archaeological sites, drawn before the Bible was compiled.
From these works, they concluded Jesus had dark eyes and likely bearded, in keeping with Jewish traditions at the time. It is also revealed that Christ had short hair with tight curls. The assumption of his hair comes from a Bible passage by Paul, who wrote: ‘If a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,’ suggesting Jesus did not have long hair. Even biblical scholars believe that it was probably short, appropriate to men of the time.
After analyzing the skeletal remains of Semite men, they also suggested that Jesus would be just over 5ft tall and weighed around 110lbs, that’s the average build of Jewish men living in Galilee during his era.
Since Jesus worked mostly outside as a carpenter until he was 30, it is assumed he was more tanned, muscular and physically fit, far from what westernized portraits suggest. His face was probably weather-beaten, which would have made him appear older, as well.
This could be the most accurate portrait of Jesus than the work of many great masters.
Surprisingly, Akiane Kramarik‘s famous “Prince of Peace” portrait is the closest image to Dr. Neave’s work.
According to Colton Burpo, the child in bestselling book “Heaven is for Real”, among all the images of Christ he has seen, it was the painting of Akiane that fits the image of Christ. Colton and Akiane claimed that they both went to heaven and saw Jesus before they were sent back to Earth.
Honestly it doesn’t matter how Christ looks like, what matters is our faith in him. Somehow it is good to know what his appearance might be with logical explanation, rather than depending on those imaginative portraits.
Sources: Mirror, Popular Mechanics, Daily Mail