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Which image looks more like Jesus?

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by , 12-01-2009 at 02:35 AM (11595 Views)

In recent portrayals by Caucasian Christian artists, Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) has typically been shown with a light skin, a long "Presbyterian" nose, very long hair, and a height probably in excess of six feet. The face of Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus in the movie "The Passion of the Christ," is similar to many modern-day images of Jesus. He is shown in the right picture above. Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi, associate professor of world Christianity at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, commented: "While Western imagery is dominant, in other parts of the world he is often shown as black, Arab or Hispanic." 3 However, these have been based on pure speculation by the artists.

There have been at least two recent attempts at predicting what Yeshua actually looked like:
The center portrait above is based on the image on the Shroud of Turin, which is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus. It is of a man estimated to be 5' 11?" to 6' 2" tall. 1
Starting with the assumption that Jesus resembled a typical peasant from 1st century CEPalestine, Richard Neave, a medical artist retired from the University of Manchester in England, and a team of researchers: Palestine, Richard Neave, a medical artist retired from the
"... started with an Israeli skull dating back to the 1st century. They then used computer programs, clay, simulated skin and their knowledge about the Jewish people of the time to determine the shape of the face, and color of eyes and skin." 2

Mike Fillon followed the research and wrote an article about the portrait in "Popular Mechanics" magazine. 3 He said during a CNN interview that:
"There are very strong rabbinical laws in Israel that you cannot tamper with a skull or any bones, so they needed to reconstruct the skull. Using a cat scan, which is very common in hospitals, they were able to recreate the skull precisely and make a cast of it. Then they put small wooden pegs, based on anthropological data, to figure out what the muscle structure and the skin would look like, and so they layered that on using clay-like substances." 4
The result is shown in the left portrait above: a person with abroad peasant's face, dark olive skin, short curly hair and a prominent nose. His height would have been on the order of 5' 1"; he would have weighed about 110 pounds. Alison Galloway, professor of anthropology at the University of California in Santa Cruz , said that: "This [portrait] is probably a lot closer to the truth than the work of many great masters."

Jean Claude Gragard, used the left image in his documentary "Son of God," which was broadcast by the British Broadcasting Commission in 2001. He said:
"Using archaeological and anatomical science rather than artistic interpretation makes this the most accurate likeness ever created. It isn't the face of Jesus, because we're not working with the skull of Jesus, but it is the departure point for considering what Jesus would have looked like."
They guessed at the length of Jesus' hair on the basis of the reference by Paul that "If a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him." They speculate that Paul would not have written this if Jesus Christ had had long hair. However, that might not be a valid assumption. Jesus was referred to often in the Bible as "Rabbi." If he was an actual rabbi, he would definitely have followed Jewish law which forbade men from clipping the sides of their hair and their beards. Besides, there is no indication in the Bible that Paul actually met or saw Jesus.
Mike Fillon told CNN that:
"There is no way that we are saying this is the skull of Jesus...Christians believe...that Jesus' entire body was resurrected, so there would never be any bones or skull or DNA evidence of Jesus. Plus, his ministry was very, very short. So it would be hard to find a lot of evidence."
Some liberal theologians assume that Jesus was not resurrected. They assume that the Romans threw his body on a garbage heap to be eaten by scavengers. This was a near-universal practice for the victims of execution. Either way, the chances of finding any evidence is essentially nil.



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