Joan Taylor, a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, reckons Jesus had short hair, darker skin and a short beard
For thousands of years Jesus Christ has been imagined as a fair skinned man with blue eyes, long dark hair and a beard.
But this could actually be very different to what the son of God really looks like, an expert has sensationally revealed.
Thousands of paintings and sculptures over the centuries have similarly depicted what the Messiah looked like.
Some have dared to show a completely different interpretation of the son of God, but been waved away in favour of the popular long haired and bearded portrayal.
Only a professor has stepped forward to reveal Jesus may not be how we imagined at all.
Joan Taylor, a Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, reckons Jesus could have had short hair and darker skin.
Not only that, but she says his beard would have been short and that his clothing would have been plain and un-dyed – unlike the colourful outfits some paintings depict.
She even reckons there is one picture that most realistically depicts what Jesus would have looked like
In an article for American Schools of Oriental Research, Professor Taylor opens by saying: “Everyone knows what Jesus looks like: he is the most painted figure in all of western art, recognised everywhere as having long hair and a beard, a long robe with sleeves (often white) and a mantle (often blue).
“But what did he really look like, as a man living in Judaea in the 1st century? This subject has long been of interest. I have already written on John the Baptist and his clothing, but not about Jesus.
“Nevertheless, over the years, numerous television documentaries have asked me for guidance on dramatising aspects of ancient life.
“In order to give them clear directions, I gathered information about what Jesus looked like, or rather, what he is said to have worn. I would like to share this here.
“It is worth emphasising that images of Jesus over time give us clues on how Jesus was imagined in different environments, but say absolutely nothing about what he really looked like.
“Our images of Jesus were largely created in the Byzantine era (4th-6th centuries). Byzantine images of Jesus were based on the image of a Graeco-Roman deity, for example the famous statue of Olympian Zeus by Phidias in the 4th century BCE.”
In her piece, Professor Taylor describes Jesus as having a beard, saying: “I think he would have had one, simply because he did not go to barbers.”
Summing up how she thinks Jesus looked, and which painting she thinks is the most accurate, Professor Taylor writes: “And what about Jesus’s face? In the mummy portraits, the people were Greek-Egyptian, but there was a large Jewish population also in Egypt and some ethnic mixing. Their faces, so realistic, are the closest we have to photographs of the people of Jesus’s own time and place.
“If we are to imagine Jesus then, as a Jew of his time, the mummy paintings provide a good clue to his appearance. However, there is one other place to look: to the synagogue Dura Europos, dating from the early 3rd century.
“The depiction of Moses on the walls of the synagogue of Dura-Europos is probably the closest fit, I think, since it shows how a Jewish sage was imagined in the Graeco-Roman world.
“Moses is shown in undyed clothing, appropriate to tastes of ascetic masculinity (eschewing color), and his one mantle is a tallith, since one can see tassels (tzitzith). This image is a far more correct as a basis for imagining the historical Jesus than the adaptations of the Byzantine Jesus that have become standard.”
The Daily Star