When we think about it, Jesus looks exactly the same in pretty much every picture we’ve seen of him. A thin, white male with a scruffy beard and long brown hair. You know the one. Like this:
And we just accepted this as fact. I mean, if hundreds of people are painting the same thing, there’s got to be some truth to it? They can’t all be wrong, surely?
Well, apparently, they are all wrong. Because forensic experts believe they’ve now worked out exactly what Jesus looked like – and it’s not what we’re used to.
What Did Jesus Look Like?
Retired medical artist Richard Neave was able to ‘recreate’ the face of Jesus by studying a number of Semite skulls. In doing so, he used a selection of modern-day forensic techniques to make some firm conclusions. Amongst his findings, he found Jesus probably had:
- A wide face
- Dark eyes
- A bushy beard
- Short curly hair
- A tanned complexion
In fact, he probably looked more like this:
Dr Neave has been quick to point out that the portrait is more of a general nod to what an adult man living at the same time and place as Jesus would have looked like (i.e. in the Galilee area of northern Israel). Despite his reservations, it’s definitely got other experts excited. They’ve even gone so far as to say this image is likely to be far more accurate than the famous paintings we’ve all come to know.
How Did Dr Neave Come Up With This Image?
Dr Neave actually used a technique called forensic anthropology. This is something that’s usually used to solve crimes, so it was a bit of a genius idea to apply it to something so radically different.
After X-raying three Semite skulls from the time, experts then used computerised tomography to look into details that make up their structure. It all sounds very hi-tech and complicated, but insanely impressive. A lot of estimation was also involved, as well as research into first century artwork. For instance, from studying the average build of a Jewish man living in Galilee, the team suggested Jesus would have been around 5ft 1inch tall and just 110lbs.
Unfortunately, we’re probably never going to really know what Jesus looked like. After all, no one has ever found a skeleton or remains that can be confirmed as Jesus. There aren’t even any physical descriptions in the New Testament.
What do you think of this expert’s research? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!