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What Skin Color Was Jesus

Insisting Jesus Was White Is Bad History And Bad Theology

What Skin Color Was Jesus?

In trying to police his depiction, Megyn Kelly is wrong on both the facts and the essential universality of the Christian message.

Fox News television host Megyn Kelly told viewers on her December 11 broadcast that Jesus and Santa are both white men.

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” Kelly said. “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Setting aside the ridiculousness of creating rigidly racial depictions of a fictitious character that does not actually existsorry, kidslike Santa, Kelly has made a more serious error about Jesus. The scholarly consensus is actually that Jesus was, like most first-century Jews, probably a dark-skinned man. If he were taking the red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York today, Jesus might be profiled for additional security screening by TSA.

The myth of a white Jesus is one with deep roots throughout Christian history. As early as the Middle Ages and particularly during the Renaissance, popular Western artists depicted Jesus as a white man, often with blue eyes and blondish hair. Perhaps fueled by some Biblical verses correlating lightness with purity and righteousness and darkness with sin and evil, these images sought to craft a sterile Son of God.

Yes, actually.

Does Jesus Skin Color Matter

Q: By John

I subscribed to your messages and to expand the understanding of God through Jesus because of the open-hearted, loving messages of John Shelby Spong and several others that I had read. Lately, it seems to have many messages spewing hatred toward white, heterosexual males like me. I agree with the general premise that people who look like me have dominated and abused the world, and I am working for change much to the chagrin of many people who know me. Todays message insists Jesus was an African, but nobody really knows. By the time he walked the earth, Jews had spread around the Mediterranean, traveled all over, and had mixed with Europeans. Yes, those horrible Europeans! Jews were taking converts from everywhere. It is unnecessary for anybody to throw stones because of anybodys race or ethnicity. It repulses me and is plain not Jesus-like. It is prideful and hateful.

A: By Rev. Mark Sandlin

Dear John,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and concerns. Id like to start by recognizing that, like you, I am a white, cisgendered male. Id also like to start from a point of common agreement. As you so aptly put it, people who look like me have dominated and abused the world. So, right off the bat, there are a few things in common.

So, the idea that he could have been white , while isnt completely unlikely, it is highly improbable.

~ Rev. Mark Sandlin

What Did Jesus Really Look Like

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 long sleeves and a mantle .

Jesus is so familiar that he can be recognised on pancakes or pieces of toast.

But did he really look like this?

Probably not.

In fact this familiar image of Jesus actually comes from the Byzantine era, from the 4th Century onwards, and Byzantine representations of Jesus were symbolic – they were all about meaning, not historical accuracy.

They were based on the image of an enthroned emperor, as we see in the altar mosaic of the Santa Pudenziana church in Rome.

Jesus is dressed in a gold toga. He is the heavenly ruler of all the world, familiar from the famous statue of long-haired and bearded Olympian Zeus on a throne – a statue so well-known that the Roman Emperor Augustus had a copy of himself made in the same style .

So what did Jesus really look like?

Let’s go from head to toe.

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What Does Jesus Look Like In Heaven

The book of Revelation describes what Jesus looks like after ascending to heaven with a glorified body. In two main places, Revelation 1 and 19, John sees Jesus in vision and writes down the following description. Jesus looks like the Son of Man who is clothed with a garment going down to His feet and a golden sash around His chest . His head and hair are white like snow and His eyes are like flames of fire . John sees Jesus holding seven stars in His right hand and His feet look like highly polished brass from a furnace . Jesus face also shines like the sun in its brilliance .

Revelation 19 also paints the picture of Jesus coming back to earth crowned with many crowns and sitting upon a white horse having a name written upon Him which no man knew . The vision continues, adding that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron having the name King of Kings and Lord of Lords written on His robe and thigh . Revelation also says that the voice of Jesus is like a trumpet and the sound of many waters .

What Color Is Jesus And Is There A Hadith Contradiction

Pin on jesus

In some hadith, Jesus is said to be of red or reddish-white. eg:

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet said, “I saw Moses, Jesus and Abraham . Jesus was of red complexion, curly hair and a broad chest

Also see Jesus was reddish-white.Yet another hadith says:

Narrated Salim from his father: No, By Allah, the Prophet did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, “While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka`ba , suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion. He was the son of Mary.

Only Allah knows the truth, but my question is: why two sahih hadiths contradict each other or, why two contradicting hadith are graded as sahih?

  • @Zia Ul Rehman, I checked the Answer #7 you mentioned and I do not agree with it. M.MJun 21, 2016 at 16:37
  • Please note that all 3 narratives you refer to use the same word . It is the translator who translated it differently in each occurrence.

There is no contradiction in the original Arabic text of Hadiths.

I checked the translation, it translates this part as , and that is because they translate the word, but it does not work that way, in Arabic you need to understand the context so if you read the word Adam in Moajam , you see it has different meanings one of them is dark complexion, but another meaning is complexion, and if you read the Arabic explication for the group of Hadiths about Jesus, it’s clear that Jesus had white reddish complexion.

which is translated to :

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Emergence Of Racial Theories

According to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was a descendant of King David. One argument against this claim is the contradiction which is contained in Jesus’s genealogies: Matthew says he is descended from Solomon, and Luke says he is descended from Nathan, Solomon and Nathan being brothers. John of Damascus taught that there is no contradiction, for Nathan wed Solomon’s wife after Solomon died in accordance with yibbum .

In his book The Forging of Races, Colin Kidd argues that the assignment of race to biblical individuals has been a mostly subjective practice which is based on cultural stereotypes and societal trends rather than scientific methods.:18 Kidd reviews a number of theories about the race of Jesus, including a white “Aryan” Jesus and a black African Jesus.:4350

In his book Racializing Jesus, Shawn Kelley says the assignment of a specific race to Jesus has been a cultural phenomenon which has been emanating from the higher levels of intellectual circles within societies, and he draws parallels between the different approaches within different settings.Cain Hope Felder has argued that New Testament passages such as Galatians 3:28 express a universalism going beyond race, ethnicity or even religion.

In academic studies, beyond generally agreeing that “Jesus was Jewish”, there are no contemporary depictions of Jesus that can be used to determine his appearance.

What Did Jesus Look Like On The Cross

Additionally, the Bible says in Isaiah 52 and 53 that near the time of crucifixion Jesus endured immense torture both physically and mentally. Isaiah 53:4-5 says that Jesus carried our grief and sorrows and that He was whipped, wounded and bruised for our sins. Imagine what Jesus looked like after going through all of that torture. Imagine the look on His face when the nails were placed in His hands. Imagine the look on His face when the crown of thorns was placed on His head. Imagine the look on His face when He forgave Peter. Imagine the love on Jesus’ face when He sees you, over 2,000 years later, and forgives you for all you have done.

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What Color Was Jesus

Lets start with what we know. As the New Testament concludes in the Book of Revelations, there is one detail that gives some physical description of Jesus, if not Jesus in the past, how Jesus will appear in the future. He is described as follows:

The hair of his head was white as woolwhite as snowand his eyes like a fiery flame. His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of cascading waters.

His hair is white, which we associate with old age. His feet are brownish like bronze, but bronze comes in different shades and only his feet are this color. His eyes are seemingly red or yellow and his voice booms. Based on these details, this physical description appears more symbolic than literal. Theres just not enough information to surmise a physical description. What else do we know?

Father Abraham and Sarah originated in Mesopotamia. This God-ordained couple was the beginning of the lineage that would produce Jesus. Therefore, He likely carried some resemblance to these people, though there were a number of people between them and Jesus.

We also know that none of the disciples wrote about his physicality in any of their books. For some reason, those details were deemed unimportant for future generations. There is no indication of hair color, height, and physical attractiveness.

That leaves us modern-day believers with a question. What was Jesus race?

Early Church To The Middle Ages

What Did Jesus REALLY Look Like? Ethnicity, Hair, Skin, Eyes, Body Type.

Despite the lack of direct biblical or historical references, from the 2nd century onward, various theories about the appearance of Jesus were advanced. However, these focused more on his physical appearance than on his specific race or ancestry. Larger arguments of this kind have been debated for centuries.

Justin Martyr argued for the genealogy of Jesus in the biological Davidic line from Mary, as well as from his non-biological father Joseph. However, this only implies a general Jewish ancestry, acknowledged generally by authors.

The focus of many early sources was on the physical unattractiveness of Jesus rather than his beauty. The second-century anti-Christian philosopher Celsus wrote that Jesus was “ugly and small” and similar descriptions are presented in a number of other sources as discussed extensively by Robert Eisler, who in turn often quotes from Ernst von Dobschütz‘ monumental Christusbilder.Tertullian states that Jesus’s outward form was despised, that he had an ignoble appearance, and the slander he suffered proved the ‘abject condition’ of his body. According to Irenaeus, he was a weak and inglorious man, and in the Acts of Peter he is described as small and ugly to the ignorant.:439Andrew of Crete relates that Christ was bent or even crooked:412 and in the Acts of John he is described as bald-headed and small with no good looks.

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Depictions Of Jesus Race Under The Romans

Though early Christians worshiped in secret passing along clandestine images like ichthys to share their faith Christianity began gaining prominence in the fourth century. Then, the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and depictions of Jesus Christ began to proliferate.

Public DomainA depiction of Jesus Christ in a fourth-century catacomb near Constantines Roman villa.

In the fourth-century fresco above, many elements of traditional Christian iconography make an appearance. Jesus has a halo, hes in the top-center of the composition, his fingers are held in a benediction, and hes clearly European. He and Peter and Paul wear European-style clothing.

Significantly, Jesus also has the wavy, flowing hair and beard seen in many modern-day depictions.

This depiction grew so popular that it ricocheted back into the Middle East, where Christianity has its roots. Thats because white Christians were moving aggressively across the globe colonizing and converting as they went and they brought images of a white Jesus with them.

Wikimedia CommonsJesus Christ as depicted in the sixth century at Saint Catherines monastery in Egypt.

For colonizers, white Jesus had a dual purpose. Not only did he represent Christianity which colonizers hoped to spread but his fair skin put the colonizers themselves on the side of God. His race helped enforce caste systems in South America and the suppression of indigenous people in North America.

What Did Jesus Look Like

In 2018 historian Joan Taylor published What Did Jesus Look Like? which traced portrayals of Jesus back through time from the European Jesus of western art to Jesus himself. By working with Yossi Nagar, an Israeli anthropologist who was able to prove that the physical characteristics of the bones of Jews which date back to the time of Jesus have similarities to the bones of contemporary Iraqi Jews, Taylor concluded that Jesus had honey/olive skin, brown eyes and black hair. As for the honey/olive description, Taylor writes that his skin was “a darker hue consistent with the skin tone of people of the Middle East” . Taylor thinks the BBC’s reconstruction is “quite speculative” because reconstruction of cartilage is guesswork.

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What Did Jesus Really Look Like New Study Redraws Holy Image

A quick Google search of “Jesus” will pull up an assortment of images showing a tall, white guy with long, blondish hair and a beard. But what did Jesus really look like?

In her new book, a scholar says Jesus probably didn’t look anything like this modern picture.

The Gospels in the Bible say that Jesus was a Jew who was born around 4 B.C. in Bethlehem and lived in Egypt as a child for a short time before moving to Nazareth. These writings make no mention of what Jesus looked like, aside from some references to the clothing that he and his disciples wore, wrote Joan Taylor, professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, in her book “What Did Jesus Look Like?” .

“It’s so curious how little is made of it, what he looked like,” Taylor told Live Science.

Even so, both Moses and David, who the Bible says killed Goliath, were described as being handsome figures in the Hebrew Bible.

Additionally, the earliest artistic depictions of Jesus date to at least two centuries after he died, and they provide little credible information about what Jesus may have looked like, Taylor wrote in her book.

To get an idea of Jesus’ visage, Taylor turned to archaeology and texts that provide clues about the general appearance of Jews in Judea and Egypt at the time Jesus lived. She also looked at artistic images on coins and Egyptian mummy paintings.

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Pin on black Jesus

The long-haired, bearded image of Jesus that emerged beginning in the fourth century A.D. was influenced heavily by representations of Greek and Roman gods, particularly the all-powerful Greek god Zeus. At that point, Jesus started to appear in a long robe, seated on a throne , sometimes with a halo surrounding his head.

The point of these images was never to show Jesus as a man, but to make theological points about who Jesus was as Christ and divine Son, Joan Taylor, professor of Christian origins and second temple Judaism at King’s College London, wrote in TheIrish Times. They have evolved over time to the standard Jesus we recognize.

Of course, not all images of Jesus conform to the dominant image of him portrayed in Western art. In fact, many different cultures around the world have depicted him, visually at least, as one of their own. Cultures tend to portray prominent religious figures to look like the dominant racial identity, Cargill explains.

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Acheiropoieta And Reported Visions

During the Middle Ages, a number of legendary images of Jesus began to appear, at times, they were probably constructed in order to validate the styles of the depictions of Jesus which were reported during that period, e.g. the image of Edessa. The Veil of Veronica was accompanied by a narrative about the Passion of Jesus.

A number of descriptions of Jesus have been reported by saints and mystics who claim that they have seen Jesus in visions. Reports of such visions are more common among Roman Catholics than they are among members of other Christian denominations.

By the 20th century, some reports of miraculous images of Jesus began to receive a significant amount of attention, e.g. Secondo Pia‘s photograph of the Shroud of Turin, one of the most controversial artifacts in history. During its May 2010 exposition, the shroud and its photograph of what some authors consider the face of Jesus were visited by more than two million people.

Another 20th-century depiction of Jesus, namely the Divine Mercy image, is based on Faustina Kowalska‘s reported vision, which she described in her diary as a pattern that was then painted by artists. The depiction is now widely used among Catholics, and it has more than a hundred million followers worldwide.

Christ Pantocrator


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