OrthodoxChristianity.net
August 22, 2014, 02:08:07 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: So What Color Jesus??  (Read 3551 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Nacho
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: EasternOrthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,482

The face of Corporate America


« on: October 28, 2004, 12:20:55 AM »

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3958241.stm

So what colour was Jesus?
By Giles Wilson
BBC News Online Magazine

Jesus, ancient and modern
A traditional Jesus, left, and the BBC's image of what he might have looked like
Jesus has been named the top black icon by the New Nation newspaper. Their assertion that Jesus was black has raised eyebrows in some quarters - so what colour was he?

Just as no one will ever produce proof for the existence of God, the question of Jesus's colour may always be a matter for personal belief.

Was he white, white-ish, olive-skinned, swarthy, dark-skinned or black? There are people who believe he was any one of those shades, but there seem to be only two things about the debate that can be said with any degree of certainty.

First - if the past 2,000 years of Western art were the judge, Jesus would be white, handsome, probably with long hair and an ethereal glow.

Second - it can almost certainly be said that Jesus would not have been white. His hair was also probably cut short.

   
I think the safest thing is to talk about Jesus as 'a man of colour'
Dr Mark Goodacre
Yet the notion that Jesus was black - highlighted this week in a survey of black icons by the New Nation newspaper which ranked him at number one - is genuinely held by some. One school of thought has it that Jesus was part of a tribe which had migrated from Nigeria.

And Jesus probably did have some African links - after all the conventional theory is that he lived as a child in Egypt where, presumably, his appearance did not make him stand out.

Blue-eyed and brown-eyed Jesus
Blue-eyed Robert Powell, left, and brown-eyed Jim Caviezel
The New Nation takes it further: "Ethiopian Christianity, which pre-dates European Christianity, always depicts Christ as an African and it generally agreed that people of the region where Jesus came from looked nothing like Boris Johnson," the paper says. As light-hearted evidence that Jesus was black, it adds that he "called everybody 'brother', liked Gospel, and couldn't get a fair trial".

But the truth, says New Testament scholar Dr Mark Goodacre, of the University of Birmingham, is probably somewhere in between.

"There is absolutely no evidence as to what Jesus looked like," he says. "The artistic depictions down the ages have total and complete variation, which indicates that nobody did a portrait of Jesus or wrote down a description, it's all been forgotten."

Traditional depictions

Dr Goodacre was involved in the reconstruction of a Middle Eastern first century skull for the BBC's Son of God programme in 2001, which resulted in a suggestion of what a man like Jesus might have looked like. He advised on hair and skin colour.


People - even mullet-wearers - project their ideal on to Jesus
"The hair was the easiest - there's a reference in Paul which says it's disgraceful for a man to wear long hair, so it looks pretty sure that people of that period had to have reasonably short hair. The traditional depictions of Jesus with long flowing golden hair are probably inaccurate."

Deciding on skin colour was more difficult, though. But the earliest depictions of Jews, which date from the 3rd Century, are - as far as can be determined - dark-skinned.

"We do seem to have a relatively dark skinned Jesus. In contemporary parlance I think the safest thing is to talk about Jesus as 'a man of colour'." This probably means olive-coloured, he says.

'Fascinating' debate

Professor Vincent Wimbush, of California's Claremont Graduate University, who is an expert on ethnic interpretations of the Bible, says the matter of the historical colour of Jesus seems to him a "flat, dead-end issue".

"He's of Mediterranean stock, and it's quite clear what that means. We see people like that in the world today, and that should end the matter." The fact that the debate rages on regardless is fascinating, he says, because of what it says about people's other issues.

The artistic representations of Jesus which are so familiar are not necessarily a negative thing, Dr Goodacre says. There is "theologically something quite profound" in the fact that throughout history people have tried to depict Jesus in their own image.

"This is not a rough image of themselves people have been depicting. It's an ideal image of themselves, painting Jesus as something they are aspiring to.

"Things have changed a bit in recent culture because people are conscious of the need to be challenged by him and shocked. I think that's why in more contemporary representations, even those coming from a white, western background, people will think very carefully about the representation."

Even the world of film is catching up, albeit slowly. Robert Powell had famously piercing blue eyes in Jesus of Nazareth in 1977. And although Jim Caviezel, who played the lead in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, also has piercing blue eyes, by the time the film was shown they had miraculously become brown.

Logged

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."--Mere Christianity
Nacho
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: EasternOrthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,482

The face of Corporate America


« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2004, 12:33:48 AM »

Maybe like this....



[attachment deleted by admin]
Logged

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."--Mere Christianity
SamB
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 784

Crates of araq for sale! *hic*


« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2004, 03:00:02 AM »

Olive-skinned - a colour we are used to seeing in icons - seems to be the right description for a Semite like Jesus.  Black?  Not likely.  

Light-skinned?  Possibly.  'Typical' white with blonde hair? Uh uh.

Long hair?  I can't imagine Him without it.

In IC XC
Samer
« Last Edit: October 28, 2004, 03:01:37 AM by SamB » Logged
erracht
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 313


OC.net


« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2004, 07:16:52 AM »

I certainly see nothing ideologically wrong with Jesus being black, for your color of skin does not dictate how good or human you are. However, I think the arguments for this may be flawed. Would a 1st century Jew have black blood? I would think He looked like a Semite.

Take this into account: St. Luke is supposed to have painted ikons of the Blessed Virgin - Jesus' mother. One of these is supposed to be preserved at a museum in Cetinje, Montenegro. In it, the Theotokos (from what I remember seeing) looks much like in modern ikons. You get the feeling she was a Semite, and not a black woman. Now did St. Luke paint ikons of Christ Himself? If so, then our image of Jesus in ikons may well have been based on what He really looked like. I strongly suspect the image of Jesus in ikons is the correct one.
Logged

NULL
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2004, 08:12:35 AM »

The oldest icons depicting infant Jesus and the Theotokos with very dark complexions and perhaps kinky hair are correct - ever seen a "Sabra" (native) Hebrew today? Not that any of this matters.

Demetri
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
ania
Life according to Abe Simpson:
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,097



« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2004, 10:14:48 AM »

I have heard the theory many times that the modern image of Christ developed from this 7th century icon http://www.geographia.com/egypt/sinai/monart13.htm in St. Catherine's monastary in Egypt.  This imagine was rumored to have been a copy of the stains on the Shroud of Turin.  
Logically speaking Jesus could have been from from medium to dark, but definately not black, or that would most definately have been noted in the Bible.  Besides that, since the Jews consider themselves "the Chosen People" why would God send a gentile to teach them?  He wouldn't have been a Jew by religion either in that case.  He probably looked like a modern day Palestinian or Jew who's bloodlines have not been crossed with Europeans.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2004, 10:15:29 AM by ania » Logged

Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2004, 10:22:33 AM »

I've always been a fan of the Jesus with dreadlocks image that seems to populate the desks of my African-American working mates.

R
Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2004, 10:24:46 AM »

Rasta Jesus ya mon
Logged
Arystarcus
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Posts: 836


« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2004, 07:33:40 PM »

:rofl:
Logged
JoeS
(aka StMarkEofE)
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,122


Global Warming Enthusiast.


« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2004, 07:51:08 PM »

Jesus' divinity's color is the color of visible and invisible light.

Just my humble opinion.

JoeS
Logged
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,444


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2004, 08:22:18 PM »

i think it is alright for different cultures to represent Christ and the Theotokos as belonging to their race and culture. Christ at least embraced all of humanity in himself so what's the issue with that, as long as it doesn't become dogmatic?

Anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodo
SamB
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 784

Crates of araq for sale! *hic*


« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2004, 08:37:45 PM »

I agree.  But no one is suggesting it is wrong, to begin with.  I've seen some intriguing Chinese artistic depictions.  

Christ being beardless and sporting short hair is another matter altogether. Smiley

In IC XC
Samer

P.S. Edward Wong used to post here.  I'm sure he can show us some pictures online.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2004, 08:38:43 PM by SamB » Logged
Nacho
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: EasternOrthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,482

The face of Corporate America


« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2004, 02:57:50 AM »

Ahhhh man & this whole time I thought Jesus had blonde hair & blue eyes lol Grin
Logged

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."--Mere Christianity
Stavro
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,145



« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2004, 03:35:24 AM »

I do not think that color matters from a theological point of view.
But the Lord was Hebrew. However, not all Hebrews look the same or have the same complexions or features. David the King and Prophet was blonde, for example, but it is not characteristic.
Logged

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. (Isaiah 19:19)

" God forbid I should see the face of Judah or listen to his blasphemy" (Gerontius, Archmanidrite of the monastery of St. Melania)
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2004, 07:25:43 AM »

I do not think that color matters from a theological point of view.
But the Lord was Hebrew. However, not all Hebrews look the same or have the same complexions or features. David the King and Prophet was blonde, for example, but it is not characteristic.


I agree...it doesn't matter.
I agree about ALL Hebrews.
I still will go with the early iconic record.
 Smiley
Demetri
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Anastasios
Webdespota
Administrator
Merarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Old Calendarist
Posts: 10,444


Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina

anastasios0513
WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2004, 10:35:05 AM »

Another thing to examine is the aparitions of the Theotokos to various cultures. I am not sure how it works in Orthodoxy but when the Theotokos visited the fellow in Mexico and revealed Christianity to him, she appeared as an Indian.  I think this is highly sensitive and pastoral of God to allow this.

Anastasios
Logged

Please Buy My Book!

Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodo
CatholicEagle
Banned
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 255


HH St.Pius X, Pope of Rome, Ecumenical Pontiff


« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2004, 01:01:43 PM »

CHrist must be Polish. Whenever I look at the crucifix at my parish church, he looks like a Polish nobleman. Therefore he must be Polish.
Logged
Stavro
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,145



« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2004, 12:55:00 AM »

I agree...it doesn't matter.
I agree about ALL Hebrews.
I still will go with the early iconic record.
 Smiley
Demetri
I would go with the same. St.Luke has painted an icon of Christ, and it must have been the source of all other icons afterwards.
Quote
Another thing to examine is the aparitions of the Theotokos to various cultures. I am not sure how it works in Orthodoxy but when the Theotokos visited the fellow in Mexico and revealed Christianity to him, she appeared as an Indian.  I think this is highly sensitive and pastoral of God to allow this.
In her 1968 and 1984 aparitions in Egypt, the Lady of us all face could pass as many nationality.
I think God allows the aparition in the form the people of a specific place expect it.
For example, St.Filopateer, who is depicted in his icon holding two swords above his head while riding a horse, appears in the same form in his monastery. I do not believe he will spend the rest of the eternity in military garments and holding the two swords, but he appears this way because believers know him to be this way.
Logged

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. (Isaiah 19:19)

" God forbid I should see the face of Judah or listen to his blasphemy" (Gerontius, Archmanidrite of the monastery of St. Melania)
J
(another Justin)
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 144

OC.net


« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2004, 01:36:17 AM »

It's like in that movie "A Knight's Tale"

"The Pope may be French, but Jesus is English!"
Logged
penelope
If I love the sea and all that is sealike, and love it most when it angrily contradicts me...
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 134


OC.net


« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2004, 02:41:37 AM »

A fairly early slander against Jesus was that he was the son of a Roman soldier.  If this accusation goes back to the lifetime of Jesus (which, of course, we can't prove, but it's possible.  I imagine the pharisees would have come up with some story about Jesus' birth), it would seem to suggest that Jesus was somewhat pale for a Jew, although of course he still wouldn't be white.  Just an idea of mine, what do you think?
Logged

Let me love myself only if I love thee and do all things for thy sake.
SamB
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 784

Crates of araq for sale! *hic*


« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2004, 05:14:58 AM »

If the spectrum of colour in Palestine in those days was as broad as it is today, then Christ being less than dark olive-skinned would not be unusual.  I am such a Semite myself.

In IC XC
Samer
Logged
gphadraig
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 220

OC.net


« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2004, 06:25:01 AM »

What a wonderful distraction. God sends the God-man Jesus to call us all to repentance and life ever-lasting. Many of today's children do not know or care of His life-giving message and we idly speculate about where he might figure on a hypothetical colour chart?

He shared our humanity. A humanity we all share in common. He came to call all who would hear. None need go away from Him empty handed. And we? We quarrel, speculate and, maybe, lose sight of what was most precious. He came for all, died for all and rose again that we who embraced Him might live according to God's great mercy.

And if we were to meet Him would we know Him? The poor white  in prison, the black laying injured in the road or the blind white stranded at the side of the road. In going to each of these are we not taught by Christ Himself that we encounter Him, whether we assist or care for them or pass by?
Logged

Age is honourable and youth noble
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2004, 06:36:56 AM »

What a wonderful distraction.

Yes, that's what this is.  And that's all it is.  I don't think the following really applies:

Quote
And we? We quarrel, speculate and, maybe, lose sight of what was most precious. He came for all, died for all and rose again that we who embraced Him might live according to God's great mercy.

I don't really see anyone quarrelling about this.  Speculate, yes.  But losing sight of "the Point" because of something like this?  I truly doubt that any of us are spending time enough on this thread (though some, myself included, may spend too much time on the site from time to time  Embarrassed) for it to be considered damaging to our walk with the Lord.  This is a pretty tame and minor topic.  Take it easy.
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,787


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2004, 10:23:32 AM »

Of course it doesn't matter what "color" Our Lord was, and obviously He came in the flesh as a Semite, not a white European or a black African.

What I find ironic about this whole discussion is that usually the loudest howls of protest about portrayals of Our Lord as a Black man or a Native American (or whatever else) come from those people who have a white, blonde haired, Nordic looking Jesus on their desk at work.  Usually that picture of Our Lord praying in the Garden, some hokey last supper picture, or that famous one of Him staring off into the distance ("Head of Christ" or whatever).

Not that I'm accusing anyone here of that.  That has just been my experience as a general rule.  It seems that those people who have become comfortable with Christ in the image of a Western European can't stand to see Him portrayed as an African or whatever else.  But inaccurate is inaccurate, right?  The typical Protestant image of Christ as ol' blue eyes (do-be-do-be-do - with its roots in the Renaissance, etc.) is just as fallacious and laughable as the Rasta Christ, or the Christ with an Afro, or the Puerto Rican Christ I saw once in a mural (complete with sneakers!).

A fairly early slander against Jesus was that he was the son of a Roman soldier.  If this accusation goes back to the lifetime of Jesus (which, of course, we can't prove, but it's possible.  I imagine the pharisees would have come up with some story about Jesus' birth), it would seem to suggest that Jesus was somewhat pale for a Jew, although of course he still wouldn't be white.  Just an idea of mine, what do you think?

I don't know about this.  Depending on what region he was from, a Roman soldier may have been lighter or darker than the average Palestinian Jew.  I have friends from Sicily and Naples who are quite dark with quite curly hair.  Besides, I don't know that it can be proven that this particular slander goes back to the lifetime of Our Lord.  I have only heard it in the context of later blasphemers mocking the concept of the birth from a Virgin.  Besides, as Samer has mentioned, there is an incredible range of skin tones among Semitic peoples ranging from very dark to very light.  I don't think that a person who was half Roman would have stood out (especially since the Romans were Mediterranean themselves, not Norsemen or anything).  I don't see why anyone would feel the need to find a way for Our Lord to be lighter than most of the people in His region.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2004, 10:43:48 AM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

“Nothing is better than to realize one’s weakness and ignorance and nothing is worse than not to be aware of them.” - St. Peter of Damascus
HKelley
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 11


OC.net


« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2004, 09:57:21 PM »

It is interesting to note that the genealogy of Christ included Semites and Cushite blood at least through Hezekiah.  But when we stand before God, it won't be color that is the issue, but covenant relationship ratified by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!!!    I guess, this topic was entered for heightened interest Wink

Elder Helen Kelley
Logged
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 1,787


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2004, 10:36:48 AM »

Yes, that is true Helen.  Thank you for pointing this out! Smiley  I was blessed enough to attend a lecture by an Ethiopian Orthodox scholar on the genealogy of Our Lord.  He demonstrated how the bloodline of the Christ, while of course overwhelmingly Semitic, contains elements of Ham, Shem, and Japeth, thereby embracing and redeeming the entire family of man.  it was really a wonderful lecture.

Of course, the real question to everyone is: If Our Lord chose to come as a European, a West African, an East Asian, or a Martian, and offered you salvation, would you reject Him because of His so-called "race"?  If so, that would really be your eternal loss.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2004, 10:38:46 AM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

“Nothing is better than to realize one’s weakness and ignorance and nothing is worse than not to be aware of them.” - St. Peter of Damascus
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.096 seconds with 53 queries.