Sunday, April 13, 2014

Forensic description of a man from Jesus' time and place

Forensic scientists put together a description of what a typical rural Jewish male carpenter in Jesus' time may have looked like.

In God's providence, we do not know what Christ himself looked like, so excuse the attention-grabbing title of the article ("The Real Face of Jesus"). And I think it's just an assumption that he was a carpenter like his adoptive father, Joseph. One would expect an oldest son to follow in the footsteps of his father, but I don't think that would be a definite, especially in this case. Given his history, his innate skills (impressing temple rabbis at a tender age), and the way people address him, might his parents have had him trained as a rabbi? This  is an unconventional view, perhaps, but doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.

Whatever his early vocation, this forensic portrait is a picture of a vigorous, outdoor person (one who could travel widely on foot, preach for long periods to crowds while balancing in a boat, dandle children on his knee, turn over tables in the temple). Christ might not have looked like the slender, soft-skinned, fair man we see in children's Bibles.

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