In February, SelahAfrik brought you the story of Akiane Kramarik and Culton Burpo, Akiane had painted the portrait of Jesus based on inspiration and Culton identified the portrait as the closest semblance to what Jesus really looked like while He walked the earth.
A recent scientific finding that followed discovery from British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists has helped Richard Neave, a medical artist retired from the University of Manchester in England to shed more light on the appearance of Jesus using the field of science – Forensic Anthropology.
What’s interesting is when SelahAfrik compared Akiane’s portrait and what Neave’s discovery arrived at, there were ample number of similarities and following the facts of Neave’s discovery, the image may be the most accurate yet.
SelahAfrik is not publishing the story so as to affect anyone’s faith in Jesus Christ negatively but due to the fascination and curiosity of the greatest Man that ever walked the earth – Jesus Christ.
According to Popular Mechanics, In the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane before the Crucifixion, Judas Iscariot had to indicate to the soldiers whom Jesus was because they could not tell him apart from his disciples. Further clouding the question of what Jesus looked like is the simple fact that nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus described, nor have any drawings of him ever been uncovered.
With this in mind, It is clear that Jesus’ features were typical of Galilean Semites of his era. And so the first step for Neave and his research team was to acquire skulls from near Jerusalem, the region where Jesus lived and preached. Semite skulls of this type had previously been found by Israeli archeology experts, who shared them with Neave.
With three well-preserved specimens from the time of Jesus in hand, Neave used computerized tomography to create X-ray “slices” of the skulls, thus revealing minute details about each one’s structure. Special computer programs then evaluated reams of information about known measurements of the thickness of soft tissue at key areas on human faces. This made it possible to re-create the muscles and skin overlying a representative Semite skull.
The entire process was accomplished using software that verified the results with anthropological data. From this data, the researchers built a digital 3D reconstruction of the face. Next, they created a cast of the skull. Layers of clay matching the thickness of facial tissues specified by the computer program were then applied, along with simulated skin. The nose, lips and eyelids were then modeled to follow the shape determined by the underlying muscles.
Two key factors could not be determined from the skull—Jesus’s hair and coloration. To fill in these parts of the picture, Neave’s team turned to drawings found at various archeological sites, dated to the first century. Drawn before the Bible was compiled, they held crucial clues that enabled the researchers to determine that Jesus had dark rather than light-colored eyes. They also pointed out that in keeping with Jewish tradition, he was bearded as well.
It was the Bible, however, that resolved the question of the length of Jesus’s hair. While most religious artists have put long hair on Christ, most biblical scholars believe that it was probably short with tight curls. This assumption, however, contradicted what many believe to be the most authentic depiction: the face seen in the image on the famous—some say infamous—Shroud of Turin. The shroud is believed by many to be the cloth in which Jesus’s body was wrapped after his death. Although there is a difference of opinion as to whether the shroud is genuine, it clearly depicts a figure with long hair. Those who criticize the shroud’s legitimacy point to 1 Corinthians, one of the many New Testament books the apostle Paul is credited with writing. In one chapter he mentions having seen Jesus—then later describes long hair on a man as disgraceful. Would Paul have written “If a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him” if Jesus Christ had had long hair? For Neave and his team this settled the issue. Jesus, as drawings from the first century depict, would have had short hair, appropriate to men of the time.
Neave also had to turn to the height of Semite male who lived at the time of Jesus to determine what Jesus height could have been. He said his re-creation is simply that of an adult man who lived in the same place and at the same time as Jesus. As expected, not everyone agrees. While Alison Galloway, professor of anthropology at the University of California in Santa Cruz pointed out reasons why the portrait may not have been accurate saying that forensic depictions are not an exact science, she however concluded that Neave’s depiction “is probably a lot closer to the truth than the work of many great masters.”
Read more at PopularMechanics.com
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