Skip to comments.There are No Pictures of Jesus, Only Pictures of Ed.
Posted on 11/18/2010 4:14:21 AM PST by grassboots.org
Shane Vander Hart just posted an essay on depictions alleging to be of Jesus, asking if they are idolatry. But that is not the only question that should be asked. Another question relates to the ninth commandment: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness. So that I do not have to keep using the words "purported", "alleged" or "supposed" pictures of Jesus, let me say up front that I don't believe there are pictures of Jesus: whether paintings, children's drawings, movies, or statues. We simply have no idea what Jesus looked like. Oh, I suppose we assume he has a darker skin tone than a Norwegian, but even that is not certain. But have you noticed, otherwise, how much the pictures all look alike? Do all bearded Jews look the same today? A friend of mine calls them instead, pictures of Ed (which I will apply to the second command later below).
Suppose I took some picture of a random lady walking in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. And then I presented that picture to everyone as YOUR wife or mother. You would immediately be indignant, as you should. Ask any newspaper editor how quickly they will hear about it if the wrong picture accompanies an obituary. Or what if they put your picture in a news story saying this is what the armed robber looked like? Or the reverse. Suppose you won some award, but the picture they used in the news story was of Charles Manson? Have you noticed how many pictures of Ed resemble Charlie Manson?
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but what thousand words can I get from the picture on Shane's post? I honestly don't know what...
(Excerpt) Read more at caffeinatedtheology.com ...
This kind reminds me of Indiana Jones being told to choose among a multiple of chalices of different design and materials. He chose from the most ugliest and plainest cups and was correct in his choice. Christ was described in the Bible as plain...”he was not comely that he should be desired”. Imagine a bunch of depictions done of Christ over the years; of them I would imagine the plainest and rather ugliest might come close to what he looked like physically( Mike Roe?). What the disciples saw on the transfiguration mount however was orders of magnitude beyond anything we could imagine!
Interesting. The picture accompanying the article is obviously of a very deranged person. I didn’t know it was Charles Manson until the end.
I don’t think the depictions of Jesus particular resemble Charles Manson. They do not have those crazy eyes.
But you are right, we really don’t know what Jesus or anyone else of the period looked like. About all we can surmise is that he would have had the swarthy complection of the people indigenous to that area, and not the lighter complection of Europeans as he is always shown.
There are possibly pictures of Jesus (sort of). The shroud of turin and Victoria’s veil(?). Again just possibly.
Of course neither of them are photographic quality.
God created us as visual creatures. It is almost impossible for us to imagine something without giving it a form. I have an image of Jesus in my mind. When I pray that is who I am talking to. That is, to me that is what Jesus looks like.
It is impossible to have a picture of God as God is a spirit. It is possible to have a picture of Jesus as Jesus has a body. The problem is that it is impossible to know that our picture is exactly correct (that is, that our picture is an accurate depiction of Jesus’ physical appearance)
Do I worship an image of Jesus? no more than I love a picture of my (late) wife. I loved my wife, the picture just reminds me of that love. I worship Jesus. The picture just helps me focus that worship. I do not bow down to a picture (or statue etc). I know that it is just paper or stone or whatever. The image is no more sacred than a memo written on a post it note saying “remember to pray”
When we start venerating any physical object such as a picture of Jesus or the bible, then that object has become an idol to us. A picture of Jesus is just a picture, the (physical) bible is just paper and ink and perhaps leather. If you happen to drop your bible you are not going to be struck by lighting. God is not going to be angry with you. He’s more concerned that you get the WORD into you than how you treat the book that portrays that Word. (See what I mean?)
The Passion of the Christ was not idolatrous. Was it an accurate protrayal of Jesus? Some parts were. Mr Gibson tried to remain as close to the bible as he could (from what I understand). The rest he filled in. The film’s purpose was to remind people of Jesus’s suffering and death and ressurection and it served it’s purpose well.
Shroud of Turin
The beard, long hair, and hollow face are all based on biblical reasoning; the nose is Jewish.
Christ disappeared into any crowd, at least when he wasn’t preaching.
He didn’t stand out physically in any particularly unusual way. This is where those who theatrically try to imitate Jesus’ dress by wearing long hair, flowing robes, etc. go wrong.
If he were around today, he’d dress and act in public like an ordinary American.
Perhaps the best face of G-d is the one looking at you from the mirror.
“I don’t believe there are pictures of Jesus: whether paintings, children’s drawings, movies, or statues.”
The earliest icons were made about twenty years after Jesus died. Okay, granted they weren’t “pictures” as in photographs but they were done by people who could talk to those who knew Jesus.
I have read that it’s possible that Jesus had blue or green eyes, because people from the Galilee area at the time were noted for that. Of course there’s no way to know if it’s so, but it’s an interesting theory.
The Roman historian Tacitus writing about mid century AD had spoken to witnesses who had seen Jesus and wrote a description of Jesus as being about 69 inches in height, 175 pounds, and having blue grey eyes. He was said to be a little taller than average but otherwise had no other outstanding features looking like “most common male jews” of the period. Tacitus had been writing a work describing the various religions of the Empire as part of a “history” series of books that only a few volumes had survived, interestingly enough the work in which this description appeared. Tacitus was said to have met Mary for example.
So you are right about the plausibility of Christ having blue or green eyes.
“JESUS looked like the Son of GOD... I know this from the accounts of people that threw themselves at HIS feet, without fore knowledge of who HE was. ALL that believed saw HIM as such... and the SON of GOD will fill your soul with beauty... those that Love HIM see HIM as he truly is. It really is simple.
God’s “thumprint pressed into matter” often has that effect on people.
Amen brother. I am so unworthy but even I feel HIS love.
***The Roman historian Tacitus writing about mid century AD had spoken to witnesses who had seen Jesus and wrote a description of Jesus***
This is probably a middle age forgery as one of these discriptions appeared at that time to give artists a guideline as to how to paint Jesus.
About eighteen years ago Jan Crouch on the PTL channel was hawking these and if you sent in your money she would send you this “genuine discription of Jesus”. She was selling these as if they were snake oil!
I can’t stand that “word of faith”, “blab it and grab it” crud.
I wish I could remember where I read it, it was years ago, “BC”-before computers :)
Good article. Thanks for posting.
One could say that Tiger Woods looks like any ordinary golfer, but with his distinction and following, I'd doubt that he could disappear into a crowd.