NOW YOU KNOW
The Biggest Myths About Jesus Christ
Was he really a pacifist? And what did he think about marriage? Oh, and there’s that whole thing about the color of his skin…
1. Jesus wasn’t tall and white.
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Jesus was not the light-haired blue-eyed icon of European art. The problem isn’t limited to European painters: Willem Dafoe, Robert Powell, and Diogo Morgado have all brought good looks and pale skin tones to modern portraits of the role. Historically speaking, it is likely that the average first-century male from Judea would have had dark hair, brown eyes, and dark skin tone. In addition, physical anthropologists estimate that the average male from the region is likely to have been around 5’ 4” and 136 pounds. Anthropologists like Jon Marks and Agustin Fuentes would also remind us that it’s inaccurate to project culturally-constructed categories of race into the first century. But if we were going to retroject the power that accompanies our modern racial categories into the first century, then we probably shouldn’t project those of the dominant group. After all, Jesus was a socially and politically disenfranchised man with tanned skin who was living under the hand of an oppressive foreign government. He didn’t enjoy the privileges of white men today.
2. Jesus was not the messiah the Jews expected.