Scientists claim to have determined what Jesus looked like

British scientist Richard Neave used forensic facial reconstruction to reveal what he believes to be a true depiction of the face of Jesus Christ. While the image should not be taken as a definitive model of Jesus, it is a historically accurate representation of how a man born in Jesus’s time and place would have looked.

Of the hundreds of thousands of words written in the Bible, not one gives an accurate description of how Christ looked. And without any firsthand descriptions of Jesus’s appearance to work with either, we’ve long been forced to rely on various artists’ personal interpretations — hence the lean, long-haired Christ so many of us have become familiar with. However, experts have emphasized this depiction is an entirely inaccurate representation of what a man from Jesus’s era may have looked like.

Based on historical records, Jesus Christ was from Galilee, a northern region in what is now modern day Israel. In order to get a better picture of Jesus’s face, Neave, a medical artist who retired from the University of Manchester in England, analyzed three skulls of Galilean Semites from Christ’s era, Popular Mechanics reported. Although the actual image was created three years ago, the picture has recently recirculated the Internet. No doubt, just in time for Christmas.

Neave used the skulls to create a computerized map of the facial structures each man once had. These images were used to create a 3D cast of a typical Galilean skull from the era. Then, using specialized computer programs, Neave recreated muscles and skin out of clay to match the thickness of human facial tissue and to cover the casts of the skull. Once Neave applied simulated skin, a nose, lips, and eyelids to the model, the face began to take shape.

The image’s hair style and coloring was based off drawings from various archeological sites dating back to Christ’s time period. In addition, the image was given a beard, since having one was a popular Jewish tradition at the time. Perhaps one of the most conflicting features of the new image, however, is his hair.

Most images of Christ portray a man with long straight hair. However, not only was this hairstyle uncommon among men at the time, it was even described in the Bible by the apostle Paul as being disrespectful — it’s highly unlikely Paul, being such a devoted follower, would say this about Christ. Most scholars, according to Popular Mechanics, therefore believe Christ to have had short, tight curls instead.

Gone are the lean features of the classic Christ. Instead the image is more muscular and weather-beaten, traits that Neave believes are more fitting of a Jewish carpenter from the first century. What’s more, Neave also suggested Christ was about 5-foot-1 and 110 pounds — the size of the average man from the time period.

While we will likely never know exactly how Christ looked, other scholars agree Neave’s depiction is more historically accurate than those found in Christian children’s books.

Shape-Shifting Jesus Described in Ancient Egyptian Text


A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before.

Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus’ crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text — and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline.

The discovery of the text doesn’t mean these events happened, but rather that some people living at the time appear to have believed in them, said Roelof van den Broek, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who published the translation in the book “Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ”(Brill, 2013).

Copies of the text are found in two manuscripts, one in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City and the other at the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Most of the translation comes from the New York text, because the relevant text in the Pennsylvania manuscript is mostly illegible.

Pontius Pilate has dinner with Jesus

While apocryphal stories about Pilate are known from ancient times, van den Broek wrote in an email to LiveScience that he has never seen this one before, with Pilate offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus.

“Without further ado, Pilate prepared a table and he ate with Jesus on the fifth day of the week. And Jesus blessed Pilate and his whole house,” reads part of the text in translation. Pilate later tells Jesus, “well then, behold, the night has come, rise and withdraw, and when the morning comes and they accuse me because of you, I shall give them the only son I have so that they can kill him in your place.”

In the text, Jesus comforts him, saying, “Oh Pilate, you have been deemed worthy of a great grace because you have shown a good disposition to me.” Jesus also showed Pilate that he can escape if he chose to. “Pilate, then, looked at Jesus and, behold, he became incorporeal: He did not see him for a long time …” the text read.

Pilate and his wife both have visions that night that show an eagle (representing Jesus) being killed.

In the Coptic and Ethiopian churches, Pilate is regarded as a saint, which explains the sympathetic portrayal in the text, van den Broek writes.

The reason for Judas using a kiss

In the canonical bible the apostle Judas betrays Jesus in exchange for money by using a kiss to identify him leading to Jesus’ arrest. This apocryphal tale explains that the reason Judas used a kiss, specifically, is because Jesus had the ability to change shape.

“Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man …” This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him. If Judas had given the arresters a description of Jesus he could have changed shape. By kissing Jesus Judas tells the people exactly who he is.

This understanding of Judas’ kiss goes way back. “This explanation of Judas’ kiss is first found in Origen [a theologian who lived A.D. 185-254],” van den Broek writes. In his work, Contra Celsum the ancient writerOrigen, stated that “to those who saw him [Jesus] he did not appear alike to all.”

St. Cyril impersonation

The text is written in the name of St. Cyril of Jerusalem who lived during the fourth century. In the story Cyril tells the Easter story as part of a homily (a type of sermon). A number of texts in ancient times claim to be homilies by St. Cyril and they were probably not given by the saint in real life, van den Broek explained in his book.

Near the beginning of the text, Cyril, or the person writing in his name, claims that a book has been found in Jerusalem showing the writings of the apostles on the life and crucifixion of Jesus. “Listen to me, oh my honored children, and let me tell you something of what we found written in the house of Mary …” reads part of the text.

Again, it’s unlikely that such a book was found in real life. Van den Broek said that a claim like this would have been used by the writer “to enhance the credibility of the peculiar views and uncanonical facts he is about to present by ascribing them to an apostolic source,” adding that examples of this plot device can be found “frequently” in Coptic literature.

Arrest on Tuesday

Van den Broek says that he is surprised that the writer of the text moved the date of Jesus’ Last Supper, with the apostles, and arrest to Tuesday. In fact, in this text, Jesus’ actual Last Supper appears to be with Pontius Pilate. In between his arrest and supper with Pilate, he is brought before Caiaphas and Herod.

In the canonical texts, the last supper and arrest of Jesus happens on Thursday evening and present-day Christians mark this event with Maundy Thursday services. It “remains remarkable that Pseudo-Cyril relates the story of Jesus’ arrest on Tuesday evening as if the canonical story about his arrest on Thursday evening (which was commemorated each year in the services of Holy Week) did not exist!” writes van den Broek in the email.

A gift to a monastery … and then to New York
About 1,200 years ago the New York text was in the library of the Monastery of St. Michael in the Egyptian desert near present-day al-Hamuli in the western part of the Faiyum. The text says, in translation, that it was a gift from “archpriest Father Paul,” who, “has provided for this book by his own labors.”

The monastery appears to have ceased operations around the early 10th century, and the text was rediscovered in the spring of 1910. In December 1911, it was purchased, along with other texts, by American financier J.P. Morgan. His collections would later be given to the public and are part of the present-day Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. The manuscript is currently displayed as part of the museum’s exhibition “Treasures from the Vault” running through May 5.

Who believed it?

Van den Broek writes in the email that “in Egypt, the Bible had already become canonized in the fourth/fifth century, but apocryphal stories and books remained popular among the Egyptian Christians, especially among monks.”

Whereas the people of the monastery would have believed the newly translated text, “in particular the more simple monks,” he’s not convinced that the writer of the text believed everything he was writing down, van den Broek said.

“I find it difficult to believe that he really did, but some details, for instance the meal with Jesus, he may have believed to have really happened,” van den Broek writes. “The people of that time, even if they were well-educated, did not have a critical historical attitude. Miracles were quite possible, and why should an old story not be true?”

Ohio man claims to see image of Christ in bird dropping on car windshield

bird christ

The picture was taken by Jim Lawry.

Lawry was in the driveway of his parent’s Brooklyn, Ohio, home when he noticed the spot left behind by a passing bird. A closer look gave him quite a surprise and left him amazed.

Lawry’s son, parents and friends all came out to look. They too were amazed.

In an email to NewsChannel5, Lawry said he believed it was some sort of sign and wanted to share.

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Face of Jesus found in tree stump

The bearded face was discovered on the remains of a tree in Belfast City Cemetery, which was cut last week.

It has attracted local attention, and now the image has been captured on video and posted online by Belfast man Sean Osborne.

Mr Osborne went to the cemetery to investigate after his friend, who had been working in the area, spotted what he believed to be the Son of God’s face.

“Lots of people have been to see it and one woman has been there saying the rosary at the stump.

“It really is mounting in terms of curiosity,” he told UTV.

“You can feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you really need to see it for yourself.”

The tree was growing in the grave of a young girl called Rebecca Steven, who was buried in August 1916.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said the image was uncovered during general tree maintenance.

“People have said there’s a likeness to Jesus Christ on the stump,” she added.

The council did not comment on how the image appeared, and Sean said he was not sure either.

“Being a sceptic I’ve been down and scrubbed at it, but you can’t really tell how it got to be there. But I put it on YouTube to let people make up their own mind.

“If someone has painted it on, they’ve done a really good job and kept quiet.

“I don’t really know what I saw, but it will be interesting to see how it pans out,” he explained.