Forensic Expert Jesus: Christ’s Face Reconstructed From Ancient Skulls
A forensic expert claimed Jesus, aka the Lord of Lords, was tanned, had curly hair, and a thick beard – a far different image from what often appears in religious artworks. Richard Neave, a retired British forensic expert, was able to recreate the face of Jesus Christ by studying Semite skulls found in Israel.
According to a forensic expert, Jesus was not a Caucasian man with blonde hair, who apparently loved to surf. Richard Neave, a retired professor from the University of Manchester and the author of the book, Making Faces: Using Forensic and Archaeological Evidence, who is famous for recreating the 3D face of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III, has decided to focus his attention on Jesus.
The result is very surprising to some. Mr. Neave’s image of Jesus is a tanned – almost biracial colored man with curly hair, a very fuzzy and thick beard, and matching mustache. The expert thinks that Jesus had dark brown or black eyes, a wide face and was about 5ft 1 inch tall, and weighed around 110 lbs. Jesus was very muscular because he was a carpenter.
So, how did the medical artist come up with an image so different from the paintings by the great masters? Artists like Leonardo da Vinci had no physical description of Jesus, so they painted him in the likeness of a Roman man, pale with blonde hair and tall. However, Mr. Neave based his image on science.
Neave and his team studied skulls of Middle Eastern Jews found in the Galilee area of northern Israel using modern-day forensic techniques. Dr. Neave was able to use three Semite skulls from the time, which were unearthed by Israeli archeologists.
From this data, the experts built a 3D digital reconstruction of a face, and eventually made a cast of the skull and added layers of clay to match the thickness of facial tissues calculated by the program. To figure out the color of Jesus’ hair and eyes, the team leaned on helpful data – for example in the Gospel of Matthew, it is written that Jesus closely resembled his disciples.
Paul wrote: “If a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,” suggesting Jesus had short hair. Jesus trimmed his beard, in keeping with Jewish traditions at the time.