From numerous religious paintings and icons our subconscious has formed an image of Jesus mostly as a handsome, thin figure with long hair and dressed in loose robes. Most film portrayals show him as fair-skinned and, sometimes, with piercing, blue eyes.The likelihood is that most of those presumptions were not correct and the real-life, historic Jesus looked much different.While I am not a gospel scholar, I take it that the academics are correct when they tell us that the gospels give very little information about his appearance.
In a new book, ‘What Did Jesus Look Like’, Joan Taylor from King’s College London searches for the truth. Perhaps, she says, the Evangelists thought Jesus looked so normal that there was nothing special to say!She believes Jesus was an artisan and wanderer who probably wore a calf-length tunic of plain, unbleached linen bound at the waist with a thin stripe of colour down each side of the chest. He would also most likely have worn a mantle over the left shoulder. Men of Jesus’s day wore short hair above their tunic with a short-trimmed beard at most and it is likely he conformed to that look.
Ms Taylor believes that present-day people most closely related in their genes to the Jews of Jesus’s day are the modern Jews in Iraq. She also thinks a mosaic of Christ in the Domitilla Catacombs in Rome is probably the closest image there is of the real-life Jesus.