Forensic science just revealed the most realistic face of Jesus ever and it's far different than the fair-skinned, long-haired and blue-eyed Savior most of the Western world has grown accustomed to.
According to Esquire, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image of the face of Jesus in human history. And they have managed to do this as a result of forensic anthropology, which uses methods similar to those police have developed to solve crimes.
Richard Neave, a medical artist retired from The University of Manchester in England, is behind the project and he uses cultural references for the Bible to pin down certain specifics about how Jesus would have looked.
"Matthew's description of the events in Gethsemane offers an obvious clue to the face of Jesus. It is clear that his features were typical of Galilean Semites of his era. And so the first step for Neave and his research team was to acquire skulls from near Jerusalem, the region where Jesus lived and preached. Semite skulls of this type had previously been found by Israeli archeology experts, who shared them with Neave," said the report.
Using three well preserved specimens from the Time of Jesus and special computer programs, they were able to recreate a 3D version of Jesus.
Even with the help of the skulls, however, they were still unable to settle the question of Jesus' hair, his hair color as well as the length of it. But the Bible offered clues along with other data.
"Two key factors could not be determined from the skull — Jesus's hair and coloration. To fill in these parts of the picture, Neave's team turned to drawings found at various archeological sites, dated to the first century. Drawn before the Bible was compiled, they held crucial clues that enabled the researchers to determine that Jesus had dark rather than light-colored eyes. They also pointed out that in keeping with Jewish tradition, he was bearded as well," the report added.
"It was the Bible, however, that resolved the question of the length of Jesus's hair," it continued.
"While most religious artists have put long hair on Christ, most biblical scholars believe that it was probably short with tight curls. This assumption, however, contradicted what many believe to be the most authentic depiction: the face seen in the image on the famous — some say infamous — Shroud of Turin. The shroud is believed by many to be the cloth in which Jesus's body was wrapped after his death," said the report which pointed to 1 Corinthians for clues.
"Although there is a difference of opinion as to whether the shroud is genuine, it clearly depicts a figure with long hair. Those who criticize the shroud's legitimacy point to 1 Corinthians, one of the many New Testament books the apostle Paul is credited with writing. In one chapter he mentions having seen Jesus — then later describes long hair on a man as disgraceful," the reported noted. "Would Paul have written 'If a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him' if Jesus Christ had had long hair? For Neave and his team this settled the issue. Jesus, as drawings from the first century depict, would have had short hair, appropriate to men of the time."