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What Jesus looked like: Imagination plus the Shroud of Turin

imageEffie Caldarola, regular columnist for Catholic Anchor, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Anchorage writes:

Years ago for this column, I wrote a story about a man who purported to “reconstruct” the face of Christ by using scientific measurements to produce the typical 33-year-old Jewish male of Christ’s period. The resulting picture was nothing like the Christ I would conceive – it seemed flat and lacked sensitivity.

After my column ran with the “picture” of Jesus that the man had created, someone wrote to say that we don’t have to wonder how Jesus looked – we know, because we have the Shroud of Turin. I discovered that that’s an interesting concept in terms of art history. From early times, there was controversy surrounding depicting Christ because Christians professed his divinity and the Law of Moses had forbidden making images of God.

But soon, some portraits of Christ were purported to be produced by the body of Christ itself and used as prototypes. One was the Veil of Veronica, another something called the Mandylion of Edessa, and later the Shroud of Turin itself. (Google them – it’s intriguing.)

Although I’ve never had the privilege of viewing the actual Shroud, the pictures I’ve seen of it don’t suggest a portrait – rather, the vague imprint of a dead man in repose, perhaps after great abuse. Even if we accept that the controversial Shroud is the death image of Jesus, it still leaves a great deal to the imagination to wonder what the living Christ looked like.

Full article: Catholic Anchor Online » The faces of Jesus Christ

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