Home > Archaeology, History > An Early Beardless Jesus with Short Hair

An Early Beardless Jesus with Short Hair

October 7, 2014

Christ looks very different from later depictions:
he has no beard, his hair is not too long and he is wearing a philosopher’s toga

BBC is reporting:

Archaeologists in Spain say they have found one of the world’s earliest known images of Jesus. It is engraved on a glass plate dating back to the 4th Century AD, reports from Spain say.

The plate is believed to have been used to hold Eucharistic bread as it was consecrated in early Christian rituals. It measures 22cm in diameter and fragments of it were unearthed outside the southern Spanish city of Linares, ABC newspaper reports.

Scientists working for the FORVM MMX project found it inside a building used for religious worship in what remains of the ancient town of Castulo. The find made scientists "review the chronology of early Christianity in Spain", FORVM MMX project director Marcelo Castro told El Mundo newspaper.

[ . . . ]

El Mundo notes that Christ looks very different from later depictions: he has no beard, his hair is not too long and he is wearing a philosopher’s toga.

There is quite a bit on the FORVM MMX project Facebook timeline running back to September 30; There is a link to a YouTube uploaded October 1.

  1. daveb of wellington nz
    October 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    In the absence of any known reputable acheiropteios (not made by human hands) image of Christ, the cultural norm would have been to represent Christ and the saints according to the cultural norms of the artisan. The bearded Christ only seems to have become traditional following the emergence of the Image of Edessa around the sixth century. In an oriental culture, Christ would have been depicted with oriental features. I am acquainted with several Maori depictions of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, commonly wearing moko (facial tattoo) huia feather in the hair (signifying chieftainship), and wearing a feathered cloak (sign of royalty), notwithstanding known European depictions. The statues in the early colonial NZ churches normally had light Irish features, usually with blue eyes. Artisan’s motives are not solely religious, they are also (even subconsciously) culturally affirming.

    • October 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      I agree. Even if there is an “established” image, regional influence is often seen. Take for example the Guadalupe and the several depictions that color her skin darker than the stereotypical depictions of Mary.

    • Thomas
      October 8, 2014 at 1:40 am

      Interesting question as to why the bearded Jesus came to be.
      was it because of the mandylion / shroud…
      or was it because of the Greek influence (bearded equals wise).

  2. October 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Obviously a stylized depiction of Jesus the philosopher. So? This isn’t news except it is the earliest find of an image of Jesus (which is cool history, but has no bearing on the Shroud).

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