Qual era a aparência de Jesus?

Jesus de Nazaré é, sem dúvida, o homem mais famoso que já existiu. Sua imagem está por toda parte. Ele é o tema de milhões de objetos devocionais e obras de arte.

Mas qual era a aparência de Jesus de Nazaré? Qual era a cor de sua pele? E sua altura? O que ele vestia?

Para responder a esta questão, já por outros abordada – confira a reconstrução digital feita pela BBC aqui e aqui -, a estudiosa das origens cristãs Joan E. Taylor examina, em livro recente, as evidências históricas e as imagens predominantes de Jesus na arte e na cultura.

Os evangelhos não dizem se ele era alto ou baixo, se bonito ou não, se frágil ou forte… À primeira vista, nada de especial o distinguia dos outros. Lucas 3,23 fala de sua idade apenas: “Ao iniciar o ministério, Jesus tinha mais ou menos trinta anos“, o que também é impreciso, sabemos hoje.

Em geral, não percebemos estas lacunas nos evangelhos porque, graças a todas as imagens de Jesus que temos, pensamos que conhecemos sua aparência. Mas o Jesus que reconhecemos tão facilmente é o resultado da história cultural. Será que se encontrássemos Jesus de Nazaré na rua, um judeu da Palestina do século I, seríamos capazes de reconhecê-lo?

Diz Joan E. Taylor em seu artigo What did Jesus really look like, as a Jew in 1st-century Judaea? (publicado em The Irish Times em 9 de fevereiro de 2018):

In the Gospels, he is not described, either as tall or short, good-looking or plain, muscular or frail. We are told his age, as “about 30 years of age” (Luke 3:23), but there is nothing that dramatically distinguishes him, at least at first sight.

We do not notice this omission of any description of Jesus, because we “know” what he looked like thanks to all the images we have. But the Jesus we recognise so easily is the result of cultural history. The early depictions of Jesus that set the template for the way he continues to be depicted today were based on the image of an enthroned emperor and influenced by presentations of pagan gods. The long hair and beard are imported specifically from the iconography of the Graeco-Roman world. Some of the oldest surviving depictions of Jesus portray him as essentially a younger version of Jupiter, Neptune or Serapis. As time went on the halo from the sun god Apollo was added to Jesus’s head to show his heavenly nature. In early Christian art, he often had the big, curly hair of Dionysus.

The point of these images was never to show Jesus as a man, but to make theological points about who Jesus was as Christ (King, Judge) and divine Son. They have evolved over time to the standard “Jesus” we recognise.

So can we imagine Jesus appropriately in terms of the evidence of the 1st century?

O livro

TAYLOR, J. E. What Did Jesus Look Like?  London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018, 288 p. – ISBN 9780567671509.

TAYLOR, J. E. What Did Jesus Look Like? London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018, 288 p.

Jesus Christ is arguably the most famous man who ever lived. His image adorns countless churches, icons, and paintings. He is the subject of millions of statues, sculptures, devotional objects and works of art. Everyone can conjure an image of Jesus: usually as a handsome, white man with flowing locks and pristine linen robes.

But what did Jesus really look like? Is our popular image of Jesus overly westernized and untrue to historical reality?

This question continues to fascinate. Leading Christian Origins scholar Joan E. Taylor surveys the historical evidence, and the prevalent image of Jesus in art and culture, to suggest an entirely different vision of this most famous of men.

Confira mais sobre o livro aqui e aqui.

Overall, then, we can arrive at a general image of Jesus as an average man: he was probably around 166 cm (5 feet 5 inches) tall, somewhat slim and reasonably muscular, with olive-brown skin, dark brown to black hair, and brown eyes. He was likely bearded (but not heavily, or with a long beard), with shortish hair (probably not well kept) and aged about 30 years old at the start of his mission. His precise facial features will, nevertheless, remain unknown.

A autora esboça uma imagem de Jesus mais ou menos assim: ele provavelmente tinha cerca de 1,66 m de altura, um pouco magro e razoavelmente musculoso, com a pele oliva, cabelo castanho escuro a preto e olhos castanhos. Ele provavelmente usava barba escura, curta e desleixada, e estava na faixa dos 30 anos no início de seu ministério. E se vestia de maneira muito simples. Suas características faciais precisas, no entanto, permanecem desconhecidas.

Jesus, em esboço de Joan Taylor, What Did Jesus Look Like? London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018, p. 192 (Figure 76)

Joan E. Taylor publicou recentemente dois artigos sobre este tema:

:. What did Jesus really look like, as a Jew in 1st-century Judaea? – The Irish Times: February 9, 2018

:. What did Jesus wear? – The Conversation: February 8, 2018

Joan E. Taylor é Professora de Origens Cristãs e Judaísmo do Segundo Templo no King’s College de Londres, Reino Unido.

Veja uma resenha do livro por Jim West, publicada em 09.02.2018, aqui.

Diz ele:

The title of the book poses a question:  what did Jesus look like?  At first blush it may seem that the aim of the book is to answer that question of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth but in fact the question, more fully stated, which this book addresses is far more comprehensive than merely wondering what Jesus of Nazareth looked like.  It wonders how Jesus has been imagined through the entire history of Christianity.  What did Jesus look like to the Byzantines?  What did he look like to Europeans?  How has he been portrayed in art and icon? The result of Taylor’s incisive study is a spectacular survey (…) Jesus, with lice…   This book is genius.  A term I am not used to using of books, or most authors and scholars.  But here it applies to both book and scholar.  Pure genius.  Read it and you’ll not regret a page of it.

Um tempo de magia e milagres: a aurora do cristianismo

Pesquisando as origens do cristianismo, este livro analisa por que foi que as pessoas,  primeiro na Judeia e, em seguida, no mundo mediterrâneo romano e grego, tornaram-se suscetíveis à nova religião. Robert Knapp procura respostas em uma ampla exploração de religião e vida cotidiana de 200 a.C. até o final do século primeiro d. C.

KNAPP, R. The Dawn of Christianity: People and Gods in a Time of Magic and Miracles. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017, XVI + 303 p. – ISBN 9780674976467.

KNAPP, R. The Dawn of Christianity: People and Gods in a Time of Magic and Miracles. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017, XVI + 303 p.

Exploring the origins of Christianity, this book looks at why it was that people first in Judea and then in the Roman and Greek Mediterranean world became susceptible to the new religion. Robert Knapp looks for answers in a wide-ranging exploration of religion and everyday life from 200 BC to the end of the first century.

Survival, honour and wellbeing were the chief preoccupations of Jews and polytheists alike. In both cases, the author shows, people turned first to supernatural powers. According to need, season and place polytheists consulted and placated vast constellations of gods, while the Jews worshipped and contended with one almighty and jealous deity.

Professor Knapp considers why any Jew or polytheist would voluntarily dispense with a well-tried way of dealing with the supernatural and trade it in for a new model. What was it about the new religion that led people to change beliefs they had held for millennia and which in turn, within four centuries of the birth of its messiah, led it to transform the western world? His conclusions are as convincing as they are sometimes surprising.

Robert Knapp is Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. Confira mais aqui.

Leia a resenha de Giovanni Alberto Cecconi, Università degli Studi Firenze, Italia – Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.02.20.