Put This Jesus in Your Church?

Forensic Jesus on Vimeo.

Forensic Jesusby Paul Alexander

As you know, Jesus was not European or white. Jesus was Middle Eastern and Jewish, of African and Canaanite descent. Back in 2002 a forensic artist used Semite skulls found in Israel to reconstruct the face and head of what a first-century male from Palestine would most probably have looked like.

Jesus possibly looked something like the image above. Definitely more like this than the Euro-American Jesuses that hang in so many churches, which are basically untruths – like Warner Salman’s Head of Christ.
White Jesus

I propose that every church in the world that has a picture or painting of Jesus print out a high quality print of the Forensic Jesus, frame it beautifully, and hang it next to the European Jesus (or whatever Jesus you have displayed). I’m not suggesting that you take the European Jesuses down (although you certainly can) but that you simply call it a European Jesus rather than “Jesus” or “Christ.” And feel free to hang many pictures of Jesus in your church, identifying each of them according to the culture that produced them, especially the ‘white’ ones. Because, as you know, Jesus wasn’t white, and as Jesus said, “the truth shall set you free.”

If you do this, please let us know by commenting here, and please share this idea with all your friends, family, colleagues, and enemies. Our goal is to have the Forensic Jesus displayed in one million churches, one church at a time.

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4 Responses

  1. Katey Hage says:

    I would love to have permission to use the diverse images of Jesus in our kids ministry at Quest Church in Seattle, WA! Can you connect me with direct sources to either purchase the images or have permission to share them?

  2. Angela C Illingworth says:

    If you have the privilege to travel in the name of JESUS, all cultures embrace HIM artistically with the physical features of their own people. Although you are quite right about HIS biological physical characteristics, each culture wants a representation of who they see in their mind’s eye.

  3. rob g says:

    Thanks for posting about the forensic Jesus. While I value representations of Jesus from different cultures, the reality is that the dominant image of Jesus is of a white European Jesus which feeds into white supremacy and is the antithesis of the Jesus of the Gospels.

    I have one comment, based partly on feedback I got when I sent the link and idea to some people in my church. The image was made by a scientist and is depicted in an emotionally neutral kind of way. No problem with that for science, but as a follower of Jesus, the picture isn’t really endearing. He doesn’t look friendly, he isn’t smiling. Instead, he looks kind of stunned or as if he’s getting his driver’s license photo.

    I think you’d have a much better chance of churches putting up the picture if the facial expression were different.

    That being said, it has gotten some conversation happening at our church, and one of the board members has proposed doing an exhibit of the faces of Jesus from around the world, which would be great.

    Best regards,

    rob g

  4. watkec says:

    You may want to check out this source for helpful information on the topic: Images of Jesus.

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