Friday, December 25, 2015

Forensic reconstruction of Jesus' face? No.

'TIS THE SEASON: Jesus Christ’s ‘face’ recreated utilizing Semite skulls by Richard Neave.
Is this the REAL face of Jesus? Forensic experts use ancient Semite skulls to reveal what Christ may have looked like

He may be shown as a Caucasian man with long, flowing light brown hair in many religious artworks, but Jesus would have likely had a darker complexion and short, dark, curly hair, a forensic expert claims.

Retired medical artist Richard Neave has recreated the face of ‘Jesus’ by studying Semite skulls using modern-day forensic techniques.

This is an old story that is obviously being recycled for Christmas, but I don't think I have noted it before. The actual story is this:
The team analysed skeletal remains of Semite men from the time of Jesus to come up with the average build of a Jewish man living in Galilee.
So this is an interesting project of forensic reconstruction that gives us a vaguely averaged idea of what an ancient Galilean man might have looked like (assuming the skulls were from the Galilee, which is implied but not stated). Only vaguely averaged, because any averaging of this type that would have statistical significance would need a lot more than three samples. There is no particular reason to think that their reconstruction looks very much like Jesus looked. We already knew he wasn't blond with blue eyes. Related thematic and seasonal post here.

And now after the above was composed, Professor Joan Taylor has published the following with the BBC: What did Jesus really look like? That forensic reconstruction comes up briefly, but she also discusses his likely hair and beard style and clothing style, as well as the origins of the idea of Jesus as the bearded longhair wearing a long robe.