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Monday 19 April |
Saint of the Day: Pope Saint Leo IX

Don’t Be Fooled. That Story About the “Real Face of Jesus”? It’s Old News.

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/15/15

This story is hurtling around the interwebs this week—no doubt because Christmas is close:

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.

His portrait shows the Son of God may have had a wide face, dark eyes, a bushy beard and short curly hair, as well as a tanned complexion.

You’ll find multiple storiesabout this on social media andvarious websites.

But when I saw this popping up on Facebook, I thought the face looked vaguely familiar—and not at all new.

Sure enough, a little Googling revealed that this is warmed-over material from 13 years ago. Someone evidently decided to dust this off and send it around again.

This report first surfaced in Popular Mechanics (yes, you read that right) and various other media in 2002:

The Jesus pictured on the cover of this month’s Popular Mechanics has a broad peasant’s face, dark olive skin, short curly hair and a prominent nose. He would have stood 5-foot-1-inch tall and weighed 110 pounds, if the magazine is to be believed. This representation is quite different from the typical lithe, long-haired, light-skinned and delicate-featured depiction of the man Christians consider the son of God. Israeli and British forensic anthropologists and computer programmers got together to create the face featured in the 1.2-million circulation magazine, which occasionally veers from its usual coverage of motors and tools to cover the merger of science and religion. “What did Jesus look like?” the article asks. “An answer has emerged from an exciting new field of science: forensic anthropology.”

I’m not quite sure where this “new” story originated, or why. But people who think this is some sort of breakthrough can relax. It’s not.

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