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The Germanic looking Jesus - why is this?

  1. John Sarkis profile image84
    John Sarkisposted 5 years ago

    The Germanic looking Jesus - why is this?

    I've noticed that Mohamed is always portrayed as a Persian looking man; the Buddha is always portrayed as an Asian looking man; however, Jesus is sometimes portrayed as a Germanic looking man (Germanic Peoples  - English, Scottish, German, etc), even though he was supposedly a Semite.

  2. phdast7 profile image84
    phdast7posted 5 years ago

    Very interesting question.   I am certainly not a Biblical Scholar or theologian, but several historically based issues come to mind.   (1)   For a long time illustrations of Jesus tended to reflect the late medieval style in art and also  the style or styles dominant in Catholic Europe (olive skinned Mediterraneans, perhaps).   

    (2)   I am not personally familiar with the pictures in early protestant Bibles, most of which were originally printed in Germany, many thanks to Guttenberg and his students, but it is safe to assume that they probably reflected Germanic physical types since they were being printed and distributed in Germany and other countries (Scotland, England) which would soon be protestant. 

    (3)  The real key might lie with the King James Bible, KJV, published in 1611, in English which would have been the Bible most Protestant settlers of North America would have owned.   (between 650 and 1800 about 75% of the immigrants to the US were protestant)   So whatever pictures of Jesus appeared in the KJV, probably Germanic in appearance, would have become the dominant representation of Christ.

    However, there were and still are modern translations of the Bible (beginning in the mid twentieth century)  whose authors purposefully used illustrations that reflected the Semitic ethnicity and appearance of Jesus and his followers.

  3. Teylina profile image58
    Teylinaposted 5 years ago

    Have to put in my 2cnts. I, too, have often wondered why he is depicted the way he is. He was perfect: the son of the Almighty God of every person, Jewish to the bone by reason of prophetic heritage, and only 33 years old when he died. Yet, he is almost always depicted "Germanic" as I understand your meaning (Non-racial), emaciated to the body of an old man, and the face of one. Yes, what he went through is horrendous, but I cannot help but belief he was nothing like most of the pictures we're subject to. Even with his torture, he would appear much younger, Jewish and close to perfection beyond the torture.

    1. John Sarkis profile image84
      John Sarkisposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Malcolm X, harped on this question as well.  He said that Jesus may have actually looked like him?  Who knows, he may have been correct.