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satanic witch
11 Jun 2014, 09:34
OK so I've been thinking if Jesus lived in Bethlehem and the surrounding area then why is he depicted as a white man along with some other people in the bible? Wouldn't they actually look more like the modern day Muslim and be brown rather then white . This is just something that bugs me.

Jacob
11 Jun 2014, 09:54
Because racism is a thing

thalassa
11 Jun 2014, 09:57
Because Christianity, as it is observed in Western nations, developed and became modern in a European context.


To be fair, he isn't always (and hasn't always been) depicted as white.


People tend to think of their gods as being like them.

Doc_Holliday
11 Jun 2014, 10:46
Yeah I don't think its too sinister really. When Europe was undiverse they portrayed him as the ideal caring peaceful looking white man, being relatable is a good thing.

Historyforall
11 Jun 2014, 10:56
This reminds me of the meme of how the fuck did jesus find people named matthew, mark, luke and john in the middle east.

My Italian grandmother had a very olive skin Jesus on her wall. Some African American churches have more darker skinned pictures in their churches.

I believe the popular Jesus picture we are used to were developed during the crusades (not positive if that is accurate will follow up).

Of course the world was smaller than we think he may have been a light skinned person, lots of the Jewish culture were noted as being of lighter skin than others of that region.

Quetzal
11 Jun 2014, 11:37
I watched a documentary a while back about the evolution of Jesus' appearance. My memory is a little fuzzy since it was a while ago, but they said he was originally portrayed (in the west) as much more feminine, that he might appeal more to women (prior to Mary's invention), since it was monotheistic with a male god. Even had breasts if I remember correctly. The beard came later, ripped from Zeus.

I'm sure I'm butchering the facts here, but I can't remember the name of the doco. It was on BBC 4.

EDIT: Aha! Found it. The Dark Ages: an Age of Light, episode 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiQwfSA6dks

Roknrol
11 Jun 2014, 11:50
Malcolm X noted the same anomaly. History is written by the winners, but the artists have a say too. People paint/draw/sculpt what they know, so white folks tend to think of the world in white folks terms, and black folks tend to do the same. Further, just a few hundred years ago actual Bibles weren't exactly easy to come by, so descriptions were left up to the clergy, and...well...they think they have artistic license as well :P

Christ was apparently described as having "Bronze skin" with "hair of wool"...doesn't sound "white" to me. Of course, we "know" he was Jewish, so that's a little closer...and rumor has it that the "immaculate conception" was really the result of a tryst with a Roman Soldier. So yeah...he'd probably have been a bit darker if he existed.

In the context of the religion, he'd probably be turning over on his cross if he though people were concerned about the color of his skin rather than his message though :p

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This reminds me of the meme of how the fuck did jesus find people named matthew, mark, luke and john in the middle east.Um...these are some of the oldest names in civilization...keep in mind that "similar" names (like the Scottish, Ian is actually the same as John) exist in a lot of different cultures.

What always concerned me was that IIRC with the exceptions of Mark and John, most of the Bible is attributed to an individual with very little evidence. Sort of like saying, "Well, this song kind of sounds like something Weird Al would write, so it must be him." In my mind this doesn't lend much credibility to the background.


I believe the popular Jesus picture we are used to were developed during the crusades (not positive if that is accurate will follow up). I believe you are correct - most notably Michelangelo, who didn't much care for painting and wasn't Christian, but had to pay the Bills. The Fresco's are entirely done up in the style of "People that I personally know" and "Subtle things I can do to piss off the church". Not bad for a sell-out.


Of course the world was smaller than we think he may have been a light skinned person, lots of the Jewish culture were noted as being of lighter skin than others of that region.Complexions change in a relatively short period of time on the evolutionary scale, and for a variety of reasons only some of which are biological. Hell, he could have had vitalago or however you spell it.

anubisa
11 Jun 2014, 14:17
I grew up going to Catholic school. Jesus was shown as a white man. The saints were as well and some other bible characters. I don't know why they show Jesus as a white man, but it doesn't make sense. In a way, I agree with Jacob. I think racism is part of it.

Roknrol
11 Jun 2014, 14:25
Oooh...I know, we all hate Wikipedia. Whatever.


In explaining the development of racial theories in the context of scripture, Colin Kidd, in his book The forging of races, argues that the assignment of race to biblical individuals has been a mostly subjective practice based on cultural stereotypes and societal trends rather than on scientific methods.[9] Kidd reviews a number of theories about the race of Jesus, ranging from a white Aryan Jesus to a black African Jesus, illustrating that there is no general agreement among scholars on the race of Jesus.[32]From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_appearance_of_Jesus - moderately interesting, but I didn't really see anything listed there that hasn't been mentioned here.

satanic witch
11 Jun 2014, 15:49
I knew that when it hit Europe but I just find it weird that people worship this Jesus but it looks totally different then the actual Jesus and yeah racism seems like a cause

Doc_Holliday
11 Jun 2014, 16:38
I still think Europeans making Jesus look white was not done with sinister cackling intentions. Europe was definitely mostly white. The church was trying to spread their religion as much as possible and making him white and soft looking made him look like a realistic person that you even might have seen before. I think its easy for us to moral high road and say "Well this was bad and racist and we know better." But if we were all villagers in Medieval France/England etc. We would not want an ethnic Jesus to represent our huge white empires. Nobody was asked to be accepting of diversity, so hardly anybody was. We do know better now, fortunately. Just the old image of white Jesus stuck.

thalassa
12 Jun 2014, 04:28
I still think Europeans making Jesus look white was not done with sinister cackling intentions.

(snip)

We do know better now, fortunately. Just the old image of white Jesus stuck.

^This.

Look, this dichotomy between how life was 100, 200, 1000 years ago in what we think of as history vs. how life is now, today.......its not modern people in colonial orrenaissanceor medieval clothing and scenery...these people had colonial and renaissance and medieval attitudes, thoughts, and values too.

Judging them, and judging their ideas and accomplisments by our modern standards and concepts is incredibly conceited.

Ever hear of ethnocentrism? Cultural evolution makes going back in time just as different as a culture as biological evolution makes us a different species from neanderthals... And moreso, since cultural evolution is much swifter.

LunarHarvest
12 Jun 2014, 06:34
I agree with Doc_Holliday and thalassa. It isn't likely, in my opinion, that there was any racist intentions behind the initial portrayal of Jesus as white. Just as there is not likely any racist intentions of different cultures portraying him as Asian, or others as African. The appearance is simply what people were most familiar with, and so it served as something of a default in portraying the appearance of Jesus.

B. de Corbin
12 Jun 2014, 08:25
Vague recollection from art history -

The earliest images known to be Jesus were done by Greeks. He looks a lot like the Greek images of Dionysus, complete with grape vine imagery.


Whatever this may mean in a cosmic sense, it looks to me, from my mundane viewpoint, as if Jesus was depicted as something familiar. You might just as we'll ask why Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was originally produced with Roman
characters in Elizabethan dress.

Roknrol
12 Jun 2014, 08:52
This is what he looks like to me:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chaplainclutch.com% 2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2013%2F02%2FJesusBiker.gif&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chaplainclutch.com%2Fpa ge%2F2%2F&h=245&w=381&tbnid=2dYi2BYD4t8O0M%3A&zoom=1&docid=CD_Lr4vhrKfl1M&ei=a9qZU-WHJs6gogSV4oDoCg&tbm=isch&client=ubuntu&ved=0CCcQMygLMAs&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1373&page=1&start=0&ndsp=20

Alienist
13 Jun 2014, 06:44
I felt that he probably looked like any typical middle eastern jew at the time, brown skin, black hair and so on. Usually depicted with a white robe but he might have worn something else, too.

anubisa
14 Jun 2014, 01:15
This is what he looks like to me:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chaplainclutch.com% 2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2013%2F02%2FJesusBiker.gif&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chaplainclutch.com%2Fpa ge%2F2%2F&h=245&w=381&tbnid=2dYi2BYD4t8O0M%3A&zoom=1&docid=CD_Lr4vhrKfl1M&ei=a9qZU-WHJs6gogSV4oDoCg&tbm=isch&client=ubuntu&ved=0CCcQMygLMAs&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1373&page=1&start=0&ndsp=20

I like that picture. Jesus would be a cool biker.

jcaternolo
16 Aug 2014, 18:14
My belief is that if Jesus is God, he's capable of appearing as any race to people. Although I picked that belief up from my days of following Novus Spiritus (it's Gnosticism without the extra beliefs regarding psychic gifts and some extra stuff from other beliefs thrown in)

Azvanna
18 Aug 2014, 01:37
This reminds me of the meme of how the fuck did jesus find people named matthew, mark, luke and john in the middle east.

Haha! I think that's funny. A nice commentary on how what once would have been outside influence can become so ingrained within a culture that it eventually becomes a part of it. Much the same as our white Jesus!

I was reading a section in 'Liberating the Gospels' by Rev. Shelby Spong that touched on this topic. He suggests that Christianity became heavily Romanised over time and so adopted a Romanised depiction of Jesus that denies Christianity's Jewish heritage.

Malflick
26 Sep 2014, 07:25
There is a stark difference between Jesus of Nazareth, a dude chilling out in 1st Century Judea who got executed for sedition against the Roman government, and Jesus the Christ, who died for the sins of all humanity.

Honestly I'm with Muslim Scholar Reza Aslan on this one: Jesus the Christ, being a supernatural being is no one race. If you go throughout the world you'll find Jesus being portrayed as the ethnicity of the people who are worshiping him time after time. American Black Jesus, Korean Jesus, African Jesus, Japanese Jesus, the different White Jesuses of Europe and America (and there are some striking differences between them, lumping them all together is a mistake as well), middle eastern Jesus, etc etc etc.

While Jesus of Nazareth was a man, Jesus Christ is beyond flesh and blood, and is whatever people need him to be. Drawing Jesus Christ as the ethnicity of those worshiping him is par for the course.

This does of course leave open a question of when portraying Jesus as the Christ rather than the man is okay, and it doesn't stop the problem of white Jesus being massively over-saturated thanks to the power majority white nations have in the media, reducing the frequency people see other Jesuses.

anunitu
26 Sep 2014, 07:29
Just think about this: Some people(maybe not you) just might think Jesus looks just like Elvis......on a black velvet painting...(Just saying)

Medusa
26 Sep 2014, 20:33
There is a stark difference between Jesus of Nazareth, a dude chilling out in 1st Century Judea who got executed for sedition against the Roman government, and Jesus the Christ, who died for the sins of all humanity.

Honestly I'm with Muslim Scholar Reza Aslan on this one: Jesus the Christ, being a supernatural being is no one race. If you go throughout the world you'll find Jesus being portrayed as the ethnicity of the people who are worshiping him time after time. American Black Jesus, Korean Jesus, African Jesus, Japanese Jesus, the different White Jesuses of Europe and America (and there are some striking differences between them, lumping them all together is a mistake as well), middle eastern Jesus, etc etc etc.

While Jesus of Nazareth was a man, Jesus Christ is beyond flesh and blood, and is whatever people need him to be. Drawing Jesus Christ as the ethnicity of those worshiping him is par for the course.

This does of course leave open a question of when portraying Jesus as the Christ rather than the man is okay, and it doesn't stop the problem of white Jesus being massively over-saturated thanks to the power majority white nations have in the media, reducing the frequency people see other Jesuses.

I read his book. It was full of awesomeness!

Azvanna
28 Sep 2014, 03:44
Spinning off from Mal's quote.. honestly I don't think people really thought about Jesus' ethnicity when they painted him. Of course he looks like me!

Dumuzi
28 Sep 2014, 05:50
Because people who look like Jesus are evil, how can he look like them?!

Munin-Hugin
28 Sep 2014, 06:05
Just think about this: Some people(maybe not you) just might think Jesus looks just like Elvis......on a black velvet painting...(Just saying)

Now I want to see a velvet painting of dogs, Elvis, and Jesus all sitting together at a table playing poker.

Malflick
28 Sep 2014, 07:33
Because people who look like Jesus are evil, how can he look like them?!

I'd actually put this down more to the insular nature of culture before mass communication. When Jesus was spread to India very early on, and then the Indian Christians were left totally without contact from the Western world, Jesus became very Indian and decidedly not-white. Jesus the Christ has been adapted to any culture he's been in, and those ancient cultures left behind long traditions of artwork depicting Jesus in the manner of their culture.In the next town over there is an exhibit at the University showing historical relics from different parts of Africa showing Jesus and Moses adapted with the symbology of their different regions and cultures in olden times, and all of them are black.

Without the ability of people to send information quickly, or travel quickly, the idea that a large group of people who either never or only rarely saw people of other ethnicities made a God look like them doesn't seem that outlandish. Its not like they knew any better, not because they were not intelligent but because that information was often not available to them.

And I want to make this very clear- I'm talking about a very different thing there than the Fox-News sort of "Jesus was white because white people are the BEST" mentality. Yeah, there are people who think Jesus is white because they are racists and I'm in no way or means denying that. But I also think there is a long cultural tradition across many continents at play here that shouldn't be discounted from the discussion.

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Now I want to see a velvet painting of dogs, Elvis, and Jesus all sitting together at a table playing poker.

...Yes. Me to, apparently.

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Let me add something else on here: that Jesus the Christ has been portrayed throughout history as a representative of the culture he is being worshipped in can totally be used as a tool for racism, and is.

As it is my argument there is still focusing on the historical causes of a ethnically mirroring Jesus Christ rather than a discount of the misuses of "white Jesus" in disregarding his historical ethnicity and being really %&$(#ing mean to non-whites and non-Christians.

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I read his book. It was full of awesomeness!

Because my post can get even longer for no good reason: I actually got to meet him a few weeks ago! He was really nice, and I got to ask him some questions I'd been wondering about his book. Just a fantastic guy. My whole family was also surprised because he was even more handsome in person than his pictures show XD!

Dumuzi
28 Sep 2014, 08:51
But I also think there is a long cultural tradition across many continents at play here that shouldn't be discounted from the discussion.


That's a very good point! And I agree with your post. I just want to clarify that I wasn't talking about Jesus in different cultures, I was only specifically answering the question of the thread, which is why is Jesus depicted as a white man.

satanic witch
28 Sep 2014, 11:17
That's a very good point! And I agree with your post. I just want to clarify that I wasn't talking about Jesus in different cultures, I was only specifically answering the question of the thread, which is why is Jesus depicted as a white man.
I honestly don't see the difference between Jesus of nazerath and Jesus Christ . From what I've read of the bible Jesus of nazerath was Jesus in life and Jesus Christ was him after death. But when I think of white gods the first that come to mind is Odin and Thor since both originated from a predominantly white society . Now Jesus in my opinion has the ethnicity of someone from Jerusalem .

DanieMarie
28 Sep 2014, 12:20
Because artists in the Medieval and Renaissance periods tended to depict people who looked like themselves. Some of them may have not even seen non-white people before, depending on where they lived and how well-known they were. You also see food in biblical scenes that looks more European than Middle Eastern (apples, etc). Our ideas of how Jesus and other people in the Bible look is heavily influenced by Renaissance art.

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I still think Europeans making Jesus look white was not done with sinister cackling intentions. Europe was definitely mostly white. The church was trying to spread their religion as much as possible and making him white and soft looking made him look like a realistic person that you even might have seen before. I think its easy for us to moral high road and say "Well this was bad and racist and we know better." But if we were all villagers in Medieval France/England etc. We would not want an ethnic Jesus to represent our huge white empires. Nobody was asked to be accepting of diversity, so hardly anybody was. We do know better now, fortunately. Just the old image of white Jesus stuck.

I agree. Even if the artists had seen non-white people before, I highly doubt the audience would have. Although port cities and trade cities had a lot of international visitors, most of Europe was pretty isolated.

Malflick
28 Sep 2014, 16:25
I honestly don't see the difference between Jesus of nazerath and Jesus Christ . From what I've read of the bible Jesus of nazerath was Jesus in life and Jesus Christ was him after death. But when I think of white gods the first that come to mind is Odin and Thor since both originated from a predominantly white society . Now Jesus in my opinion has the ethnicity of someone from Jerusalem .

Jesus of Nazareth: Guy from Nazareth in Galilee (not Jerusalem), messiah claimant during the occupation of Judea by Rome. Ethnically Jewish.
Jesus the Christ: Monotheistic God of all humans everywhere. Transcends humanity. Not mere flesh and blood but the word of God incarnate, a spiritual being that suffers for all humanity, not just those who look like him. As a transcendental spiritual being, is empathetic to all people, and is not any one race or of one people or one culture, but of all cultures and for all cultures.

That's the difference. Jesus the man didn't turn into Jesus the Christ when he was crucified, he is a concept of Jesus. Most Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was always Jesus the Christ, always the chosen Messiah, and thus always a supernatural entity but in the form and flesh of a human man.

Jesus of Nazareth to me is Jesus Christ, but for the sake of this conversation I've been using "of Nazareth" to refer to the human conception of him and "the Christ" to refer to the spiritual one because we have to have some sort of terms for discussing them, and using these epithets is handy.

MaskedOne
28 Sep 2014, 16:29
Err, did you mean "Word of God" or "world of God"? The former is familiar. The latter not so much.

Malflick
28 Sep 2014, 16:31
Ah, thanks. I fixed the spelling error MO.

Larix
23 Oct 2014, 22:33
This reminds me of the meme of how the fuck did jesus find people named matthew, mark, luke and john in the middle east.



I could answer your question.

But before I have a question of my own:

Would it be possible not to include "what the fuck" in any and every sentence?

Or do you think it necessary to show how "cool" you are?

Is that really supposed to be "cool" or something?

thalassa
25 Oct 2014, 10:02
I could answer your question.

But before I have a question of my own:

Would it be possible not to include "what the fuck" in any and every sentence?

Or do you think it necessary to show how "cool" you are?

Is that really supposed to be "cool" or something?

Since you quoted him, you may have noticed that he said it "reminds him of the meme..." This was an actual internet meme that went around some time ago (http://memecrunch.com/meme/IJHO/how-the-fuck-did-jesus-find-guys-named). He's relaying the quote from the meme.

While we ordinarily ask that people refrain from cursing as much as possible, from time to time, it isn't necessarily amiss.

Larix
25 Oct 2014, 20:17
For a start:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are only the English versions of originally Hebrew or Greek names.

Does that answer the question?

-----------------------

Btw: The German versions are Matthias, Markus, Lukas and Johannes.

And there are other versions in other languages.

Azvanna
26 Oct 2014, 00:46
I guess the joke is lost on some...

Larix
26 Oct 2014, 01:03
I guess the joke is lost on some...

Jokes are never lost on me. :)

If they are real jokes. :)

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And I am able to write texts without the addition of "what the fuck!" in every sentence.

You may find it "cool".

I find it revolting and repulsive and vulgar and primitive.

So ......

Larix
26 Oct 2014, 02:24
Btw: What do you mean by "white"?

If you know how people in Syria look like - how would you describe them?

Do you think they are "black" ore something?

Mr. T
28 Oct 2014, 14:13
Jokes are never lost on me. :)

If they are real jokes. :)

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And I am able to write texts without the addition of "what the fuck!" in every sentence.

You may find it "cool".

I find it revolting and repulsive and vulgar and primitive.

So ......

I understand that humor is different for most people but really....REALLY???

It is never "cool" to put people down or imply insult by claiming moral superiority

Oh and BTW;


Btw: What do you mean by "white"?

If you know how people in Syria look like - how would you describe them?

Do you think they are "black" ore something?

I would describe Syrians and being Middle Eastern/Arabic, and Jews as being Jewish as Jesus and his disciples were.

Medusa
28 Oct 2014, 17:57
OK so I've been thinking if Jesus lived in Bethlehem and the surrounding area then why is he depicted as a white man along with some other people in the bible? Wouldn't they actually look more like the modern day Muslim and be brown rather then white . This is just something that bugs me.

I'm just getting around to this. Because Jesus stuff never ends well. But I wanted to point out something interesting. Dumuzi is Muslim and Egyptian. He's pretty effing pale. Like ghostly pale. Word.

Heka
29 Oct 2014, 03:54
I'm just getting around to this. Because Jesus stuff never ends well. But I wanted to point out something interesting. Dumuzi is Muslim and Egyptian. He's pretty effing pale. Like ghostly pale. Word.

Really?!?!?!?!?!

I thought we called him sexy chocolate for a reason..... white chocolate huh?

Very misleading (yeah it's diciptive az bro)

oldhippie
31 Oct 2014, 13:39
I like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhV7Zusnd0s
keep in mind it is a comedy and not meant to be taken seriously

Medusa
31 Oct 2014, 14:29
You know there's a reason a lot of hispanics are named Jesus.

Aeran
31 Oct 2014, 15:03
For the same reason King Arthur and his knights wear full plate in medieval artwork.

LunarHarvest
05 Nov 2014, 22:01
I'll just leave this here.

3563

Medusa
05 Nov 2014, 23:37
til. Keanu is Jesus.

anunitu
06 Nov 2014, 06:37
Hispanics named Jesus perhaps because all "Mary's" get immaculate conception happening...(Yeh I know I am an As*hole but comedy is like that)

Fire Nymph
09 Nov 2014, 10:53
I think it all stems back to the Europeans first moving to America. They viewed themselves as being the superior race and so made people believe that Jesus was white. At least, that's my opinion. Of course, nowadays most people know better, but some people (fox news, I'm looking at you) still don't like to admit that Jesus was in fact darker skinned.