Monday, 16 March 2015

Why Jesus doesn't look Jewish

Valerie Tarico isn't a biblical scholar, so I guess Jim West might label her as a dilettante in the field. Nor is she a navel-gazing theologian in the broader sense. No, Valerie Tarico is a psychologist, and she has just published an utterly brilliant piece on how the popular devotional image of Jesus - the long haired Aryan with the blue eyes - came to be. Even Jim West could learn a lot from this lady.

If you read nothing else on Jesus this month, no matter your view on his historicity or role in the great scheme of things, do read this piece, it's a real eye-opener. The subject is simply how we came to portray this seminal figure in a way that is clearly a massive distortion of reality.

This is the kind of writing that people who are qualified in the field should be producing, rather than the half-arsed weasel semi-apologetics and academic pedantry we are constantly subjected to.

Revenge of the dilettantes! More power to you Ms Tarico!


  1. There are two stories in the Gospel accounts that suggest that Christ blended in very well with the Jews around him (see Luke 4:30 and John 8:59). Dr. Tarico is right - we tend to recreate God in our own image (to conform to our thinking and needs). It is also helpful to remember that we have this tendency when reading/studying the Bible.

  2. As I have stated before, archaeologists have established that the average male Jew at the time of Christ was 5'1" and weighed about 100 pounds. Also, he would have been haplogroup J. This means he was olive-skinned, brown-eyed and brunette like most other Middle Easterners. In short, he would have never gotten by the Ambassador College Admissions Committee. Jesus looked too gentile and maybe even too Hispanic. The committee would not want genes of this type polluting the genomes of the big, robust "Aryan" girls that they tended to admit - girls who would typically get a "fat letter" when they were Juniors.

    The WCG had its own Cult of Apollo centered on GTA. The WCG always valued appearance as an extraordinarily importnat credential for any rising star - almost as important as family connection.

    -- Neotherm

  3. Armstrongites believe that Anglo Saxons of today are modern Israelites, along with the rest of the white Europeans, but then complain that Jesus seems to have Anglo Saxon features. It just doesn't compute.


  4. If you don't know the skin's color of Jesus' father, how can you say what skin color Jesus had?

    1. That's a good point, but there is nothing in the Bible indicating that anyone saw anything out of the ordinary about the appearance of Jesus, so if we accept the Biblical account it seems to imply that he looked pretty average for his time and his ethnic background. His peers found a lot about him that was unusual, to the say the least, but appearance does not seem to be one of those things. But this brings up an interesting point. Would the Son of God have had his father's DNA? Did his DNA come only from his mother? If you don't believe the Biblical account of Jesus' birth --- or even whether he existed at all --- then such questions are malarkey, but for believers they are interesting speculation. Only speculation, as there is no way to know such things.

  5. Byker Bob: I have actually never heard much time devoted among Armstrongites to complaining about the Anglo appearance of Jesus. But I think this was because Armstrongites float on a raft of presumption in these waters. The reasoning goes something like this: Herman Hoeh maintained that Scotland was heavily populated by the Tribe of Judah. (The problem is that the Scots are haplogroup R1b and the Jews are haplogroup J. This means that Scots are more closely related to Native Americans than to Jews.) HWA and GTA were of Scottish extraction. GTA used to make statements that implied he (and by extension HWA) were Jewish lineage. I heard him make such a statement in the Field House at Big Sandy. An AC graduate from Pasadena told me this same viewpoint was prevalent in Pasadena in 1972. Hence, I think the average church member who picked up on these vibes viewed Christ as looking like the Armstrongs.

    Many people identify Jews in appearance with the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe. But the Ashkenazi are a mixed population comprised of haplogoups J1, J2, E1b, R1b, R1a, G and others. The Palestinean Jewish population at the time of Christ were haplogroup J surrounded by other peoples who were haplogroup J that are colectively known in the West as "Arabs". This implies a certain appearance that you see among Middle Eastern people on the news every evening. Christ could not avoid looking like one of these people with curly hair, olive-skin, aquiline noses, brown or black hair and brown eyes.

    Lorena Noli: The question is really what was Christ's Y chromosome haplogroup? My belief is that Christ's genome was a miraculous derivation of Mary's genome. His Y chromosome would be miraculously supplied and was simply the same haplogroup, J, as all the other people who surrounded him. Hence, he looked like all the other people in his society. He looked like "his own."

    Christ is shown as an Anglo-Saxon in pictures in Bibles published in the United States for the same reason he is depicted as a Black in some African countries.

    -- Neotherm