Saturday, December 03, 2011

Was Jesus blond?

Who cares?

Cultural racists and the very politically correct amongst us seem to be preoccupied over what color eyes and what color hair Jesus and Mary had, arguing they had to be dark and Middle Eastern looking.  (Nothing wrong with Middle Eastern good looks BTW.)  Nevertheless, as I always remind people, fair hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion happens to be an ideal of beauty all ancient cultures attributed to the spiritual world - the highly evolved, divinized soul...  Seriously, even indigenous people in the Americas and elsewhere esteemed the blue eyed, fair haired anomaly amongst them, at least as being someone special.  Initially the Aztecs mistook the Spaniards as gods because they were white.  Artists especially have usually painted saints and angels as fair haired, blue eyed beauties - often because it is a spiritual metaphor for purity and perfection.  Fra Angelico provides the best example of that.  Nevertheless, contrary to Western prejudice regarding Semites, fair haired, blue eyed Jews are not at all uncommon.

As for Christ and his Blessed Mother looking like Osama bin Laden and Mata Hari - we don't really know, do we?  No, we don't - aside from the image on the shroud and other miraculous images, we have no firm evidence.  However, it is possible, probable, and quite likely the "Son of David" was fair haired and of ruddy complexion just like his ancestor King David.  Take it for what it is worth, but I found some good information on the subject which I will offer for your consideration here:

The physical anthropology of Hebrew peoples. 
Ancient Israelites were of mixed physical types that included blondes and red-heads alongside darker ones.

The Israelites of old were regarded by the Egyptians as people from the land of Amuru, meaning the land of the Amorites which the Israelites conquered. Another term applied to the general Syrian area was "Retenu". The name "Upper Retenu"1 corresponded to the geographical space encompassed by the Land of Israel, according to the Bible. People from the area known as "Amuru" or "Retenu" after ca.1400 BCE are presumably Israelites. They are depicted on Egyptian monuments as red, blonde, or black-haired with frequent blue eyes and red beards. Illustrations of individuals with this appearance are automatically assumed by Egyptologists to pertain to the Israelite or "Syrian" area. Another blonde blue-eyed people depicted on Egyptian monuments were the so-called "Libyans" and it has now been shown by Alessandra Nibbi (1989) that these were not dwellers of "Libya" but rather of the Nile Delta and of Hebrew origin. - Read more here.
Why do we care about this?

Some bloggers are just having fun, posting ethnic creche scenes to illustrate the diversity amongst Christians, and the sometimes strange, albeit amusing representations from particular folk art traditions.  It seems to be part of our holiday festivities and celebration.

Nevertheless, it can be a preoccupation of the adult, the well educated, the terribly sophisticated, the humorist and satirist, and very often the snob filled with the self-esteem of his exquisite taste.  On the other hand, little children, and those like them, are fascinated by the Christmas story and its various presentations, which enliven their imagination in faith, and inflame their hearts with love.  The Bambino depicted in the creche set attracts the child in all of us. 

Art:  Madonna and Child from the Neapolitan Creche at the Abbey of Regina Laudis.

Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with Crescat or LarryD and their posts - it was written in response to a comment I received on one of my paintings.


  1. RealityCheck12:22 PM

    I wouldn't base the appearance of the historical Jesus on fraudulent relics or questionable ancient myth texts (King David is probably as historical as, say, King Arthur or Robin Hood). But YMMV.

    Nevertheless promoting Eurocentrism and white privilege is never good.

  2. RealityCheck12:26 PM

    For example:

    It's amazing to me that people in the 21st Century still believe in magical relics.

  3. Hey man, you do realize that the ethnic groups who live in Palestine today are mostly of Arab stock, with possibly Greek, perhaps little Hebrew. The Arabs came from southern Arabia. Among "Syrian Christians" in Iraq and Syria, who still speak Aramaic and whose history in the area is olde than the Arabs, a rich variety of skin, eye, and hair color exists.

    And even IF the biblical descriptions of King David are from a later period, those writing are at least 2000 years old or more, long before Europeans ever became Christian. Of course, your asinine assertion about the historical existence of David has very little basis - one could say the same of just about any ancient figure.

    As for the Shroud - Christians are free to believe what thy want about it. I personally believe it's real. But one may say the same to you - how can someone in this day an age deny common sense and truth to such an extent as you do? How can someone be such a bigot that they cruise websites in orderto insult people?

  4. RealityCheck, your blatant racism and bigotry are flabbergasting. It is downright painful to watch you embarass yourself as you are doing. I'd take a break from trolling, if I were you.

  5. RealityCheck perhaps you may want to read other scientific works —

    For an incredible library of research information, Barrie Schwortz has this website:

    Flashback 60-Minutes —What did Jesus Look like? (40+ years ago in the shadows of what has been discovered in recent times...)

  6. "... your blatant racism and bigotry are flabbergasting..."

    Racism and bigotry are Modernist devices to cover for the evil of Liberalism and Moderism.

    Don't agree with Liberals or Modernists?

    You are a Racist and Bigot.

    Some souls are suffering from lack of Christian Charity.

    Most Catholics have moved so far away from Catholicism, they have surpassed Protestants in their heresies and mis-beliefs.

    Even Martin Luthur would rebuke them.

    This blog is a good place for lost souls to come to.

    I remember hearing a song called "Come to the Water"; it refers to the water Christ would give from which we would no longer thirst. (Woman at the well).

    When someone would come to a well owned by a Jew, they used to have to beg his permission to draw from it.

    No one has to beg at the Well of Our Divine Master.

    You holy rollers lighten up; let those scream their dis-beliefs, but allow them to drink from the Waters of Charity in this blog.

    Their souls dying of thirst will be replenished and converted.

    Our Lord has promised this to us.

    Pray for their souls. Storm Heaven on their behalf.

    It is what Charity is all about.

    A good Catholic blog doesn't just have Whitened Sepulcher Holy Roller Scribes and Pharisees, it has lots of sinners, that they may come to believe.

    God bless Mr. Nelson for letting souls draw from his 'Well'.


  7. "Racism and bigotry are Modernist devices to cover for the evil of Liberalism and Moderism."

    They can be used as such, but it's important to remember that they can still really exist.

  8. Nuestro Morenita.

    Our little brown skinned girl.

    God's hand painted the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    It is the only image of her that is painted by God's hand.

    The only other images touched by God's hand that I know of is the icon now known as Veronica's veil, and Our Lady of Good Council.

    Article here:

    I would rely on Heaven's hand, were I to worry about what color Christ, God, the Holy Ghost, or the Virgin Mary are.

    By the way, Jews are not the only Semites. Many of the peoples mentioned in this post are Semitic people.


  9. RealityCheck,

    If I had to bet on who would be the first to come to the aid of a Priest, Nun, Widow or Orphan, who do you think I would put my money on?

    You, or a Holy Roller?

    Just asking.

    I already know the answer.


  10. Reality Check, that's exactly what you need. There's a lot of evidence for King David to have been real, just as there's a lot of evidence for Jesus to have died on the cross.

    We're both a joy and a burden to Him; our sins are a great burden, but the His greatest burden is those who turn away from Him.

  11. RealityCheck - please reveal your real identity - you are a hoot. You are absolutely incredible - I almost think you are putting us all on.

  12. The Saviour with Golden Hair:

    Oh no!

  13. Does anyone remember all the fuss a few years ago when the Italian police created an image of Jesus as a twelve-year-old boy? They applied the same computer techniques as in age-progression for missing kids, only they worked backwards using the Shroud of Turin. They gave him dark dishwater-blond hair. It aggravated lots of folks, who completely missed the point that--regardless of coloring--if the Shroud is really Christ's, then the facial structure of the computer image is likely very close to the reality. I printed the "missing" picture to use as a holy card, remembering that He was twelve when He went missing for three days. It doesn't seem too fair-colored to me. And heck, it's a computer image. If it bugs people, how tough could it be to pop it into a graphics program and make it a little darker if they want to? I think that Saint Therese of Lisieux, whose religious name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, would have been enchanted by a computer-generated image of the Holy Face of the Child Jesus. Anyway, it was a few years back and I've heard squat about it since.

  14. Mrs. Ronnie,

    I visited your blogs.

    They are great.

    Will you be resuming them soon?


  15. As a blonde, blue eyed person I am flattered that this is seen as some sort of ideal.
    But as an iconographer, there are standards for portraying Christ: brown eyes, reddish hair is the norm. This is an ancient tradition, which is good enough for me.

  16. Saint Michael: Thank you. I do plan to start blogging again, but I'm not quite ready to jump back in yet. For now, real life and commenting on OPB's satisfies me. (Funny but, besides folks who trace me back from my comments, search engines must spit out my blogs now and then . . . I haven't posted in years, but I've actually got STATS on them!)


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.