This article originally appeared on The Conversation. You can read it here.
Over the past few decades, the question of what Jesus looked like has cropped up again and again. Much has been made of a digital reconstruction of a Judaean man created for a BBC documentary, Son of God, in 2001. This was based on an ancient skull and, using the latest technology (as it was), shows the head of a stocky fellow with a somewhat worried expression.
Rightly, the skin tone is olive, and the hair and beard black and shortish, but the nose, lips, neck, eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, fat cover and expression are all totally conjectural. Putting flesh on ancient skulls is not an exact science, because the soft tissue and cartilage are unknown.
Nevertheless, for me as a historian, trying to visualise Jesus accurately is a way to understand Jesus more accurately, too.
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