A Documentary about the life of Jesus

Discussion in 'Books, Music and Television' started by Egraine, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. I am watching a documentary that chronicles Jesus' life as He began his ministry. It is well-balanced, citing a lot of accurate archeological and cultural facts from that time period. What I fail to understand, and have always wondered about is why these shows persist in casting actors to play Jesus that are light skinned, handsome, and tall. Throughout the ages and to the present day, artists have done the same thing. A physical anthropologist would likely be able to accurately describe someone from Galilee at that time in history as someone who was fairly short (by our standards), fairly dark-skinned, and likely to have dark brown eyes and nearly black curly hair. That would be an accurate depiction of a person from that region living at that time. I also believe that I read that Jesus himself was not in any way in possession of remarkable features, meaning that he was plain and looked like the average person of His time. Why go to all the trouble of creating a documentary that carefully attempts to adhere to the facts, and then have Jesus appear as someone of Nordic descent? It's never made much sense to me. Having studied physical anthropology in university, I find this persistence of representing Christ in this manner as a glaring misrepresentation. I realize that it makes no difference what he really looked like, it was WHO He was that matters, but that makes the whole thing of depicting him inaccurately even more puzzling to me. If what He truly looked like doesn't matter, and you are doing a documentary that is as historically factual as possible, then why not try and show Jesus in the most accurate way possible? I know that humans tend to equate physical beauty with perfection and goodness. I wonder if this flawed type of thinking is what has inspired artists through the ages to show Jesus as the most physical ideal that they could imagine, and why this habitual portrayal persists even today.
    bobinfaith likes this.
  2. Hi Egraine;

    Hello Egraine;

    I'm not an expert on many of the Hollywood Jesus movies but have noticed years past that Jesus was portrayed as tall, light skinned, blondish hair and blue eyes. lol!

    There are a couple of movies, the Visual Bible LLC, called Matthew. Jesus Christ was played by Bruce Marchiano. The movie was taken word for word from the text of the NIV Bible.

    The Gospel of John is from Visual Bible International and Henry Ian Cusick played Jesus Christ. This movie was taken word for word from the Good News Bible.

    Both actors seem to have the Jewish ancestry features of darker skin, eyes and nose.

    My personal thought. Most of the supporting actors and actresses are accomplished international stage actors and if both movies were word for word using the King James Bible these actors would still have performed their lines flawlessly.
    But I don't know if some of the audience would have been able to keep up.

    I enjoyed your thread, Egraine, God bless you.
    Fish Catcher Jim and Cturtle say Amen and like this.
  3. Most of the art we (in the West) view of Christ, is what European artists painted a long, long time ago. It's simply an interpretation. I agree, it's bizarre, that a man who was born where he was born, should have blonde hair and blue eyes etc. But this image, to us, has persisted, through very famous works of art. I've visited the National Art Gallery in London, the Louvre in Paris, it's all the same. The fact is, nobody was around, at the time of Jesus's life, to paint his portrait, it just wasn't done. But I know what you mean. All the 'images' I have seen of Christ, represent him this way.
    Fish Catcher Jim and Cturtle say Amen and like this.
  4. PS I recently watched a documentary about the art involving Mary Magdalene, it was fascinating, the paintings were awesome, but again, it was all speculation.


    Cturtle likes this.
  5. Just a thought.....

    Is there the possibility that artists have painted His hair blonde because of The Glory of God thst surrounds Him now?
    Fish Catcher Jim likes this.
  6. I think it's more probable that the artists simply wanted to distinguish Him from the rest of the people painted They wanted to make him stand out from the crowd. Blonde was more unusual.
    Cturtle and Via dolarossa say Amen and like this.
  7. Annie I think that you are correct that artists of centuries past wanted to make an image of Christ that was as physically handsome as per the concepts of beauty at the time. And yes, because these were European artists, it would be likely that they chose fair-skinned representations since patrons of that period would likely relate to it the best. During the time period of the great masters of art, dark skin would likely not have been well received, since it was associated in that era & society with what were considered inferior races, servants, and the tanned skin of the lower classes. If, at the time, these paintings had been made with physical anthropological correctness, they likely would not have been heralded as masterpieces, but possibly been denounced as being heretical and disrespectful to Christ. So, artistic license was used in order to create something that would have wide appeal among the predominantly Caucasian Western European patrons of the time and to reflect the artist's personal ideal of physical beauty.

    It's likely that this particular rendition of Christ will continue to endure in illustrations and cinematography. This is the whole problem with images in general - once that image or icon comes to represent something in such a universal manner, making a change is difficult. A few months ago a religious sect came to my door with pamphlets covered with a very tall image of Jesus with straight long blonde hair and blue eyes speaking to a group of people who were much shorter, darker skinned, and who all had dark curly hair. I silently took note of the disparity between the appearance between the followers and that of Jesus. It's like a brand logo now, and as such no one probably wants to chance confusing their intended audience by altering the universally recognized image. I suppose the most important thing in all of this is that His message and His sacrifice are accurately depicted, even though His image is not.
    Annie likes this.
  8. It's not just Jesus either, that they like to imagine, but Father!
    And He always has a beard! i hope I don't grow a beard when I get wise lol
    Cturtle and Annie say Amen and like this.

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