Description of Jesus by Publius Lentulus, Governor of Judea, addressed to Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of Rome. Found in an excavated city written in Aramaic, on stone.

"THERE lives, at this, time, in Judea, a man of singular virtue, whose name is Jesus Christ, whom the barbarians esteem as a prophet, but his followers love and adore him as the offspring of the immortal God. He calls back the dead from the graves, and heals all sorts of diseases with a word or a touch.

He is a tall man, and well shaped, of an amiable and reverend aspect; his hair of a colour that can hardly be matched, the colour of chestnut full ripe failing in waves about his shoulders. His forehead high, large and imposing; his cheeks without spot or wrinkle, beautiful symmetry; his beard thick and of a colour suitable to his hair, reaching below his chin. His eyes bright blue, clear and serene, look innocent, dignified, manly and mature.

In proportion of body, most perfect and captivating, his hands and arms most delectable to behold.

He rebukes with majesty, counsels with mildness, his whole address, whether in word or deed, being eloquent and grave. No man has seen him laugh, yet his manner is exceedingly pleasant; but he has wept in the presence of men. He is temperate, modest and wise; a man, for his extraordinary beauty and divine perfections, surpassing the children of men in every sense.

The Face Of Jesus

Letter originally printed in The Times April 1.

Sir, It seems the BBC's forensic reconstruction "experts" have a large gap in their research base for devising the face of Jesus (report, March 27; letters, March 30) - the Scriptural record itself. How could they fail to take account of the most obvious evidence for the physical appearance of Christ?

I Samuel xvi,12 records that David, the future king, "was ruddy and withal of a beautiful countenance and goodly to look to". This was emphasised in chapter xvii, 42 as "ruddy and of a fair countenance". It means his face was rosy, glowing and bright. As a direct descendant of King David, through his mother, Jesus would undoubtedly have had the same "beautiful countenance" most probably with red hair like the true Sephardic, or Spanish-Judahite Jews.

The traditional representations of Christ, like that of Holman Hunt's famous work, take account of this and other historical records. As a descendant of the Hebraic royal house of David and coming from Galilee, Jesus would not have looked anything like the ethnically diverse Jewish-Edomite peoples who were concentrated around Jerusalem in the 1st century.

The latest forensic techniques may be good, but they need to take account of the obvious historical and ancestral records to be in any way credible.

Yours sincerely, Michael A. Clark

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