Computer-generated sketch of boy Jesus based on Shroud of Turin (courtesy Retequattro-Mediaset)
What did Jesus Christ of Nazareth look like as a boy?
While no one knows for certain, forensic experts are now using computer images from the Shroud of Turin along with historical data and other ancient images to make an educated guess.
In a documentary called “Jesus’ Childhood” airing Sunday night on the Italian TV station Retequattro of the Mediaset Group, police artists use the same “aging” technology employed when searching for missing persons and criminals.
“In this case the experts went backwards. Now we have a hypothesis on how the man of the shroud might have looked at the age of 12,” Mediaset said in a statement. “While some features, such as the color of the eyes and the hair’s length, cut and color, are arbitrary, others come directly from the face impressed on the shroud.”
The group points out the facial proportions between the nose and eyebrow, as well as the shape of the jaw are identical to those on the shroud, which is a piece of linen some believe to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus after he was crucified.
The resulting image shows a fair-skinned child with blond, wavy hair and dark eyes.
“We made a rigorous effort based on the Shroud of Turin, but it’s clear that the data at our disposal were limited,” police official Carlo Bui told the Italian paper Corriere della Sera. “Let’s say we have made an excellent hypothesis.”
The Bible itself gives little information as to the specifics of what Jesus looked like during his ministry.
It does say he was a descendant of King David, who may have been fair-skinned with a reddish tint to his face and hair. The Old Testament notes David as a youth “was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to.” (I Samuel 16:12)
Others have argued Jesus was more olive or dark-skinned being from the Middle East.
The book of Isaiah gives what many believe to be a prophecy about Jesus’ appearance as a human being, noting there wouldn’t be any features out of the ordinary:
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
When asked by Discovery News about the latest computer-generated image, Prof. James Charlesworth, an expert on Jesus research and the Gospel of John at Princeton Theological Seminary, said, “Too many Christians look down the well of history, seeking to see Jesus’ face, and see the reflection of their own image. Those who follow Jesus find him attractive and thence always tend to portray him as a very attractive male, as in this new image.”
“It shows clearly an Aryan Jesus, just like the Nazis proclaimed. Jesus was a Jew, looked like a Jew, and followed Jewish customs,” he said.
As WorldNetDaily previously reported, the Shroud of Turin itself has been mired in controversy for centuries, with some maintaining the image on the linen is that of the crucified Jesus, while others reject it as an elaborate hoax.
In the 1980s, three international laboratories were selected to run the newly refined accelerated mass spectrometry (AMS) method of carbon dating on the shroud, to help determine its time of origin. The labs, including one at the University of Arizona at Tucson, all concurred the shroud was dated 1260-1390 AD.
But many have since questioned the reliability of the carbon-dating process which fixed that time period.
In 2000, millions of people turned out to view the controversial fabric during a rare public display.
The New Testament does refer to linens in connection with Jesus’ burial, recounted when Jesus’ disciples went to his tomb:
Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. (John 20:3-7)
While some think the “napkin” that was on Jesus’ head casts doubt on the whole shroud theory, others believe it helps validate the shroud as authentic.
A relic called the Sudarium of Oviedo is claimed by some to be the actual cloth around Jesus’ head.
The cloth is impregnated with blood and lymph stains that match the blood type on the Shroud of Turin. The pattern and measurements of stains indicate the placement of the cloth over the face.
Juan Ignacio Moreno, a Spanish magistrate based in Burgos, Spain, asks a critical question:
“The scientific and medical studies on the Sudarium prove that it was the covering for the same man whose image is [on] the Shroud of Turin. We know that the Sudarium has been in Spain since the 600s. How, then, can the radio carbon dating claiming the shroud is only from the 13th century be accurate?”
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