22- A DARK-SKINNED JESUS?

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Proved: Jesus Christ was dark-skinned

The face of the Swarthy One of Nazareth has been famous since 1980, when the radio series “A Certain Jesus” was produced.

RACHEL Our microphones are still located here by blue waters of this pear-shaped Sea of Galilee, and we are again with Jesus Christ, our star guest. We continue with special coverage of his second coming. Good morning, Jesus.

JESUS Good morning to you, Rachel, and to all who are listening to your program.

RACHEL And every day there are more people listening. Our audience is very eager to hear the interviews you’ve granted to us. I must confess to you that I’ve always been a radio enthusiast, but now I really miss working for television. I would love for all of you, dear friends of Emisoras Latinas, to be able to see the face of this man. You would certainly be surprised.

JESUS Why surprised?

RACHEL It’s that you look different to me. I don’t know,… I just wasn’t imagining you this way.

JESUS What way do you mean?

RACHEL This way… The thing is, in the films you’re not like this. And you’re not like this either in the pictures and the holy cards. I don’t know how to tell you…

JESUS Well, just tell me.

RACHEL You’re… you’re … very dark.

JESUS Of course, I came out of my mother.

RACHEL She also was like this, … dark?

JESUS Dark and beautiful, like the young woman of the Song of Songs. Her father, my grandfather Joachim, was even blacker than I am. My whole family on both sides, my father Joseph’s and my mother’s, turned out with very dark skin.

RACHEL So that dark color was a familial trait?

JESUS No, Rachel, here in Galilee almost everybody in those days had an Abyssinian look to them.

RACHEL Also your stature is a surprise for me. I suppose you know about the Holy Shroud.

JESUS No, I don’t know about that.

RACHEL Well, we’ll talk about that some other time. But according to that shroud your tunic size should be XL, extra-large.

JESUS What do you mean, extra-large?

RACHEL Very big. But I can see that’s not the case. You’re almost the same size as me.

JESUS In my time, Rachel, people were not very tall. Besides, our family was very poor, and with the little we ate, we didn’t grow to be huge.

RACHEL If our listening audience could get a look at Jesus Christ, they would see that his size is medium, not extra-large. They would also see that his features are not fine and delicate, but rather course. How to put it? You look like a peasant from the backcountry.

JESUS Well, I was a peasant from the backcountry! And proud of it, as my father Joseph taught me to say!

RACHEL And your hair and your eyes… I was picturing you with blue eyes and a blond beard. I thought your hair would be soft, falling over your shoulders. Well, that’s the way they always paint you, blond, with golden locks…

JESUS In Galilee, the only things golden were the fields of grain when they were ready for harvest, and the only things blue were the sky and the lake when the weather was good.

RACHEL And so, Mr. Jesus Christ, why do they always draw you to look so different?

JESUS Artists are capricious, Rachel. They invent a world in their own image and likeness.

RACHEL And since in your days there was no photography, they were more inventive, right?

JESUS I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

RACHEL Later on I’ll explain to you how this little camera works. But first, would you let me take a photo of you, as a souvenir of these interviews and to put on our Internet page?

JESUS Take whatever you wish. What do I have to do?

RACHEL Stand there, with the lake in the background. Okay… Say “cheese”.

JESUS Say what?

RACHEL Just smile! That’s it! Many thanks. On the shores of Lake Galilee and beside the dark-skinned Jesus Christ, who is smiling for all our audience, this is Rachel Perez, Emisoras Latinas.

MUSIC

ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.

*More information about this polemical topic…*

White, blond, western
Since the earliest centuries of Christianity artists of every kind have portrayed Jesus in frescos, paintings, sculptures and manuscript miniatures. Since there were no photographs of Jesus, the artists’ portrayals of him came out of their own imagination. In general the features they gave him were like those of western males; indeed, for the most part Jesus was made to look like the “ideal” man of the time in which the artists lived: tall, white, fine-featured.
Since the advent of movies, Jesus has also appeared in many films. He is one of the most portrayed personages in the history of the cinematography. In most films (such as those of Zeffirelli, Scorsese, Gibson…) Jesus is pictured as European and as good-looking as any of the classic stars of the cinema. However, Jesus’ Semitic origins suggest that he was dark-skinned and had features more like those of today’s Middle Eastern males; he would be nothing like the paintings and film portrayals, in which Jesus appears as a tall, slim, handsome man with clear white skin, blond hair and blue eyes.
The likely face of Jesus
The British network BBC in the year 2001 ran a series titled “The Son of God”, in which it conjectured about what Jesus most likely looked like. Their conclusions were reached after a careful investigation directed by a forensic expert from the University of Manchester, Richard Neave. He took a first-century Jewish skull found in Jerusalem and applied several layers of clay to it. With state-of-the-art graphic technology Neave tried to recreate the face that that skull might have had, and in this way he achieved a facial reconstruction that might well be a likeness of the face of Jesus: broad nose, strong chin, arched eyebrows and prominent cheekbones.

The curly hair, short beard and dark skin color were based on the very first paintings of Jesus’ face, which were done in Syria. The series was narrated by BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen, who stated: In Jerusalem there are many men who look like this. This is the appearance of an authentic Jew of this region, and even today you can see these features on many men walking through the city.

Perverse racism
Racism is one of the many expressions of discrimination among human beings. Understanding “race” in terms of external appearance, skin color, and facial features, this discriminatory practice is based on the belief that certain races are superior, that is, more intelligent and more capable than others. Naturally, because of the hegemony and power which white western European culture has had in the world and because of the influence of western cultural products, racism has determined that what is dark, black, non-white is inferior. After all the horrors of centuries of slavery, racism still exists. After the horrors of the gas chambers during Nazism, there is still racism and the perverse search for a “pure race”.

There is only one race, the human one
Today, with the spectacular advances that have been made in genetics, most scientists reject the concept of “race” and any correlation between intelligence or other aptitudes and physiological characteristics. They consider “race” to be a social concept, not a scientific one, and affirm that all men and women belong to a single race, the human one. They point out that the external features that differentiate human beings from one another correspond to only 0.01% of the human genome.
This means that all of us human beings, whatever our color or physical make-up, have evolved together during the last 100 to 200 thousand years. We all have descended from the same dark-skinned human group that originated in Africa and spread from there to colonize the whole planet. It also means that the differences of color and facial features that we see today in people are due simply to their progressive adaptation to the different climates and environments that they discovered in their migrations. As they moved about, they became “bleached” or differently “colored”, according to the amount of melanin in their skin or the amount of exposure to solar radiation.

Why does racism persist?
Apart from any moral judgments, what does science say about the persistence of racism? Douglas C. Wallace, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Emory in Atlanta (U.S.A.), explains it this way: Unfortunately for social harmony, the human brain is exquisitely tuned to the differences of detail in the external form; such sensitivity leads people to exaggerate the importance of what has sometimes been called “race”. The criteria used to determine race are based totally on external characteristics that we are programmed to recognize.
Wallace states that we are so programmed to recognize and distinguish such superficial characteristics because our survival as a species is highly dependent on our ability to tell one individual from another.

22- A DARK-SKINNED JESUS?

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