Saturday, February 12, 2005

"Is this Jesus?"

On Biblical Theology, Jim West draws attention to this article from the Australian Herald Sun:

Is this Jesus?
Bryan Patterson

It's a computer reverse-aging on the image of Jesus from the Turin Shroud, so that we get what the person in that image would have looked like as a boy. I think this story surfaced before, if I remember correctly, and several of the biblioblogs did comment on it then. I just want to make a couple of quick comments on this article, the first its use of the journalistic technique of taking a very dubious claim and attempting to make it respectable by turning it into a question, thus "Is this Jesus?" The answer on such occasions is always "no". I remember when we worked on the first century Jewish skull for the BBC / Discovery Son of God (UK) / Jesus: The Complete Story (USA) which generated all over the press, "Is this the face of Jesus?" (etc.) Again, answer: no.

Second, this article makes reference to that project in a rather garbled last line:
The speculative picture contrasts with a recent attempt to reconstruct Jesus' face using a 2000-year-old Jewish skull, software and the latest forensic techniques. That revealed a dark-skinned man.
I love the idea that the process somehow "revealed" a dark skin man. The face was made dark skinned because that was what we thought was historically appropriate. It was dark skinned because we said, "Let's make it dark skinned".

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