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What Did Jesus Look Like?


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Introduction 1. Behold the Man? The Missing Picture of Jesus' Appearance 2. The Ethnicity of Jesus: From the Apostle Paul to the Letter of Lentulus 3. True Image: The Legend of Veronica 4. Jesus' Self-Portrait: The Lateran Acheropita, the Mandylion and the Turin Shroud 5 Christ Almighty: The Byzantine Cosmocrator 6. Boy Wonder-Worker: Jesus in Early Christian Art 7. Ugly or Unstable: Suffering Servant or Polymorph 8. Beard and Basics: The Ragged Philosopher 9. Flesh and Bones: Age, Height, and Body 10. Top to Toe: Dressing Jesus 11. What Jesus Looked Like List of Image Credits Index

Promotional Information

Did the Jesus of history visually resemble the Jesus of art and iconography? Joan E. Taylor considers the evidence and presents a new vision of this most famous of men.

About the Author

Joan E. Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King's College London, UK.


[What did Jesus Look Like?] is a rich and lavishly illustrated adventure into a vexing historical question. * Biblical Theology Bulletin *
[A] fascinating book. 5* * The Sunday Telegraph *
This instructive and superbly illustrated study is a joy to read. * Times Literary Supplement *
[Taylor] has an enviable eye for the practicalities of life in the New Testament's world ... It must be a promising sign, wishing a book did not end when it does. * The Daily Telegraph *
[A] wide-ranging, richly illustrated study. * The Daily Mail *
Joan E. Taylor holds a well-deserved reputation as an eminent scholar of the historical Jesus, and this book will increase readers' appreciation for her perceptive analysis and research... a beautiful and highly recommended book. * Catholic Biblical Quarterly *
In this beautifully written, lavishly artistic, and appealing book, Taylor (King's College London, UK) challenges readers to reappraise their mental picture of what Jesus looked like ... By tracing the artistic development of Jesus to the archaeological findings of the period, Taylor demolishes the customary and culturally recognized Jesus in favor of a more realistic picture of Jesus's physical appearance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. * CHOICE *
Taylor's gorgeous book can be recommended for university classrooms as a text useful for studies of Christian iconography, or the history of ideas about Jesus. * Reading Religion *
What Did Jesus Look Like? is significant for all who are interested in Christian history and faith [...] Each time I flipped through it and beheld the pieces of art, I was flooded with memories of my own experiences involving images of Jesus. Time and again, I felt like Holmes's comrade, Dr. Watson. With each turn of the page, I was astounded as Taylor took historical clues and transformed my confusion into clarity. * The Christian Century *
A well-illustrated compact volume. * Church Times *
Thought-provoking,informative and beautifully illustrated book ... Although resting on plenty of solid scholarship, evidenced in the pages of notes and bibliography, this is a very readable study and encourages us to reflect on our own picture of Jesus and where it has come from. * Methodist Recorder *
I love this richly illustrated book, in which Taylor considers lots of evidence and presents a new and strikingly different vision of his appearance. * The Bookseller *
Thanks to her detailed historical reconstruction, [Taylor] was able to literally sketch out an image that stands as a more faithful representation of the most famous man in Western history. * Aleteia *
An exceptionally grand book ... a survey so rich in textual illustration and artistry that by the time the reader has made it through to the end of the book their only utterance is a quietly whispered 'wow' breathed out in awe ... This book is genius. A term I am not used to using of books, or most authors and scholars. But here it applies to both book and scholar. Pure genius. -- Jim West * Zwinglius Redivivus *
Compelling ... [An] impressive piece of scholarship. * Journal of Theological Studies *
A terrific book [which] takes us on an intriguing journey into how people thought about Jesus. * Psephizo *
Scholarly and erudite. * Art and Christianity *
In this beautifully illustrated volume, Joan Taylor takes readers on a fascinating journey all the way back through mediaeval art and relics, catacomb paintings and basilica frescoes to the historical Jesus himself. With wide-ranging erudition and impeccable scholarly judgement, Taylor uncovers both his physical appearance and the clothing he most likely wore. Prepare to have your mental image of Jesus changed forever! * Helen K. Bond, University of Edinburgh, UK *
A lucid, organized, and beautifully illustrated survey of the ways Christians have pictured Jesus through the centuries. Taylor writes with the erudition of a scholar and the passion of an excellent story teller. Highly recommended. * Robin Jensen, University of Notre Dame, USA *
This is a book I have been waiting for, could not put down and wished did not end when it did... I recommend this book to those willing to embark on an intriguing journey to recover what Jesus may have looked like. It is a great resource for teachers, artists and preachers. -- Kathleen Rushton * Tui Motu Magazine. Issue 227 *

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