Forensic expert Richard Neave has reconstructed dozens of famous faces over the years, including Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander the Great’s father, and King Midas of Phrygia.
He use to work as a medical artist at the University of Manchester. His job was to apply forensic anthropology to unsolved crimes. This was accomplished by building a portrait in the likeness of the person who was described in the Bible and according to other scientific evidence.
To build a portrait of Christ, Neave he relied heavily on the fact that prior to the crucifixion Judas Iscariot had to point out who he was because it was hard to tell him apart from his disciples.
Neave and his team then got a hold of Semite skills from a group of Israeli archaeologists and then created X-ray “slices” of the skulls. This was done with computers, which enabled the creation of digitized muscles and skin — as they would appear on an average Semite skull.
According to historical evidence, Neave found that Jesus would have definitely been bearded and wear short hair. He also would have most likely had tight curls, in keeping with Jewish tradition of the time.
They also concluded that Jesus most likely would have been a bit over 5ft tall, and he would have been weather beaten after working as a carpenter until he was about 30. The result of Neave’s conclusions are as follows:
As you can see, the rendering clashes with paintings most commonly displayed in churches and homes around the world. While the rendering is “scientific” in nature, no one can be 100 percent sure this is how he appeared.
If you refer to the earliest depictions of Christ, you can see the scientists may not have been too far off. The following three images can be dated back to the 3rd century. As you can see via the second and third image, Jesus did appear darker but his hair was longer (second image) and the third image depicts him wearing the shorter, tight curls.