Was Jesus black?

Was Jesus Christ black? Or white? Many African people believe that Jesus really was dark-skinned. Thus, read our article to know more information about this disputable issue.

Jesus Christ a black man

What skin color did Jesus have? For nearly two thousand years Western Christianity has been portraying Jesus as a blond man with long hair and blue eyes. As a rule, Western artists’ paintings show Jesus as a comely, though emaciated face of suffering.

African version

On the other hand, there are many theologians who point to a possible African origin of Jesus. Was Jesus a black man? In the Gospels, for example, there are many claims that he spent early years in Egypt. Consequently, the Ethiopian church, which is considered to be much older than the European one, always portrays Jesus Christ as an African with black skin.

Black Jesus

Where is the truth?

As it often happens, the truth probably lies somewhere in between the extreme points of view. So says Dr. Mark Goodacre, the New Testament scholar from University of Birmingham.

According to him, there is no documentary evidence about the skin color of Jesus Christ. During his lifetime there were not created any portrays of Jesus, and then his real appearance was forgotten.

In 2001 Dr. Goodacre was an expert in the creation of BBC television program Son of God. In fact, the group of scientists made the reconstruction of the skull, found in the Middle East. The skull belonged to a man who lived at the same time with Jesus Christ. The experts concluded that the man had dark skin and belonged to the Mediterranean type, as many Semites.

Jesus Christ face reconstruction

Apparently, he had short hair. The reason for the latter assertion was St. Paul statement that it was shameful for a man to have long hair.

According to Professor Vincent Wimbush from California University, numerous debates about Jesus Christ race actually make no sense. They only reflect the political and racial prejudices of modern humans, as well as centuries-old cultural traditions.

READ ALSO: What is the power in the name of Jesus?

What history says?

Ethnicity and nationality of Jesus Christ – is the contentious issue that has been constantly raised from the beginning of early Christianity, as New Testament has no claims about the physical appearance of Jesus before his death.

Jesus Christ disputes

Although there are no direct biblical or historical references, since the II century the question of the racial affiliation of Jesus remains still a subject to debate. In the Middle Ages a number of documents of unknown or doubtful origin gave a detailed description of Jesus' origin, but now they are recognized as hoaxes. Most people can imagine Jesus on the basis of religious images. It is an ideal light-handsome young man with a thin, high physique and long, brown hair and a short beard. However, this image is not based on serious research. It was rather created on unreliable sources.

In the XIX century there was a popular belief that Jesus was white, while there was a parallel theory of his black origin. However, in general such theories were subjective, based on cultural stereotypes and social trends, and not on serious scientific or historical research.

Was Jesus black?


Over two thousand years different cultures have created many images of Jesus, whose appearance depended on cultural conditions, political circumstances and theological context. Nowadays, there is no general scientific agreement on the ethnic affiliation of Jesus. However, according to the most popular and accepted theory, Jesus was a Jew.

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