History Is Interesting has officially been on the web for one whole year as of today! It’s exciting to think of all the topics covered, from the paleolithic up to modern history! Also, all the feedback in comments and likes was amazing! Keep it up! So far, the most amazing post this year was “Strange Medieval Art” getting near a thousand views over the span of a couple of days! I still can’t believe it has already been a whole year. There’s so many more topics to cover in history that there’s plenty more to blog about this coming year!To start off though, I want to go down memory lane a bit and reflect on the very first post I made this day last year. It’s titled “Jesus Was Believed Not To Be A White Caucasian Man” and was about Jesus being perceived as a European instead of a Middle Eastern man.
Many of the popular depictions of Jesus show him as a white skinned European with blue eyes and long light brown hair. Indeed, many other cultures depict him as one of their own too! There are Asian and African depictions of Jesus too! However, scholars believe him to be of Middle Eastern descent since he lived in Galilee which is in the Middle East. The image they conjectured is strikingly different from our usual image. First off, Jesus has darkened olive skin and black hair that’s short and curly with a larger beard. They think that since he worked outdoors all day, his skin would’ve been weathered and according to Jewish teachings, his hair would’ve been short and he wouldn’t have trimmed his beard so much. Also, he had broader features than his European counterpart. The most striking thing though, was that the average male in ancient Galilee was 5’1”!
It’s hard to imagine this new image, probably because it is so different. Jesus is depicted to look like the culture that adopted him most likely to relate better, to look like “one of us”. However, I think that in light of our new take on the world, we should be able to better accept someone who is different than us. Even then, there is little secular historical evidence of Jesus as we know him spiritually or physically. Many people feel they know Jesus, but I think they’d be in for a shock if they met him! First of all, he’s from an entirely different culture than ours. Ancient Galilee had different customs, language and views than Western European culture! Jesus would probably be speaking a Galilean dialect of Aramaic, and if you could go over that hurdle, there are still others. What about the customs? Would you know how to greet him? How close to stand near him? (In many Middle Eastern cultures today, their personal space is much smaller!) If you could overcome that, your views may not match up. If you wanted to get his take on various world and philosophical issues, his opinions may differ greatly from yours! For example, he’d probably sound more misogynistic, but then again, his and your views on women stem from entirely different ways of life! People seem to not remember as much, any Jesus came from an entirely different culture!
Not to mention, he wouldn’t even answer to the name “Jesus”! Scholars believe it was something closer to “Yeshua”, and forget talking about your “deep Christian faith” with him, he was Jewish! People also have to remember that this Jesus character PREDATES CHRISTIANITY! He taught his take on Jewish teachings to OTHER JEWS still within the bounds of Judaism. Even then, it wasn’t the modern form of Judaism, it was probably closer to Second Temple Judaism. His contemporaries were Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots! Overall, you would’ve had a better chance to be invited to his Bar Mitzvah than his Communion! And how would you know he was the right Jesus? The name Yeshua was the fifth most common Jewish name at the time! Honestly, I would’ve loved to meet anyone from Ancient Galilee, just because they were different, doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from them!
(A satirical take on the problem: European Jesus befuddles all of his Semite contemporaries!)