The scientist believes he has come up with a far more accurate representation of what Jesus looked like.
Traditionally, Jesus is depicted as having long hair, blue eyes and white skin (Picture above), despite being born in the middle Eastern Judea region.
However, a British scientist believes he has come up with a far more accurate representation of what the christian icon actually may have looked like based on based on forensic anthropology.
Richard Neave, a retired medical artist from the University of Manchester, first released the image in 2015 – but the depiction has recently returned to prominence online.
And the result looks nothing like the golden-haired, fair-eyed, pale-skinned chap we recognise from traditional Sunday school portraits.
Assisted by Israeli archaeologists, scientist Richard used methods similar to those utilised by the police to track down criminals: all in order to fashion a reconstruction of Jesus’ face.
He began by acquiring Semite male skulls from near Jerusalem, where Jesus lived.
Neave and his team then used computerised tomography to create X-ray slices of the skulls to gather complex data about his facial structure, muscles and skin.
Using this information the researchers were able to build 3D reconstruction of Jesus’ face.
They then created a cast of the skull using layers of clay and modelled the nose, lips and eyelids to follow the shape determined by the underlying muscles.
The team used drawings found at various archaeological sites dated to the first century, before the Bible was compiled, to determine Jesus’ hair, eye and skin colour.
Contrary to popular belief, they argue that God’s son could have had dark eyes and the short, curly hair appropriate for men at the time.
The average height of a Semite male at the time of Jesus was 5 ft 1, weighing around 110 pounds.
Given Jesus worked outdoors as a carpenter until he was about 30, Neave and his team reckon he was more muscular and fit than Western portraits suggests, with a weather-beaten face which made him appear older.
Neave stressed that his recreation of Jesus, first published in Popular Mechanics in January 2015, is simply that of an adult man who lived in the same place and at the same time.
Charles D. Hackett, director of Episcopal studies at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, said: “The fact that he probably looked a great deal more like a darker-skinned Semite than westerners are used to seeing him pictured is a reminder of his universality.
“And it is a reminder of our tendency to sinfully appropriate him in the service of our cultural value.”
Though forensic portraits are not an exact science, Alison Galloway, professor of anthropology at the University of California in Santa Cruz, reckons Neave’s drawing is “probably a lot closer to the truth than the work of many great masters”.