New book attempts to answer how Jesus actually looked like

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Actors perform during a "Passion of Christ" play to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday in Imotski, Croatia, March 25, 2018. Reuters/Antonio Bronic

A British historian has published a book that explores what Jesus Christ may have looked like. The book appears to suggest that Jesus was unattractive or possibly even disfigured.

Published on February 8, “What Did Jesus Look Like?” by British historian Professor Joan Taylor explores the theory that Jesus may have been disfigured. Taylor studied historical documents dating back to the lifetime of Christ.

The probability that Jesus was disfigured in some way is possibly one of the most controversial claims that Taylor, a professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at Kings College in London, made in her book. The author said it is possible that Jesus had scars from his work with wood because craftsmen at that time were susceptible to injury. Bodily disfigurement would almost have been the norm.

Taylor believes Jesus was “probably around 166cm tall, somewhat slim and muscular, with olive-brown skin, dark brown to black hair, and brown eyes,” reports. “In terms of a colour palette then, think dark brown to black hair, deep brown eyes, olive-brown skin,” she wrote in a piece for the Irish Times.

In 2015, a retired medical artist used archaeological and forensic evidence to construct the face of Jesus. Richard Neave from the University of Manchester, along with his research team, used Semite skulls to create a computer-generated reconstruction of what the son of God may have looked like.

The team had come up with a sculpture of a swarthy, Middle Eastern man. Experts recognise it as the most accurate portrait of Jesus yet. It is believed that Biblical figure looked a lot like every other man of the times.

Neave and his team reportedly concluded that Christ was likely around 150 cm tall, had dark eyes, hair and skin, short hair and bearded in the Jewish tradition. Historical records show that people in Judea tended to keep their hair reasonably short.

The Gospels in the Bible state that Jesus was a Jew. He was born in Bethlehem and lived in Egypt then moved to Nazareth.

The Bible does not talk much about Jesus’ appearance. He is usually depicted as a white man and looks like Anglo-Australians, although some churches and cultures depict him as a brown or black man. On Sunday, Christian churches will celebrate Easter, which is observed as the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after he was crucified on a cross as a sacrifice for man's sin.