How did it come about that Jesus was portrayed as White in media?

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    If you're referring to race, well, we don't know what race Jesus was. As far as I am aware, he could have belonged to a race which has since died out. Or he could have been of mixed race. Etc. It is possible he was white, although that seems unlikely given his Jewish background. And since nobody seems to have written about his race who knew him, the information could have been lost very early, leading people to take a guess, or not even bother to try to guess, in favor of exercising artistic license. My suspicion is that people tend to view religious figures in their own form, like themselves.
    – Ben W
    Dec 8 '18 at 2:24
  • No, it's not a duplicate---at least not of that. He's asking why people portrayed Jesus the way they did, not what he actually looked like. The latter is relevant to the former, but it is not the same by any stretch.
    – Ben W
    Dec 8 '18 at 3:59
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  • Okay, I guess it is a duplicate of that. But since the top-rated answer begins with "This is just an idea but..." I say we give it another go.
    – Ben W
    Dec 8 '18 at 13:09
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    It was a mistake to edit a new question into this one. The better way would have been to delete this (or leave it as a duplicate, sometimes that is helpful). Now there is an answer to the original question, which makes no sense to future viewers. Please consider rolling it back to an earlier version and asking the new question as a new one.
    – Bit Chaser
    Jan 25 '19 at 23:35

There is an interesting article published by popular mechanics that uses modern forensic science on a galilean skull dating roughly to the time of Christ. (The Real Face Of Jesus). Despite the title of the article, it is not the real face of Jesus, but it makes a good argument as to what people living in the area may have looked liked (Jesus included).

If you could travel the world and visit the churches of different nationalities you will see that Jesus is nearly always portrayed resembling the dominate ethnic group. Here is good article with examples on this topic from Intervarsity / Urbana (Race and Ethnicity in the Bible). Your observation of Jesus as being white is a reflection of a dominate western "white" culture that has painted Jesus according to what is familiar. Positivity - cultures depicting Jesus as ethnically the same are telling the story of how the Grace of God includes that specific ethnic group. Negatively - the depiction of Jesus as ethnically the same as the dominant racial group has lead to forms of prejudice and feelings of exclusion among those who do not identify with the dominate group.


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