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The image was obscured by centuries of dust and is an “extremely rare” find
Art historian Emma Maayan-Fanar was conducting an archaeological examination of the ruins of Shivta in the Negev desert, Israel, when she noticed a pair of eyes watching her from a wall crusted with dust. A careful cleansing revealed an ancient representation of the baptism of Christ. The finding is considered “extremely rare” because in Israel practically there are no Christian images of Christ of this antiquity.
“His face was right there, looking at us,” he said of the Maayan-Fanar discovery for Haaretz newspaper. “I was there at the right time and place, with the right angle of light and, suddenly, I saw some eyes. It was the face of Jesus in His baptism, looking at us. ”
An extremely rare depiction of Jesus from the early Christian era has been found in the ruins of Shivta, a large Byzantine farming village in the heart of Israel’s Negev deserthttps://t.co/nP9kAv4BFV
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) November 12, 2018
Then, Maayan-Fanar explained the differences between this ancient image and the way in which the appearance of Christ is perceived from the West. In the West, Jesus is often depicted as a tall man with long loose hair and pale skin, but The Christian Post describes the ancient image as a man “with short curly hair and a long face and nose”.
Earlier this year, Joan E. Taylor, professor of Christian origins and Judaism of the Second Temple at King’s College London, published a book where he tried to answer the title question of his book: what was the appearance of Jesus? ( What Did Jesus Look Like? ). In The Irish Times hewrote on the subject:
“The first representations of Jesus that established the pattern for the way he is still represented today were based on the image of an enthroned emperor and were influenced by the presentations of the pagan gods. The long hair and the beard are imported specifically from the iconography of the Greco-Roman world. Some of the oldest surviving representations of Jesus present him essentially as a younger version of Jupiter, Neptune or Serapis.
“In terms of the color palette, then, let’s think of brown to dark brown hair, deep brown eyes, olive brown skin. Jesus would have been a man of Middle Eastern appearance. In terms of height, the average of the men of his time was 166 cm tall. “
Although the exact dating of the artwork is still unclear, it is believed that Shivta was founded around the 2nd century. The image of Christ is probably between 1500 and 1800 years old.
The ruins of the old settlement were discovered in 1871, but in all this time that archaeologists have been studying the place, no one had ever noticed this image. However, another image that symbolizes the transfiguration but that does not show the face of Christ was discovered.
One more reason to visit the Holy Land: