In the Christian-American culture, Jesus is depicted as a blue-eyed white man with long light brown hair. Many have argued that, based on the region of Galilee in which he lived, he would have darker skin and brown features.
While that is true, the facial reconstruction retired medical artist Richard Neave created of “Jesus” is exactly that: a creation. Neave’s reconstruction was based on three skulls found in Galilee. None of these skulls were actually Jesus.
Forensic facial reconstruction of an individual based on that individual’s complete skull is flawed as it is. The discipline is subjective and relies on artistic skill. While there has been some success in missing persons cases and the like, there have also been cases where the facial reconstruction significantly damaged the chances of identifying an individual – and that is with the direct use of modern remains.
Without the remains of the individual, Jesus’s name should have never been attached to Neave’s drawing of what is basically an ancient hybrid in this way. This reconstruction was completed in 2002, yet every year around Christmas, it is still being thrown into the spotlight with headlines like, “Science says this is Jesus’s real face.” And people believe it!
This is not to say Neave’s work is complete poppycock. It is the closest representation of what a man during Jesus’ time and in his region would look like. It’s just not Jesus.