An Australian anthropologist claims to have found an actual photograph of Jesus taken around 30 A.D., just before his crucifixion.
Dr. Bradley Durbin, considered an authority on the Holy Land at the time of Christ, told a press conference in Jerusalem in September that the photo was uncovered in a trunk in a house that appears to have been destroyed in a fire.
According to the tabloid Weekly World News, the trunk also held a chalice and a tablecloth that Durbin said may be souvenirs from a meal where Jesus had been a guest. The family, he said, may have been followers of Christ.
The photo Durbin showed the reporters was of a bearded man with dark hair. On the back of the picture were the words, "The Son of Man, Light of the World," written in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.
Most people are surprised to learn that cameras were in existence in the time of Christ. The rudimentary photographic device was used in ancient Greece and Rome among the rich.
It was a darkened box with a small opening to admit light. This created an image on a screen inside the box.
While this is the only known photograph of Jesus, we have had word descriptions of Jesus' face and physique. Frank Adams of Tuscon, Ariz., has published a book titled "The Search for the Face of Jesus." He bases his description of Jesus on three ancient manuscripts and the image on the Shroud of Turin which some think is the burial cloth of Jesus.
Adams found the descriptions he needed in a letter of a Roman, Publius Lentulus, to the Senate in Rome; from Pontius Pilate's letter to Tiberias Caesar (before Pilate met Jesus face to face at his trial); and from a report of Gamaliel, a Jewish teacher (and St. Paul's teacher), to the Sanhedrin.
Here are excerpts from the manuscripts:
Publius Lentulus: "He is a tall, well-proportioned man and there is a severity in his countenance which attracted love and reverence. His hair is the color of new wine, from the roots to the ears and thence to the shoulders. He has never been seen to laugh but has been observed to weep. He talks little but with great quality."
Pontius Pilate: "One day in passing the place of Siloe, I observed in the midst of a great concourse of people a young man leaning against a tree, calmly addressing the multitude. I was told it was Jesus. His golden-colored hair and beard were a contrast between him and his hearers with their black beards."
Gamaliel: "He is the picture of his mother although his hair is a little more golden. He is tall and his shoulders are a little drooped. His eyes are blue. He is not a great talker unless there is something brought up about heaven and divine things when his eyes light up with a peculiar brilliancy."
Adams notes that the descriptions of Jesus given by Publius Lenutlus and Gamaliel speak of him as being tall while "the average height of mankind at this period was somewhere around five feet and under." Adams also notes that the man on the shroud was five-feet-11.
The newly discovered photo of Jesus sheds no light on the matter of his height, but Adams appears to be convinced that Jesus stood head and shoulders above the common round of humanity both figuratively and literally. (Copyright 1999 Newspaper Enterprise Assn.)