Everybody In The Bible Was White?

I’m apparently a bit behind the curve on this as I had never heard of The Bible Series that is set to premiere on the History Channel in just a few weeks.

In case you’re like me and you’re out of the loop, here’s the preview for it. If you have already seen it, I encourage you to watch it again, pay careful attention, and let me know if you notice anything.

Did you catch it?

Apparently according to this History Channel special, a network devoted to as much historical accuracy as possible, everyone in the Bible was white.

And Jesus was British.

Oh, and it seems that most, if not all, of the “bad guys” in the Old Testament are, well, not white and British. Although, to be fair, maybe I’m wrong on that. I’m just assuming they’re the “bad guys” because they’re the ones killing the white guys who have already been established in the preview as the heroes of the various stories being told.

Now, I understand there’s only so far we can go in the realm of historical accuracy when it comes to making movies. For example, creating a series like this spoken entirely in the original languages would be a tough sell for American, English speaking audiences (though Mel Gibson did manage to pull that one off).

And therein lies the problem with this series, but not just the series itself. Herein lies the problem with most of us.

It’s not an accident that the Jesus in this History Channel special is white and speaks with a fine British accent. After all, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of actors of MIddle Eastern descent available to play these roles. That was a decision made by the producers of this program because they need ratings, they need to sell ad space, and the best way to do that is to portray Jesus, and all the other BIble heroes, in a way that is comfortable for the audience.

In other words, to put it bluntly, the producers decided that their audience was racist.

Now, before you think write me off for wild conspiratorial speculation or before you get upset at me for nitpicking a show millions of Christians are bound to watch and think is amazing for its “historical accuracy,” I want you to consider something first.

The images of Jesus in your church. The pictures hanging on the wall. The stained glass windows. The children’s books used in Sunday School. The videos used in small groups.

What does that Jesus look like?

Without having visited your church, I feel pretty safe in assuming that if your church is located in the United States (or the West in general) and your congregation is predominately white, then all the images of Jesus that occupy your church are also white.

This may not be the sort of overt racism of the KKK. Obviously it’s not. But it’s still racism. It’s racism domesticated, racism coated in a veneer of pseudo-innonence and naiveté.

Most of us are not dumb. If you talk to most people in churches today, they’ll probably tell you that Jesus was Jewish or of Middle Eastern descent – even though all the images of him in their church portray him as a white guy.

Why is that?

It’s the same reason we go to the churches we go to, live in the neighborhoods we live in, and shop or eat at the places we do. Not because we’re ready to don hoods and burn crosses, but because there’s something inside all of us – white, black, hispanic, asian, etc. – that fears that which is different. It’s this fear of the other that spurs racism and, in turn, allows us to subconsciously convince ourselves that surrounding ourselves with only things and people, or images of Jesus, that look, act, talk, and think like us is an ok thing to do.

It’s not.

Diversity is a gift given by our Creator. To ignore it, or worse, to try and dismantle it isn’t just racist or bigoted, it’s akin to idolatry. Why? Because in doing so we are attempting to remake the world in our own image, in the ways we see fit.

This is why something like The Bible Series is so problematic. Not because it makes historical mistakes, but because it feeds this idolatrous fear of the other. Not overtly, but subtly, on a subconscious level. Which may be worse, because it domesticates our racism and idolatry by allowing us to justify it through the medium of entertainment and accessibility.

Which is exactly what we do.

And then we populate our churches with images of this same white Jesus and white Bible heroes. Then we populate our churches with people who look just like these comfortable white heroes. Then we move into neighborhoods which are filled with more people who look like these white Bible heroes. And we eat and shop alongside people who look like these white BIble heroes.

And before you know it, we’ve white washed the entire world.

We’ve remade the world in our image.

We’ve committed idolatry on an industrial scale.

Again, you may think this is much ado about nothing. After all, it’s just a TV show, right? Maybe, but I doubt it. Yeah, it’s great when the Bible gets this sort of attention, but this sort of attention doesn’t excuse the inherent racism involved and, in fact, negates any “good” that may have otherwise been accomplished. Worse yet, in giving this sort of thing a free pass because it calls attention to the Bible we are implicitly supporting the sort of subliminal, but destructive racism it engenders. The truth of the matter is television, entertainment, mass media, they all have a profound influence on the ways we think and act whether we realize it or not.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s say this is just a TV show for the History Channel.

If it is, and it’s just an attempt to present the Bible in as historically accurate a way as possible for the purposes of entertainment and maybe just a bit of enlightenment, we’re still left with one burning question.

In this historical drama about the ancient Near East, why are all the “good guys” white?

 

Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt

 

  • http://twitter.com/EofFaith I.S. Pringle

    I do agree, this does not help the way we, westerners, perceive the people of the Bible at all. Whites would have been the minority. But, at least the History Channel is airing something made by Christians that takes the Bible seriously instead as a joke or some cosmic mystery novel that is missing chapters.

    My father watches the History Channel a lot and I often walk in when the show is about the “Super-Long-Lost-And-Secret Gospel of Timothy” or some such attempt to destroy the cananocity of the Bible and seed dissension towards the historical nature of the Bible.

    (By the way, if you are not offended by the pseudopigrapha and the Gnostc Gospels, the Gospel of Timothy is kind of hilarious, as long as you read it as a fiction!)

    • ZackHunt

      I think you raise a really important point about the exposure of the Bible to a wide audience (so much so I made an update to the original post to reflect it), but I think, at least for me, it’s a highly problematic one. I think if we give this sort of thing a free pass because the Bible is getting more attention, not only are we implicitly supporting the sort of subliminal racism that saturates the show, we’re also implicitly supporting a highly problematic portrait of the Bible. To be clear, I’m not accusing you of that, I’m just saying I think as a faith community, we are all doing that if we don’t raise our concerns about it.

    • Joshua Shope

      I’d really love to bring up a discussion about why we absolutely have to read those other gospels as fiction.

    • James Carroll

      Funny, I read the Gnostic Gospels as closer to the truth than the highly-edited tripe that was chosen by the Council of Nicaea to be included in the bible.

      • ZackHunt

        Despite Dan Brown’s best wishes, that is not at all how the canon was formed.

      • Karen

        James, yours is not a perspective grounded in any kind of objective, historical reality, but, hey, it’s America! You get to hold and voice your opinion, no matter misinformed, half-baked, and ignorant it happens to be.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1798310608 Jan Pospíšil

          “I have to respect that idiotic right you have, free speech or whatever, but I’ll be damned if I don’t let you know you’re an idiot.” Well done, you informed fully-baked brilliant person you! I’m sure your perspective is entirely grounded in a specific kind of objective historical reality. Say hi to Santa for me.

    • Travis Jarratt

      The entire “cannon” should be read as fiction. All the stories and miracles of the bible are plagiarized from earlier stories and gods from Cannan to Egypt to Babylon. There is little to no historical accuracy in terms of the events that are claimed to have occurred. It’s not history. It’s mythology.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1798310608 Jan Pospíšil

      I think Bible in general is quite hilarious, if you read it as intended. (= as fiction)

  • Joshua Shope

    It’s so much more comfortable to think of a God whose human form wasn’t homeless, filthy, probably about 5’3″, with scarred-up hands from carpentry work. But I don’t think it’s just a recent American development; people have always created images of God in their own image.

    What is a more recent development, though, is that the sacredness has been taken out of images of Jesus/God/Mary/the saints/etc. Where we used to have icons that were created in very specific ways using very specific steps to express very specific ideas about sacredness, we now have ripped Jesus on a Harley lifting weights while arm wrestling Satan in the middle of a lightning storm. I think that’s where the real loss is. Not so much the creation of a Jesus that looks like us, but the creation of a Jesus that is nothing but us.

    • Karen

      Joshua, as an EO Christian I really appreciate your insight about the Church’s historic Icons.

      • Joshua Shope

        We also unfortunately don’t often build churches like we used to. The history of church styles and how they corresponded to then-current ideas about theology is really fascinating, and continues even today I think.

        • http://twitter.com/EofFaith I.S. Pringle

          Are you referring to the “current” layout that mimics an amphitheater?

          • Joshua Shope

            Yeah. Just like we do Christian art that has removed every bit of the sacred from God/Jesus/etc., we build churches that have removed every bit of the sacred from the space. I get that young, small churches might need to meet in a gym or something like that, and I’m fine with that, but I have a problem with churches building new buildings that are ugly monstrosities that might as well be a convention center except for a banner or two.

    • Jon

      Well said!

  • http://lilablackbird.tumblr.com/ Charlotte

    I think I had always instinctively known that Jesus wasn’t white, but I don’t think I really “got it” until I took a NT Literature class in college. We were watching a documentary and there was one part where they showed a rendering of what Jesus might have looked like, and he had brown skin. Actually, I think it may have been close to my skin tone (I’m black). It was a big a-ha moment, kind of like the moment that I realized Mary was a teenager when she gave birth to Jesus and not a 20-something woman like I had seen depicted several times.

    • Joseph Pharacon

      Jesus was more related to white Europeans that anyone of the “African american” community because Semites are a part of the Caucasian Indo-European lineage and race, the Caucasian race spreads from the middle east, north Africa ,central Asia, and Europe, and i have seen some pretty light skinned near easterners from turkey, Syria and such so technically Jesus is much more closely related to Caucasians than to your race, so your ah-a moment was well..wasted., skin color does not determine race, if it did the Japanese would probably be considered white.

      • C. Black

        Another one that still can’t accept truth lmao!!!

        • SweetJustice

          Please state some facts contrary to these truth’s you didn’t even bother to refute my claims.Your people are among the most ignorant in America , god was preached to your denziens in Africa by a white man with a bible and converted you mongrels to god, lmao the truth is out you can’t run from it any longer.

          • SILOSO

            According to Hebrews 7:14, the Tribe of Judah from whence Jesus came is a dark skinned nation of people. Jeremiah 14:2 reads, “Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.” The word black in this verse is qadar which means dark skinned in the ancient Hebrew language. Lamentations 5:10, reads “…skin black like oven,” and the next verse shows that it is describing the tribe of Judah. The Hebrew word for oven is “rwnt tannuwr tan-noor,” which is defined as “furnace, oven, pot or stove.”

            history and archaeology have long supported the reality that the people who wrote and distributed the Bible were non-European and non-white. In fact, there was no European in the known world at the time when history was being recorded, since everyone was genetically Black.

            Modern research has shown through DNA tests from the discovered tombs containing the names and bodies of Mary of Magdalene, Martha, and Lazarus, that the people of the village of Magdella where they lived, were in fact Negroes.

            Dr. Richard Neave took the skull of a person from the tribe of Judah from 2000 years ago, and the first thing noticed was that the skull was more rounded than the present day inhabitants of Jerusalem. The round skull was of the facial structure found in Egypt resembling that of the Nubian in Sudan. In other words, the present inhabitants of Egypt today are not the indigenous Negroids but are of Turkish stock, just as the Israelis today are not the original descendents of Israel but Khazars.

            Many Black paintings and statues of Christ, Madonna, the Apostles and other Biblical characters from early Christian worship still exist today however. The most sacred and holiest icons of the Catholic Church and prominent cathedrals in Europe even now continue to display The Black Madonna and Christ child”

            Their visage is blacker than a coal. (Lamentations 4:8)

            Our skin was black like an oven. (Lamentations 5:10)

            My skin is black upon me. (Job 30:30)

            Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish, they are black unto the ground. (Jeremiah 14:2).

            I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me because I am black. (Song of Solomon 1:5, 6)

            Lamentations 5:9-10. “We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness. Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine”

            ^When black people become sick or do not eat for a long time, they get darker. When white people get sick or do not eat they become pale.

            Joseph, Miriam (Mary) and Jesus were told to flee to Africa since at that time Egypt was not only a Roman province, but also a Black country populated by Black-skinned people. Joseph, Miriam and Jesus were therefore just another ordinary looking Black-skinned family among other Negroes in Egypt. If Jesus or the Hebrews resembled the images which show Him as white skinned, it would have been impossible for Him and His family to hide among Black Egyptians without sticking out. In other words, Christ could only have been able to hide among the Black-skinned Egyptians because He was of the same lineage as the Black Egyptians of that era.

            Jesus was black, hate to admit it :)

          • Joseph Pharacon

            Have you ever looked at a picture or painting of a black Jesus and thought to yourself, “This just doesn’t feel right?” You ask yourself, “Is the painter joking? Is he making fun of Jesus?” The answer is yes, the artist is being sarcastic and that artist is surely burning in hell’s fire as I type this.

            Jesus was white. Yes, He was born in the Middle East, but His father was not Middle Eastern, He was God. God is NOT Middle Eastern. When was the last time you saw a painting of God with a Turban wrapped around His head? Never? Exactly.

            God is white. God has always been white. Every depiction, every description and every painting I have seen of God has been white. God impregnated Mary, NOT Joseph. Therefor, Jesus is white.

            That is what drew people to Him in the first place. A white skinned man in the Middle East 2000 years ago was surely a miracle and Jesus was and is a miracle worker.

            Now look at Heaven. Heaven is mostly made of feathery white clouds with rays of light shooting through them, which according to most Christians I know, would make the inhabitants white.

            Also, white is amazingly proficient at reflecting light, which is very important when living in Heaven because it’s much closer to the sun than living on the Earth. This white skin prevents you from getting cancer in Heaven and I’m sure stops many other diseases in their tracks.

            So, next time you start babbling on about how, “Jesus was Middle Eastern and couldn’t have been white”, save yourself the embarrassment and look at the Facts!
            God Bless!

          • SWeetjustice

            Nephi’s vision: “And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. “And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou? “And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.” And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh. “And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit… “And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.”And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Nephi 11:13-15,18-21)

          • D Shot

            No religion has ever come out of Europe. If you want a white religion, you would have to become a Muslim. Mohammed was white and it is known and accepted amongst Muslims.

          • SusanRogersStLaurent

            There’s cancer in heaven? This is disappointing news!

            By the way, the name Jesus is a tipoff. How many white guys do you know named Jesus?

          • jojobang

            You sound very very dumb sir

          • will

            have you ever read the Bible R the Torah white people need to pay attention it is more than enough evidence that proves that white people don’t show up in the Bible into the ROMAN Empire

          • Semite Man

            “This just doesn’t feel right?” You ask yourself, “Is the painter joking? Is he making fun of Jesus?”

            Yes – everytime I see a white Jesus. It just dont feels right. After all the blood shed and slavery and all that stuff, it’s just ridiculous and there is no space for discussion. No time for mutants sir. bye

          • stef1

            @Joseph-

            God is white. God has always been white. Every depiction, every
            description and every painting I have seen of God has been white. God
            impregnated Mary, NOT Joseph. Therefor, Jesus is white.

            That is what drew people to Him in the first place. A white skinned
            man in the Middle East 2000 years ago.

            Lol! So you presume because European artist chosen to depict the “middle eastern” Yeshua as a white man so that make’s it historically accurate lmao.

            Also you suggest without any biblical evidence that the jews were drawn to him because of his milky “white” skin? Isaiah 53:2. states that Yeshua was average, and looked no different than his fellow jewish brothers (“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him”.)
            nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.”

            Sir, you are guilty of inserting something into the biblical text that simply isn’t there. You say God is white, but scripture states in Exodus 33:20 God told moses “no man can see his face an live”. So you’ve seen God’s white face? Are you dead then lol?

            Joseph you have a serious problem with imposing ideas into scripture with zero “biblical evidence” to back up your claims. What you are is a “heretic”.

          • stef1

            By the way, I don’t know any white guy’s named Yeshua?

          • stef1

            So why doesn’t white skin prevent whites from getting “skin cancer” here on earth lol? You just proved how unlearned you are, and racist. Fair skin people are more susceptible to cancer causing ultra violet rays oppose to darker skin people.

          • Cherrelle

            God created us all, meaning he did not favor white people. He did not feel his son had to be white. You hate to admit it because your ignorant but it is and will always be true Jesus was black. The part of the world he lived in required black skin to survive the sun exposure. This is why people in hotter climates are black or darker skinned. Look at history, facts, and admit it to yourself its easier that way.

          • Nick

            WOW! You are so stupid

      • SILOSO

        i lol’d so hard, give me one scripture that describes Jesus or anyone else in the bible as being white? i can give you over 10 that describe black skin. The reason you will not find one scripture describing white skin is because caucasians are NOT in the bible, silly

      • http://www.reverbnation.com/blackburbz Ryan Black Burbz Peters

        a complete lie man you need to do research other than what your doing lol do you no its physically impossible to have a black man come from whites and your own sceince tells you that lol jesus ran into africa to escape king neby son there were estimated over a million black jews ran into africa in the diaspora broski whit jews pujt out this knowledge and thats completly false that you caucasian’s are semitic lol some white scholars are now saying that the whites were ham now the only reason why there are mixed genetics in the middle east is because of alexander the greek came over there and raped everyone under the sun we know that the negroes in america are semitic because where the only “dark skinned” race separted in the compact bible dictionary from ham look it up bro plus your proved your self wrong by saying your caucasian they are the the youngest race in the earth man every body on the earth was dark skinned

        The American Jewish community includes Jews with African-American background, many of mixed marriages. Black Jews belong to each of the major American Jewish denominations—Orthodox, Conservative, Reform—and to the smaller movements as well. Like their white Jewish counterparts, there are also Black Jewish secularists and Black Jews who may rarely or never take part in religious practices.[1]

      • D Shot

        Bwaahahahhahahaa. Jesus was born in Ethiopia. It would be hard to sel a white Jesus from Ethiopia, so “they” lied. Whites would rather worship a skunk before they worship a black man. After all, look how the black man is treated today….I, myself am not a black person, and I refuse to lie about religion.

      • The Truth

        Everybody is writing essays. Not one person is getting straight to thee point.

        The obvious reality is that Jesus was born in the Middle East. Therefore he looks Middle Eastern, its that simple.

        Why dont all of you ppl google up Middle Easterners and you will notice that they are olive skinned ppl who can range from shades.of white to brown. Middle Easterners are not black as Jamaicans, nor are they white as Swedish, and they are definitely not chinky eyed as Asians, they are the heterogeneous balance of all races and can come in many shades of olive.

        Allof the biblical prophets are Middle Eastern, ethnically.resembling the genetics of Egyptians Arabia, Syria, Palestine/Israel, Jordan, Iraq, these are all ancient holy lands originally referred to with Babylonia/Canaanite nomenclature

    • The Truth

      Dear Charlotte, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings but when ppl say Jesus was brown, they are referring to brown as in Middle Eastern brown. They do not mean brown-closer to black as in ppl of Zimbabwe.

      Middle Easterners are not as dark as you, or your ppl. The only reason why they are even brown to begin with is because they live in scorching hot temperatures.

      But if you travelled to Israel/Palestine you would become pure black from the heat.

      The bible states Jesus was bronze skinned, this is the same skin type of Arabs living in the region

      • SILOSO

        Lol, don’t know whether your uneducated or just being silly. You do know that the middle-east and Africa are neighbours? You do know that middle easterners were black before they were white? DNA tests, Archaeological evidence and some of the oldest ancient ornaments and statues support this. Caucasian’s haven’t even been on this earth that long lol. you can go to the Middle East and see lightskin people and some light brown Arabs, you’ll never find dark skinned (burnt) people like the bible describes. 2000-5000 years ago only negro’s walked the planet so it’s impossible for Jesus or anybody else in the bible to be of another race, I know they show you in pictures and films that Jesus was white like snow but that isn’t the case. You can even go to churches in Rome where they still worship the black Madonna (the original). it’s hard to admit, but scientifically, DNA, location & race wise Points to Jesus being black.

        • Michael Raspo

          The bible describes Jesus as bronze, he is born in current geographical location belonging to Palestine. The local ppl of Palestine are bronze/tanned arabs and Jews who are not black and not white.

          Black people are not bronze. They are deep brown to black in colour with wired hair.

          You need to accept the reality, all the prophets of the Bible are Middle Easterners, from Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria and Iraq. These are all holy lands. They are a tanned brown skinned ppl who all are part of the Arabian race. Arabs are not 100% black nor are they 100% white, they are a brown/tanned shaded ppl who are a harmony/balance/in between colour of all the worlds races combined. They are the middle ground.

          Jesus is not Rastafarian black nor was he a blonde Swedish White, he is a bronze medium from the Middle East.

          Everybody denies the fact that Jesus was Middle Eastern, despite the obvious FACT that Jesus was a Middle Easterner.

          Where is your common sense?

      • tasha

        The bible states burnt bronze actually

  • Eric

    Apropos of your post: http://colorofchrist.com/

  • Stan

    The same fear applies to The Last Airbender.

  • daryl carpenter

    Surely the greatest inaccuracy in the above film is that it depicts events as being historical that almost certainly never happened. Now I know that sounds ultra sceptical, but the story of 600-year-old man building a giant boat to house him and his extended family along with two of each animal whilst the gracious, slow to anger Yahweh mercilessly drowns everything else on the planet (dinosaurs included) in a genocidal flood of horrifying proportions is not one that receives much extra-biblical support.

    As for Jesus, he’s always been more in the ‘eye of the beholder’, hasn’t he? Perhaps it’s not surprising, considering there’s no description of him in the Bible (unless one wants to take Isaiah 53 as a step-by-step description of Jesus, a procedure that has no sound methodological footing historically, although it may have legs in a apologetical and theological capacity). I may be wrong, but I think the earliest visual depiction of Jesus had him looking like the Greek god Apollo.

    Albert Schweitzer once said that scholars create the Jesus of history in their own image. Well, I kind of think that’s something we’re all guilty of, whatever shade of Christian we happen to be. Perhaps we’re all worshipping a docetic Jesus: he’s all things to all people. Although most of the time he is, as you say, resolutely Caucasian.

    • James Carroll

      “Jesus proceeded to the Temple and caused a riot by overturning the tables of the traders and money changers who abused the sacred building. A team of Jesus’s men must have placed themselves around the area to ensure that the place was safe before the signal was given for the kingly messiah to walk in surrounded by his five ‘minders.’ He immediately set about kicking down the tables as his followers threw the stallholders to the ground. The people hid in terror as Jesus shouted out his views on their ungodly behavior; then before he beat a swift retreat to Bethany, two miles to the east of the city. The general opinion was, no doubt, that the mission had been a great success, but in fact it was the beginning of the end. From that moment the Roman and Jewish authorities decided to act to end the trouble from this sect at Qumran before it got too big to handle.
      James was duly arrested and a wanted poster was issued for Jesus, giving a visual description of the man. All copies and references to this were destroyed a long time ago, because to have a description of a less than perfect god would never do for a growing church. It was, however, reported by Josephus in his Capture of Jerusalem. Josephus drew his information directly from the ‘forma’ produced by Pontius Pilatus’s officers. This was the document that carried the description of the wanted man, a copy of which had to be filed in Rome. The New Testament states that a warrant was issued for the arrest of the man that says he is the king of the Jews, and that it was Judas who turned in his master.
      Despite Christian censorship a copy of Josephus’s description survived in Slavonic texts and came to light in the last century. We cannot be certain that it is genuine but many scholars believe it is, and there is no reason to doubt them. It paints a picture of a man quite different to the image most people imagine: ‘… a man of simple appearance, mature age, dark skin, small stature, three cubits high, hunchbacked with a long face, long nose, and meeting eyebrows, so that they who see him might be affrighted, with scanty hair with a parting in the middle of his head, after the manner of the Nazarites, and with an undeveloped beard.’
      A height of three cubits would put him at under four feet six inches, which combined with a hunchback and severe facial features would make Jesus the Christ a very easy person to recognize. Whilst this might offend some Christians, we would point out that it ought to be no more important for a god to be of beautiful appearance or tall than it is for him to be born in a palace. That is a modern view, however, and if Jesus had been a small and ugly man the Hellenized world would never have accepted him as a god, so the early Christians would have had to hide the fact.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1798310608 Jan Pospíšil

        Best Jesus fanfiction ever! Certainly better than all the slashfic with Judas.

      • http://twitter.com/turnerxei Turner Xei

        Great story, but even Wikipedia casts a pall of doubt upon the veracity of the Slavonic Josephus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus#Slavonic_Josephus

  • http://twitter.com/jelanigreenidge Jelani Greenidge

    I agree wholeheartedly… and I raise you one. My theory is that the Chris Dorners of the world would have less of a reason to lash out if the church could reach them more easily, and this whole whitewashing is part of our collective failure to do just that.

    http://www.urbanfaith.com/2013/02/how-the-church-failed-christopher-dorner.html/

  • D Lowrey

    Thank you for the article! Intellectually…I knew Jesus would have to be more dark skinned than white…but until I read this article…I never realized how right you were about the racism prevalent in American/Western churches. Part of the casting has to do with how the producers are hoping it plays in the American Bible Noose of the South.

    The other problem I have with this series (not having seen it…but read about it)…if it doesn’t follow exactly the way certain churches believe it should follow of their version of the gospel…it won’t matter exactly how well the project is done. Having been in Christian broadcasting professionally years ago and seen what happens when people start throwing fits with things “Christian” they don’t like…this series may not completely air. Personally…this were to happen…I would make sure I got a copy of it and watch it completely to make my own mind up. For some reason…those who will nag the worse don’t understand the meaning of entertainment.

  • Mark

    I wonder if the Doctor Bob Joneses of the world would have not been racist if when they prayed they saw a brown skinned Jesus?

  • Kate Milosevic

    There is a part of my that scream YES, to this post and another than quietly say’s no. That quiet part thinks of black churches with black Jesus crucifixes, or female Jesus images… There is a part of me that accepts that if we are to bring Jesus to all men then we must to some extent portray Jesus as all men. In my mind Jesus’ skin tone is irrelevant he could be a green alien, his appearance mattered little, and if a predominately white English speaking audience is to listen to his words and connect with his character then is is not better to have an actor who won’t distract them away from the message? Equally I’d like to see a Chinese Jesus if the program was re-made for that country, still set in the Palestinian hills though?

  • Chuckc513

    When I visited a black Baptist church, all the characters in a painting of the Last Supper had dark complexions. (I see quite the opposite in white churches.) In Lodwar Cathedral in Kenya, the stations of the cross reflect an African culture (Pilate looks like a local chief in traditional African garb.) God became flesh and dwelt among men. Perhaps each culture’s art reflects the artist or audience and it is an effort to make God look more like our own flesh? Perhaps the artist is trying to proclaim the Gospel in his/her art and is using a language to reach an audience? And perhaps that language is better understood if the audience can more easily relate to a God in a flesh that looks like them (or me)? Just a thought…

    • Travis Jarratt

      Or perhaps, and more likely, god is an idea that we create inside ourselves like Santa Claus and he looks, sounds, and believes what we do because he is not real?

  • Travis Jarratt

    While I agree that there is a decided bias from the producers on the “race” of the protagonists. I am more concerned about a channel that claims to be dedicated to history, showing myth as fact. Even with the entertainment factor accounted for, this will still be seen as a historical piece yet, outside of some few events and people, most is nothing but myth and legend.

    I can allow that Jesus MIGHT have been a real person. But his “miracles” are made up. His teachings may have been enlightened for the time, but I feel we as a human race have expounded on them and made them better without all the god non-sense. Even Christians don’t follow all the commands in the bible because many are immoral by today’s standards.

    The entire “cannon” should be read as fiction. All the stories and miracles of the bible are plagiarized from earlier stories and gods from Cannan to Egypt to Babylon. There is little to no historical accuracy in terms of the events that are claimed to have occurred. It’s not history. It’s mythology.

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  • Relax

    FWIW, the guy playing Jesus is Portuguese. The guy playing Samson was black. I get what you’re saying and don’t deny the impulse for each culture to portray Jesus in its own image. My church doesn’t have any images of Jesus at all, and I’m grateful for that.

    As for language, you want a Middle eastern accent or something? You already said it wasn’t terribly practical to have Jesus speaking Aramaic. So who cares if the English is has a European accent?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1798310608 Jan Pospíšil

    The series obviously contains miracles and magic. Historical accuracy never even touched this POS.

  • taranaich

    Your first mistake was in supposing The History Channel gave the merest thought to historical fidelity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=603823084 Avi Jacobson

    Talk about missing the point. If it’s diversity you’re touting, well then forget about White Jesus & Co.; forget about the blatant historical inaccuracies (prayer-shawls on their HEADS?) and scriptural inaccuracies (“He told me to make a BOAT”?); why is the History Channel presenting a series about something that is vastly more story than history (the series doesn’t pretend otherwise)? Where is the diversity in presenting as “History” a series devoted to the sacred supernatural narratives of one religion while ignoring those of others? Is the History Channel now going to release a Hollywood version of the Isra and Mi’raj? Perhaps a white Buddha teaching the Wheel of the Dhamma to the ascetics?

  • Sy

    So true… the only colored person from the two episodes i saw was Samson. He was black, but even then, he portrayed a black stereotype of great physical strength. History, including religious books like the Bible and Quran only tell the stories from their perspective. Its like the saying, “History is on the side that wins.” It is not necessarily based on fact, but more the privilege of that group to portray their version or interpretation due to their position. Perspective is everything, and in America for the most part, it is still a very racist and white perspective. As an asian person, it is peculiar how everyone believes their book is the true account of the origin of man yet, none account for the people of East asian descent, especially the Chinese who have one of the oldest and longest recorded histories.

  • Raiden

    As much as I love the biblical epics of Charlton Heston and Cecille B Demille (and this TV series) It did always kind of bug me that Jewish, Middle Eastern and African Characters in the Bible were cast with white actors in film adaptations.

    a good example would be in the Ten Commandments. In the Exodus Moses married Zipporah, a Cushite woman, while he was in exile from Egypt. Was she played by a black actress in Ten commandments? Sadly no, because interracial marriage was still a taboo subject at the time. I can stomach it because of the context of the eras they were made, but that still doesn’t excuse the white washing of the Bible in modern day adaptations, in an era that is supposedly post Racial.

    interesting fact, its speculated that the reason God briefly cursed Miriam with leprosy and not Aaron was because unlike Aaron she disagreed with Moses marrying a (ethnically speaking) Non Jew. in short God cursed her because she was a racist.

    Numbers 12:9-16

    While were on the Topic of Diversity in the Bible I feel its important to mention this:

    Prince of Egypt (the Dreamworks cartoon version of the 10 commandments) actually portrayed the characters as they would have actually appeared in the time frame of the Exodus. The characters were modeled as people back then actually looked (with very little artistic license taken), as such Zipporah and Jethro were modeled to look like real Cushites, and Moses and the Israelites were modeled on real Israelis.

    I admit, its not much, but at least there is one example of diversity in adaptations of the Bible. even if it is Animated.

    • Jake Rambo

      Real Israelis? You mean the Khazar converts from Europe. Ancient Israelites looked similar to ancient egyptians neither of which looked like modern egyptians or arab people. There is no movie animated or live actors that has ever been made that portrays actual color of the people of the bible.

  • Raiden

    Dear Mr. Hunt.

    I recently saw the trailer for Russel Crowes Noah, and it looks amazing! But then I watched it a second time, and I realized something horribly depressing. Everyone, and I mean Everyone is white.

    It doesn’t really make much sense, I mean If Noah and his family really repopulated the world following the Flood, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to be cast with Actors of Color? When you whitewash Noah you essentially turn the origin of Mankind into a white supremacy narrative.

  • Semite Man

    Josep,
    the Semites are like Kushites, means Semites are more related to africans than to europeans, ok maybe more to east africans, but african americans are related to east africans too, so you got it right here. And yes, Jews are white but not hebrews. Hebrews are Kushites/Semites and they are the foundation of Judaizm and there’s nothing much to add up. Either you go with the truth or continue live evil. boom

  • Truth

    Jesus was not born in Europe. Jesus was not.born in Africa. Jesus.was not born in Asia, therefore he is not exactly white, black or oriental.

    Jesus was born in the Middle East, Jerusalem, Palestine/Israel. Therefore Jesus looks like a Middle Easterner who have tan brown skin.

    You can see this investigation on discovery BBC on what Jesus looked like