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Depiction of Jesus

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A series of articles on

Jesus Christ and Christianity
ChronologyVirgin Birth
Second ComingChristology
Names and titlesRelicsActive obedience

Cultural and historical background
Language spokenRace

Perspectives on Jesus
Jesus and history
Belief in Jesus
Biblical JesusReligious
HistoricityIn myth
Historical JesusResearch

Jesus in culture

The depiction of Jesus in art took several centuries to reach a conventional standardized form for his physical appearance, which has subsequently remained largely stable since that time. Most images of Jesus have in common a number of traits which are now almost universally associated with Jesus, although variants are seen.

The image of a fully-bearded Jesus with long hair did not become established until the 6th century in Eastern Christianity, and much later in the West. Earlier images were much more varied. Images of Jesus tend to show ethnic characteristics similar to those of the culture in which the image has been created. Beliefs that certain images are historically authentic, or have acquired an authoritative status from church tradition, remain powerful among some of the faithful, in both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. The Shroud of Turin is now the best-known example, though the Image of Edessa and the Veil of Veronica were better known in medieval times.

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