Many artistic portrayals and films of Jesus Christ present Him as a person with long or shoulder-length hair. Did Jesus have long hair?
First, we must note that the Bible does not provide details regarding the physical appearance of Jesus. Therefore, any conclusion regarding the looks and hair of Jesus are tentative.
It is clear that Jesus was a Jewish male who followed Jewish teachings. Therefore, we should expect a man with olive or light brown skin, dark hair, and likely brown eyes. Unfortunately, history has often instead portrayed Jesus as a Caucasian with blue eyes and pale skin that fits a cultural view of Jesus rather than the most likely accurate physical attributes of Jesus based on what is known of His ethnicity and traditional background.
Jewish men did not have the same luxuries of modern hair stylists available to provide regular haircuts. While Jewish men did trim their hair, it was not as often as in modern times, meaning a rougher appearance was likely.
The apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians offers an insightful commentary into the Jewish attitude of men's hair. It notes, "Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him?" Paul's argument is that men were not to be known for hair that looked like that of women. While this does not indicate the length of Jesus' hair, it does reveal that He likely had hair shorter than Jewish females of the time. Though some exceptions are found in the Bible of men with long hair (such as Samson and John the Baptist), most Jewish men kept shorter hair to distinguish themselves from women as well as for practical purposes.
Statues of men from this time period generally reveal men with short hair. While nearly all statues from this period were Greco-Roman, the consistent portrayal of short-haired men affirms this was a more likely scenario for Jewish men as well during this time period.
Based on these considerations, Jesus likely had hair that was in the "normal" range for His culture. It would likely not have been down to His shoulders nor was His head likely shaved. Instead, Jesus would have had mid-length hair common in His time. This is not to indicate what the Bible teaches regarding men's hair, but rather the most likely deduction to answer whether Jesus had long hair during His time on earth.
Indeed, Scripture does not focus on the physical appearance of Jesus but on His teachings. He came to seek and to save the lost, coming to live among humanity to provide salvation to all who will believe in His name (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
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