Killing Jesus Just Killed White Jesus: Nat Geo’s Miniseries Casts Lebanese-born Actor to Play Jesus

 

Killing Jesus might have just killed White Jesus.

National Geographic Channel’s new miniseries, Killing Jesus, has done what virtually no other mainstream Jesus film or television series has done.

They cast a Middle Eastern man to portray a Middle Eastern man.

Shocking, I know.

The four-part miniseries, set to air in 2015, announced today that Lebanon-born actor Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor) will portray the title character Jesus.

Now for virtually any other subject, this wouldn’t be surprising or even worth mentioning.

I mean, if you were filming a Martin Luther King, Jr., miniseries, you wouldn’t cast Jim Caviezel or Diogo Morgado in the lead role. It’d be ridiculous and racist and insulting.

They’d be laughed right off the screen.

But when it comes to Jesus of Nazareth?

Jesus of Palestine?

Jesus of the Middle East?

Apparently, only white Europeans can play the savior of the world.

Until now.

With the casting of Sleiman, Killing Jesus takes a direct shot at the dominant white images of Jesus that are so ubiquitous in American society. It stands against the cascade of white saviors seen in everything from Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings in 1927 and  The Greatest Story Ever Told in 1965 to Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ  in 2004 and even the other-worldly (white) image of Christ in the film Heaven is For Real from this past year.

In fact, only two films to date have cast a historical Jesus as anything other than a white European, and both were obscure indie films (Color of the Cross and Black Jesus) Update: Thanks to Patheos film blogger Peter Chattaway for pointing out Black Jesus isn’t a historical depiction either, which strengthens the point of the importance of Sleiman’s casting!).

But in Killing Jesus, we will finally get the first mainstream depiction of the historical Jesus by a Middle Eastern-born man. However, we are also getting a first-rate actor, also something relatively rare in Jesus films. Sleiman, an American actor who was born and reared in Lebanon, was terrific in the immigration-themed film The Visitor. His portrayal of Tarek in that film was complex, emotionally wrenching, and compelling, and I can’t wait to see what he does with Jesus.

The miniseries is based on Bill O’Reilly’s book of the same name. Now, certainly, that might give some progressives, myself included, reason to pause. Jesus was not the anti-tax, anti-government crusader O’Reilly seems to make him out to be in the book. Jesus was no more a proto-Tea Partier any more than he was a proto-Marxist.

But, judging from the first release, the theme of the film will very much be a compelling and accurate one, investigating the socio-political drama surrounding and influencing Jesus’ execution at the hands of the Roman Empire. In describing the film, the studio explains that “Jesus lived at a time when the Roman Empire dominated the Western world, and he made powerful enemies while preaching a philosophy of peace and love.”

Now that is a Jesus film I just might be able to get behind. I genuinely expect the folks at National Geographic not to flatten the story into a modern political box but to offer a nuanced, compelling miniseries that does justice to the cultural context of Jesus’ time.

And maybe just as only Nixon can go to China, perhaps it’s only one of white America’s heroes, Bill O’Reilly, who can kill White Jesus.

And let’s be honest. Our brothers and sisters of color have long known Jesus wasn’t a white Savior. And they’ve known the frustrating and enraging results of white people envisioning a white Savior and often envisioning their own churches as ambassadors of a white salvation.

So for me, as a priest, it’s thrilling to think that millions of white viewers — who might tune in because the title is associated with O’Reilly — might have to confront the notion that the ubiquitous images of white Jesus in this country are not only wrong but are downright ungodly.

I love the idea that fans of O’Reilly might have to confront the notion that Jesus probably looked a lot more like Osama bin Laden or the random Middle Eastern man walking down the street than he did Jim Caviezel, Rand Paul, or our white suburban neighbors.

That image of Christ is unsettling for white Americans.

And, if nothing else, Jesus should be unsettling for us. So I hope that Killing Jesus provides a kind of catalyst to unsettle white people’s image of the Savior. I hope that, if nothing else, it begins to decenter whiteness from our image of Jesus.

It won’t solve the deep systemic racism in this country. But it might just chip away at one of the most systemic racist images in our faith and in our nation, the image of White Jesus, the White Savior of the World.

So, thanks be to God that we finally are getting an historically accurate depiction on screen of the man born of Mary of the Middle East.

Thanks be to God that Killing Jesus is killing White Jesus.

And, hopefully, this time around, there won’t be a resurrection.

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About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He is ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He lives in North Carolina, is a father of two boys, and the husband of a medical resident.

Connect with David through his Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram.

  • Guest

    The actor is Caucasian. He is “white”. Middle Easterners with olive and darker skinned complexions are mostly all Caucasians. Nobody knows the true race of Jesus. I understand your point of view in this piece, it is inaccurate to portray Jesus as a European, true, but truth be told, being Caucasian does not mean someone is solely of European descent or ‘white”. Caucasians originate from the Caucasoid Mountain range, and Caucasians come in all different shades and colors besides “white”. I am an example of that: I am white, a Caucasian, but my Welsh European genetics give me a pinkish ruddy complexion. The dark skinned people of India are also Caucasians.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

      As I mentioned on FB, this has less to do with shades of color than it does with the idea of whiteness in society.

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiteness_studies

      • Rocks

        The idea of whiteness? The guy is whiter than me and I’m Italian American. The guy left his home to move to Hollywood and become a movie star. He probably has a mansion in Malibu and a Ferrari now. How much more whiteness does there need to be?

    • Agni Ashwin

      “Caucasian” is not the same as “white”; the label “caucasian” at least tries to define itself via physiological traits (and whether “caucasian” is even a biological term is debatable), whereas “white” is much more of a socio-cultural categorization (see http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5076/). The origin of “Caucasians” in the Caucasus Mountains is a presumption without much evidence, and no fossil evidence.

    • yeah, we do.

      “Nobody knows the true race of Jesus. ” Uh, yeah we do. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. I think you’re talking about Santa…

      • iMarcusCicero

        There was no “Palestine” till long after Jesus was killed and rose from the dead.
        It was Judea.
        Palestine or Palestina or Palestinians were the Latin form of the Philistines, it was an insult to Jews everywhere.

      • FA Miniter

        The region has been known as Palestine, or a version thereof, for ages. Herodotus used a version of the name: see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/palname.html

        Judea was for some time the southern kingdom of the Jews. Judea properly is/was a sub-division of the region known as Palestine.

        No one at all rises from the dead. That is a myth you are believing.

      • http://centernewsnetwork.com/ centernewsnetwork.com

        What “race” was Jesus’ father, God?

      • FA Miniter

        Are you really going there?

      • http://www.georgerstewart.com/ Isherwood Williams

        True spirits are Everclear.

      • cken

        Jew is not a race. Duh. He was in all likelihood olive skinned. Whatever race that might be. The color of Jesus’ skin is irrelevant, it is his message, his life, death, and resurrection that mattered.

      • xZ ya

        He was likely ruddy cheeked and fair like his ancestor King David, as described in the Bible.
        Olive skinned Arabs didn’t populate that region until centuries later following Islamic invasions and migrations.

      • Jack

        JESUS BORN IN LEBANON! THIS IS THE REAL FACT. EVERYTHIN IS RELATED TO KANAAN AND PHOENICIAN.

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-was-born-in-Lebanon-a-book-by-Father-Youssef-Yammine-PhD/107340369368432

        DISCOVER OF AMERICA IS CONNECTED TO LEBANON, PLS CHECK IT:

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

    This is not the first non-“white” actor to play Jesus.

    The Lumo Project, an adaptation of all four gospels, cast Selva Rasalingam, an actor of Tamil descent, as Jesus; and it is rumoured that Cliff Curtis, a Maori actor, is playing Jesus in Clavius. (We know that Curtis is in that film, but the filmmakers haven’t revealed who he is playing yet — and Curtis, for his part, seems to be something of a method actor, who refuses to talk about his role because the character he is playing “speaks only of God”.)

    And of course, The Nativity Story cast a Maori actress as Jesus’ mother Mary, an Iranian actress as her cousin Elizabeth, and Iranian and Palestinian actors as Mary’s parents i.e. Jesus’ grandparents.

    So filmmakers have been challenging the old blonde-haired, blue-eyed norm for a while now. And even James Caviezel was made up to look more Semitic in The Passion of the Christ, for whatever that’s worth.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

      I wouldn’t exactly call the Lumo Project mainstream by any stretch. And if I remember, giving Caviezel a big nose to make him look Semitic was actually a bit offensive.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

        Actors wear false noses all the time. And in Caviezel’s case, Gibson also digitally turned his blue eyes brown.

        It’s true that The Lumo Project is not all that mainstream. Killing Jesus sounds like it’s closer to Clavius on the obscure-to-mainstream spectrum. The Nativity Story, for its part, was produced by a semi-major studio (the one behind The Lord of the Rings) and featured Oscar-nominated actresses, etc.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

        and Nativity gave us primarily images of Jesus’ family.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

        Well, yeah. But if “white Jesus” has been a problem over the years, then surely “white Mary” has too.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

        Maybe but this post was about White Jesus not White Mary

  • goodacre

    Thanks for the article, David. I am looking forward to this film and to Sleiman’s performance. In addition to Peter’s comments above, note also Son of Man (2006) which has a black Jesus. (I don’t know the film you mention called “Black Jesus”, though there is a TV series by that name that premiered this summer). It may also be worth mentioning The Miracle Maker (1999) in which the animators depicted a darker skinned Jesus, albeit one voiced by Ralph Fiennes.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

      I left out Son of Man because it was set in a modern context rather than an historical one, which is also why I didn’t include the Comedy Central series Black Jesus.

      Son of Man is a great movie! Black Jesus was from the late 60s I believe and not an American film.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

        If you’re referring to the 1968 Black Jesus starring Woody Strode, it is not about the historical Jesus either.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

        Whoops! You’re right. Sorry about that. I shouldn’t have included it, and it kinda makes my point stronger, too. :)

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

        Updated it with a h/t to you in it. Thanks again. It actually underscores the importance and uniqueness of Sleiman’s casting.

  • guest

    The guy looks white to me. He’s certainly not black or asian. I go his color when I tan.

    but then Americans have such a weird view of race compared to the rest of the world.

    1. It’s clearly not true that only white Europeans have played Jesus since you can name two movies that have a black Jesus
    2. No-one actually knows what Jesus looked like. He could’ve been blonde, or black, or polka-dotted. This guy is as much of a guess as the next guy. Are there even any pictures of people contempory with Jesus?

    3. People usually dipict supernatural beings in whichever way is most comfortable for them. Churches in Ethiopia are full of black angels. It’s a human thing, not just a white American thing. Historical accuracy has never really been the point.

    • dicentra

      guest wrote: “No-one actually knows what Jesus looked like. He could’ve been blonde, or black, or polka-dotted. This guy is as much of a guess as the next guy. Are there even any pictures of people contempory with Jesus?”

      It’s surprising how few photos survived from the First Century, but then cameras were so very rare back then. 😉 But, seriously, we *can* say Jesus was not blonde or polka-dotted. That would have been quite remarkable for the geographical location and time period, and the Bible tells us that He was not anything extraordinary to look at. So he most likely looked a lot like the other folks around him.

      As far as contemporary portraits, we can look at the busts of Roman emperors, but they would have been a different race. We might have better luck with the Fayum Mummy portraits. They were roughly from the same time period, geographically close (remember Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus fled into Egypt for several years) and probably racially close, as well. Here’s a link to many of the portraits, all of which show very much middle eastern men and women:
      http://tinyurl.com/fayummummies

    • Agni Ashwin

      “The guy looks white to me.”

      If he were living in 1950s Alabama, the local population might have a different opinion.

      • Rocks

        If you were living anywhere outside the deep south at that time they wouldn’t though. Probably not far outside either.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/davidhenson David R. Henson

      Please notice my wording as I am referring to mainstream productions of the historical Jesus. As Peter pointed out, even my inclusion of Black Jesus was off as it’s not historical (my bad), which really underscores my point further and strengthens it.

  • Heather

    This is worth looking up: “The Shroud of Turin”

    • FA Miniter

      Why?

  • Powerglide

    You mean that Jesus didn’t look like Max von Sydow or Jeffrey Hunter? Sheesh!

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

      There once was a time when Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St Matthew was lauded for being more “authentic” or “accurate” in its portrayal of Jesus and his Mediterranean-peasant followers than the Hunter and von Sydow films. I suspect it would be too Euro by current standards, though.

  • Jeff

    There have been several documentaries regarding Christ’s appearance. Actually one of them was on the National Geographic Channel. It was called Faces of the Bible. In the fourth episode they reconstructed the face of a 2,000 year old skull. They added hair and facial hair that would have been customary for the time and skin and hair color was based on regional DNA.

  • Guest

    More racist crap from the ‘progressives’.. must be a day that ends in ‘Y’.

  • Rocks

    “Nobody knows the true race of Jesus.”

    Actually, we do. He was a Jew. As for what he looked like he probably looked like many of the other people who dwelt in and around the Mediterranean just like say Greeks, Spaniards, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Arabs and Italians. I guess it wasn’t so crazy after all for those Renaissance artists to use local models.

  • content generating machine.

    This sounds very interesting thank you

  • spiff

    I find this discussion absolutely hilarious. I’m agnostic, but I am actually quite inspired by Jesus the “individual” or “prophet” as I think of him. If you are all Christians and are arguing about something as petty as if he is white, black, or a unicorn, then you are all missing the message he was teaching.

  • http://centernewsnetwork.com/ centernewsnetwork.com

    What was the “race” of Jesus’ father, God?

    • $120619225

      Well, if mankind is any reflection, God is probably a Ferengi.

  • Donald Sensing

    There is one contemporary description of what Jesus looked like, but its historicity is disputed :
    ————————
    The only physical description of Jesus that does exist is from a copy of a letter from the Roman consul Lentulus to the Roman Emperor Tiberius. This document was discovered in a Monastery with copies of other ancient documents. According to the copy of the letter, the original letter from the consul was dated to the 12 year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. Scholars have historical verification that a certain Roman consul named Lentulus was in Judea at the time of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. His influential family is mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus in his bookAntiquities of the Jews. Scholars are divided, however, as to the authenticity of the letter. Lentulus’ letter is presented an official report to the Emperor Tiberius. In his letter Lentulus describes the condemned man named Jesus of Nazareth as having:

    a noble and lively face, with fair and slightly wavy hair; black and strongly curving eyebrows, intense penetrating blue eyes and an expression of wondrous grace. His nose is rather long. His beard is almost blonde, although not very long. His hair is quite long, and has never seen a pair of scissors…..His neck is slightly inclined, so that he never appears to be bitter or arrogant. His tanned face is the color of ripe corn and well proportioned. It gives the impression of gravity and wisdom, sweetness and good, and is completely lacking in any sign of anger. (Holy Land Magazine, Franciscan Holy Land Press, Spring 1998, italics original).

    Whatever information Tiberius received concerning the strange progress of events concerning the death of this Jew, he was shaken enough to present a shocking suggestion to the Roman Senate. There is some historical evidence to support the claim that Tiberius was so convinced of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead that he attempted to have Him declared a “god”, but the Roman Senate refused to approve this provincial Jew’s admission to the Roman pantheon of gods.
    —————————–
    More:
    http://pastordonblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/what-makes-them-think-its-jesus.html

  • rtcdmc

    While I appreciate the effort to be more historical accurate in the film, what will it bring that’s new to the story? I am not as preoccupied by the actor’s race as the author apparently is.

  • kntgrkn

    surprise!!!!!!!! surprise for stupid christians

    i asked the christians many questions.but they can’t answer or they circumventing

    for Example

    the christians are believing that virgin mary worshipped and prayed to her son (jesus) too

    1) jesus was god (the creator)

    2) virgin mary was a creature

    3) then.vrigin mary worshipped and prayed to her son ( jesus) too!!!!!!!!!!!

    4) virgin mary considered jesus as her son and her creator at the same time!!!!!!!!!!

    5) jesus considered virgin mary as his mother and his slave at the same time!!!!!!!!!!

    can you imagine a mother worshipped and prayed to her Son?? that’s total Madness

    • FA Miniter

      Take a course in logic, please.

  • Jeff Boland

    As a Roman Catholic I often see Orthodox icons of Jesus and he is almost never depicted as being white. I am a catechist and have an icon of “Jesus the Teacher” on a wall in my bedroom, so I am one American who does not think of Jesus as being white. And I’m sure all Americans who are members of the various Orthodox religious traditions do not think of Jesus as being white.

  • Eve Fisher

    Good article. I know I wince every time I go into a church and there’s the old painting of Jesus kneeling in Gethsemane – Jesus with red hair, blue eyes, white skin, and a nice, thin, Nordic nose.

    • kntgrkn

      the son of virgin born in the middle East not in europe

      he wasn’t a white person and scientifically.the white people are who have Vitiligo

      europeans haven’t Vitiligo.then you aren’t white

      as for me.the persons who still talking about the colours of people are still retarded

      the whitness is the whiteness of hearts not the whiteness of skins

      if you have white skin and black heart.then even the garbage is better than you

  • Chang

    It doesn’t matter what “race” Jesus was. He was a Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean Jew. He probably looked like a typical Sephardic Jew. He most certainly was not Sub-Saharan African, Scandinavian, or East Asian.

    This whole notion is past irrelevant though. This author’s entire intellectual framework is so completely dated it is laughable. The idea that if we portray Jesus as mildly darker than a Northern European that blacks will magically start doing better at school, and start more businesses, reduce their appalling 80% illegitimacy rates, will read more books, invent more technology, commit less crimes, etc.

    That is an absolute joke. It is anti-science and it is racist. Portray Jesus as an Australian Aborigine and it will still have no effect on the financial and cultural success of Western Europe, Japan, America, Canada, South Korea, and the rest of the first world, and (conversely the lack thereof in Africa.)

    Muhammad is portrayed as a red-haired individual in the Koran. Has that fact had any impact positive or negative on the quality of life in the greater Middle East?

    Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Jews (both European white and Sephardic), have all done really well within this “terrible” “racist” America. The skin tone of Jesus has had no effect on their ability to thrive. In fact, blacks have long claimed Jesus to be black (which is just as incorrect as portraying him as a WASP).

    But here’s the thing…let’s skip over middle eastern and just make Jesus black. Please!! And watch absolutely nothing change as regards black underachievement. Then second rate scholars like this gentleman will have to invent another weird myth to support their fading narrative.

    • FA Miniter

      What a bizarre response. You distort the purpose of the film. As the author stated, the film makers sought accuracy in detail. Without evidence you find a liberal political motivation (even though they are basing the film on a book by a conservative), then you insult a whole race of people – again without any basis. But it seems that having evidence is not something you are accustomed to doing. Your post does provide strong evidence of one thing, however – that you are a racist.

  • BobRN

    “Jesus was not the anti-tax, anti-government crusader O’Reilly seems to make him out to be in the book.”
    I’m no great fan of O’Reilly, but I did read his book, and I don’t recall at all any effort on his part to make Jesus into an anti-tax, anti-government crusader. You may not like the guy’s politics, but at least give credit where credit is due. There’s no need to resort to false accusations just to score points with your fan base.

  • Ranj

    If prejudice is judging individuals based on a preconceived opinion about the group they belong to, then this author is guilty of such behavior in spades. To imply that all white Christians believe that Jesus is white is ridiculous. I have no doubt that there are white Christians who hold that opinion, but most (if not all) of my white, Christian friends know well that Jesus was a Jew from the land of his ancestry. How can you seriously read the gospels and come to any other conclusion? Contrary to his opinion, we will not be shocked to see an olive-skinned man of middle-eastern descent play Jesus in this production.

  • John Holmes

    Everyone knew that Jesus was olive skinned, a middle easterner of some origin. Not Africa.. Not Europe.. Most likely Jewey, or Jewish. Of the Judea Region.. To assume Jesus was white or black is funny.. but Jesus is a symbol of love and peace… and not to be made the topic of RACE..

  • Luke Blalock

    the dude in History’s the BIBLE series wasn’t white

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

      He may not have been blonde and blue-eyed, but he was certainly European.

      • WilmRoget

        Well, that depends on how one defines Europe, doesn’t it?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

        Um, is there anyone who thinks Portugal isn’t in Europe?

      • WilmRoget

        Are you talking about the actor, or Jesus Christ?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

        I’m talking about “the dude in History’s the BIBLE series”, i.e. the actor.

    • cezar211091 .

      yes he is.why do you say that?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

        “White”, like race in general, is a flexible thing that can mean something very narrow or something very broad. Sometimes people of Mediterranean or southern-European descent are lumped in with the pale northern Europeans, and sometimes they aren’t. (Are Hispanics “white”? Depends on who you talk to, and in what context. See also the discussions around Exodus: Gods and Kings, which frequently seem to operate on the principle that actors of Middle Eastern descent — Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, etc. — are “white” simply because they aren’t “black”.)

      • cezar211091 .

        hispanic refers to americans that speak spanish,as does latino.alot of these people are of native american origin,so they’re not white.spaniards and portuguese are white,though.naturally,they don’t have skin as pale as northerners.caucasian refers to the birth place of indo european people(somewhere around the black sea,in the caucasus).iranians for example are caucasian but not pale enough to be white.i prefer the term european over white or caucasian.

  • Guest

    I’m Lebanese and I like historical analysis of religious texts. Yet, I was surprised by the amateurish arguments in this book.
    The book pulls toward Lebano-centrism mixed with fundamentalist eastern christian impulses. It does not use by any means respectable historical material or the known criterion historians use to analyze the books of faith. It is simply way off from objective or critical thoughts.
    The author, Father Youssef Yammine, blends folk and myths and adds bizarre and distorted interpretations of twisted quotes from the Gospel. The book’s arguments are based on the many myths about Jesus, Mary and Joseph, used sadly as historical truth.
    Among other topics, the author wants to convince the reader that Jesus is 1) not a Jew or Israelite, 2) Not born in Bethlehem / Judea but in a Bethlehem that an Israeli Archaeologist spotted inside the borders of actual Lebanon, 3) that Jesus and his family worshiped the Canaanite god EL and where Essenes from “south Lebanon” etc
    The birth story of Jesus, present in the gospels of Mathew and Luke only, is already a doubtful historical event by itself if one uses serious and objective historical methods to analyse the texts. It is half myth and half symbolism that is inspired from the Jewish scriptures as for the I.D of the Messiah. Yet Father Yammine decided that it is an absolute historical event and wanted to relocate Bethlehem to a spot in South Lebanon as well as arguing the “nativity star” did not hover over Judea but over south Lebanon.
    The author explained that Jesus was not a Jew but a Canaanite. He tries to support his claim by many incoherent arguments. For example, the author pretends that Jesus was calling “EL” (the god of the canaanites) on the cross and not the god of Israel. Either it is ignorance or a deliberate denial, I do not know, but for a priest to ignore the fact that the reported shout on the cross is no more no less than the first line of Psalm 22 for David, seems bizarre.
    The author also pretends that the tombs of Joseph and Mary are located near a village in south Lebanon. He adds that the “Israeli bulldozers” wanted to destroy these tombs in order to “hide the truth” about Jesus and his origins; Well this is on climax in the book where we witness the old fashioned conspiracy theories thrown in a book by a Priest who claims possessing historical knowledge. First, I wonder if the educated world ever heard about archaeological discoveries of the tombs of Joseph and Mary and second, I wonder if the author is the only person who knows about this discovery! Sad but true…
    “Mary used to serve in an Essene’s Canaanite temple” the author argues. Where did he get this data from? Some ancient myth/folk that no historian takes seriously. And he adds that the “Essenes are Lebanese Monks”. He also adds that the Essenes “do not distinguish between men and women for this Mary could serve in their temple”. Yet again, where did the author find all this data, in what scroll from the dead sea collection did he pick these so called facts… No clue
    And the book goes on and on with all types of awkward theories that do not stand on any serious historical ground.
    Sad but true, many who read the book in Lebanon are convinced by its seriousness. Unfortunately those who are impressed have thin knowledge about biblical scholarship and history data or none at all…
    No professional and serious historian, academic or scholar takes this book seriously. It is simply material for ultra nationalism and fundamentalism when it comes to Lebanon and Christianity.
    We see that the author has an issue with Jesus being linked to Judaism (as it is the case of many fundamentalists in the Arab world). Not mentioning that this is not the first book the author writes in order to give Jesus and his family the Lebanese citizenship.
    Yes sad but true, the author decides to use the most bizarre methods to analyse part of the gospels that are already material of

  • Jack

    The Virgin Mary is from the town of Qana in Lebanon; Book Review; (March 17, 2009)

    The reverend Father Youssef*Yamine has recently published a book in Arabic �Jesus Christ was born in Lebanon�.*
    The manuscript is of 730 pages and divided into four big chapters:
    1. The other Bethlehem in the district of Phoenicia,
    2. Who is Christ historically?
    3. The Bethlehem of Canaan in the New Testaments, and
    4. *Christ was born in the district of Phoenicia, and the Virgin Mary is from and was born in Qana*(Lebanon).*
    This voluminous book is packed with documentation, references, maps, and archeological facts.* I will reserve details in a series of notes at the end in order to recount smoothly the biography of the extended family of Jesus.
    *
    The story of the birth of Jesus goes as follows.
    Joachim Omram*and Hanna, the parents of the Virgin Mary, were from the village of Qana*(ten kilometers south-east of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters). *This town of*Qana*was called Qana*of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires).* Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana*and the region.* He was a priest and had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents.
    Joachim (Yuwakeem) took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden.*
    Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.
    Mary was born in Qana*and her parents dedicated her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (Mount Carmel was also in the district of Phoenicia).*
    When Mary was 3 years of age, she was interned in the monastery of the Great Temple in Carmel.* Mary was one of the 12 virgins of the elite families in the region to be dedicated to serve in the temple and she was named �The Pigeon of Eel (God)�. (The Jews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples).
    Joseph (future husband of Mary) was also from Qana and one of Mary�s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance.
    Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem Tifone by the Carmel, close to the famous city of Dora by the seaside and north of current city of Haifa, within the district of Phoenicia (not in the Bethlehem of Judea).*
    Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant. *Jesus was presented to the Great Temple of Mount Carmel for sanctification. Jesus was lost in the same temple discussing with the priests when he was 12 of years. Jesus studied in the schools of Mount Carmel.
    Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem by the Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called Nazareth. When Joseph died Mary returned to her hometown of Qana*where her father and grandparents were buried.
    Jesus spent his youth in Qana.*
    Jesus was called �Jesus of Mary� to distinguish him from the other Jesus.* Mary was also called �the sister of Jacob�: *Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth to 4 offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently Jacob.
    ***********
    In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited and came up from Lake Tiberias*to join the wedding.*
    After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Cafarnaom (Capernaum) by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then joined Jesus� party from then on.*
    *********** Qana*of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the*dilapidation*of the first martyr Etienne.*
    *Note 1: Mary received the �Good Tiding� from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel. Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel. The first church was built on Mount Carmel.*
    A church was constructedt in*the town of Qana by the disciples and the Moslems venerate the tomb of Joachim called �The tomb of the prophet Omran�.*
    Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ, and it became the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further.
    When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days, one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.* The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.

    Note 2: Qana*is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana in 1996.* Israel hit that same town again in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians. *
    *
    Note 3: I may conjecture that Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.* There is this tradition in the Levant to bestow the title of nun and priest for even those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.
    *
    Note 4:* I may be bold to offer another conjecture.* Joachim was sterile and Hanna was impregnated by her relative who later became her second husband.
    *
    Note 5:* Jesus was not Jewish. His family and ancestors were forced by the Jewish King Arestopoulos to abide by Moses� Law and be circumcised since the year 103 BC.
    The Jewish historian of the*Jews*Josephus never mentioned Jesus or the*crucifixion: Jesus was not considered a Jew!
    *
    Note 6: Jesus was highly educated.* He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He studied Law and taught Law at the university in Sidon (Lebanon)
    *
    Note 7:* The name Jesus is also called Emanuel (Amanueel) which mean �Eel (God) is among us�. Thus, �God was made human�.
    *
    Note 8: The astrophysicist*Reznicoff*confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the sages crossed Galilee and not Judea.
    *
    Note 9:* Jesus was born in the year 7 BC and Caesar�s census was done in the year 10 BC, 3 years before Jesus birth.
    *
    Note 10: Herod the Great learned about the birth of the �King of the Jews� from the magies as he was boarding a ship in Akka (Acre) to Rome.*
    No historian ever confirmed the mass killing of males of two years and less during the reign of Herod.
    *
    Note 11:* There are indications that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the first time when he was crucified.*
    No wonder that Jesus experienced a cultural chock when he witnessed business and usury transactions within the temple.
    Jesus got hold of a whip and chased out the merchants and turned their tables over and declared: �It is said that the temple is the house of God and not a cavern for thieves�.
    *
    Note 12:* Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.* Jesus said to his disciples: �Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren�
    *
    Note 13:* Jesus wore the same long white robe that the Essenes*sect of Mount Carmel wore; the consecrated members were called �The White Brethren� and they were famous as healers.*
    The Essenes*had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick.*
    John the Baptist, who never left the region of Galilee, baptized with water as of the Essenes traditions and baptized Jesus.

    Folks this is an old piece of information found on the web in fact the story is pretty old. I argued it years ago on Cedars now thanks to Gardian it’s resurrected no pun to Lazarus.

    If the review of the book by Adonis is accurate and I believe the review is accurate it’s more or less the same as Gardian says then Jesus is not anyone you believe him to be, he is according to the book some child of a Pagan Virgin Priestess.

    Where is God in all this nowhere….now I am not a believer and I doubt anyone who swallows this BS is a believer in Jesus either but I believe Jesus of Nazareth was a very great man but not my God or Messiah.

    This book if the review is true with Gardian and Adonis as spokes people tell you that Jesus and the Pagan god El have a relationship. Folks do you know who the Pagan god El was…look it up…

    here’s a list from wikipedia

    Pantheon[edit]

    Ba’al with raised arm, 14th-12th century BC, found at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit), Louvre
    A great number of deities were worshiped by the followers of the Canaanite religion; this is a partial listing:
    Anat, virgin goddess of war and strife, sister and putative mate of Ba’al Hadad
    Athirat, “walker of the sea”, Mother Goddess, wife of El (also known as Elat and after the Bronze Age as Asherah)
    Athtart, better known by her Greek name Astarte, assists Anat in The Myth of Ba’al
    Attar, god of the morning star (“son of the morning”) who tried to take the place of the dead Baal and failed. Male counterpart of Athtart.
    Baalat or Baalit, the wife or female counterpart of Baal (also Belili)
    Ba’al Hadad (lit. master of thunder), storm god.
    Baal Hammon, god of fertility and renewer of all energies in the Phoenician colonies of the Western Mediterranean
    Dagon, god of crop fertility and grain, father of Ba’al Hadad
    El Elyon (lit. God Most High) and El; also transliterated as Ilu
    Eshmun, god, or as Baalat Asclepius, goddess, of healing
    Ishat, goddess of fire. She was slain by Anat.[1][2][3]
    Kotharat, goddesses of marriage and pregnancy
    Kothar-wa-Khasis, the skilled, god of craftsmanship
    Lotan, the twisting, seven-headed serpent ally of Yam
    Marqod, God of Dance
    Melqart, king of the city, the underworld and cycle of vegetation in Tyre
    Molech or Moloch, putative god of fire[4]
    Mot or Mawat, god of death (not worshiped or given offerings)
    Nikkal-wa-Ib, goddess of orchards and fruit
    Qadeshtu, lit. “Holy One”, putative goddess of love.
    Resheph, god of plague and of healing
    Shachar and Shalim, twin gods of dawn and dusk, respectively. Shalim was linked to the netherworld via the evening star and associated with peace[5]
    Shamayim, (lit. skies) the god of the heavens
    Shapash, also transliterated Shapshu, goddess of the sun; sometimes equated with the Mesopotamian sun god Shemesh[6] whose gender is disputed[7]
    Yaw (lit. sea-river) the god of the sea and the river,[8] also called Judge Nahar (judge of the river).[9][10][11]
    Sydyk, the god of righteousness or justice, sometimes twinned with Misor, and linked to the planet Jupiter[12][13]
    Yahweh may exist as an ending of some Amorite male names,[14] though the only Canaanite mention of Yahweh, found on the Mesha Stele, refers to the god of Israel contrasted with Chemosh.[15]
    Yarikh, god of the moon and husband of Nikkal

    Folks what does this book say if this business of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what does it say about your faith, how can anyone claim that anyone of the Catholic faith agrees with this, if they do agree and I say firmly that the Catholic faith does not agree, but if they did agree what are these people doing and why.

  • xZ ya

    Jesus was a white Caucasian like the actor who is playing him. Darker skinned Arabs didn’t settle in the Levant region until the Middle Ages.

    • Movie-Fann

      That is incorrect. The 1st Century Jews were dark olive-skinned; they didn’t become white until they migrated and mixed their genes in Europe, long after Christ.

      Jesus would look like a Galilean Jew.

      • xZ ya

        Link?
        Irrelevant in any event.
        The Jews of today’s Israel and the Palestinians of today have no relation to nor are descended from the people of ancient Palestine of Christ’s day.
        The Jews of today are mostly issue of a tribe located in what is now Russia/Turkey, the khazars, converted in the Middle Ages by Greek Jews.
        The Palestineans are mostly Arabs who settled in the region last few hundred years.
        King David, Jesus ancestor, was fair and had ruddy cheeks. Paul wrote a letter to Galatians, Celts in what’s now Turkey. Dark skinned individuals are identified in the New Testament as different than others.
        Cleopatra and her royal line were originally from Greece, and became the Egyptian Royalty.

        Waves of olive skinned Arabs didn’t arrive in that region or North Africa until the Middle Ages, when islam began conquering westward and migrated to those lands.
        The Romans wiped out almost all of the inhabitants of that region except for mostly Christians who migrated before the Genocide of 70 AD and 125 AD.


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