Black Jesus centers on Jesus living in present day Compton, CA, on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood, with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Black Jesus - Race and appearance of Jesus - Netflix
The race and appearance of Jesus has been a topic of discussion since the days of early Christianity. There are no firsthand accounts of Jesus' physical appearance, although some authors have suggested that physical descriptions may have been removed from the Bible at some point to emphasize his universality. Most scholars consequently believe that Jesus was similar in appearance to the modern inhabitants of the Middle East, due to the Bible (and other historical accounts) unequivocally referring to him as a Galilean Israelite. Various theories about the race of Jesus have been proposed and debated. By the Middle Ages, a number of documents, generally of unknown or questionable origin, had been composed and were circulating with details of the appearance of Jesus. Now these documents are mostly considered forgeries. By the 19th century, theories that Jesus was non-Semitic were being developed, with writers suggesting he was variously white, black, Indian, or some other race. However, as in other cases of the assignment of race to Biblical individuals, these claims have been mostly pseudoscientific, based on cultural stereotypes, ethnocentrism, and societal trends rather than on scientific analysis or historical method. Many people have a mental image of Jesus drawn from artistic depictions. A wide range of depictions have appeared over the two millennia since Jesus's death, often influenced by cultural settings, political circumstances and theological contexts. Depiction of Jesus in art of the first Christian centuries gradually standardized his appearance with a short beard. These images are often based on second- or third-hand interpretations of spurious sources, and are generally not historically accurate.
Black Jesus - Emergence of racial theories - Netflix
By the 19th century theories that Jesus was of the Aryan race, and in particular of Nordic appearance, were developed and later appealed to advocates of the new racial antisemitism, who wanted nothing Jewish about Jesus. Houston Stewart Chamberlain posited Jesus was of Amorite-Germanic extraction. The Amorites were actually a Semitic people. Madison Grant claimed Jesus for the Nordic race. This found its most extreme form in the Nazi theology of Positive Christianity. Scholars supporting the radical Aryan view also argued that being a Jew by religion was distinguishable from being a Jew by race or ethnicity. These theories usually also include the reasoning that Jesus was Aryan because Galilee was supposedly a non-Jewish region speaking an unknown Indo-European language, but this has not gained scholarly acceptance (in fact, Galilee had a significant non-Jewish minority, but these spoke various local Semitic languages). The English writer Godfrey Higgins suggested in his book Anacalypsis (1836) that Jesus was a dark brown skinned Indo-Aryan from North India. In 1906 a German writer named Theodor Plange wrote a book titled Christ-an Indian? in which he argued that Jesus was an Indian and that the Christian gospel had originated in India. By the 20th century, theories had also been proposed that Jesus was black, but not necessarily a descendant of any specific black African ethnicity, e.g. based on the argument that the ancient Israelites, as a group, were in whole or part originally a black people. Martin Luther King was a proponent of the “Black Christ” movement and identified the struggle of Jesus against the authorities of the time with the struggle of African Americans in the southern parts of the United States, as he questioned why the white church leaders did not voice concern for racial equality. For some, this blackness was due to Jesus's identification with black people, not the color of his skin, while others such as Albert Cleage argued that Jesus was ethnically black. A study on the 2001 BBC series Son of God attempted to determine what Jesus's race and appearance may have been. Assuming Jesus to be a Galilean Semite, the study concluded in conjunction with Mark Goodacre that his skin would have been “olive-coloured” and “swarthy”—these results were criticised by some media outlets for being “dismissive” and “dumbed down”. However, this type of analysis suggests, that even though Caucasian, Jesus may not have fit into all modern definitions of whiteness in the Western world. In academic studies, beyond generally agreeing that “Jesus was Jewish”, there are no contemporary depictions of Jesus that can be used to determine his appearance. It is argued that Jesus was of Middle Eastern descent because of the geographic location of the events described in the Gospels, and, among some modern Christian scholars, the genealogy ascribed to him. For this reason, he has been portrayed as an olive-skinned individual typical of the Levant region. In 2001, a new attempt was made to discover what the true race and face of Jesus might have been. The study, sponsored by the BBC, France 3 and Discovery Channel, used one of three 1st-century Jewish skulls from a leading department of forensic science in Israel. A face was constructed using forensic anthropology by Richard Neave, a retired medical artist from the Unit of Art in Medicine at the University of Manchester. The face that Neave constructed suggested that Jesus would have had a broad face and large nose, and differed significantly from the traditional depictions of Jesus in renaissance art. Additional information about Jesus's skin color and hair was provided by Mark Goodacre, a senior lecturer at the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. Using 3rd-century images from a synagogue—the earliest pictures of Jewish people—Goodacre proposed that Jesus's skin color would have been darker and swarthier than his traditional Western image. He also suggested that he would have had short, curly hair and a short cropped beard. This is also confirmed in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, where Paul the Apostle states that it is “disgraceful” for a man to have long hair. As Paul allegedly knew many of the disciples and members of Jesus's family, it is unlikely that he would have written such a thing had Jesus had long hair. Although not literally the face of Jesus, the result of the study determined that Jesus's skin would have been more olive-colored than white, and that he would have most likely looked like a typical Galilean Semite of his day. Among the points made was that the Bible records that Jesus's disciple Judas had to point him out to those arresting him. The implied argument is that if Jesus's physical appearance had differed markedly from his disciples, then he would have been relatively easy to identify. James H. Charlesworth states Jesus' face was “most likely dark brown and sun-tanned”, and his stature “may have been between five feet five [1.65 m] and five feet seven [1.70 m]”.
In explaining the development of racial theories in the context of scripture, Colin Kidd, in his book The forging of races, argues that the assignment of race to biblical individuals has been a mostly subjective practice based on cultural stereotypes and societal trends rather than on scientific methods. Kidd reviews a number of theories about the race of Jesus, ranging from a white Aryan Jesus to a black African Jesus. In his book Racializing Jesus, Shawn Kelley states that the assignment of a specific race to Jesus has been a cultural phenomenon emanating from the higher levels of intellectual circles within societies, and he draws parallels between the seemingly different approaches within different settings. Cain Hope Felder has argued that New Testament passages such as Galatians 3:28 express a universalism that goes beyond race, ethnicity or even religion.
Black Jesus - References - Netflix