As far as coming to know what Christ truly “looked like” in light of socio-anthropological and historical context…I think that it is imperative to also challenge what we feel we know about WHO he was in the light of the Gospels.
In the same way that our picture of Jesus is formed from all of our preconceived notions and exposure to art that may not be accurate, I found that my understanding of who Jesus was had been compromised by the ambient social perception of him. All inclusive, all friendship, all gentleness. He would not judge or condemn people because he loves everyone! I was startled by some of the Gospel readings at Mass, because they conflicted with the gentle friend I confided in.
He is so much more luminous and powerful than my cultural programming had made him out to be!
I love Pope Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth”. In his foreword, he says, “It goes without saying that this book is in no way an excercise of the magisterium, but is solely an expression of my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord’ (cf. Ps 27:8).” (pg. xxiii)
“Through the man Jesus, then, God was made visible, and hence our eyes were able to behold the perfect man.” (pg. xi)
“The gap between the ‘historical Jesus’ and the ‘Christ of faith’ grew wider and the two visibly fell apart. But what can faith in Jesus as the Christ possibly mean, in Jesus as the Son of the living God, if the man Jesus was so completely different from the picture that the Evangelists painted of him and that the Church, on the evidence of the Gospels, takes as the basis of her preaching?” (pg. xi)
As much as I would love to know what he truly looked like, I have found that the quest to know who he really was is by far the most incredible adventure man could undertake!