Statues of Biblical Figures?


I read on this blog: while researching historical evidence for the bible.

In this article it says that there are 18 biblical figures (12 OT 6 NT) that we know what they look like because of statues or engravings. I found this very fascinating. I tried to do a search to find them, but of course if you search statues and the bible together in google you will come up with 100 threads on"do catholics worship statues" :shrug:

Does anyone know where maybe I can find some photos of these statues or engravings. Just curiosity. Also felt that it might be a good topic of discussion.


I have no idea but just want to say how refreshing this topic is today. I can’t wait to find out more with you.


Great change of pace for a topic; agreed.


I’ve always wondered how artists find their inspiration when painting/sculpting works of biblical figures. Especially the Blessed Mother.


I havent been able to find much. But I did find an interesting blog on some of the archeology of the bible. Here is the source: for those interested.

The historical accuracy of the Bible is pretty amazing. I cant wait to see what they continue to find just in my lifetime. Below is the only thing I could find that showed what anyone from the Bible looked like.

This limestone monument, known as the Kurkh Monolith, is approximately seven feet high and is now located in the British Museum. Discovered in 1862 in Kurkh, Turkey, it was originally carved in c. 850 BC by the Assyrians. The cuneiform text refers to a battle involving King Ahab of Israel, who is also frequently referred to in the Bible (cf. 1 Kings).


Hmm…I don’t know. I do know that there is a possibility that we may know what Peter and Paul looked like, but beyond those two, I doubt that we have any concrete evidence. (No, I don’t count the Shroud of Turin here.)


The thing is, that figure most likely isn’t Ahab. I mean, it’s an Assyrian monument, recording the achievements of Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC). If anything, Ahab is just one of those twelve kings who fought against him in the battle recorded at the end of the stele.

From the city of Argana I departed; to the city of Qarqara I approached. Qarqara his royal city I threw down, dug up (and) burned with fire; 1,200 chariots, 1,200 litters (?) (and) 20,000 men from Dadda-idri of the [country] of Damascus, 700 chariots, 700 litters (?) (and) 10,000 men from Irkhulêni the Hamathite, 2,000 chariots (and) 10,000 men from Ahab the Israelite; 500 men from the Guans; 1,000 men from the Egyptians; 10 chariots (and) 10,000 men from the Irqanatians; 200 men from Matinu-ba’al the Arvadite; 200 men from the Usanatians; 30 chariots (and) 10,000 men from Adunu-ba’al the Shianian; 1,000 camels from Gindibu’i the Arabian; (and) … 00 men from Ba’asha, the son of Rukhubi of the country of Ammon — these 12 kings he took to his assistance; to [offer] battle and combat they came against me.

With the mighty forces which Assur the lord has given (me), with the powerful weapons which Nergal who goes before me has granted (me), I fought with them; from the city of Qarqara to the city of Kirzau I utterly defeated them; 14,000 of their fighting-men I slew with weapons. Like Hadad I rained a deluge upon them (and) exterminated (?) them. I filled the face of the plain with their wide-spread troops, with (my) weapons I covered with their blood the whole district; (the soil) ceased to give food to its inhabitants; in the broad fields was no room for their graves; with (the bodies of) their men as with a bridge I bound together (the banks of) the Orontes. In this battle their chariots, their litters(?) (and) their horses bound to the yoke I took from them.

Now Shalmaneser’s black obelisk does show a figure which is most likely the Israelite king Jehu or a messenger of his kneeling before Shalmaneser, but even then it IMHO isn’t a 100% reliable indicator as to what Jehu looked like.


It’s possible, is it not, that with the tombs that are known, such as St. Peter’s and St. Pauls, X-ray or other technology could give a forensic view of the bone structure of the faces of these men and an image that would be pretty close to how they looked be rendered from that data?


That’s an interesting idea. :thumbsup:


[quote="3DOCTORS, post:8, topic:323173"]
It's possible, is it not, that with the tombs that are known, such as St. Peter's and St. Pauls, X-ray or other technology could give a forensic view of the bone structure of the faces of these men and an image that would be pretty close to how they looked be rendered from that data?


Speaking of St. Peter, we don't have much in the way of his skull. The bones found underneath the Vatican claimed to be his only yielded bits and pieces of the skull. The head preserved at St. John Lateran purported to be also his has also apparently mostly disintegrated. Paul's head is also supposedly preserved at St. John Lateran, though given the condition the other skull was in I'm not holding my breath.

That being said, there was an attempt to reconstruct what Paul looked like based on the earliest artworks by the German author Michael Hesemann and the State Bureau of Investigations (Landeskriminalamt) of North Rhine-Westphalia. They came up with the following facial composite:

Compare it with:

If you'll look at early Christian art, you'll notice that Peter and Paul are the only two personages whose appearances remain pretty much the same across different artworks. Not even the portrayals of Jesus show a consistency as theirs do. (I'll go into more detail on that later on, but I will say for the moment that the standard way of depicting Christ only became 'standard' around the 6th-7th century.) Peter is always this guy with the short frizzy hair, while Paul is the bald one with the long beard.


Fascinating stuff! :thumbsup: The one of Paul looks pretty realistic and I’m guessing accurate. In the other artworks, one can see Peter has more rounded features than Paul. It would be interesting to have several police sketch artists draw composites based on these and any other available ancient artworks, then compare the results.


Just to comment back on the OP's source.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the fact that there are dozens of historical writings outside of the Bible (in the records of the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans) that verify the historical accuracy of many of the names of people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible. External sources verify that 50 persons mentioned in the Old Testament and 30 persons written about in the New Testament were actual historical figures (see list of names and sources on p. 270 in I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek). Because of engravings and statues, we even know what 18 (12 from the OT and 6 from the NT) of them looked like!

I think the problem here is that the author of the article never gives us a source for his claim; also, he never elaborates on this but just casually mentions it. Who exactly are these eighteen personages in question, and what are these portrayals he claims can tell us what they look like? I'm just guessing here, but I have a gut feeling that most of these would be people like Necho II, Nebuchadnezzar or Caesar Augustus (all of whom are named in Scripture) - in other words, (foreign) rulers and other people of note who will obviously have things like imperial portaits or some such. We don't have much in the way of people who are only attested in the Bible like Moses or Samuel or Philip or Bartholomew. Even then, imperial or royal portraitures are again not perfectly reliable indicators of what a person may have looked like in real life (since, for one, art is often stylized).

P.S. I just found out this page after I wrote the above comment, and it confirms my hunch - all of the people listed in the page are royalty, most of them non-Israelites/non-Jews (heck, Jehu is the only Israelite in the list).


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