I am not sure exactly what the Professor's book entails, but I am sure that there are those who read this blog who will be interested enough to read his book, and who will gain good info from it. For me, it seemed like a great chance to share once again some great features that we have on TruthBook insofar as images of Jesus. The article is titled: Professor's new book examines images of Jesus and is written by Kari VanDerVeen. See our blog below, but here's a bit about Professor Wilson's book, with a statement that makes a lot of sense to me about the way people make images of Jesus:
"St. Olaf College Professor of Religion Charles Wilson lays out new guidelines for theologians and Jesus researchers alike in his latest book, Inventing Christic Jesuses: Rules and Warrants for Theology.
"The book, published by Cascade Books, examines the existing pool of Jesus research to reveal how contemporary Jesus historians have transformed Jesus' image. Wilson looks at images of Jesus in the Third Quest for the historical Jesus and uncovers our natural tendency to invest personal values, interest, and age in the constructed figure of Jesus."
Click to read the article
I do agree with the results of the Professor's thought regarding images of Jesus, namely that artists tend to use their own "personal values, interest, and age" when it comes to imagining the Master. I expect it has always been so.
We hear from our visitors from time to time who are concerned that they don't see enough images of Jesus that depict him as Jewish man - darker-skinned, blacker hair...or from those who dislike the images of Jesus that show him as a too-white, anemic, dreamy-eyed person.
The authors of The Urantia Book feel strongly about images of Jesus, too, as opposed to the reality of the man:
141:3.6 The pictures of Jesus have been most unfortunate. These paintings of the Christ have exerted a deleterious influence on youth; the temple merchants would hardly have fled before Jesus if he had been such a man as your artists usually have depicted. His was a dignified manhood; he was good, but natural. Jesus did not pose as a mild, sweet, gentle, and kindly mystic. His teaching was thrillingly dynamic. He not only meant well, but he went about actually doing good.
About ten years ago, the director of the foundation that owns TruthBook began commissioning paintings of Jesus and events from his life; primarily paintings of events that are only found in The Urantia Book.
Over the years, we have amassed over thirty of these modern paintings, and more are in the works. Scenes familioar to Urantia Book readers such as Rebecca's Marriage Proposal (seen here), The Death of Joseph, The Two Courtesans, The Young Man Who Was Afraid, and The Chinese Merchant; there are also several beautiful renderings of Jesus as a child, such as The Death of Joseph, The Drawing on the Schoolroom Floor, and Jesus Falls Down the Steps. All of these and more can be found at TruthBook's Religious Art Gallery.
Also in the Gallery is a page dedicated to traditional, classic paintings of Jesus done by old masters - and a few modern masters, too. There are hundreds of these that you can persuse HERE. And many of these will be very familiar to UBook readers as well as Christians, and others who are followers of the Master.
In both the old and the new, there are images of Jesus that belie the artists' "personal values, interest, and age," as mentioned in the article above; as a result (and as has always been the case), the paintings are the product of an artist's interpretations, and are not always universally appreciated. But since no one has ever known how Jesus looked, we have to leave the interpretations up to those who love Jesus and who have the talent to paint him the way they imagine him. The important thing is to have an image that can help illuminate a story, an event, from Jesus' life. Imaging always enhances story-telling.
Nevertheless, we feel that most of these newer paintings reveal a much more robust portrayal than many of the older paintings that depict Jesus as a "mild, sweet, gentle, and kindly mystic."
In the end, our aim was to memorialize many of the Urantia Book stories that the world has never heard...to provide a visual gallery of modern fine art that will enrich many future generations of the Master's followers.
It is interesting how the images of Jesus change as time goes on. We like to think that the newer images - the newly commissioned paintings - depict the Master in a truer way. And we hope you agree. Incidentally, not all the newer images are of unknown stories from PART IV of The Urantia Book; many of the events of the Master's life in this modern gallery are very well-known and beloved by all. For example, there are two new and stunning interpretations of Jesus by Walter Rane with angelic presences that are far more Urantia Book-accurate than any we've seen. These are paintings of The Resurrection of Lazarus and the Healing at Sundown - both well-known stories. Have a look for yourself!
Our newest gallery contains paintings that were used in "The Untold Story of Jesus: A Modern Biography from The Urantia Book," but that were not commissioned.
Visit our art gallery HERE to see all of the Jesus pictures in the separate collections.
Our art gallery contains even more images that might be of interest to you...
Don't forget to visit:
Unique Animal Drawings and
What Would Jesus Do?
Be prepared! One could spend many worthwhile hours in our gallery; one thing that makes this so is that with each image, we have included the Urantia Book text that is appropriate, so that, especially in the Jesus galleries, one can enjoy a real personal communion with the Master as the stories come to life!