"Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew"Stefan Lochner - 1435

"Sacra Conversazione" The Holy Family with St. Catherine and St. SebastianSebastiano del Piombo - 1507  

"Epiphany 1 (The Adoration of the Magi)" 

Gottfried Helnwein1996, (oil and acrylic on canvas). Denver Art Museum.

This Black Jesus in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City is one of many that appear all over South America.  

These statues are not related to the Black Madonnas of Europe; they are rather the result of a bit of marketing by the Jesuits after their success at replacing the mother-goddess Tonantzin with the Virgin of Guadalupe. 

(Info on the Guadalupe campaign herehere & here)

Black and but Beautiful 

Over the centuries, numerous statues of the Black Madonna have had the Latin words “Nigra sum sed formosa” added to their bases.  These are the words of the Queen of Sheba from the Song of Solomon 1:5 and it translates as “I am Black but I am beautiful”. 

The Aramaic / Hebrew conjunction for “but” or “and” depends on context.  It is telling that the Greek authors of the Septuagint Bible chose to translate it as “I am black and beautiful”, whereas the Catholic Church chose to use the word ‘but’.

Early Latin texts use the words 'Nigra sum et formosa', but later authors of the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible changed the words to ‘Nigra sum sed formosa’.

All Western bibles are derivative works of the Vulgate, and consequently that subtle bit of racism has echoed through the centuries. 

White Jesus modeled on Cesare Borgia?

The theory is that people were generally not too enthusiastic about the Catholic Church’s regular massacres of Jews and Muslims, because the people they were killing looked like Jesus.  Pope Alexander VI then ordered the destruction of all art depicting a Semitic Jesus and commissioned a number of paintings depicting a Caucasian Jesus.  His son, Cardinal Cesare Borgia, was the model for these paintings.  Thus, the nastiest of all the Borgias, became the iconic Caucasian Jesus so loved by Christians today. 

In 1995, GZA’s Liquid Swords album featured the solo track by Wu-Tang Clan affiliate, Killah Priest, ”B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)”. The lyrics include the lines; "I even learnt Caucasians were really the Tribe of Edam, The white image, of Christ, is really Cesare Borgia

The true image of Jesus was likely closer to this & this.

Did Jesus have a monobrow?
In order to establish what Jesus looked like, Christians usually refer to a letter written by the Governor of Jerusalem, Publius Lentulus.
“His hair is of the colour of the ripe hazel-nut, straight down to the ears, but below the ears wavy and curled, with a bluish and bright reflection, flowing over his shoulders. It is parted in two on the top of the head, after the pattern of the Nazarenes. His brow is smooth and very cheerful with a face without wrinkle or spot, embellished by a slightly reddish complexion. His nose and mouth are faultless. His beard is abundant, of the colour of his hair, not long, but divided at the chin.” 
Very nice; except that there never was a Governor of Jerusalem and Valerius Gratus was the Roman Prefect of Judaea at the time. Lentulus Publius never existed and the letter was simply an Early Church hoax, likely derived from the works of the 1st century historian Josephus. 
The Slavonic copy of Josephus’s ‘Capture of Jerusalem’ contains the following description of a man wanted by Pontius Pilate for claiming that he was the King of the Jews: “a man of simple appearance, mature age, dark skin, small stature, three cubits high, hunchbacked with a long face, long nose, and meeting eyebrows…with scanty hair with a parting in the middle of his head, after the manner of the Nazarites, and with an undeveloped beard.”
The image of a rather unatractive Jesus is provided by numerous other sources:
In the Coptic Acts of Paul and Thecla, Paul describes him as "a man small in size, bald-headed with eyebrows meeting, rather hook-nosed” (v.3)
In the Acts of Peter, Peter quotes a prophet who described Jesus “And we saw him and he had no beauty nor comeliness” (v. 24).
In the Acts of John, John says: “And oft-times he [Jesus] would appear to me as a small man and uncomely” (v. 89)
The monk Dionysius of Fourna in a ”Handbook of Painting”, specifies “beautiful eyebrows that meet” in the section entitled: “On the countenance and form of our Lord as we have learned it from those who have seen Him with their own eyes.” 
An 8th century description of Christ is found in the works of St. John of Damascus, in his Epistola ad Theophilum include: “beautiful eyes, with eyebrows that meet”.  
One of the Fathers of Christianity, Origen Adamantius, preserved some of the work of the Greek philosopher, Celsus, who described Jesus as “small and ugly and undistinguished.” Celsus is also possibly the source of the claim that Jesus’s father was a Roman soldier named Panthera.

Did Jesus have a monobrow?

In order to establish what Jesus looked like, Christians usually refer to a letter written by the Governor of Jerusalem, Publius Lentulus.

“His hair is of the colour of the ripe hazel-nut, straight down to the ears, but below the ears wavy and curled, with a bluish and bright reflection, flowing over his shoulders. It is parted in two on the top of the head, after the pattern of the Nazarenes. His brow is smooth and very cheerful with a face without wrinkle or spot, embellished by a slightly reddish complexion. His nose and mouth are faultless. His beard is abundant, of the colour of his hair, not long, but divided at the chin.” 

Very nice; except that there never was a Governor of Jerusalem and Valerius Gratus was the Roman Prefect of Judaea at the time. Lentulus Publius never existed and the letter was simply an Early Church hoax, likely derived from the works of the 1st century historian Josephus

The Slavonic copy of Josephus’s ‘Capture of Jerusalem’ contains the following description of a man wanted by Pontius Pilate for claiming that he was the King of the Jews: “a man of simple appearance, mature age, dark skin, small stature, three cubits high, hunchbacked with a long face, long nose, and meeting eyebrows…with scanty hair with a parting in the middle of his head, after the manner of the Nazarites, and with an undeveloped beard.

The image of a rather unatractive Jesus is provided by numerous other sources:

  • In the Coptic Acts of Paul and Thecla, Paul describes him as "a man small in size, bald-headed with eyebrows meeting, rather hook-nosed” (v.3)
  • In the Acts of Peter, Peter quotes a prophet who described Jesus “And we saw him and he had no beauty nor comeliness” (v. 24).
  • In the Acts of John, John says: “And oft-times he [Jesus] would appear to me as a small man and uncomely” (v. 89)
  • The monk Dionysius of Fourna in a ”Handbook of Painting”, specifies “beautiful eyebrows that meet” in the section entitled: “On the countenance and form of our Lord as we have learned it from those who have seen Him with their own eyes.” 
  • An 8th century description of Christ is found in the works of St. John of Damascus, in his Epistola ad Theophilum include: “beautiful eyes, with eyebrows that meet”.  
  • One of the Fathers of Christianity, Origen Adamantius, preserved some of the work of the Greek philosopher, Celsus, who described Jesus as “small and ugly and undistinguished.” Celsus is also possibly the source of the claim that Jesus’s father was a Roman soldier named Panthera.
Was Jesus a dwarf?
From a variety of sources we know that Jesus was small in stature; this in a time when the average male measured 5’1” and weighed 110 pounds.
The first century historian Josephus reports him being approximately 3 cubits tall (4 feet 6 inches).
The Gospel of Luke (19:3) describes Zaccheus’ attempt to see Jesus while he preached in a crowd: “And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature.” Luke may be referring to Zaccheus rather than Jesus, but the idea that Jesus was slight can be seen again in the Acts of John v. 90: “…I was afraid and cried out, and he, turning about, appeared as a man of small stature…”  
The Qur’an records Jesus’s diminutive size in the story of the the night that the prophet Muhammad flies to Jerusalem on a winged horse to visit the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus; Jesus was the smaller of the three. 

Was Jesus a dwarf?

From a variety of sources we know that Jesus was small in stature; this in a time when the average male measured 5’1” and weighed 110 pounds.

The first century historian Josephus reports him being approximately 3 cubits tall (4 feet 6 inches).

The Gospel of Luke (19:3) describes Zaccheus’ attempt to see Jesus while he preached in a crowd: “And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature.” Luke may be referring to Zaccheus rather than Jesus, but the idea that Jesus was slight can be seen again in the Acts of John v. 90: “…I was afraid and cried out, and he, turning about, appeared as a man of small stature…”  

The Qur’an records Jesus’s diminutive size in the story of the the night that the prophet Muhammad flies to Jerusalem on a winged horse to visit the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus; Jesus was the smaller of the three. 

"Purging Pope"

Zane Lewis - 2007

"Martyrdom of Saint Cucuphas" - Hans Brun - 1502
Cucuphas is the patron saint of Hunchbacks & petty thieves.  
His hagiography states that he was first roasted over a fire after being covered in vinegar and pepper, but heavenly intervention saves him from injury and the fire kills his executioners instead. His jailers are subsequently converted to Christianity after they find Cucuphas in his cell illuminated with heavenly light. The next day, he is flagellated with iron whips and God again intervenes, killing the Prefect Maximianus by setting fire to his carriage. Rufus, the new Prefect, decides not to mess around with torture and immediately orders his throat cut.

"Martyrdom of Saint Cucuphas" - Hans Brun - 1502

Cucuphas is the patron saint of Hunchbacks & petty thieves.  

His hagiography states that he was first roasted over a fire after being covered in vinegar and pepper, but heavenly intervention saves him from injury and the fire kills his executioners instead. His jailers are subsequently converted to Christianity after they find Cucuphas in his cell illuminated with heavenly light. The next day, he is flagellated with iron whips and God again intervenes, killing the Prefect Maximianus by setting fire to his carriage. Rufus, the new Prefect, decides not to mess around with torture and immediately orders his throat cut.

(Reblogged from la-bas)

'Man shall cling unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh'. Genesis 2:24

Most Christians (other than children and Fundamentalists) understand that the Biblical narrative of the Garden of Eden, with its nakedness and temptation, snake, fruit and forbidden knowledge, is all about sex - and that women are sluts.

God gets angry when he finds out that they’ve “eaten the fruit”.  Adam blames the Eve for tempting him, ("The woman Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate") so God condemns women to painful childbirth.

Because Eve tempted Adam, early Fathers of the Church taught that women were "the devil’s gateway" and ultimately to blame for the death of Christ.

Some Christian cults have interesting variations of the Garden of Eden story: The Mormons believe that Jesus helped God create the Garden of Eden and that it was located in Jackson County, Missouri.

The Manicheans believed that Adam and Eve were the result of the copulative action of two demons: "Then Jesus came and spoke to the one who had been born, who was Adam, and … made him fear Eve, showing him how to suppress (desire) for her, and he forbade him to approach her… Then that (male) Archon came back to his daughter, who was Eve, and lustfully had intercourse with her. He engendered with her a son, deformed in shape and possessing a red complexion, and his name was Cain, the Red Man."

In the beginning there was a Big Bang.

The first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe was a Belgian priest named Monsignor Georges Lemaître.  

Lemaître was an astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom

The theory of the expansion of the Universe is widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble, yet Lemaître was also the first to derive what is now known as the Hubble’s law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble’s article.

Lemaître was a pioneer in applying Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity to cosmology, but Einstein initially refused to accept the idea of an expanding universe, commenting to Lemaître ”Your maths is correct, but your physics is abominable.”  After Hubble’s discovery was published, Einstein quickly and publicly endorsed Lemaître’s theory.

Unlike many of the American Evangelical Churches, the Catholic Church also does not reject the theory of evolution.  In 2006, the Vatican astronomer stated that believing that God created the universe in six days is a form of superstitious paganism.  He dismissed Creationism as a “kind of paganism” because it harked back to the days of “nature gods” who were responsible for natural events.

In 2004, a Theological Commission overseen by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) issued this statement: “According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. […] Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth”

Now if they could just get their heads around the use of condoms….

Picture: “God as Architect” - c.1250.

"Archangel Michael"Guido Reni c. 1636

This painting is a product of bitter rivalry between the Barberini and Pamphilj (two arriviste papal families).  

Cardinal Antonio Barberini (brother of the ruling Pope Urban VIII) commissioned this painting, showing the Archangel Michael trampling Satan.  Satan has the vividly recognizable features of the Pamphilj. 

The Pamphilj soon got their revenge when Giovanni Battista Pamphilj became Pope Innocent X.  One of his first actions was to go after the Barberini.  He charged them with corruption and confiscated their property.  Cardinals Francesco and Antonio Barberini and Gonfalonier Taddeo Barberini fled to France and sought the protection of Cardinal Mazarin.  Pope Innocent X did not back down until Cardinal Mazarin prepared to send troops to attack the Papal States.

"The Sin" - Heinrich Lossow - c.1880
The Ballet of Chestnuts was the most famous of the orgies held in the Vatican.  
An account of the banquet is preserved in a Latin diary by the Protonotary Apostolic and Master of Ceremonies Johann Burchard (it is entitled Liber Notarum).
On Sunday evening, October 30th 1501, Cardinal Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, hosted a banquet in the Papal Palace where fifty prostitutes were in attendance for the entertainment of the guests. 
"Following the supper, lampstands holding lighted candles were placed on the floor and chestnuts strewn about, which the prostitutes, naked and on their hands and knees, had to pick up with their mouths as they crawled in and out among the lampstands. The Pope watched and admired their noble parts".
Members of the clergy and other party guests had sex with the prostitutes for prizes. According to Burchard: "Prizes were offered—silken doublets, pairs of shoes, hats and other garments—for those men who were most successful with the prostitutes."
"Servants kept score of each man’s orgasms, for the pope greatly admired virility; and measured a man’s machismo by his ejaculative capacity."

"The Sin"Heinrich Lossow - c.1880

The Ballet of Chestnuts was the most famous of the orgies held in the Vatican.  

An account of the banquet is preserved in a Latin diary by the Protonotary Apostolic and Master of Ceremonies Johann Burchard (it is entitled Liber Notarum).

On Sunday evening, October 30th 1501, Cardinal Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, hosted a banquet in the Papal Palace where fifty prostitutes were in attendance for the entertainment of the guests. 

"Following the supper, lampstands holding lighted candles were placed on the floor and chestnuts strewn about, which the prostitutes, naked and on their hands and knees, had to pick up with their mouths as they crawled in and out among the lampstands. The Pope watched and admired their noble parts".

Members of the clergy and other party guests had sex with the prostitutes for prizes. According to Burchard: "Prizes were offered—silken doublets, pairs of shoes, hats and other garments—for those men who were most successful with the prostitutes."

"Servants kept score of each man’s orgasms, for the pope greatly admired virility; and measured a man’s machismo by his ejaculative capacity."

"Pope Innocent X" 
Diego Velázquez - 1650
Descendant of Pope Alexander VI.  He was the last of the Borgia Popes.

"Pope Innocent X" 

Diego Velázquez - 1650

Descendant of Pope Alexander VI.  He was the last of the Borgia Popes.