From Black Jesus the focus has now shifted to the Beardless Jesus, and this time around there are actual archaeological findings that support the seemingly oddball notion. A group of historians have stumbled across a 4th century AD dated glass plate (also known as ‘paten’) in Spain that contains an engraving of Jesus and two other male characters – presumably Peter and Paul. And quite interestingly, the visage of Jesus depicted here is a far-cry from conventional notions, with his curly yet short hair and a completely beardless face.
The fascinating specimen was found in the town of Cástulo in Andalusia, which was excavated by a team of archaeologists as a part of an ongoing project. And fortunately for the experts, this particular glass plate with 8.6-inched diameter was preserved in good conditions – that still pertains to the ethereal greenish vibe and the impressive craftsmanship of the piece. In fact, the date of the paten mirrors the reign of Christian Roman emperor Constantine, and as such the pattern of the engraving is similar to the late-Roman and Byzantine (Eastern Roman) iconography styles (see at bottom of post) – in which Jesus was always depicted in the middle, flanked by other holy or exalted characters.
In this case, our beardless Jesus is carrying the cross on one hand, and presumably holding a holy scripture on the other hand. The entire scene with all the three men was captured within a celestial orb, which was framed between two palm trees. There is a symbolic side to the whole affair, with the cross representing resurrection and the palm trees representing immortality.
As for the ‘purpose’ of this well-preserved glass paten (currently exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Linares), the historians believe the plate was used to hold Eucharistic bread in the rituals of early Christianity. And, in that regard, the incredible find also sheds some new light into the arrival of Christianity in the Spanish heartland – which might have been earlier than thought before.