Was Jesus Caucasian?

by Matt Slick

Before we can tackle the issue of whether or not Jesus was Caucasian, we must define our terms. Caucasian is defined in different ways:

  1. "belonging to the races of people who have skin that is of a pale colour"1
  2. "a member of the peoples traditionally classified as the Caucasian race, especially those peoples having light to fair skin."2
  3. "of, constituting, or characteristic of a race of humankind native to Europe, North Africa, and southwest Asia and classified according to physical features —used especially in referring to persons of European descent having usually light skin pigmentation."3

By these definitions, and particularly the third one which emphasizes people groups of "Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia," and since Israel is geographically just above North Africa, it's been generally held that Jesus was Caucasian. Furthermore, since he was of the Jewish race and the Jewish people are Caucasian, this is further evidence that Jesus was Caucasian.

However, we must emphasize that there is only one human race and the human race consists of people of varying heights, weight, and skin colors. The traditional division of races consisting of Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negroid has unfortunately been used to justify racial prejudices. There is not a black race, a brown race, and a white race. There is only one race, the human race, with varying physical characteristics.

It is not important what color of skin Jesus possessed. What is important is that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9), that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he rose from the dead (1 Peter2:24; 1 Corinthians15:1-4).

Unfortunately, there are those who use the generally accepted Caucasian appearance of the Messiah as a justification for racial division and prejudice. This is, of course, sinful and is something we must oppose.

  • 1. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/caucasian
  • 2. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/caucasian
  • 3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Caucasian

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.