The Beardless Jesus - Source?

by donny 11 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • donny

    During the 1950's and some of the 1960s Jesus was portayed as clean shaven. What was the Society's logic for this representation and why the change back to a bearded one?


  • Satanus

    It was to combat the come back of the bearded look. Hippies, and all that, you know. He also didn't look jewish. They had him looking like a clean cut, white american. It's surprising that they didn't stick a neck tie on him.


  • Farkel

    what cracks me up are the WT pictures of a clean shaven Adam. What-the-hell did he shave himself with anyway, and why would he bother? There were no elders looking over his shoulders.


  • cameo-d
  • WTWizard

    Source: Boozerford.

  • sir82

    IIRC, it goes back to Rutherford's time, in the 20's. He was concerned that certain Bible Students were still more reverential toward the deceased Russell than toward him, even growing beards "in honor of" Russell. He thus banned beards entirely (except for Van Amburgh anyway), and ordered all drawings of prominent Bible characters to be clean-shaven.

    That continued down into the 60's or 70's when somebody finally got up the courage to ask the same question Farkel did.

  • blondie
  • Clam

    "what cracks me up are the WT pictures of a clean shaven Adam. What-the-hell did he shave himself with anyway, and why would he bother? There were no elders looking over his shoulders."

    True. maybe facial and bodily hair were absent on the perfect man and it was a byproduct of sin?

  • blondie

    *** yb74 pp. 97-98 Part 1—Germany ***It was now possible to print TheWatchTower in our own factory. The first issue printed was that of July 15, 1923. Some three or four weeks later a large flatbed press with automatic feed was set up and work began on the first volume of StudiesintheScriptures. Right afterward the book TheHarpofGod was printed on the same machine.

    But more equipment was needed. For that reason Brother Balzereit asked Brother Rutherford for permission to buy a rotary press. Brother Rutherford saw the necessity and agreed, but on one condition. He had noticed that over the years Brother Balzereit had grown a beard very similar to the one that had been worn by Brother Russell. His example soon caught on, for there were others who also wanted to look like Brother Russell. This could give rise to a tendency toward creature worship, and Brother Rutherford wanted to prevent this. So during his next visit, within hearing of all the Bible House family, he told Brother Balzereit that he could buy the rotary press but only on the condition that he shave off his beard. Brother Balzereit sadly agreed and afterward went to the barber. During the next few days there were several cases of mistaken identity and some funny situations because of the "stranger" who was sometimes not recognized by his fellow workers.

  • donuthole

    As mentioned this goes back to Rutherford. I don't have the reference in front of me but the WTS pointed to some early Christian depictions of Jesus as clean shaven as proof. Over history the appearance of Jesus has become pretty standardized but in early Christian art there was variety and he was often depicted in a way that imitated the culture of the artist, such as the having a clean-shave and a Roman haircut. The early extra-Biblical Christian writings make little comment about the personal apperance of Jesus other to suggest he was not attractive per Isaiah 53:3.

    In the WTS literature, I'm personally unaware of any other than Jesus and Adam that the were drawn in such a manner. Why Adam? It is a guess but perhaps beardless is closer to perfection like Adam and Jesus - at least in Rutherford's mind. :-)

    Rutherford's distaste for beards seems to stem from his movement away from the promimence of Russell. (I believe beards were banned in all the bethel homes. Reference?) In 1920 in the US beards had fallen out of fashion anyway and remained out of style until the mid late 1960's. At this time the Society asserted that growing a beard might link a Christian minister with a youth counter-culture movement and shunned them. The informal shunning of beards continues to this day.

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