There is no scholarly agreement on the appearance of Jesus; over the centuries, he has been depicted in a multitude of ways.
The race and appearance of Jesus has been a topic of discussion since the days of early Christianity. There are no firsthand accounts of his physical appearance, and the New Testament is indifferent to physical appearance in general. According to Biblical accounts, Jesus was a Galilean Jew. Most scholars consequently believe he would have been of Middle Eastern appearance.
Various theories about the race of Jesus have been advanced and debated. By the Middle Ages, a number of documents, generally of unknown or questionable origin, had been composed and were circulating with details of the appearance of Jesus. Now these documents are mostly considered forgeries. By the 19th century, theories that Jesus was non-Semitic were being developed, with writers suggesting he was variously white, black, or Indian. However, as in other cases of the assignment of race to Biblical individuals, these claims have been mostly pseudoscientific, based on cultural stereotypes and societal trends rather than on scientific analysis.:18
Many people have a mental image of Jesus drawn from artistic depictions. A wide range of depictions have appeared over the two millennia since Jesus's death, often influenced by cultural settings, political circumstances and theological contexts. These images are often based on second- or third-hand interpretations of spurious sources, and are generally not historically accurate.:44–45