Asian Jesus? Exploring Our Cultural Assumptions About Jesus Through Artwork

Throughout the millennia, Jesus has been portrayed by artists across every conceivable medium. Some of these depictions of Jesus have sought to prioritize historical accuracy, while others have focused on conveying theological significance through artistic expression.

Depending on the culture of the artist, depictions of Jesus have varied greatly. Nevertheless, for American evangelicals and other western Christians, the standard for how we think of Jesus’ appearance has been set by artists who portrayed him as a western European.

That hasn’t been the case for everyone in the global church.

In a recent photo essay published in Christianity Today, Victoria Emily Jones explored the ways in which Jesus’ birth has been portrayed throughout the centuries in Asian cultures, providing insight into the unique ways in which depictions of Jesus have indigenized to those cultures.

The article was met with stanch criticism, with a number of Christian leaders decrying CT as “woke” and “liberal.”

In this episode, we take a closer look at the article and explore why it caused such backlash. We also discuss artistic depictions of Jesus more generally. For example, is it okay that they are culturally defined? To what measure are we conscious or unconscious of the fact that our culture is defining our depictions of Jesus? And how much historical accuracy do we need in order to understand who Jesus is in a way that is theologically cogent?



Latest Episodes

Cremation, Sainthood, Unforgivable Sin, and Other Questions
Religious Scrupulosity: Super Faithful or Mentally Ill?
Is Alistair Begg Wrong About Christians Attending Same-Sex Weddings?
Does Paul Contradict Jesus? Progressive Christianity on TikTok
Is Joe Biden a Christian Nationalist?
Asian Jesus? Exploring Our Cultural Assumptions About Jesus Through Artwork
Pro-Life or Abortion Abolitionism: Who’s Right?
The Christian Origins of Santa Claus
Can You Walk Away From Church Without Walking Away From Jesus?
Are Ghosts Real?
Seeking Moral Clarity in Israel and Palestine
Unconditional Conference, Andy Stanley, and LGBTQ+ Issues in the Church
Ecumenism: How United Should the Global Church Be?
Are Demons Making Us Sick?
What's the Deal With Horoscopes?
5 Hot Takes on the 10 Commandments
Christian Thoughts on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Will Our Pets Be in Heaven? (And Other Questions)
Poverty, Welfare, and 'Rich Men North of Richmond'
Why Are Christians Obsessed With the Enneagram? (And Should We Stop?)
Emmett Till, Florida Slavery Curriculum, and the Importance of History to Faith
Church as a Business?
‘Sound of Freedom,’ Child Sex Trafficking, Conspiracy Theories, and How To Be Helpful
The Long History Behind Evangelical Opposition to Social Justice
Do Pastors Have To Go to Seminary?

Explore More Episodes