Jesus was a Jewish man. Despite this fact, for centuries Jesus has been depicted in western art with features more indicative of northern European ancestry. And what’s really interesting is that nobody seems to have a problem with this.
Nor is northern European ancestry the one exception. Jesus is regularly illustrated in the terms of a bewildering range of ethnicities and cultures, and again nobody worries about the fact. On the contrary, we all recognize that this practice illustrates the logic of divine accommodation.
But then we come to the Rubicon: if it is permissible — and perhaps even advisable — to portray Jesus in various non-Jewish male ethnicities and cultures, then is it likewise permissible to portray Jesus as a non-male gendered person? In other words, is “Jessica Christa” a blasphemy? Or is it merely one more instance of reasonable accommodation?
I’m surveying the issue right now on Twitter. Feel free to vote there and share your own views below.
If it is permissible to portray Jesus as a non-Jewish male, it is likewise permissible to portray Jesus as a female.
— Randal Rauser (@RandalRauser) December 8, 2017