How Tall Was Jesus? (Real Height)
One of the most famous faces in the history books, Jesus possessed Godly character traits such as wise leadership qualities and supreme abilities often seeming larger than life itself. So when picturing him it is easy to envision a tall, powerful figure, as many statues around the world often personify.
Although during his lifetime he was arguably well known due to his healing and preaching ability, he was nowhere near as worldwide famous as he is today. As a result, there is very little evidence suggesting his physical appearance, and the debates continue.
But how tall was Jesus really?
There is a lack of concrete evidence to give a clear answer of the height Jesus was. Yet based on archeological remains, artworks, and texts from the era Jesus lived, it is most likely that he stood at around 5'5" (165.1) inches. Although this is short by today's standards, Jesus stood within average height for his time.
What Was The Average Height When Jesus Lived?
While still debated, it is generally believed that Jesus lived somewhere between 4 BC or slightly before until 30/33 AD. During this era, the average height of skeletal remains from time put men around 5'5-6 (165.1 - 167.64 cm) inches tall, which is roughly 4 inches less than the average height of today.
What Was Jesus's Height In The Bible?
There is no reference to the height of Jesus in the Bible. The closest thing we get to a physical description of him is the minor details of his clothing, but there is no description of his physical features.
This is stated in Isaiah 53:2, that "he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (1).
So the closest to a physical description we can find here is saying Jesus was ordinary in appearance, equating to average looking - which we can speculate includes his height.
Was Jesus a Short or Tall Man? (Evidence)
Various research suggests that for the time he lived Jesus was neither tall nor short, standing at around average height. Other sources claim that he could have been much taller than this, and the debate continues.
The Shroud of Turin Height
Dating back to the 13th century, the Shroud of Turin is a supposed cloth image of a crucified man. Theories of how this emerged range from some primitive kind of photography, to being burnt into the cloth through "radiant energy".
It has been claimed to be that of Jesus himself, once covering his body. In 2019, after 20 years of studying the Shroud, by using state of the art technology researchers in Rome turned this into a precise 3d "carbon copy" - a representation of a full-sized body, showing that if this was indeed Jesus, he would have stood around 5'11" or 180.3 cm tall.
However, there are debates as to whether the Shroud is Jesus or not. Some believe that it the legitimate, while others see this as a religious representation of what he could have looked like, rather than the actual imprint of his body.
If the Shroud holds truth then Jesus stood a grand 6-10 inches (15.24-25.4 cm) over the average height of a man for his day, and would still be above average height in the majority of countries today as of 2021 and beyond.
Being tall is a desirable trait, and for centuries 180 cm has been described within the "perfect" range for an adult male's height.
Take for example Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (1490), which until now remains the most well-known, spot-on depiction of the ideal human male body proportions, and guess what - this man stood slightly below 180 cm. This stands in direct contradiction to "having no beauty or majesty to attract us to him", as stated in the Bible.
The Height of Jesus In Artwork
Although artworks were readily being produced in the time that Jesus lived, there are no known works surviving of him today.
So, it is possible that as scripture never gave a strong description of his physical characteristics, artists would adhere to a set of principles from their time to depict what Jesus looked like. This image has remained relatively similar for the last 2 thousand years, which has helped to mold a look that is now generally accepted.
If we take a look at these artworks, the earliest date back to the 3rd and 4th centuries, such as "Adoration of the Magi" (3rd century) "Healing of The Paralytic" (3rd century), and "Christ between Peter and Paul", (4th century).
In these images, Jesus appears both of both average and sometimes of tall height, which rules him out as being represented as short.
However, one book titled "WHAT DID JESUS LOOK LIKE", determined by using historical texts, skeletal remains of those who lived during his period, and Egyptian funerary artwork, to suggest that Jesus most probably stood around 5'5" (165.1cm) tall, which was within the average height for his day (2).
Also, cultural influence had a say in his supposed image, as these artworks came into existence through a chain "traced back to the Byzantine period when artists had to make choices on how to represent the son of God" (3).
What To Believe?
If we look at human height in general then over the last 2000 years it has stayed fairly balanced, with skeletal remains staying at a similar height. It is only over the last 100 or so years that there has been a noticeable increase in height. This might corollate to why we often see Jesus being depicted as an average height man, who does not look short, or tall.
Even today, his supposed 5'5/6 (165.1 - 167.64 cm) stature is not unusually short or stands out as something remarkable, even though Jesus himself could be described as a larger-than-life character.
Other lines of thought suggest he was the personification of perfection, being handsome and tall for his day. What is puzzling though, is that if he stood at 5 feet 11 (180.3 cm) then he would have been the equivalent of a 6 feet 4 (193 cm) man today, and like other historical figures throughout history, this would have most likely been documented through the ages.
So the debate remains very much open, with arguments ranging between 5'1" (155 cm) and 5'11" (180.3cm).
Being tall was and still is often looked upon as favorable, and if Jesus were unusually so then it is something which would have most likely been talked about, feeding itself into scriptures and artwork through the ages.
Yet there are no depictions of him being either tall or short, and the Bible itself describes him as having "nothing in his appearance that we should desire him", so Jesus was most likely within average height range for his time. This has bothered some people, maybe due to the idea that a figure of such influence could easily be thought of as taller than they were in reality.
Ultimately though, how tall Jesus was has nothing to do with the qualities he possessed and the events he influenced to unfold during and after his time.
We are created in the image of God, with true power coming from within, and as the Bible makes clear by a lack of physical description - how tall Jesus was mattered as much as his shoe size compared to the message he delivered.
How Tall Was Jesus's Cross?
The Bible does not say the dimensions of Jesus's cross. Although, it may have been between 7-9 feet tall, weighing almost 300 pounds. However, this is debatable, and as there is no concrete evidence and the actual dimensions of the cross remain unknown.
For a man of Jesus' size, he would have had to be very strong to carry it, with suggestions that it was carried in segments, with Jesus carrying the crossbar alone, with what he actually carried is debatable.
How Tall Was Goliath in The Bible?
Goliath (the Gittite) was a biblical giant who was one of the very few characters whose height was mentioned. In (Samuel 17:4) his height is described as six cubits and a span.
A cubit is roughly 18 inches with a span being 9 inches. This makes Goliath around 9 feet 6-9 (292.6 - 301.75 cm) tall, which would make him the tallest human to have ever lived, by over half of one foot!
He was also described, in the novel "Antiquities of the Jews", as four cubits and a span, making him around 6'9" (301.75 cm) tall.
Who is The Tallest Person Mentioned in The Bible?
The tallest person mentioned in the Bible was known as "OG", the last of the Rephaim (Hebrew for giant). He was also the last remaining giant to have walked on earth after all the others had been killed. He was an Amorite king who was mentioned in the Book of Amos 2:9 as his height being "high and tall like a cedar tree".
His stature was so huge that he had to sleep on an iron bed, measuring 9 cubits in length or 13,5 feet (411.5 cm)
What Does The Bible Say About Height?
One message the Bible delivers about height is:
"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Samuel 16:7
The message here is that instead of focusing on outward appearances, (including height), is to develop our inner beauty, so this can be reflected so that it can flow through everything we do, illuminating our lives while defining who we are.
2: BBC NEWS: How did the Turin Shroud get its image?