postrvsurr« tion manifeslations, Ot ■. iv.ir.-L', the various presentations oí Christ hl r11four canonical Gospels are testimony in themselves to a general acceptance of variation in the narrative of Jesus' life, at least, but Mime ill lIk1 nonuanonical literature -uIlL.'- Hj this variety in respect (o how lesus appeared U-- those who saw him, in thc Arts of Peter foi exam plf. Petei speaks of his experience of seeing iJi■_■ transfigured [l^-.is "in such form as I was ahletn take in" I urtheron, in hispreaching to gathered believers, Peter described Jesus as "this 'trod: is both great and little. beautiful and ug]yn youiji and old, appearing in time and yet in eternity wholly invisible 1 le is all things,and there is no other greater than he.11" ]]i cfiL' Aih of Thomas, rhu account of ike deeds of
Jesus "twin." Jesus himself is addressed as being ILof many forms."1"
Ani her a pi)cr yph .lj (and p robat■ K n r ij> i na ily Gnosl k ) book, the Ai(i of John, also contains two separate assertions of jm inconsistency in Christ's appearance, but, ici these cases, .ls testimony to Christ's divinity. The tirsl instance concludes a set I ion uf the story oi Prusiana .inj hcT husband, Andnonicus, and Il'.íJm intti the .nciti-nii nl John's prcathing the gospel Here, L>rusiana describes a ■. i>i<>:i of [ht Lord in the sepulcher where her furious husband had imprisoned her; "The Lord appeared ro ilk- in the tomb m: the form of John and in lIl.il of .1 young man." The second was ,m episode recounted by John himself, since John (who was listening lû L ï r Li ^ i ■ realized thai her a utl í-l.-zi l l1 was con fused by her description of her vision. ihus he explained; "Men and brethren, yog have experienced nothing strange or incredible lm your perception oí
the I m i j, si:ul- çvçf : W sJkimi he í Iili-^l- im k- Iii-, aposlles hll^e itllííl^
in order to elaborate, John gave an example from his own experience» sn lIlliL jus jil'ljtl'ts might !kiLCIOí' lIil- ginty of Christ. |olm told uf the 12 iït l.- ^lil-ei Jesus had already chosen Pl-il't and Andrei1 and then tacne to :ii> brother» saying,Ajames, 1 need you/* ^nd his brother lames came M John and said:
" ' ]ohn, what -dot i In- w [his .J 111J tni [he ihuiit nulled na?' And. I
John) replied,"Which child?'And r answered mr, 'Theone who is beckoning t<> us.' V:-lI I s.iki. This s tttííu-íí ni thi ong walíh wt have tept at «¿. You ait not seeing si raight> lirather lames. Dc on not *ee ihe man sia i ng iherc who ¡i hamíiomf, íalr andthKifti! looking? lim ht said to me, T du noE iH [thai man I m ■- bnttier but |lel lie ^o, and we will sec whar thi; means,' "
.AnJ the two beached their boat (with "In:-" help) and left ici follow him, and In." then ''appeared to |John] is- rather naJd. hLt ¿ flowing I?ul it] I.liiii^ ;l> .i young mau whose beard ^v.i.s iiist beginning," And while the became most perplexed ilI^lh this changing appcarancc, .lii l'Yl'ii Limrt' amazing rhiLifi happened, !^hn I r¡j-lH to see him "as he was," hut Christ's eyes never closed and remained open. Sometimes he looked lo Eohn like a small, unattractive man; and at other times he seemed to be looking up to heaven. And he had another odd characteristic, as John reclined on Jesus' breast; sometimes i.t was hard and sometimes smooth and soft.-'
The instability of Christ's appearance and bodily features disconcerted John, bul also made sense to him, given that the being he was looking upon was no ordinary mortal. Surely Christ would and could appear differently to different persons and in different circumstances, so met i mes tt child, sometimes a young man who is handsome, fair, and cheerful looking fin contrast to Lentuluss description above). At other times, he might vary between being a young mail with the beginning of a bcatd or an older man, bearded and balding. Sometimes he even appeared to look like someone else, including John himseJi. In the.Apc>c-ryphon of John, the author tells of a vision of the Savior, first as a child, then as an elderly person, then as a young person, and h 11 ally as a multiform figure with three distinct forms appearing through one another* These changes were meant to reveal that the Savior is simultaneously Father, Mother, and Son.- Such variation in appearance was even based on the need or ability of the viewer, according to Origen, again in his debate with C el sus;
Although In Mis was only a single individua], he was nevcrthfltss more tilings than one, according to the different standpoint from which he might be rejiardcd; nor was he secri in the. someway by all who beheld hi mv ,„ .And [Inn when seen hi did not appear in like fashion to ail those who saw him, but according to their .several abilities to receive him, will be clear to tho.se who notice why at the time when he was about to be transfigured on the bi^h mountain* he did not admit all bis apostles (to this sight) but only Pete^ James, and |ohn, because the}' alone vtííte capable of beholding his glory on that occasion and of observing the glorified appearance of Moses and Elijahs and of listening to their conversation, and to the voice from the heavenly cloud He did not appear tile same person to the sick, and to thusu who needed his healing aid as to those who were able by reason of their strength to go up the mountain along with him."
Tor Origen, Jesus' appearance changed to accommodate the different needs of the viewers or to show forth the different stages of his own earthlv life.
Cyril of Jerusalem offers something rather similar in his lectures to those about to be baptized, borrowing the biblical metaphors to show that lesus adapts himself according to the need of an individual believer—changing in his mode of being present to different people, while at the same time remaining stable and unchanging in his divine nature. As for Origen, this variable image had Jess to do with a display of power or divinity than with a concern for the care of souls and Christ's self-extension to persons in a way that could be most easily and helpfully revived:
The Savior comes in various forms to each person according 10 need. To those who lack joy, he becomes a vine, to those who vtish to enter in, he is a door; for ihosij who must offer prayer^ he- is a mediating high priest. To those in sin, he becomes a sheep, to be sacrificed on their behalf. He becomes^all things to all people' remaining in Itis own n at Lint: what lie is, Fur so remaining, and possessing the true and. unchanging dignity of Sonship, as the best of physicians and caring teachersb hq adapts himself to our in Fir mi ties,1'1
And while these texts imply that adaptability of Jesus' appearance was a mark of his divinity as well as of his loving concern for those who 'according to their need"" saw him in different guises, the construction of a visual representation of Christ ultimately came down to the dogmatically oriented problem of how an artist might show both his humanity and Ms divinity (his two complete natures rather than his varying physical appearances). As we have seen, the Roman gods were shown with certain attributes that suggested their divinity, such as the use of gold, haloes, relative size (compared to mortals) > or other signs 0t their power and transcendence. Images of feus would seem to demand the same kind of distinction to signal to the viewer that this was no ordinary mortal, even if he was born into a hums 11 body. Buts at the same time, Christian confessions also insisted oil his full humanity. Perhaps this is why his divinity was signaled through certain traditional signs fa halo, for instance) while at the same time images showed him as having a human appearance and being proportionally "ordinary" when depicted next to other humans in artistic compositions (fig, 60, for example), instead of beingL< larger than life" or having a dominating statu re ►
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