His face and body type in these images look remarkably like those of Apollo or one of the other Graeco-Roman saviour gods (e.g. Dionysos, Hermes or Orpheus). These physical features do not necessarily suggest that Jesus was identified (or confused) with these other gods, but that he (truly) possessed certain attributes associated with them. In early, rare representations of Jesus with a beard, he appears in the guise of a philosopher teacher, imparting the true wisdom to his disciples.17 In other places where Jesus appears as a teacher, however, he may appear as beardless (fig. 7, above, p. 484).
A different bearded type emerges only in the late fourth century in which Jesus' face resembles the traditional representations of such regal, senior pagan gods as Jupiter and Neptune. These images emphasised Christ's transcendent glory and role as judge and lawgiver rather than his earthly miracles or role as saviour god (fig. 2, above, p. 86).18 Artistic representations of Christ's passion or resurrection were similarly unknown prior to the mid- to late fourth century. In addition, iconography portraying Jesus' baptism by John, as well as
17 Zanker, Mask of Socrates, 297-327; Mathews, Clash of gods, 109-11.
18 Mathews, Clash of gods, 108-9; Jensen, Understanding early Christian art, 119-20.
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