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Letter of Lentulus

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

The NT never described what Jesus looked like. In the late Middle Ages when devout Christians were often encouraged to imagine themselves in the midst of Christ’s passion as an onlooker, the Letter of Lentulus, therefore, must have been an exhilarating discovery. It was allegedly written by Publius Lentulus, a procurator of Judea, to the Roman Senate at some point during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius (r. 14–37). The epistle describes the physical appearance of Jesus: He ha…

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