Black To The Bible: Photographer Depicts Biblical Icons As People Of Color

May 13, 2014  |  
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Do you like the title of this article? Thanks, but it’s not mine. My hometown Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson did a whole series on the very real evidence that some of the people we read about and learn from in the Bible were black. And it was called “Black to the Bible.” I appreciate the series because I’m still in the process of re-imagining Jesus as someone other than the blond haired, blue eyed white man I’ve seen depicted throughout my entire life. Really, I don’t think it would matter to me what color Jesus was; but the fact that someone long ago went out of their way to mislead generations about Jesus’ physical features, rubs me the wrong way. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Photographer James C. Lewis of Noire3000 | N3K Photo Studios decided to produce a more historically accurate representation of what these Biblical icons may have looked like considering much of the Bible takes place in Africa and the modern day Middle East.

The series “Icons Of The Bible” depicts characters from both the Old and New Testament exclusively as people of color. On the following pages you’ll see characters like Rebekah, Elijah, Simone Peter, King Solomon and the archangel Gabriel. The full series, which includes over 70 models who identify as Asian, Native American, Hispanic, black, West Indian, African or Middle Eastern, will be released in October.

In speaking about the series, Lewis says: “I think it is very important to see one’s self in the Scripture so that it may become real in their eyes,” Lewis told The Huffington Post. “The whitewashing of the Bible has always bothered me. However I’m happy to now have the opportunity to give a different point of view.”

Lewis doesn’t profess that his pictures represent accurate depictions of these historic individuals. Instead, he says: “I wish to exhibit a splash of color onto the biblical pages of history with my creative embellishments. By doing so I hope to open the minds and eyes of the ignorant and create open conversations of how we can learn to see the world through colorful lenses. After all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is intended for everyone.”

The collection will be on display in Atlanta, GA from November 2014-February 2015. But in the meantime, and for those of us who won’t find ourselves in Georgia in the near future, check out the beautiful photographs on the following pages.

This is my personal favorite, not only because I dig Solomon’s story in the Bible but also because this picture is totally bawse.

Tell us what do you think about these images? For the Christians out there, when you imagine Jesus or any other Biblical icons in your head, how do you see them?

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