Favorite Retail Stories – 5 “What Did the Apostles Look Like?”

This week I had a customer call and ask for a book with a “description of all the apostles.” I asked her if she meant a description of their journeys and such after the time of Christ. She said “No, I want a book that gives me what they physically looked like.” I told her as far as I knew there wasn’t enough primary data for someone to write a book on it. We simply don’t have any descriptions of what they looked like. It wasn’t all that important to them. Later that same day I was searching for something else and found a YouTube video entitled “Did the Early Christians Have any Fiction?”  Since I’m always on the lookout for tidbits of information for our fiction buyer I thought I would give it a quick look. The host of the video is Jimmy Akin who is a Catholic scholar on the early church. In the middle of discussing a novel dating back to the 2nd century, called Acts of Paul and Thecla, he says the book contained a description of the Apostle Paul. And because the document is dated so early some consider the description as fairly accurate. Akin gives the following description from the book:

A man small in size, bald-headed, bandy-legged, well-built, with eyebrows meeting, rather long-nosed, and full of grace. For sometimes he seemed like a man, and sometimes he had the face of an angel.

On Wikipedia I found this:

“the Syriac text reads “he was a man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were projecting, and he had large eyes [The Armenian text adds ‘blue’]  and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long, and he was full of grace and mercy; at one time he seemed like a man, and at another time he seemed like an angel.”

This would seem to be consistent with a recently discovered image of what is thought to be the Apostle Paul.

This was one of those times I wished I had had this bit of information available when this customer called. It isn’t a book and it isn’t all the apostles but it’s something. I’ll have it ready next time.

Oh, by the way, the early Christians did have some fiction.


About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This entry was posted in Church History. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Favorite Retail Stories – 5 “What Did the Apostles Look Like?”

  1. James Miller says:

    for sure, no paintings were made of either Jesus or his followers…though some descriptive writings emerged from time to time, there are no definitive answers to such questions…there were no Kodak moments in those times.


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