Wednesday, March 26, 2014


How Tall Was Jesus?

My grandmother used to insist that Jesus was the only person in history who was exactly six feet tall. Others might have been a hair more or less than six feet, she said, but only Jesus was exactly that height.

Cf. Luke 19.3 (KJV):
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

καὶ ἐζήτει ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰησοῦν τίς ἐστιν, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, ὅτι τῇ ἡλικίᾳ μικρὸς ἦν.
It is possible to construe this sentence such that Zacchaeus is the subject of the verbs ἐζήτει (sought) and ἠδύνατο (could), and Jesus is the subject of the verb ἦν (was). If this interpretation is adopted, then Jesus was small of stature.

Here is another piece of evidence, albeit late, from "MS. Lambeth, No. 306, p. 177, ro. b. of the reign of Edward IV," as printed in G.G. Coulton, A Medieval Garner: Human Documents from the Four Centuries preceding the Reformation (London: Constable & Company Ltd., 1910), p. 591:
The longitude of men folowyng.

MOYSES xiij. fote and viij. ynches and half.
Cryste vj. fote and iij. ynches.
Our Lady vj. fote and viij. ynches.
Crystoferus xvij. fote and viij. ynches.
Kyng Alysaunder iiij. fote and v. ynches.
Colbronde xvij. fote and ij. ynches and half.
Syr Ey. x. fote iij. ynches and half.
Seynt Thomas of Caunturbery, vij. fote save a ynche.
Long Mores, a man of Yrelonde borne, and servaunt to Kyng Edward the iiijth. vj. fote and x. ynches and half.
According to this document, Jesus, at 6' 3", was taller than Alexander the Great (4' 5"), but shorter than any of the others on the list, including his mother (6' 8").

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