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Description of Jesus by Publius Lentulus, Governor of Judea, addressed to Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of Rome. Found in an excavated city written in Aramaic, on stone.
THERE lives, at this, time, in Judea, a man of singular virtue, whose name is Jesus Christ, whom the barbarians esteem as a prophet, but his followers love and adore him as the offspring of the immortal God. He calls back the dead from the graves, and heals all sorts of diseases with a word or a touch.
He is a tall man, and well shaped, of an amiable and reverend aspect; his hair of a colour that can hardly be matched, the colour of chestnut full ripe failing in waves about his shoulders. His forehead high, large and imposing; his cheeks without spot or wrinkle, beautiful symmetry; his beard thick and of a colour suitable to his hair, reaching below his chin. His eyes bright blue, clear and serene, look innocent, dignified, manly and mature.
In proportion of body, most perfect and captivating, his hands and arms most delectable to behold.
He rebukes with majesty, counsels with mildness, his whole address, whether in word or deed, being eloquent and grave. No man has seen him laugh, yet his manner is exceedingly pleasant; but he has wept in the presence of men. He is temperate, modest and wise; a man, for his extraordinary beauty and divine perfections, surpassing the children of men in every sense.
The letter of Lentulus is regarded as apocryphal for a number of reasons. No Governor of Jerusalem; no Procurator of Judea is known to have been called Lentulus and a Roman governor would not have addressed the Senate in the way represented, but the Deeds of the Divine Augustus list a Publius Lentulus as being elected as a Roman Consul during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). Lastly a Roman writer would not have employed the expressions, "prophet of truth", "sons of men" or "Jesus Christ". The former two are Hebrew idioms, the third is taken from the New Testament. The letter, therefore, gives a description of Jesus such as Christian piety conceived him.