Letter: Beardless Jesus?

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Sir: Bearded myself, I applaud Nicholas Schoon's cogent defence of the facial follicle (11 November). However, honesty compels me to point out that Jesus may not have been bearded. No portrait of the Lord exists, but some scholars point to pictures of near-contemporary Jews which show them clean-shaven, like most males in the Roman Empire in the early first century. The bearded Jesus derives from a much later tradition of iconography.

Incidentally, in today's church, beards are often taken to indicate a tendency to "happy clappy" evangelical theology. Is there any correlation between the hirsute members of New Labour's team and their political yearnings?

The Rev PETER HATTON

Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire

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