FACT CHECK: Is This The ‘Earliest Known Image’ Of Jesus With His Disciples?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims to show the “earliest known image” of Jesus and his disciples.

Verdict: False

Many surviving artworks of them are older than this piece, which dates back to the 18th century A.D.

Fact Check:

In the image, Jesus is portrayed as standing amid a small crowd of other people. Text above the image reads, “Earliest known image of Jesus & his disciples. Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt.”

Iconographic images of Jesus and other venerated figures are used by the CatholicEastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches and some other Christian groups. The Coptic Orthodox Church is part of the larger Oriental Orthodox communion, according to Britannica.

The piece is part of the Coptic Museum’s collection. In a May Facebook post, the museum identified it as an icon of Apostle Thomas “putting his finger in the side of the wounded Christ in order to believe in the resurrection of Christ” that dates back to the 18th century A.D., according to a translation. The Coptic Museum also told the website Fake History Hunter that it is “18th Century (AD) Greek style.”

However, the icon is not the “earliest known image” of Jesus and his disciples. For instance, he and the disciples appear in Leonardo da Vinci’s 1490s painting “The Last Supper,” according to the Milan Museum. (RELATED: Did Nancy Pelosi’s Church Ask Her To Not Come Until She ‘Finds God And Gets Help’?)

The Catacombs of Domitilla in Rome, Italy, feature a 4th century painting of him teaching his twelve Apostles while seated on a throne, according to the catacombs’ website. Images showing them in this situation were fairly common in Christian art from that era, the website says.

The Yale University Art Gallery is home to a painting of Jesus dating back to the 3rd century A.D.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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