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Michael Majchrowicz
By Michael Majchrowicz November 4, 2022

This Instagram photo is not a 3D rendering of Joseph from the Bible

If Your Time is short

  • This 3D rendering was made in 2019 and uploaded to an online 3D image gallery host site.

  • The image shows Andre Rene Roussimof, a French former professional wrestler and actor known as Andre the Giant.

  • We find no evidence the image is linked to Stanford University.

Did Stanford University scientists recently publish a 3D rendering of what Joseph of Nazareth might have looked like when he was alive circa the first century?

That’s what a viral tweet and Instagram post are claiming. If you were to believe it, you would think the man who married Jesus’ mother, Mary looked a lot like professional wrestler and actor Andre the Giant.

"Scientists at Stanford University have reconstructed (a) 3D model of how Joseph, the husband of Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ, might have looked," read text overlaying the photo of what appears to be a sculpture of a man with curly hair and a serious expression on his face. 

The Oct. 29 post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

But the image is no 3D rendering of a biblical figure. It is indeed Andre Rene Roussimof, also known professionally as Andre the Giant, who died Jan. 27, 1993 in Paris at age 46. Roussimof, who was in the 1987 cult classic movie "The Princess Bride," earned his nickname by standing, 7 feet, 2 inches, according to his French passport.  

Snopes initially traced the photo back to Sketchfab, which bills itself as the "largest platform to publish and find 3D models online." Metadata, shows this rendering was first published on the platform in August 2019 by someone with the username "mattewdc."

We reached out to Stanford’s media contacts and didn’t hear back. But we found no evidence to suggest this image was associated with any university project. 

We rate this claim False.

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This Instagram photo is not a 3D rendering of Joseph from the Bible

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