Dec 12, 2013

A Tale of Two Hypotheses: Genetics and the Ethnogenesis of Ashkenazi Jewry

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Aram Yardumian

Abstract

The debate over the ethnogenesis of Ashkenazi Jewry is longstanding, and has been hampered by a lack of Jewish historiographical work between the Biblical and the early Modern eras. Most historians, as well as geneticists, situate them as the descendants of Israelite tribes whose presence in Europe is owed to deportations during the Roman conquest of Palestine, as well as migration from Babylonia, and eventual settlement along the Rhine. By contrast, a few historians and other writers, most famously Arthur Koestler, have looked to migrations following the decline of the little-understood Medieval Jewish kingdom of Khazaria as the main source for Ashkenazi Jewry. A recent study of genetic variation in southeastern European populations ([Elhaik 2012][1]) also proposed a Khazarian origin for Ashkenazi Jews, eliciting considerable criticism from other scholars investigating Jewish ancestry who favor a Near Eastern origin of Ashkenazi populations. This paper re-examines the genetic data and analytical approaches used in these studies of Jewish ancestry, and situates them in the context of historical, linguistic, and archaeological evidence from the Caucasus, Europe and the Near East. Based on this reanalysis, it appears not only tha...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Bufo verrucosissimus
Southeast
Babylonia
Geneticist
Ashkenazi Jew, Follower of Religion
ERAS gene
National Origin
East
Historian

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