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Thread: ASHKENAZI origins ... a tale of two studies.

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    Senior Member Zook_e_Pi's Avatar
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    ASHKENAZI origins ... a tale of two studies.

    The first of the referenced studies was reported in January of 2013:

    After more than 500 years, the Khazar’s empire collapsed in the 13th century CE due to Mongol attacks and the Black Death. Many Jewish refugees fled westward into Eastern Europe, becoming the bulk of what we know today as Ashkenazi Jewry.

    Known as the Khazar Hypothesis, it had previously been dismissed by geneticists whose studies often contradicted each other and which often seemed to be geared to proving a preconceived notion or desire – near-unadulterated ancestry from ancient Judea – rather than discovering the truth.

    That led geneticist Eran Elhaik of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland to try to reconcile those conflicting studies. And that led him to genetic data that he believes proves the Khazar Hypothesis is accurate.

    Elhaik found ancestral genetic signatures that pointed clearly to the Caucasus. He also found such signatures that pointed the Middle East, but to a far, far smaller degree.

    “We conclude that the genome of European Jews is a tapestry of ancient populations including Judaised Khazars, Greco-Roman Jews, Mesopotamian Jews and Judeans. Their population structure was formed in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga, with roots stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan,” Elhaik claims.

    Previous genetic studies appeared to support the Rhineland Hypothesis, which posits that Ashkenazi Jews descended from Jews who fled the Land of Israel after the Moslem conquest in 638 AD, settling in southern Europe and slowly working their way north. 50,000 supposedly later moved from the Rhineland into eastern Europe in the later Middle Ages.

    But there are serious problems with the Rhineland Hypothesis – so serious that some of its proponents actually posited a Divine miracle to account for them.

    For example, the population of Eastern European Jews surged from 50,000 in the 15th century CE to about 8 million by the start of the 20th century – a birthrate 10 times greater than the local non-Jewish population that surrounded them. That implausible population surge would have had to take place despite the economic hardship, wars and pogroms that ravaged those Jewish communities, and the plague that ravaged the entire region.

    Another problem with the Rhineland Hypothesis is Yiddish, the language of Eastern European Jews.

    “Yiddish, the language of Central and Eastern European Jews, began as a Slavic language,” Elhaik notes. It was classified as a dialect of High German later.

    European Jews and their ancestral groups in the Caucasus and Middle East share a relatively high risk of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, as well – another possible indicator of origins.

    Elhaik’s study, published in the British journal Genome Biology and Evolution, compares the genomes of 1,287 unrelated individuals who come from eight Jewish and 74 non-Jewish populations.

    The second of the referenced studies was reported in October of 2013:

    The origin of Ashkenazi Jews, the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe and their descendants, has remained a controversial topic in archaeogenetics.

    But a recent study rooted in DNA evidence may shed light on how the closed community migrated and whom they married. The findings, published in Nature Communications, focused on mitochondrial DNA samples and found that most Ashkenazi Jews are at least half genetically European, rather than Middle Eastern as previously thought.

    “Like Judaism, mitochondrial DNA is passed along the maternal line,” the authors wrote. “Its variation in the Ashkenazim is highly distinctive, with four major and numerous minor founders. However, due to their rarity in the general population, these founders have been difficult to trace to a source.”

    Jews from the Holy Land settled throughout the Roman Empire around 2,000 years ago, and some ended up in Central and Eastern Europe by the medieval period. While Jewish law forbids marriage outside the faith, new research suggests that many Ashkenazi men in fact married non-Jewish women who converted to the religion.

    "This suggests that, even though Jewish men may indeed have migrated into Europe from Palestine around 2,000 years ago, they seem to have married European women," Professor Martin Richards from the University of Huddersfield in England said, pointing to previous studies on Y-chromosomes in Ashkenazi Jews that prove the male lines trace back to the Near East.

    Using mitochondrial genomes of 3,500 people from Europe, the Caucasus and the Near East, researchers found that they originated 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The findings suggest that ancient Jews can trace their female line to Southern and Western Europe rather than the Middle East.

    Four Ashkenazi "mothers" were responsible for 40 percent of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA and all came from Europe, LiveScience reports. At least 80 percent of Ashkenazi maternal lineage came from European women, and 8 percent from the Middle East. The findings disprove the commonly held belief that Ashkenazi Jews originate from the Khazar Kingdom, a region in modern-day southern Russia and the Caucasus that in early medieval times had a large population of converted Jews.

    "The simplest explanation was that it was mainly women who converted and they married with men who'd come from the Near East," Richards told LiveScience.

    Despite the latest revelation, Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry still has more unsolved mysteries. "The origins of the Ashkenazim is one of the big questions that people have pursued again and again and never really come to a conclusive view," Richards said, adding that the latest data is "compelling."

    In my opinion, the second study appears to be a pseudoscientific Zionist response to the actual science in the earlier study. This opinion is supported not only by the convincing science in the first study but also by Benjamin Freedman's insider revelations about the Khazars (or self-styled Jews):

    Khazar Hypothesis [1 - 0] Rhineland Hypothesis

    Last edited by Zook_e_Pi; 09-24-2015 at 03:54 AM.

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