Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

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Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:48 pm


... recent DNA analysis of Ashkenazic Jews – a Jewish ethnic group – revealed that their maternal line is European. It has also been found that their DNA only has 3% ancient ancestry which links them with the Eastern Mediterranean (aka the Middle East) – namely Israel, Lebanon, parts of Syria, and western Jordan [i.e.,] the part of the world Jewish people are said to have originally come from – according to the Old Testament. But 3% is a minuscule amount ...


Not one, but many tribes

... we need to go back in time to look at where these other ancestors came from. It starts in Persia (modern-day Iran) during the sixth century... where most of the world’s Jews were living at this time.

The tolerance of the Persians encouraged the Jews to adopt Persian names, words, traditions, and religious practices, and climb up the social ladder gaining a monopoly on trade. They also converted other people who were living along the Black Sea, to their Jewish faith. This helped to expand their global network.

Among these converts were the Alans (Iranian nomadic pastoral people), Greeks, and Slavs who resided along the southern shores of the Black Sea. Upon conversion, they translated the Old Testament into Greek, built synagogues, and continued expanding the Jewish trade network.

These Jews adopted the name Ashkenaz, and the DNA of Ashkenazic Jews can be traced to “Ancient Ashkenaz” – an intersection of trade routes in eastern Turkey.

The rise of the Ashina

We now know that at the time these Jews adopted the name Ashkenaz, they also acquired unique Asian mutations on their Y chromosome. This is where another important group of people in our story come into play – the Gok-Turks.

https://theconversation.com/ashkenazic- ... -dna-97962
The Gok-Turks had been a nomadic people who came to be ruled by a Siberian Turkic tribe called the Ashina. They had been forced to migrate westwards toward the Black Sea by the Chinese Tang Empire – who were in power in China at the time.

Thanks to their organisational and military skills, the Ashina united many tribes in this area, including Jews and the Gok-turks – and a new empire called the “Khazar Khaganate” was born, at the intersection of trade routes in eastern Turkey.

At roughly the same time they adopted the name 'Ashkenaz' Jews acquired unique Asian mutations on their Y chromosome, indicating that some or all of the Ashina and core Khazar clans, including the Gok-Turks, were 'absorbed' by the Jews, and likely converted from Shamanism to Judaism.

The next chapter

... the Jewish empire began to collapse. By the tenth century, the Jews on the Black Sea migrated to and Italy. Yiddish became the lingua franca of these Ashkenazic Jews and absorbed German words while maintaining the Slavic grammar. And as global trade moved to the hands of the Italians, Dutch and English, the Jews were pushed aside ...

https://theconversation.com/ashkenazic- ... -dna-97962

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by DCHindley » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:16 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:48 pm

... recent DNA analysis of Ashkenazic Jews – a Jewish ethnic group – revealed that their maternal line is European. It has also been found that their DNA only has 3% ancient ancestry which links them with the Eastern Mediterranean (aka the Middle East) – namely Israel, Lebanon, parts of Syria, and western Jordan [i.e.,] the part of the world Jewish people are said to have originally come from – according to the Old Testament. But 3% is a minuscule amount ...


Not one, but many tribes

... we need to go back in time to look at where these other ancestors came from. It starts in Persia (modern-day Iran) during the sixth century... where most of the world’s Jews were living at this time.

The tolerance of the Persians encouraged the Jews to adopt Persian names, words, traditions, and religious practices, and climb up the social ladder gaining a monopoly on trade. They also converted other people who were living along the Black Sea, to their Jewish faith. This helped to expand their global network.

Among these converts were the Alans (Iranian nomadic pastoral people), Greeks, and Slavs who resided along the southern shores of the Black Sea. Upon conversion, they translated the Old Testament into Greek, built synagogues, and continued expanding the Jewish trade network.

These Jews adopted the name Ashkenaz, and the DNA of Ashkenazic Jews can be traced to “Ancient Ashkenaz” – an intersection of trade routes in eastern Turkey.

The rise of the Ashina

We now know that at the time these Jews adopted the name Ashkenaz, they also acquired unique Asian mutations on their Y chromosome. This is where another important group of people in our story come into play – the Gok-Turks.

https://theconversation.com/ashkenazic- ... -dna-97962
The Gok-Turks had been a nomadic people who came to be ruled by a Siberian Turkic tribe called the Ashina. They had been forced to migrate westwards toward the Black Sea by the Chinese Tang Empire – who were in power in China at the time.

Thanks to their organisational and military skills, the Ashina united many tribes in this area, including Jews and the Gok-turks – and a new empire called the “Khazar Khaganate” was born, at the intersection of trade routes in eastern Turkey.

At roughly the same time they adopted the name 'Ashkenaz' Jews acquired unique Asian mutations on their Y chromosome, indicating that some or all of the Ashina and core Khazar clans, including the Gok-Turks, were 'absorbed' by the Jews, and likely converted from Shamanism to Judaism.

The next chapter

... the Jewish empire began to collapse. By the tenth century, the Jews on the Black Sea migrated to and Italy. Yiddish became the lingua franca of these Ashkenazic Jews and absorbed German words while maintaining the Slavic grammar. And as global trade moved to the hands of the Italians, Dutch and English, the Jews were pushed aside ...

https://theconversation.com/ashkenazic- ... -dna-97962
Mr Mac,

This article seems to make some assumptions about the occupation of the Khazar people that are kind of cliche.

There is quite a lot available online about the Khazar kingdom(s) and their relationship to the Russ kingdom(s) of Kiev in the 10th century. If I understand correctly (I'm at work and do not have access to my usual resources here) many of these "conversions" to Judaism involved local royalty converting, with the nobility and a sizeable segment of the local population following suit. It wasn't forced by any means, but adoption of Judaism offered a political solution for peoples who had to deal with the Byzantine Christians to the north and Islamic peoples to the south. Judaism was tolerated by both so they could resist any attempt to force them to adopt either Christianity or Islam. Whatever ethnic Jews who spearheaded this conversion process are unknown to us. They may have been mere "consultants."

A similar similar conversion process had happened to king Monobazus and his family in the 1st century CE in the Persian client kingdom of Adiabene. See Josephus for his account of that.

I think that a lot has been written on this subject (independent "Jewish" kingdoms in and around the Black Sea) by Robert Eisler (Messiah Jesus & John the Baptist) in the 1930s and more recently Leeming & Leeming (Slavonic Josephus).

Back to the grind ...

DCH

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by DCHindley » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:12 pm

R. Eisler (Messiah Jesus & John the Baptist, 1931) was apparently the source where I learned about the Khazars (I have reformatted this a bit to bring out the points for those of us who miss the forest 'cause of all them thar' trees):
(U)nder the rule of the Khazars, a South Russian people of West Turkish origin, and their Khagans, Judaism was the state religion of the realm.

That realm embraced the whole district from the Caspian to the Black Sea, from the Don to the Volga, indeed for a time from the Dnieper to the Urals, extending southwards to the Caucasus and occasionally beyond, and northwards to the lower valley of the Oka and Moskva.

Judaism had held this position since the eighth century, when, after a previous conversion of the people to Christianity, the Khagan Bulan — probably from political motives, to ensure the spiritual independence of his state, which lay between the Christian Byzantium and the Islamic kingdom of the Abbasids — under the influence of Jewish exiles from Constantinople went over to the Mosaic religion.

Within this empire in the time of Masudi (ninth century), Mahometans, Christians, and heathen lived peaceably side by side along with the Jews. Kiev for a time belonged to it, as well as the later principalities of Moscow and Perejaslavl Suzdalski [I think he means the towns that later came to be called Moscow & Perejaslavl Suzdalski].

When the Russians under Prince Svjatoslav overthrew the dominion of the Khazars in the year 967 or 968, the position of the Jews and Jewish Khazars in the country must have been precisely similar to that of the Spanish Jews after the fall of Granada.

Mass movements into the Greek Church must naturally have resulted in a sham Christianity,1 which could conceal itself much more easily than the Maraño religion in Catholic Spain, because the Old Russian Church itself, perhaps under the influence of Jewish converts, strictly observed the so-called Noachian prohibitions of consuming blood and 'animals strangled' or 'torn,' which were regarded by rabbis also as binding upon 'proselytes of the gate.'

1) A 'circumcised' monk, Adrian (Andreas) of Kiev, is generally named as the first heretic in Russian Church history. He is said to have fought hard against the worship of images and to have attacked the Russian clergy as idolatrous, thus betraying typical Jewish-Christian tendencies.
The Judaism of the Khazars appears to have influenced some of the Eastern Orthodox priests and people in the bordering region of Rus' (I think this was partly in what is today the Ukraine) which was tolerated by the Rus' rulers until, in an attempt to control a period of unrest developing in the Republic of Novograd, which had appealed to the Catholic ruler of Lithuania for assistance, who in return had sent an Orthodox negotiator and a number of Sephardic Jews from his region, causing the Tsars to clamp down on this Ashkenazi rooted Judaizing movement:
The Judaizing Heresy in Russia

It is precisely in Russia, and in the fifteenth century, that is to say, at the very period when all extant MSS. of the old Roman Josephus were written [he's referring to mss of Greek translations of the Josippon, a 4th century Latin language paraphrase of Josephus' Jewish War mixed in with Antiquities and other writers, apparently well regarded in later Khazar circles], that we have evidence of a powerful Judaizing movement — the so-called Židovstvuščajajeres — which penetrated into the highest clerical ranks and even into the family of the Grand Duke of Moscow, and brought the Pravo-Slavic or Orthodox Russian Church to the verge of ruin.

Of the beginnings of this [Judaizing] movement nothing is known. Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu1 conjectures that the ‘Sabbatarians’ (Russ. Subbotniki) are, like the Maranos of Spain and Portugal, descended from Jews compulsorily converted to a sham Christianity.

These people, under the direction of Jewish Rabbis, continue to this day, especially in Southern Russia and the Caucasus, and after severe persecutions under the Tsars at last enjoy as much religious freedom as other denominations [under the Soviet Union]; the late Konrad Grass estimated that before the War (1914) some 400,000 Russian peasants were secret adherents of the Jewish faith.

1) L'Empire des Tsars, Paris, 1889, iii. 515-18.
On the 'Judaizing heresy' at its flourishing period, dating from the last third of the fifteenth century, we possess detailed information in the contemporary work of Abbot Josif Volotzki of Volokolamsk († 1516), entitled 'Prosvjetitel' = 'Illuminator' or 'Revealer,' i.e. of the Judaizing heresy.2 According to him, the great and decisive crisis arose from the rich merchant republic of Novgorod, at that time seething with political, religious, and social unrest. ... through it, by the Neva and the Volkov, flowed Russia's trade with the Baltic and so with the Hanseatic towns and Western Europe

2) The exact title of the book is 'The unworthy monk Joseph's story of the newly risen sect of Novgorod heretics and apostates,' etc. Many printed editions, notably that of Kasan, 1852 and 1888.
DCH

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by semiopen » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:15 pm

Probably a simple link to Dr. Elhaik's article would have been more effective than the lengthy quote.

Have to admit the subject matter is quite obscure.

It seems to me that this provides important backing for Shlomo Sand's theory of a Khazar origin of Ashkenazi Jews.

The Invention of the Jewish People - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GXATG2/re ... TF8&btkr=1

The main rap against Sands was that the DNA situation for a Khazar origin (or neighbors) was dubious. Dr. Elhaik says it is not - 10 years later.

This link is Dr. Elhaik's publications on academia.edu - https://sheffield.academia.edu/EranElhaik

Another article from the original link site - Uncovering ancient Ashkenaz – the birthplace of Yiddish speakers - https://theconversation.com/uncovering- ... kers-58355

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by nili » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:01 pm

I'm simply not competent to judge the scientific claims.That said, I'd be very curious to see a review of ...
  • No Evidence from Genome-wide Data of a Khazar Origin fo the Ashkenazi Jews
  • Author(s): Doron M. Behar, Mait Metspalu, Yael Baran, Naama M. Kopelman, Bayazit Yunusbayev, Ariella Gladstein, Shay Tzur, Hovhannes Sahakyan, Ardeshir Bahmanimehr, Levon Yepiskoposyan, Kristiina Tambets, Elza K. Khusnutdinova, Alena Kushniarevich, Oleg Balanovsky, Elena Balanovsky, Lejla Kovacevic, Damir Marjanovic, Evelin Mohailov, Anastasia Kouvatsi, Costas Triantaphyllidis, Roy J. King, Ornella Semino, Antonio Torroni, Michael F. Hammer...
  • Source: Human Biology, Vol. 85, No. 6 (December 2013), pp. 859-900
    Published by: Wayne State University Press
which concludes in part
Cumulatively, our analyses point strongly to ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews primarily from European and MiddleEastern populations and not from populations in or near the Caucasus region. The combined set of approaches suggests that the observations of Ashkenazi proximity to European and Middle Eastern populations in population structure analyses reflect actual genetic proximity of Ashkenazi Jews to populations with predominantly European and Middle Eastern ancestry components, and a lack of visible introgression from the region of the Khazar Khaganate—particularly among the northern Volga and North Caucasus populations—into the Ashkenazi community. We note that while we find no evidence for any significant contribution of the Khazar region to the Ashkenazi Jews, we cannot rule out the possibility that a level of Khazar or other Caucasus admixture occurred below the level of detectability in our study. Contemporary populations represent the outcome of many layers of minor and major demographic events that do not always leave a visible genetic signature. However, our study clearly identifies signals of Europe and the Middle East in Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, rendering any possible undetected Khazar contribution below a minimal threshold.
They keep trying to kill us off, and yet here we are. Shanah Tovah.
Last edited by nili on Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:53 pm

semiopen wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:15 pm
Probably a simple link to Dr. Elhaik's article would have been more effective than the lengthy quote.
I was just going to, then b/c, as you say, the subject matter is quite obscure, I tried to paraphrase it. Wish I hadn't tried.

semiopen wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:15 pm
It seems to me that this provides important backing for Shlomo Sand's theory of a Khazar origin of Ashkenazi Jews.

The Invention of the Jewish People - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GXATG2/re ... TF8&btkr=1

The main rap against Sands was that the DNA situation for a Khazar origin (or neighbors) was dubious. Dr. Elhaik says it is not - 10 years later.

This link is Dr. Elhaik's publications on academia.edu - https://sheffield.academia.edu/EranElhaik

Another article from the original link site - Uncovering ancient Ashkenaz – the birthplace of Yiddish speakers - https://theconversation.com/uncovering- ... kers-58355
.
Cheers
Last edited by MrMacSon on Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by semiopen » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:00 pm

nili wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:01 pm
I'm simply not competent to judge the scientific claims.That said, I'd be very curious to see a review of ...
No Evidence from Genome-wide Data of a Khazar Origin fo the Ashkenazi Jews
This is probably an exercise of blind people describing an elephant but -

Sequencing an Ashkenazi reference panel supports population-targeted personal genomics and illuminates Jewish and European origins

https://www.academia.edu/14469843/Seque ... an_origins
Reconstruction of recent AJ history from such segments confirms a recent bottleneck of merely {about} 350 individuals. Modelling of ancient histories for AJ and European populations using their joint allele frequency spectrum determines AJ to be an even admixture of European and likely Middle Eastern origins. We date the split between the two ancestral populations to {about} 12–25Kyr, suggesting a predominantly Near Eastern source for the repopulation of Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum.
I think what that's saying is that Ashkenazi ancestors were, in all probability, not native to biblical Israel.

My impression of the academic situation is that most scholars favor a Western European Ashkenazi origin as opposed to an Eastern European one (or whatever the general area of Khazar was).

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by MrMacSon » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:08 pm

I think what that's saying is that Ashkenazi ancestors were, in all probability, not native to biblical Israel.
Which is why I started the thread.

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by semiopen » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:03 pm

Ashkenazi_Jews
These studies revealed that Ashkenazi Jews originate from an ancient (2000 BCE – 700 BCE) population of the Middle East who had spread to Europe.[131] Ashkenazic Jews display the homogeneity of a genetic bottleneck, meaning they descend from a larger population whose numbers were greatly reduced but recovered through a few founding individuals. Although the Jewish people, in general, were present across a wide geographical area as described, genetic research done by Gil Atzmon of the Longevity Genes Project at Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggests "that Ashkenazim branched off from other Jews around the time of the destruction of the First Temple, 2,500 years ago ... flourished during the Roman Empire but then went through a 'severe bottleneck' as they dispersed, reducing a population of several million to just 400 families who left Northern Italy around the year 1000 for Central and eventually Eastern Europe."[132]
The 2000 BCE to 700 BCE is dependent on some estimation of the mutation rate and average years of a generation. I'm not sure why the guy decides to use 700 BCE rather than some number like 1300 BCE, nothing to do with making his Rabbi happy I'm sure. One also has to wonder about "around the time of the destruction of the First Temple," since 700 BCE is much closer to the time of the Assyrian Conquest of Israel. Also the location of the population is unclear.

Genetic_studies_on_Jews goes into more detail.

The 2000 - 700 BCE range is patrilineal descent. The four mothers has been an important discussion.
A 2013 study at the University of Huddersfield, led by Professor Martin B. Richards, concluded that 65%-81% of Ashkenazi Mt-DNA is European in origin, including all four founding mothers, and that most of the remaining lineages are also European. The results were published in Nature Communications in October 2013. The team analyzed about 2,500 complete and 28,000 partial Mt-DNA genomes of mostly non-Jews, and 836 partial Mt-DNA genomes of Ashkenazi Jews. The study claims that only 8% of Ashkenazi Mt-DNA could be identified as Middle Eastern in origin, with the origin of the rest being unclear.[58]

They wrote:
If we allow for the possibility that K1a9 and N1b2 might have a Near Eastern source, then we can estimate the overall fraction of European maternal ancestry at ~65%. Given the strength of the case for even these founders having a European source, however, our best estimate is to assign ~81% of Ashkenazi lineages to a European source, ~8% to the Near East and ~1% further to the east in Asia, with ~10% remaining ambiguous... Thus at least two-thirds and most likely more than four-fifths of Ashkenazi maternal lineages have a European ancestry.[62]
The earlier studies are mentioned in the wiki, where there was a song and dance about the mothers being sort of middle eastern from 100 - 200 CE or so. Not the craziest thing I've ever heard, but how often does shit like that come true.

Of course the political pressure is intense.

In doing some research, there is even a conspiracy theory that the dual suicide of Arthur_Koestler and his wife was an assassination by the Mossad.
Controversy arose over why Koestler allowed, consented to, or (according to some critics) compelled his wife's simultaneous suicide. She was only fifty-five years old and was believed to be in good health. In a typewritten addition to her husband's suicide note Cynthia Koestler wrote that she could not live without her husband.
In The Thirteenth Tribe (1976) Koestler advanced a theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descended, not from the Israelites of antiquity, but from the Khazars, a Turkic people in the Caucasus that converted to Judaism in the 8th century and was later forced westwards. Koestler argued that a proof that Ashkenazi Jews have no biological connection to biblical Jews would remove the racial basis of European anti-Semitism.
Didn't quite work out that way.

There are a lot of problems with the Khazar theory, but the Sourthern/Western Europe theory is hardly convincing either. It's not easy to argue for an Eastern European/Turkish area origin without the Khazar's, they existed in the the 9th/10th/11th century sweet spot of the Jewish Dark Ages. Obviously the last word hasn't been spoken on this subject.

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Re: Ashkenazic Jews’ mysterious origins unravelled by scientists thanks to ancient DNA

Post by semiopen » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:23 pm

Genetic_studies_on_Jews

Turns out Autosomal DNA is the latest thing, and the wiki has a discussion of Dr. Elhaik's work.
A 2016 study by Elhaik et al. in the Oxford University Press published journal Genome Biology and Evolution found that the DNA of Ashkenazi Jews originated in northeastern Turkey.[99] The study found 90% of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to four ancient villages in northeastern Turkey. The researchers speculated that the Ashkenazi Jews originated in the first millennium, when Iranian Jews converted Greco-Roman, Turkish, Iranian, southern Caucasian, and Slavic populations inhabiting Turkey, and speculated that the Yiddish language also originated there among Jewish merchants as a cryptic language in order to gain advantage in trade along the Silk Road.[100][101]

In joint study published in 2016 by Genome Biology and Evolution, a group of geneticist and linguists from UK; Czech Republic, Russia and Lithuania, dismissed both the genetic and linguistic components of Elhaik's study. As for genetic component, the authors argued that using a genetic "GPS tool" would place Italians and Spaniards into Greece, all Tunisians and some Kuwaitis would be placed in the Mediterranean Sea, all Greeks were positioned in Bulgaria and in the Black Sea, and all Lebanese were scattered along a line connecting Egypt and the Caucasus; "These cases are sufficient to illustrate that mapping of test individuals has nothing to do with ancestral locations" the authors wrote. As for linguistic component the authors stated "Yiddish is a Germanic language, leaving no room for the Slavic relexification hypothesis and for the idea of early Yiddish-Persian contacts in Asia Minor. The study concluded that ‘Yiddish is a Slavic language created by Irano-Turko-Slavic Jewish merchants along the Silk Roads as a cryptic trade language, spoken only by its originators to gain an advantage in trade’ (Das et al. (2016) remains an assertion in the realm of unsupported speculation", the study concluded.[20]
The talk page discusses his work -
I got interested in Elhaik's work when I saw a coalition of editors going berserk with a mass of silly newspaper quotes smearing him because he failed to subscribe to the official state doctrine and diaspora myth about who a Jew is. He happened to be both Jewish and Israeli so, as always, I defended his right to have his views represented neutrally on Wikipedia, and since the people attacking him were totally ignorant about Judaism and Jewish history, I wrote the Khazars article to show that this 'antisemitic' shit thrown at a decent scholar had an eminent lineage in Jewish scholarship.

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