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Minimalists and DNA

21 February 2013
Ancient history

Shlomo Sand, in The Invention of the Jewish People, was somewhat more minimal than other minimalists, as the rewriting of history continues unabated. Minimalists are a bit like limbo dancers, the hurdles getting lower and lower all the time, and now they have reached such an acute angle it is beginning to look like they may even reach ground floor level. Shlomo Sand went so far as to claim there were no Jews until the 19th century – AD, not BC. For political reasons his views gained traction amongst the usual suspects, and his book became a best seller in France, hitting big sales elsewhere. Critics of the modern state of Israel were only too eager to accept on a plate just the kind of jiggery pokery they will use to fan the flames – and their prejudice. The usual montege of scholars and rabbis came out against the Shlomo edict but it is genetic science that has cast it down. DNA studies have shown that Jews from Yemen and Jews from Poland are closely related, even though  they have been separated for almost 2000 years. Also, DNA of Cohenites, the priestily caste said to be descendants of Aaron, also seem to show a remarkable degree of connection – and this was over a far longer period than 2000 years, and may possibly be twice that number. However, DNA has also shown that Jews have proselytised over the years and this has led to intermarraige with host communities. Therefore Jews with blond hair and blue eyes is not evidence of non-Jews passing themselves off as Jews but evidence of the adoption by gentiles of the Jewish faith, and subsequent marraiges. In that respect the Jews are no different from other religions and to suggest otherwise is small minded. See for example www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/New_study_sheds_light_on_the_origin_…

See also www.pnas.org/content/97/12/6769.full, and www.nature.com/nature/journal/v385/n6611/pdf/385032a0.pdf and www.nature.com/nature/journal/v394/n6689/full/394138a0.html and see also www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org

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