Newsweek Magazine has a fascinating article in which it reports the findings of scientists who studied the genomes of hundreds of European Jews. These scientists concluded “that the Jews of the Diaspora share a set of telltale genetic markers, supporting the traditional belief that Jews scattered around the world have a common ancestry.”
The following is the conclusion of the article written by Sharon Begley is Newsweek’s science editor:
Analysis of Jewish genomes has been yielding fascinating findings for more than a decade. A pioneer in this field, Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, made the first big splash when he discovered that genetics supports the biblical account of a priestly family, the Cohanim, descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses: one specific genetic marker on the Y chromosome (which is passed on from father to son, as membership in the priestly family would be) is found in 98.5 percent of people who self-identify as Cohanim, he and colleagues reported in a 1997 paper in Nature.
The Cohanim DNA has been found in both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, evidence that it predates the time when the two groups diverged, about 1,000 years ago. DNA can also be used to infer when particular genetic markers appeared, and suggests that the Cohanim emerged about 106 generations ago, making it fall during what is thought to be the period of the exodus from Egypt, and thus Aaron’s lifetime.
Read the article in its entirety here.
This study of Jewish genome contradicts the theory of Shlomo Sand, published in his book The Invention of the Jewish People in which he proposed that European Jews are the descendants of the Khazars, a Turkic group of the north Caucasus. According to Sand’s theory, the Khazars converted to Judaism in the late eighth and early ninth century.
The view that the Jewish people have a common ancestry is clearly taught in the Bible, but, for some unknown reason, people still don’t believe what the Bible teaches.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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