Monday, June 23, 2014

DNA of the 12 Tribes

I don't completely get what the people who have this "Etz Yoseph" page think they can accomplish.  Evidently, they believe the 12 Tribes of Israel can be identified via DNA--and perhaps each tribe will have its own y-haplogroup.  I placed a comment on the page, saying that if one believes in these 12 tribes and that the founders were all sons of Jacob, the yDNA  of all should belong to the same haplogroup.  A father passes on his yDNA to all his sons and this continues as long as the male generations exist. I also wrote that, to account for the varying haplogroups of the Jews, one needs to recall that even the Torah states that a "mixed multitude" left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. 
Exodus 12:38..."Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock."
 With the giving of the Law of Moses is when the Jewish religion really began, but a religion has no DNA.  Converts, such as the Khazars, have to be taken into account, as well.  Otherwise, for a very long time, he who professes to be a Jew is considered a Jew as long as he has a Jewish mother--so the yDNA [male lineage] is not essential to the question "Who is a Jew" let alone can indicate to which original tribe ones ancestors belonged.  In the days of persecutions and pogroms, a Jewish woman can have found herself impregnated by a non-Jewish rapist.  The comments on that site are moderated and mine was not published.  As it was reasonably worded, I don't know why--unless my words went contra some agenda.

As far as I can tell, the Messianic Jews [people who believe Jesus is the Messiah]
 who run that website are urging Jews to undergo DNA testing in order to find some lost tribe.  That's what I gather, but if I am wrong they can come here and correct me.   However, if that is what they are advocating--that the yDNA of Jewish males can be separated into "tribes"--then I think that is not possible now--nor will it ever be.   While some over the many years have referred to Jews as belonging to a "race", the Jews, themselves,  claim to be a "people".  They know they are not descended of one stock alone as, for one thing, the descendants of Jacob lived in Egypt for 400 years, they would have mixed their blood with Egyptians, both males and females.   There was nothing at all to prevent it. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Model In the Tomb of Nefertari?

Taking another look at some images from the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II, I noticed something unusual.  In fact, the paintings of the face of the royal lady seemed innovative to me long ago as they evidence an attempt to create an  effect that would not be seen again in Egypt for centuries.  That would be in the Classic Era when  actual full-face portraits of the deceased were painted for their funerary trappings.  By then, Egyptian artists had learned to paint with highlights and shadows in order to make a face appear more than merely one-dimensional.

Even though the portraits in the tomb of Nefertari continued to follow the usual canon of representing the human face and form, something new was added--an attempt to use shadows for the reasons already stated.  Some time ago I watched a Masterpiece Theater version of Dickens' tale "Bleak House" with actress Gillian Anderson as Lady Deadlock.  Because the story was written in the 19th Century, some scenes were shot with minimal lighting in order to convey how dark rooms appeared then with only candles or such primitive illumination as was possible in those times.  This view of Gillian Anderson reminded me of Queen Nefertari as she appears in profile in her tomb.

The profile is of a very similar type, but more important is the shadow on the cheek of the actress, which is very like that which the tomb's master artist painted on the cheek of Nefertari. as you can see below.   What is interesting is that the effect in both the cases of the photograph and the wall painting are the result of muted illumination that cast those shadows on the profile.  Would the Egyptian artist have recollected how that appeared from his own experience in the likewise dimly-lit chambers of his time--or did he have an actual model posing for him right there in the tomb, saved from darkness only by some oil lamps?  We don't normally think of the Egyptians using models for their tomb paintings as, mostly, the human faces are not executed in a "painterly" manner but just painted "flat", with only one color.  But that is not true of the face of Queen Nefertari.  If the artist used a model, it surely would not have been the queen, herself, but a woman who resembled her.  Perhaps the artist knew such a woman and this was his inspiration for asking her to pose.  And then he decided to paint her face as he saw it--shadows and all.  Note:  These are not my images.  I am using them for educational purposes only.