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. 


The Digital Hairshirt said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but was there not research that showed a common genome among Jews who claim to be "kohanim," i.e., of the priests? I ask that not as a rebuttal, but I expect you know the answer better than me.

Of course, with the diaspora and/or intermarriage widening daily in the post-WWII era, whether for the Jews or any group, the idea of race becomes less genetic and more political. My grandfather, born in the old Russian Empire on the steppes of Ukraine, shares the same "Asiatic" eyes as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Mongolian blood? It is a fanciful thought, good for a family story . . .

Marianne Luban said...

I was waiting for someone to bring this up. While the men with the surname of Cohen and its variants belong to a most common haplogroup [as do Jewish men, in general] the Cohanim also have other haplogroups. Read more here:

It is possible for Jews to have mixed with Ukrainians, of course, and have a similar look. During a history of thousands of years and many dispersions and wanderings, there is no shortage of stories or scenarios.

Marianne Luban said...

I forgot to mention that the Cohanim would not have come from a single tribe. Once again, if one believes in the 12 Tribes as described in the Bible, they were all founded by sons of one man--Jacob. Therefore, it only makes sense that all the males would have the same yDNA and belong to one haplogroup. Aaron was the first priest and, according to the Torah, he and Moses had the same father, all being descended from Jacob. But not all Cohanim can be descended from Aaron--because not all belong to the same yDNA haplogroup. For example, among the modern-day Samaritans, who call themselves Israelites, there are only a few basic families remaining to which all belong. However, the Cohen family males, from which are derived the hereditary high priests, are the only Samaritan males who do *not* have the Cohen modal haplotype. They belong to a subgroup of the haplogroup E.