This remarkable book reveals discoveries in molecular genetics that provide scientific confirmation of Biblical and oral tradition. For those completely unfamiliar with genetics, it is advised to read chapter four first. The basics of DNA are covered there, including key concepts like genes, the human genome poject, genetic markers and mitrochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is maternally inherited.
Using DNA analysis, it has become possible to find definite answers to questions of Biblical tradition and genealogy. Chapter One discusses two pioneering studies that detected Y-Chromosome markers which occur with high frequency in the Jewish priestly line of Kohanim. This genetic signature which is known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH) proves their direct lineage from a common ancient ancestor.
Research amongst Diaspora communities revealed that Jewish people around the globe are closely related, distinct from their host communities, and share a common geographical origin in the Middle East. Chapter Three looks at the genetic and biblical Matriarchs through studies of the mtDNA which is transferred through the female line. The results confirm that individuals like Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Leah were real individuals, not mythical constructs.
The Ancient Hebrews and the question of the Lost Tribes are covered in Chapter Five, a historical overview of Ancient Israel, early exile communities, legends of the lost tribes and a look at modern groups that claim Hebrew roots, complete with the results of genetic tests. These communities include, amongst others, the Pathans of Afghanistan, Georgian, Kurdish and Bukharan Jews, the Bene Menashe of India, tiny groups in China and Japan, plus the Ethiopian Jews and the Lemba people of Southern Africa. The priestly Buba clan of the Lemba has an unusually high percentage of the aforementioned CMH.
The next chapter goes into more detail on the history of the Ashkenazi of Europe on the one hand, and the Sefardi of North Africa & the Mediterranean (many of them originally from Spain) plus the Mizrachi of the Middle East on the other. Their virtually identical Y-Chromosome profile means that these broadly defined groups are closely related despite the long years of separation. This chapter contains the results of numerous genetic studies and includes a map of historical Ashkenazi movements in Europe, mainly from France to the Rhineland and Poland, and from Italy towards Central Europe and thence down the Danube Valley.
Chapter Seven addresses the question of who a Kohan is, discusses Aharon the High Priest and his descendents and includes a table titled Kohanim Down The Ages. There is a section discussing Kohan names like Cohen, Cohn, Kahn, Kaplan, Rappaport, Shapiro and their derivation or adaptation. This chapter also describes the duties and personality of the Kohanim, their lineages, plus the Tribe of Levi and their genealogy with a list of surnames that include Levy, Lewis, Segal and Horowitz. It concludes with information on organizations working towards the reactivation of the Kohanim.
Ancestor research is the next theme, with the chapter providing practical information on Biblical and Rabbinical genealogy, methods on how to go about tracking down one's ancestors, Ashkenazi and Sefardi names, special interest groups, online resources, Holocaust research and a bibliography of useful books. All the tools and techniques needed for searching out your forebears are provided here.
Chapter Nine resumes the revelations in chapter seven as it locates the genetic indicators of the historical Abraham. Of course the Cohen Modal Haplotype marker was present in the patriarch and marks his descendents that extend beyond the Jewish people. This marker occurs amongst large Middle Eastern populations like Lebanese, Druze, Kurds, Syrians and Armenians. Linguists have long been puzzled by the similar consonantal system of Magyar & Armenian; now it turns out Hungarians & Amenians share high CMH too. Central & Southern Italians also carry this signature. The chapter ends with mention of the spiritual children of Abraham whose 'spiritual gene' prompts them to seek truth, freedom and meaning in life.
The last chapter provides a summary of the latest findings from molecular genetics as they relate to Biblical genealogy. The conclusion is that DNA research has verified both the oral and the scriptural tradition. Furthermore, the human genome confirms that life is exactly what the Bible says it is - letters, words, instructions and language. There are moving passages on both Abraham's biological heirs to whom the land belongs through Jacob, as well as his spiritual heirs who are awakening to the call.
The Appendix includes three scientific studies, two of which appeared in Nature: (a) Y-Chromosomes Of Jewish Priests (1997) & (b) Origins Of Old Testament Priests (1998). The article from the Proceedings Of The Natural Academy Of Sciences of the USA (2000) is titled Jews And Middle Eastern Non-Jewish Populations Share a Common Pool of Y-Chromosome Biallelic Haplotypes.
Illustrations, maps, charts and tables enhance the text and the book concludes with bibliographic notes arranged by chapter. I highly recommend this well-researched and beautifully crafted work to all those who cherish our Judeo-Christian heritage. Not only does it reveal close correspondences between scripture and science but also provides spiritual insights with significant implications for the future. For more recent information, I recommend Abraham's Children by Jon Entine.
The monogenesis of all humanity and their languages is not in doubt anymore. In the 1980s an astonishing discovery was made when historical linguists, anthropologists studying dental structures, biologists comparing blood groups and geneticists investigating global genetic data who had all been working independently, found that the biological classification of the human species closely parallels the linguistic classification of the late Professor Joseph Greenberg. Further information is available in Genes, Peoples and Languages by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Merritt Ruhlen's On the Origin of Language. All people descend from one couple of ancient parents who spoke the original mother tongue.