The Geography of Jewish Ethnogenesis

A reevaluation of the anthropological genetics literature on Jewish populations reveals them not simply to be a body of genetically related people descending from a small group of common ancestors, but rather a “mosaic” of peoples of diverse origins. Greek and other pre-medieval historiographic sources suggest the patterning evident in recent genetic studies could be explained by a major contribution from Greco-Roman and Anatolian-Byzantine converts who affiliated themselves with some iteration of Judaism beginning in the first and second centuries ce and continuing into the Middle Ages. These populations, along with Babylonian and Alexandrian Jewish communities, indigenous North Africans, and Slavic-speaking converts to Judaism, support a mosaic geography of Jewish ancestry in Europe and Western Asia, rather than one arising from a limited set of lineages originating solely in Palestine.

Key words: Ashkenazi, Mediterranean, diaspora, genetics, mtDNA, Y-chromosome, autosomes, haplotype


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.