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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jews are "Phoenicians", Palestinians are "Jews"

This does not seem just another paper on Jewish genetics but more like
The Paper. While it is pay per view and hence I haven't been able to read it in full , the material I could see at Dienekes' blog (same as in the supplementary material) is most revealing. I think this research will mark a before and after in Jewish genetics and also gives some interesting hints on other populations, specially in West Asia and North Africa.

Doron M. Behar, Bayazit Yunusbayev, Mait Metspalu et al. The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people. Nature, 2010. Pay per view but supplementary material freely accessible.

One of the good things is that finally comparison with Turks and other populations from that area where early Jewish Diaspora in the Hellenistic-Roman era is known to have lived, rather than in Palestine, in a time when Judaism (several sects including eventually Christianism) was still actively proselytizing.

Unlike what I used to think, Western Jews (Sephardi and Ashkenazi) do not cluster too well with the Turkish sample but they cluster almost perfectly with Cypriots and Lebanese. They seem to have no particular relation with Palestinians (nor Druze nor Negev Bedouins) but these also appear clearly different from other Arabs and in general any other sampled population.

This K-means analysis is for me the answer to all these endless discussions on the origin of Jews and Palestinians. Western Jews seem essentially to have coalesced in the Cypriot-Phoenician area probably by, essentially, conversion. Palestinians seem to be a uniquely distinct population, albeit somewhat admixed with their neighbors, which may well originate with the local Neolithic and certainly must have been there in early historical times.

In other words: Palestinians are most likely to be the true descendants from the Jews of the Biblical period, rather than modern Western Jews who seem more as originating from a Phoenician-Cypriot population which converted to Rabbinic Judaism for whichever reasons.

Other Jewish populations also seem to originate in conversion episodes but from different genetic pools. Hence Yemeni Jews appear as genetically Arab, Ethiopian Jews as Ethiopian, Indian Jews as Indian and Iraqi-Iranian Jews as Iranians. There may be some fine threading to enrich this overall picture but the essentials seem very clear in any case.

Anyhow, Moroccan Jews appear as just another branch of Western Jews (no particular relation with Moroccans is apparent) and I have not been able so far to identify the closest population to the small sample of Uzbek Jews. Also Turco-European Jews seem at least somewhat admixed with Europeans, something that was already well known.

As for other populations, I find interesting that an specific autosomal component of NW Africans has been detected (for the first time as far as I can tell). Many specific clusters have obviously not been detected because of the relative shallowness of the K-means analysis.

The supplementary materials have other interesting graphs, PC analysis of autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA genetics and a global K-means analysis of relevance when observing some peripheral Jewish populations specially but also providing some general hints on other populations (a very wide sample, specially in Eurasia).

I must cheer and congratulate the authors of this research for finally addressing the debate on Jewish (and Palestinian) origins with a worthy extended sample of many many populations, including key ones such as Turks, Cypriots and Lebanese (among others). The wording of the abstract doesn't say things as clearly as I do but their data speaks volumes.

Update: A reader, Joe, tells me that H.G. Wells already suggested this Phoenician true origin of Jews. In his book A Short History of the World, chapter XXII, he wrote, speaking of Semitic peoples, once all powerful but then defeated by the Indoeuropeans (Persians, Greeks, Romans):

Is it any miracle that in their days of overthrow and subjugation many Babylonians and Syrians and so forth, and later on many Phoenicians, speaking practically the same language and having endless customs, habits, tastes and traditions in common, should be attracted by this inspiring cult [Judaism] and should seek to share in its fellowship and its promise? After the fall of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage and the Spanish Phoenician cities, the Phoenicians suddenly vanish from history; and as suddenly, we find not simply in Jerusalem but in Spain, Africa, Egypt, the East, wherever the Phoenicians had set their feet, communities of Jews.

See also the discussion on Atzmon 2008.

Update Nov 21: a free copy of the paper is available here (PDF).


joe90 kane said...

Thanks very much Maju for interpreting these scientific results and translating them into language non-genetic experts like me can understand.

all the best

Maju said...

You're welcome. Of course, it's MY interpretation and others may want to think otherwise but the Cypriot connection is coincident with Atzmon's data (posted about it on Monday) although more obvious.

The distinct Palestinian cluster is also very revealing, specially because it evidences that Palestinians can't have arrived from anywhere else as has been argued once and again by the Zionist wishful thinking.


joe90 kane said...

Just out of interest,
a fellow member of a messege board has pointed out that H.G. Wells put forward a similar idea in his Short History of the World,
here -
Priests and Prohpets in Judea , p 77
Google Books

all the best

Here is Nature magazine on the matter -
Genes link Jewish communities, take 2 - June 09, 2010
The Great Beyond blog
09 June 2010

Maju said...

Thanks for the links, Joe. The first one is very very revealing for me, as I had not read Wells' book and the link to Lebanese and Cypriots first of all surprised me a bit. On one side, it was coincident with my earlier hypothesis of a largely non-Palestinian origin of modern Jews but, on the other side, I was surprised by this one not being actually to be found in Anatolia but in the Cyprus-Syria area.

I am a bit frustrated that nobody of name is seemingly willing to put the finger on the quite evident conclusions that must be derived from this data and instead use the vagueness of "Levant", when it's clear that Southern Levant and Northern Levant are very much different.

Of course it's some sort of taboo, considering the hegemony of the Zionist discourse, which has sought legitimacy on purported ancestral links of Jews to Palestine, for which this is a huge blow. So I guess that gradually the acceptance of that this is what the evidence says, and not the Zionist wishful thinking discourse, will penetrate only gradually but ultimately this truth cannot be avoided and I am quite persuaded that the more they look at it, the more obvious it will be.

I have always been an admirer of Phoenicians, maybe in part because I tend to like the underdog rather than the winner but also because they had great achievements: from Hanno's journey and the likely first circunnavigation of Africa to the military genius and dare of Hannibal. I once argued that if Phoencians would have defeated Rome, America would have been discovered much earlier and history would have been very different (Germanics would have conquered Gaul, Christianity and Islam would surely never have arisen at all).

A fascinating discovery, really.

Btw, who will tell Helen Thomas (who has Lebanese ancestry)? :D

terryt said...

"Btw, who will tell Helen Thomas (who has Lebanese ancestry)? :D"

I suspect she already knows. That's why she suggested the Israelis should go home: 'to Russia, Germany, the USA and other places'.

alex said...

"Anyhow, Moroccan Jews appear as just another branch of Western Jews (no particular relation with Moroccans is apparent)"
interesting !
one of the first jewish communities in Morocco, was established in Ifrane in the deep south (anti-Atlas)...
from what I remember, the story on how did they get there, is that they come by sea (phoenician connection ?)....

on the other hand, it is apparent now that the previously judaised berbers, have reversed course and converted to Islam......

Maju said...

Terry, obviously not. She's someone well into her 80s who probably does not have any good grasp, if any at all, of modern population genetics, no matter how brilliant and lucid she is. And there was no evidence of such connection (for lack of specific research) a couple of weeks ago.

What she said, anyhow makes total sense, from a viewpoint of the 1960s or 1970s. Nowadays there are just too many born Israeli Jews to keep such a stand probably (though Algerian French had been for longer and still they had to leave).

I just meant it as a joke... but whatever.

Maju said...

Alex: I would say that the matter of Moroccan Jews surely deserves an specific research, which could well be integrated in a research of overall North African genetics from an autosomal viewpoint, of interest on its own, specially since some clearly North African specificity has been detected.

Anyhow what is clear is that at least a good share of Moroccan Jewish ancestry must have originated in Iberia, as Morocco was the main destiny of Muslim Iberian exiles and also of at least many of Iberian Jews in the 1492-93 expulsion episode.

Ebizur said...

Moroccan Jews (Shen et al. 2004)
1/20 = 5.0% E1b1b-M215(xE1b1b1a-M78, E1b1b1c-M123)
3/20 = 15.0% E1b1b1a-M78(xE1b1b1a1a-M224)
6/20 = 30.0% G2a-P15
2/20 = 10.0% J2-M172(xJ2a4a-M322, J2a4b-M67, J2a4d-M319, J2a4h1a1b-M289, J2a4h1a1c-M318, J2b-M314)
2/20 = 10.0% J2a4d-M319
2/20 = 10.0% J1-M267
2/20 = 10.0% T-M272(xT1-M320)
2/20 = 10.0% R1b1b2-M269

I wonder where the patrilineal ancestors of all those G2a-P15 carriers might have come from.

Does the present study by Behar et al. include any new data regarding the Y-DNA of Moroccan Jews?

Kepler said...


I think a link with Phoenicians is nothing new.

We have very little rests of Phoenician texts as Romans and others saw to it to destroy as much as they could. Still, we can fairly say Phoenician and Hebrew were incredibly close languages, perhaps like Galician and Spanish or closer.

Still we know there was an Israeli entity that was on a war with Phoenicians. We also know that by the X century BC Israelis were avoiding pigs, unlike the Coast people (mostly Phoenicians and on the South from Ashkelon to South of what is Gaza now the Philistines, who may have taken over a Semite language very soon), promoting monotheism, etc.

Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein says the Israelites came up from a very mixed population, although mainly Canaanites.
Please, take a look at this:

I would recommend the book Bible Unearthed. Take a look at the Wikipedia article.

Specially, read about "Hezekiah and monolatry" and Israeli migration towards Juda. And remember: all these were extremely similar tribes.

Maju said...

"I wonder where the patrilineal ancestors of all those G2a-P15 carriers might have come from".

Not sure but G2 in general is a most complicated haplogroup to understand. In a recent email discussion re. Iberian G2 I recall having found that it is relatively high in Cyprus, which may be an explanation, because Cyprus is not only linked to historical Phoenicians and now also to Jews but it was surely important in the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age East-West Mediterranean connections.

The most common Euro-Med clade of G, G2a3a has some significant frequencies in the Eastern Mediterranean, from Greece to Palestine, but it's not possible to me to identify a single source.

I would think in any case that, whatever the exact origin, it was surely amplified by founder effect in this particular community.

Maju said...

"Still we know there was an Israeli entity that was on a war with Phoenicians".

But that was long before the Jewish expansion process (in the context of which Christian origins are to be understood too). I bet that ancient Jews would not have minded to see their former rivals converting to their religion (and not the opposite, as was it seems common in some Biblical periods, when Phoenicians were still highly successful and Jews were a mere backwater theocracy).

Also some ancient Jews seem to have participated in some of the Phoenician commercial enterprises, as would seem obvious from the Biblical reference to the Tarshish ships.

"We also know that by the X century BC Israelis were avoiding pigs, unlike the Coast people"...

Yes but, unlike circumcision, I don't think this is any major barrier. Unlike the Iberian ham, which stands as an absolute cultural and culinary barricade against anti-pork sects, nobody has ever heard of the Phoenician ham, right?

"Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein says the Israelites came up from a very mixed population, although mainly Canaanites".

I can't but agree with that. However that says nothing about the origin of Medieval and Modern Jews.

"Take a look at the Wikipedia article.

"Specially, read about "Hezekiah and monolatry" and Israeli migration towards Juda".

Must have been edited since you read it because now it's a very short article on mere linguistic classification.

Maju said...

However, Kepler, there's some intriguing stuff in the grammar section:

The Canaanite languages, together with the Aramaic languages and Ugaritic, form the Northwest Semitic subgroup. Some distinctive features of Canaanite in relation to Aramaic are:

* The prefix 'h-' used as the definite article (whereas Aramaic has a postfixed -a). This seems to be an innovation of Canaanite.

* The first person pronoun being 'ʼnk' (אנכ - anok(i)) (versus Aramaic - ʼnʼ/ʼny) - which is similar to Akkadian, Ancient Egyptian and Berber

Oddly enough Basque shares some of these features (more with Aramaic than Canaanite though).

Basque 1st person pronoun is ni/nik (also neu/neuk), with nik being used only when it is the subject of transitive sentences (nork-nor, nork-nori-nor) and ni in all other cases (intransitive subject, direct object). This -0/-k suffix distinction is a grammatical feature of the Basque declination system, shared with all other nouns and pronouns.

Also the determinate article in Basque is the suffix -a (or -ak), just as in Aramaic.

No idea what it means but it would seem yet another obscure hint re. a once widespread Vasconic substrate. It may also imply that Basque language has Neolithic origins after all. :?

Random Mindlessness said...

Actually, the article DOESN’T imply that the Jews are Phoenicians. If
anything, there is less overlap between Jews and Cypriots than between Jews and Druze.

If you read the article properly, it shows that Palestinians, Bedouins, Saudis, and Jordanians form a very tight cluster, which also includes Yemenis.

Since we know that modern Arab populations originated in southern Saudi (and migrated north during 1st millennium AD), the only possible conclusion from the article is that Palestinians arrived around that time.

The article actually implies that Jews, Druze, Samaritans, and Cypriots co-originated and probably were an indigenous population that was displaced by Palestinians/Arabs.

Whether or not the Jews, Druze, Samaritans, and Cypriots were Phoenician, Canaanite, or admixture is not possible to say from the article (since they didn’t examine Phoenician and Canaanite DNA).

Neither can you conclude from the article that the Palestinians were the original population.

Be that as it may, the article supports the notion that both populations
(Jews/Druze/Samaritans/Cypriots and Palestinians/Bedouins/Saudis/Jordanians)
have a shared origin (probably around 5000 years ago, in southern Saudi).

Maju said...

"Actually, the article DOESN’T imply that the Jews are Phoenicians. If
anything, there is less overlap between Jews and Cypriots than between Jews and Druze".

What Jews? And what graph are you looking at? PC analysis can only provide so much information (maybe equivalent to a K=4) and I'm drawing my conclusions from the West Eurasian K-means analysis, which is the only graph I bothered posting here, because it is the key graph, where the evidence is revealed.

However, I can concede that the Cypriot-Lebanese-West Jewish clustering can need of greater resolution and research to be totally conclusive. But it's highly suggestive in any case.

Also the key evidence is in the distinctiveness of the Palestinian-specific cluster (not found in Jews but at very low levels, just as among so many other peoples) anyhow, which clearly demonstrates that Palestinians are not fundamentally immigrants (no source populations are apparent in spite of the extensive sampling) and that modern Jews are not of Palestinian origin.

Maju said...

"Be that as it may, the article supports the notion that both populations
(Jews/Druze/Samaritans/Cypriots and Palestinians/Bedouins/Saudis/Jordanians)
have a shared origin (probably around 5000 years ago, in southern Saudi)".

Even if can tentatively agree with these two clusters being real (roughly the same as the J1/J2 Y-DNA divide), these are very loose clusters.

And also all the archaeological and genetic evidence (in particular Abu Amero 2008) clearly determines that peninsular Arabians are (mostly) descendant from Crescent Fertile populations and not the other way around.

This is only logical because, before the domestication of the camel (very recent) deserts could not be journeyed and the great demographic expansion caused by Neolithic and related developments (civilization, irrigation...) happened in the Fertile Crescent and not in the Arabian deserts and semideserts. That now and then some groups of semidesert pastoralists have managed to subjugate the sedentary peoples, does not mean that they replaced them, because this is simply impossible considering the numbers that must have been involved and also because such conquerors invariably expected to get an aristocratic lifestyle at the expense of the conquered ones, not to become farmers (workers) themselves.

So I'm rather inclined to think that there were (at least) two distinct populations in the Neolithic: Highlanders and Palestinians. Actually the Highlander group has two subgroups (Taurus and Zagros areas) but is not really relevant for our discussion. The Southern Palestinian group was surely dominated by Y-DNA J1 and shows clear connection (expansion but also backflow from North Africa) with North Africa and Arabia Peninsula.

The Northern Highlander group instead was dominated by J2 and is the most important in relation with Eurasia, with expansions into Europe and South Asia.

Of course there are other Y-DNA haplogroups implied (G2, E1b1b1), as well as mtDNA, that I'm ignoring here for space reasons and simplicity only. And of course the Northern and Southern groups have interacted (an important moment being the PPNB "invasion" and then also the Semitic expansion) but the basic pattern is still very apparent and supportive of these two broad clusters having Fertile Crescent origins and not being the product of any semidesert-originated invasions.

And Western Jews show much more affinity with the Northern group than with the Southern one. I used to think this meant a partly Anatolian origin in the Hellenistic-Roman period but this data, together with the (less obvious but still supportive) in Atzmon 2008, is strongly suggestive of an origin in Cyprus area very specifically.

Western Jews must have some identifiable origin and, after the widespread sampling of this paper, the only remaining possibility is the Lebanon-Cyprus region, possibly with extension to coastal Syria and Cilicia, not sampled here). It's clearly not in Palestine in any case.

As for the other Jewish populations, they are clearly different ones (see Fst distances at Atzmon 2008, discussed here) and have very clear local origins per the data of this paper. The only case I'm not really sure about are Uzbek Jews but they are a small sample in any case.

Kepler said...

I was referring to

I think the book is worth reading. Perhaps you can find/order the Spanish version in a public library. The title sounds like a continuation to Da Vinci's Code, but it is not.

About those possible similarities: I think you have to be careful with that, we can find that level of similarities won't want to imply that unless you want to tell us that Adam and Eve spoke Basque :-p

We don't know about the Phoenician ham because we don't know about the Phoenician dances or sport sandals or about much of anything but that they were good traders and they were supposed to eat children for breakfast. The others really wanted to delete them from the map. One of the distinctive factors archaeologists find with the emergence of "Jews" is that there are almost no pig rests in the whole central area from the -XIII century onwards. Very interesting: if you check out the prohibitions for food, a lot of it had to do with things you could not find in the central area of Palestine or things that would easily rot (like lobster being taken from the Mediterranean or the Red Sea).

Now, this is what I imagine: the Israelis were a mix lot already, mainly Canaanite who themselves had Northern and Southern groups. There may have been also a more Northern component (Bible stories
could be a hint).
At the time when Christianity appeared, there were lots of Jewish communities all the way to Turkey. They would eventually start to go little by little to Italy and there further mix.
Perhaps more information is needed about Jewish history in Italy to fish for some hints about where to look for the jump from there to Germany.

As I said, I understand Mr Finkelstein is now involved in a multidisciplinary project on the origins of ancient Palestinian populations and
DNA will play a role.

I just hope the whole project will be kosher, some may not like the results.

Maju said...

"you won't want to imply that unless you want to tell us that Adam and Eve spoke Basque :-p"

LOL. Of course they did, how could it be otherwise. It's the language of God! ;D

According to ancient myths, dated maybe to the 19th century (long before I was born in any case), Basque is one of the languages created by God himself at the Tower of Babel language confusion episode. It has something to do with a guy named Tubal, but admittedly I have no idea who was that guy, because he must be older than my great-grandfather, and that's long ago... at least from the 19th century. He was surely a mason... one of those that put bricks one above the other to make walls and such. :P

Seriously, it's not anything conclusive at all but two hits out of three traits mentioned in a totally unrelated article is more than what I can call a random coincidence.

I have been accumulating the knowledge of other "random coincidences" along my life that together make a quite suspicious bunch. They concentrate along the Cardium Pottery and Megalithic area, so I am starting to suspect that Basque language could well be a remnant not of the languages of Paleolithic but of those of the Neolithic.

I have discussed some of them here, including this "coincidence". But it's not any extensive nor systematic endeavor. Actually I have rather avoided the linguistic field because I know well it's very slippery terrain.

Maju said...

As for the book, it looks interesting yes but I'm unsure on how it may relate to what we are discussing here.

"We don't know about the Phoenician ham because we don't know about the Phoenician dances or sport sandals or about much of anything but that they were good traders and they were supposed to eat children for breakfast".

Of course, I was just joking a bit. What I meant is just that none of those possible differences are insuperable obstacles for conversion, specially if there are other reasons.

"The others really wanted to delete them from the map".

Not the Persians nor the Egyptians, who seem to have got along with them quite well. Carthage was allied of Achaemenid Persia (a religiously tolerant state) and Tyre was allowed independence under Persian domination. Only the Hebrews and Greco-Romans seem to have got major issues with the Phoenicians.

"One of the distinctive factors archaeologists find with the emergence of "Jews" is that there are almost no pig rests in the whole central area from the -XIII century onwards".

I mentioned what might have been the first properly Jewish stronghold here. Same conclusions. I'm not sure if hygienic reasons are the only ones anyhow behind those taboos.

"At the time when Christianity appeared, there were lots of Jewish communities all the way to Turkey",

Exactly. However the question is how biologically Jewish were they? (a) Were they pure Palestinian Jewish emigrants?,(b) were they essentially converts from other communities such as Phoenicians or Assyrians (once an important trader community in that area)?, or (c)were they something in between?

I think that the data clearly answers the question in the sense of (b), at least for the modern descendants that we call Jews. There's just no meaningful evidence of the strongly distinctive Palestinian component and this Palestinian-specific component cannot be argued anymore to have arrived from outside, as all relevant populations are considered in this paper.

"I just hope the whole project will be kosher, some may not like the results".

I like it better haram. ]:D

What's the Hebrew equivalent of haram (sinful, against the law), just as halal is equivalent to kosher?

In other words, I like not being politically correct, unless I do think that such specific instance of political correctness makes good sense, such as in the issues of racism, sexism, etc.

Random Mindlessness said...

I agree with your assessment of a northern and a southern group. The question is, how far north and how far south. I think the archaeology supports the border being at the negev desert. The overlap of Jews with Druze and Samaritan supports this.

BTW, have you seen the new Atzmon paper, which gives further support to the idea that Jews are close to Druze? It also says Jews are close to Bedouin, but not Palestinians.

Maju said...

I'm not too sure or what archeology are you referring to.

Both Negev and fertile Palestine part of the Natufian-PPNA area and Palestine proper is its core without doubt. However the southern semidesertic areas (the desert as such was not yet available for use) were distinctive (Harifian) and, in my opinion, constituted the transitional bridge between Egypt and West Asia, allowing African lineages and Afroasiatic languages to penetrate the area. There are other theories on the origin of Asian Afroasiatic leading to Semitic, so I won't insist on this much.

Just to mention that it does seem to be evidence at late Harifian sites for an origin of the Circum-Arabian Pastoralist Complex, which has been often claimed as the source of Semitic linguistic expansion c. 5000-3500 BCE (in a time when there were no domestic camels yet and hence no journeys through the desert and no Arabia Peninsula connection I can discern yet).

There was not any absolute genetic border probably ever but there is a clear flow from the North once and again (PPNB, Ghassulian), which must have been dominated by Y-DNA J2. Lebanese and Western Jews (and, for what I recall, Syrians as well) show this admixture with more balanced apportions of the two J sublineages (see Semino 2004)

Let's see how these lineages behave:

- Konya Turks: 28% J2, 4% J1
- Sephardim: 27% J2, 12% J1
- Lebanese: 25% J2, 13% J1
- Ashkenazim: 23% J2, 15% J1
- Palestinian: 17% J2, 38% J1
- Negev Bedouins: 3% J2, 63% J1

So while Palestine was surely originally all or mostly J1 (per the North African connection but the West Asian origin of the lineage) and this may also have been the case to some extent of Syria-Lebanon, the various (at least two) cultural influxes from the North, distributed J2 southwards in a decreasing frequency.

There are no known south-to-north flows except the localized Natufian expansion into the Euphrates bend in NE Syria (Mureybet) and the phenomenon of the Circum-Arabian Pastoralist Complex, which probably originated in Natufian after PPNB arrival. Both are clearly weaker than the North to South flows.

Maju said...

"BTW, have you seen the new Atzmon paper, which gives further support to the idea that Jews are close to Druze?"

I really pass of the Druze. They are a very small minority in Israel/Palestine (somewhat larger in Lebanon), their traditions acknowledge themselves as immigrants to the Levant and they are so extremely inbred that they are nearly impossible to use in autosomal analysis.

I think that past papers have tended to use the Druze as a cover up, suggesting that the are more Palestinian than the Palestinians and more Levantine than the Levant peoples as a whole. This claim seems totally unfounded and is nothing but another case of Zionist wishful thinking. Not acceptable really.

I have read Atzmon 2010 in any case and I have discussed it here, along with an unrelated paper on Basques.

Actually, what I see in that paper's PC graphs (supp. material) is a very interesting clustering of Western Jews with the ESE sample, made up of Turks and Cypriots, and more tightly with a subset of these which was not identified in the paper but that seems to be the Cypriots after all.

Another important data is Fst distances, which show that Iranian Jews have so much relation with Western Jews as the most distant European populations (Russians and Basques) do, clearly showing we are talking of very different populations, unrelated in the context of West Asia. Iraqi Jews behave similarly by to a less extreme degree.

Palestinians were relatively akin to Western Jews and certainly more akin than Irano-Iraqi Jews, but the mislabelling of them and Bedouins in the main PC graph (which I want to think as a mere error) confuses this appreciation.

"It also says Jews are close to Bedouin, but not Palestinians".

That's a clear labeling error. The Fst data clearly confirms that, as do all other genetic data I know of, including the paper discussed here, which shows Negev Bedouins as probably made up of two distinct populations, one very much unique and the other not sufficiently well defined but somewhat akin to Palestinians and generic Arabs (different components). The blue dots do in fact represent Palestinians and the pink ones represent Negev Bedouins.


RX1 said...

Actually, the article DOESN¹T imply that the Jews are Phoenicians. If
anything, there is less overlap between Jews and Cypriots than between Jews
and Druze.

If you read the article properly, it shows that Palestinians, Bedouins,
Saudis, and Jordanians form a very tight cluster, which also includes
Yemenis (see image).

Since we know that modern Arab populations originated in southern Saudi (and
migrated north during 1st millennium AD), the only possible conclusion from
the article is that Palestinians arrived around that time.

The article actually implies that Jews, Druze, Samaritans, and Cypriots
co-originated and probably were an indigenous population that was displaced
by Palestinians/Arabs.

Whether or not the Jews, Druze, Samaritans, and Cypriots were Phoenician,
Canaanite, or admixture is not possible to say from the article (since they
didn¹t examine Phoenician and Canaanite DNA).

Neither can you conclude from the article that the Palestinians were the
original population.

Be that as it may, the article supports the notion that both populations
(Jews/Druze/Samaritans/Cypriots and Palestinians/Bedouins/Saudis/Jordanians)
have a shared origin (probably around 5000 years ago, in southern Saudi).

Maju said...

"Actually, the article DOESN¹T imply that the Jews are Phoenicians".

The text of the article does not. The usage of the word "Levant" (without any distinction between North and South) was carefully chosen to avoid such a controversial conclusion. :)

But that is what the data here and in Atzmon's paper seems to say: Jews are most closely related not with Palestinians but with Lebanese, Cypriots and maybe other groups of the Cyprus Gulf.

"If you read the article properly, it shows that Palestinians, Bedouins,
Saudis, and Jordanians form a very tight cluster".

They do not. Palestinians diverge from all other West Eurasians at K=8. If we ignore extremely isolated groups like Druze (immigrants from other areas but extremely endogamous) and Bedouins (not immigrants but endogamous and small in numbers), they are the first population diverging. They are in fact the first single ethnic group diverging in all Eurasia at that ethnic/national level

Although I'd like to have data under K=8 to compare with others and the Palestinian cluster detection may have been aided by the good sampling of this people, what this clearly says is that Palestinians are a deeply distinctive population and not just "immigrant Arabs" as Zionist doctrine likes to claim.

This distinctiveness can only happen if they are at least direct descendant of ancient Jews, Canaanites, etc. towards the depths of Prehistory.

"Since we know that modern Arab populations originated in southern Saudi (and migrated north during 1st millennium AD)"...

No, we do not know that. Not only Southern Arabia, unless you call that to the the Hejaz and the Syrian Desert too. We certainly do not know that they migrated in numbers that could alter the pre-existent farmer population and that is in fact most unlikely. It's just one of those things that Zionists like to repeat once and again but is baseless.


Maju said...

"... it shows that Palestinians, Bedouins, Saudis, and Jordanians form a very tight cluster, which also includes
Yemenis (see image)".

What do you know about the Prehistory of West Asia? Palestine was a distinct province on its own right all the time. Palestinian Neolithic (PPNA) is distinct from Highland West Asia Neolithic (PPNB), even if this one did expand southwards.

The colonization of Arabia Peninsula surely happened first from Palestine, more precisely from the peripheral regions of this province, where a less sedentary lifestyle existed, represented maybe better by Jordanians and Bedouins. It is a South Levant to Arabia flow and this can be tracked in Y-DNA and mtDNA pretty well.

I don't say there have been no backflows, obviously, just not enough to alter the genetic landscape as dramatically as Zionist doctrine would require. Would it have been that way we would not see that distinct Palestinian cluster which is clearly not "Arab" but specifically Canaanite.

We'd have some other group popping up at k=8 as distinct (if anything) and Palestinians would never become distinct in the cluster analysis from other Arabs. Also the supposed "Arab migration" should be more apparent in Syria and Lebanon, Egypt, etc. It is not. Not at all. It's just a neomyth we have to shake off.

Plaestinians must be close to other Lowland West Asians (and not just generically "Arabs") because archaeological and other genetic evidence clearly shows that Arabian deserts were colonized from Palestine.

It's important to identify the origin and destiny of the late Neolithic colonization of the semideserts. In Y-DNA J1 for example it is obvious that not just Palestinians but even North Africans and Caucasic peoples (and Jews too) have much higher diversity than peninsular Arabs and Yemenis in particular. So J1 migrated from North to South.

The same is apparent in mtDNA (cf. for instance Abu Amero 2008): colonization of Arabia Peninsula from the Crescent Fertile (and more detailed data should pinpoint Palestine specifically) and not the opposite.

It is also apparent in the archaeological record, with the Circum-Arabian Pastoralist Complex, formed in relation to PPNB's expansion but has its origins in PPNA instead, specifically in the semidesert (Negev) facies of PPNA, as far as we can tell. This CAPC that preceded true desert nomadism later on (only possible when the camel was domesticated, c. 2000 BCE) is probably at the origin of the expansion of Semitic languages c. 5000 BCE. It expanded to the Levant, to Iraq and to Arabia Peninsula. But their origins are in truth in the periphery of the Fertile Crescent by all accounts.

"The article actually implies that Jews, Druze, Samaritans, and Cypriots
co-originated and probably were an indigenous population that was displaced
by Palestinians/Arabs".

That is your interested interpretation and is easy to rebuke (see above). When you look at West Asian genetics you do see a Highland and a Lowland cluster which is obviously not caused by Arab political-religious expansion. This is very apparent in the distribution of the two subclades of Y-DNA J. J2 is clearly highlander and extends to Europe and India, while J1 is clearly lowlander (there are exceptions but this is the main pattern) and extends to North Africa specially. This distribution is Prehistoric, either Paleolithic (my opinion) or Neolithic but not recent in any case.


Maju said...

"... is not possible to say from the article (since they
didn¹t examine Phoenician and Canaanite DNA)".

I understand they did: they examined Palestinians (Canaanites with all likelihood) and Lebanese+Cypriots (Phoenicians with all likelihood). Admittedly Cypriots could also have Greek origin but it's clear that they do not cluster close to other Greeks and instead cluster with Lebanese very strongly.

"Neither can you conclude from the article that the Palestinians were the
original population".

Yes, that's my whole point: that Palestinians show up as distinct and not at all as "undifferentiated Arabs", as the Zionist neomyth would want us to believe. I have already said why.

"Be that as it may, the article supports the notion that both populations
(Jews/Druze/Samaritans/Cypriots and Palestinians/Bedouins/Saudis/Jordanians)
have a shared origin (probably around 5000 years ago, in southern Saudi)".

I am not sure where they say this but I cannot agree. What we are seeing here is the structure of West Eurasians, which may well have began to diverge some 40 or 50 Ka ago (at least 30 Ka). The sample is very good for this kind of all-regional analysis.

We see in this general context, first of all, a West Asian/European divergence (normal because of geographical barriers and consistent with the different haplogroups and their frequencies found in both subregions).

Then we see a Highland/Lowland divergence in West Asia, a trait that I have been pointing to since long ago, specially on the differential distribution of Y-DNA J2 and J1, whose early expansion and differentiation must be Paleolithic.

This second divergence, that you misunderstand as "Arab expansion", is less marked than the Europe/West Asia divide, logically, as there is no physical barrier, just somewhat different ecosystems and, importantly, different population histories, at least since Neolithic but probably since deep in the Paleolithic.

And then we see a South-North divergence in Europe.

Some of these large scale structures need to be analyzed more in depth. In Europe at least deep regional clusters have been found, not just North European but Iberian, Basque, Finnic... all of which must date from at least the Epipaleolithic.

In West Asia we do not had such comprehensive structure studies and it'd be nice if a third West Asia-specific structure analysis would have been run (or going deeper to k=16 maybe) in this paper. Not yet it seems but it will be done eventually.

But what this paper clearly says is that one of the earliest distinct clusters is made up only of Palestinians, showing some minor affinity only to Negev Bedouins.

Maju said...

I must clarify that when I say "Zionist neomyth" of population replacement with Islamic expansion (which is based only on anecdotes and propaganda-style stubborn repetition) in Palestine of all places, that this idea was not part of the original Zionist baggage. People like Ben Gurion and other Zionist "founding fathers" acknowledged that farmers do not generally migrate, only relatively well-off people do, nor are normally replaced by invader elites which are much better off exploiting the pre-existent farmers. They knew that Palestinians must be at least partly descendants from the Jews of antiquity, the Jews of the Bible.

Similarly, in order to understand modern Jewish origins, one has to understand two facts:

1. The Jewish Diaspora in Hellenistic and Roman times was huge, including many more people than genuine Jews in Palestine. This early Diaspora was centered in Syria and Anatolia.

2. Judaism was proselytist until the expansion of derived sects, Christianity and Islam, put it in a situation of forced endogamy. In fact the proselytism of these two large Judaism-derived sects is just an extension of the policies of Hellenistic Judaist sects. We know of many polities of the early Middle Ages that were officially Jewish but ethnically something else (Khazars, Kurds, Yemenis, Berbers...), and this is only extra evidence of this Jewish proselytism of old.

In this context, an specifically Phoenician-centered survival of Jewish religion, as Wells suggested, makes total sense. The genetics we see here and elsewhere really support this for Western Jews (i.e. not Yemeni nor Irano-Iraqi Jews).

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Some facts:

1. Some of the earliest attested Semitic languages were found in the North Levant.

2. The original language of the Mesopotamians is Sumerian and is superceded by Akkadian only later, presumably from the West. So, the Proto-Semites of the Levant should be prior in time to the Proto-Semites of Mesopotamia.

3. The earliest Jewish myths (e.g. Genesis and the birth story of Moses) draw on Mesopotamian material originally created in Sumerian, indicating contact with that area, presumably during an era during the Akkadian era or afterwards.

4. Semitic people came to Egypt, a culture with which the Phoenicians had close ties.

5. The Jewish national myth recounts their immediate origins prior to establishing a Jewish state in the South Levant and conquering outsiders, rather than being natives there, around the time (plus or minus a couple centuries) of Bronze Age Collapse. Egyptian origins for the Jews are supported by the Torah, the existence of Semites in Egypt around then, Jewish burial customs that follow Egyptian precedent and the close in time Egyptian flirtation with monotheism.

6. The South Levant was multi-ethnic for almost the entire period from the arrival of Jews in the area to the destruction of the Temple.

7. The Jewish nation in the South Levant that is the subject of the Bible collapsed, in fits and starts, and many Jews were exiles to what is now Iraq and elsewhere.

8. Hebrew is linguistically closer to Arabic than it is to almost any other extant or extinct Semitic languages.

9. Circumcision was a significant barrier to conversion in the Rabbinic period and dispensing with that rite is one of the reasons that Christianity grew by conversion much faster than Rabbinic Judaism whose formative period was at roughly the same time. The Roman and Jewish historical accounts from the 1st century also show that there was a strong Jewish national and ethnic identity by then. So, the case for significant conversion of people into Rabbinic Judaism around the 1st Century CE isn't very strong.

Conclusion: It makes more sense to me to see Phoenicians as being derived from the Proto-Semitic source population (ca. 2000 BCE +/- 500 years) in the North Levant vicinity, with Semitic pre-Jews becoming true Jews in or shortly after leaving Egypt via intellectual influence from the brief period of Egyptian monotheism (ca. 1200 BCE +/- 20 years), and that they maintain ties with their kin in the Northern Levant for the duration in a region where trade has been ancient and vigorous. The Baal cult which has been associated with Phoenician pagan religion and with the pre-Jewish faith of the Jews in Exile also fits this idea.

In this view, the Palestinians are the native people of the Southern Levant, probably from pre-historic times at least (i.e. sometime before 3500 BCE, perhaps back to the Neolithic or before, or perhaps not) and become subjects of the Jewish invaders post-Exile. Palestinian/Arabic linguistic affinities derive from adoption the language of their Semitic language speaking rulers in this era or earlier, rather than from a more recent common pool of genetic ancestors. But, unlike the Jewish invader layer of that culture, the Palestinians are not exiled and reassert themselves as the natives of the South Levant when the Jews are kicked out where they remain ever after.

Of course, long close association in the Near East between all of its Paleolithic peoples means that Phoenicians and Proto-Palestinians aren't that far removed from each other genetically.

Maju said...

I think you fail to get my point, Andrew: what I'm trying to explain is that the data shows that modern Western Jews (Sephardi and Ashkenazi) show a clear affinity or rather identity with the Lebanon-Cyprus area and extremely low one with Palestine. That means that they are surely converts of Phoenician or similarly "Syrian" origin rather than genuine "Biblical Jews".

Other Jewish groups show different affinities (for instance Yemeni Jews look largely Yemeni, as one would expect considering history) but in general they do not look at all related to Palestinians, casting a serious doubt about the mythical origin of Jews worldwide in the historical and Biblical Jewish ethnicity of Palestine.

Instead Palestinians show a strong unique component that points to a distinct coalescence, which can perfectly be interpreted in terms of ancient Jews, Southern Cannaanites and maybe even back in time up to PPNA and Kebaran Mesolithic.

I am of the opinion anyhow that Semitic languages coalesced in the Circum-Arabian Pastoralist Complex in PPNB, and its genetics can be represented to some extent at least by the "pink" component dominant in peninsular Arabia (but also present to lesser extent among Palestinians, Negev Bedouins and others). I have no reason to associate proto-Semitic with Highland West Asia, where other non-Afroasiatic language families are attested instead (Hattic and Hurro-Urartean).

JL067 said...

For what it's worth here is Atzmon's "Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era":

Also Behar's "The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people":

And Bray's "Signatures of founder effects, admixture, and selection in the Ashkenazi Jewish population":

Maju said...

Thanks, JL. I updated with a link to Behar's letter per your post. The other two are already freely accessible (both PNAS and AJHG have 6-months paywall policies, after which all becomes open access).

Still, I think that, while the rest of materials (both here and in Atzmon's) hint in the same direction the key evidence comes in Behar's regional (West Eurasian) ADMIXTURE analysis (supp fig. 4), where we see how Palestinians quickly form a cluster of their own, suggesting old distinct personality (and not indistinct "Arab" recent immigration, as Zionist propaganda often claims). The lack of any important link between Western (Hellenistic) Jews and Palestinians makes the case for modern Western Jews being of a different origin. The closest populations appear to be Cypriots and Lebanese.

Cypriots also clustered tightly in Atzmon's paper.

Bray's paper lacks the relevant NW West Asian populations (Turks, Cypriots, Lebanese and Syrians) for any useful comparison. a lot of Jewish genetics papers have fallen in this sampling error, once and again avoiding this way to consider the hypothesis of Syrio-Anatolian Hellenistic origin of modern Western Jews (in spite of being a known historical fact that ancient Disapora Jews lived mostly there and practiced extensive proselytism).

Enfin... seems solved now. Thanks again for the links.

Jules said...

I'm 3/4 northern Italian and 1/4 Eastern European Ashkenazi. My Jewish relatives came from Russia. Upon genetic testing, I grouped with Tuscans and Greeks. That tells me my Jewish grandmother was not Russian, not a Palestinian and not a Khazar, otherwise I'd see that North Caucus grouping in my Geno 2.0 testing or a Palestinian one. It tells me that Jews are Phoenicians and they mixed with Italians and Greeks. I'm a woman and my mtDNA is mixed up... with me being general K1A with a few Ashkenazi markers, but not all of them. My overall genome was straight up Tuscan/Greek. I had no African or Arab markers. So, to me. the Jews were the Phoneticians mixed with Greeks and Italians. Now you can't tell the difference in genetic testing. They sailed with the Phoneticians and there wasn't a one time exit out of Israel, but many. They were sailing the Mediterranean long before the Romans kicked them out. The Jews picked up their mtDNA in Italy, as that K grouping is showing up in mummies, as in Otzi the Iceman. That was 5000 years ago and the Jews got some markers he had. In the K1a1b1a Ashkenazi group, he had 10978G and so does Otzi. Jews are Greeks and Italians and not Khazars. I think I'm proof that my Jewish Eastern European grandmother did not change my Italian genetics, other than I also group with Greeks.

Maju said...

@Jules: I cannot say for sure with all that certainty you use. Notice that I have slightly revised my stand since I wrote this and now I rather lean for the Hellenistic mass conversions in (primarily) Asia Minor, which is also what is behind early Christians.

The issue is that while the Cyprus connection remains strong, the Lebanese one does not, while Turkey remains just behind Cyprus (i.e. very high). Also FYI there were very few Phoenicians in Italy (only in West Sicily and Sardinia and rather late anyhow).

See especially here:

I had to restrict myself to Sephardites because Ashkenazi and Moroccan Jewish endogamy/founder effect is too strong and distorted the analysis. But as we can see in this and other studies all Western ("Greco-Roman") Jews seem to be quite similar in their overall genetic background.

STL said...

Have you seen the paper, 'Genome-Wide Diversity in the Levant Reveals Recent Structuring by Culture', Maju?

Apparently, when you segregate Lebanese Christians from Lebanese Muslims, Jews can actually cluster with Lebanese Christians. Perhaps they were originally semitic phoenicians who later mixed with europeans during the roman era. Given that the Lebanese Christians are mainly a cosmopolitan people rather than rural peasants, it seems like a possibility to entertain.

Maju said...

First of all, STL, my apologies because Blogger spam filter (which I cannot deactivate even if it is pretty much a useless nuisance) sent your comment to the spam folder. It's been solved now.

Then, what you say is interesting. I did comment on that paper but, being honest, I accidentally skipped the Lebanese-specific part and focused on the overall duality in West Asia, which is coincident with other pop. genetic elements like the distribution of Y-DNA J1/J2, etc. I was not really paying any attention to Lebanese specifics that day...

I can indeed see in this graph for example how Lebanese Muslim cluster with Syrians, while Christian ones cluster with Cypriots, Druzes (who are exotic to the region) and Sephardites. It'd be interesting to know if, beyond the religious divide, there is also a geographic divide. For example: where is that Lebanese Muslim sample from? Bekaa (not ancient Phoenician) or coastal (ancient Phoenician lands)?

If you look at this other figure (bottom), geography is not as irrelevant as the authors want us to believe, with three regions Beirut (oversampled), Bekaa and Mt. Lebanon having their own specificity, almost regardless of religious affiliation.

Whatever the case I take notice of your comment and I think we may consider some Lebanese (Christians? Beiruties?) as intermediate between Syria and Cyprus/Anatolia, what makes better sense IMO if we recall the Amuq-Biblos culture. I bet they also cluster well with Latakia Syrians and Cilicia/Antioch Turks.

STL said...

Well, something to keep in mind is as I've said, Lebanese/Syrian Christians have always maintained a cosmopolitan presence in the region. Whereas the bulk of muslims are spread-out through both rural and urban parts of the region, so overall you may see that type of schism, although not as necessarily segregated on a regional basis.

So, one way or another whether it is Anatolian or Roman, etc. there does seem to be a distinction. Syrians tend to be all over the map, but there is definitely a western bias amongst lebanese christians.

Perhaps this does confirm the genesis of the Phoenicians and Phoenician interactions during the Roman Empire?

Keep in mind that Cyprus was a major location of Hellenistic Judaism. Barnabas was a famous Cypriot jew.

I recommend this book:

Some interesting quotes:

"In particular, the
tremendous growth of the Jewish population of Cyprus,"

"We may add that Josephus (Against Apion 1. which Josephus otherwise carefully suppressed. Conversions in the Diaspora: The Phoenicians The very dispersion of the Jews. the Book of Tobit. because they had practiced circumcision for ages. One theory to explain the widespread success of Jewish proselytism in the Diaspora posits that the Jews had absorbed the far-flung settlements of the Phoenicians. one of the groups that led the revolution against Rome in 66 C. looks forward to the day when “many nations shall come to you [G-d] from afar” (13:13) and when “all the nations in the whole world shall turn and fear G-d” (14:6). whose language is so similar to Hebrew. had lost their independence. Carthage. in royal robes in the Temple (War 2. indicates the revolt’s messianic dimensions. Once the mother-cities of Tyre and Sidon and the chief daughter-city. and Slouschz has theorized that Phoenician owners of Jewish slaves may have been exposed to Jewish customs and ideas and may easily have passed over into Judaism."

On page 323 the author discusses the conversion of upper-class romans to judaism.

Also, on the subject of anatolian jews, you see jews often being linked to Solymi, who were said to speak Phoenician. So, those 'anatolian jews' may have actually been ethnic phoenician settlers. See 521-522

See also:

STL said...

Some other resources regarding jews in general:

The Contribution of Salo Baron:

Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism:
VOL I:,_volume_1_From_Herodotus_to_Plutarch%201989.pdf

VOL II:,_volume_2_From_Tacitus_to_Simplicius%201989.pdf

VOL III:,_volume_3__Appendixes_and_Indexes%20(1989).pdf

The Hellenization of Judaea in the First Century after Christ

And this:

Maju said...

These are too heavy materials to read in depth for me. I would thank relevant quotes, as I've gone through the first two already and most is not too relevant.

As a matter of fact I'm using as main reference the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, which describes the Roman era Jewish diaspora more synthetically.

"Keep in mind that Cyprus was a major location of Hellenistic Judaism".

True but it's also a fact that Jews were expelled from the island in times of Trajan:

In Cyprus especially it was simply a war of extermination; the Jews massacred all the Greek inhabitants of Salamis; and when the uprising was suppressed, residence on the island was forbidden to Jews under pain of death (Dio Cassius, lxviii. 32).

So I'm rather inclined towards a mainland Anatolian origin rather than strictly Cypriot. But the details are a bit of a mystery.

STL said...

I would at least recommend the first book.

Then how do you explain the situation with the Solymi?

Anatolians who were described as phoenician speaking and jewish?

The anatolian jews could just have been a part of the phoenician diaspora.

Maju said...

I went through the first two.

"Anatolians who were described as phoenician speaking and jewish?"

I don't know (all I can find about the Solymi deals with Greek mythology: Bellerophon, so not too useful: Amazons and Solymi... not exactly the kind of data I'd find reliable). Whatever the case we do not know if they, even if real, are ancestral to modern Jews or a branch that died out, like so many others probably did, being converted to mainstream religions and melting with them altogether.

STL said...

Well, you can blame Hellenization and Romanization for that, although Dienekes would like to put the blame on Turkification for everything.

The Solymi were also said to be Milyas from Elmali (SW Turkey).

Maju said...

Well, we are trying here to discern the origins of Western Jews in historical times (Antiquity), so I don't see how speculation about a proto-historical semi-mythical people helps. I guess all you mean is that there is some chance that the origins of the Jewish diaspora are older than Hellenism... sure, maybe, why not? But how does that matter?

STL said...

Consider the history of Phoenician interaction in the region, and considering the association of these characters with both Jews and Phoenicians and notices by other historians who also described the Jews and Phoenicians. Also, considering the close genetic clustering between Cypriots, Lebanese Christians and Jews, is it not something to contemplate?

So, those anatolian jews wouldn't really be anymore 'anatolian' then, not anymore than north african jews are really 'north african'. Maybe there would be some admixture, but that would not prevent Jews from forming their own distinct cluster, even then.

In ancient times, the Phoenicians were described as a merchant/trader class. And what are Jews today and what have Jews historically been associated with in the post-Roman era? Merchants/Traders and the Bourgeoisie.

STL said...

Given that 1/7th to 1/8th of the Roman Empire was jewish, let's say that many semites and people of various of other ethnicities converted to Judaism. Which groups would be most likely to survive in the case of the rise of christianity?

Blue-Collar workers would surely be discriminated against relative to non-jewish co-workers, however 'Bourgeoisie' Jews would still be able to satisfy a niche that would allow them to be paid in similar terms to their non-jewish counterparts. And the Phoenicians, of course, were generally part of that social stratum, so incidentally, they may have become the inadvertent major 'Jewish Community' in the Mediterranean.

STL said...

Since, we are discussing Anatolian jews, it is also important to discuss their geographical distribution:

"It mentions Caria, Pamphylia, and Lycia as places of Jewish settlement "

"Recently, another document inscribed in Phoenician was found — once again, in Cilicia"

"Just a few years ago, another Phoenician document was found. In Ivriz near Eregli, thatis, in Cappadocia beyond the Taurus mountains,"

STL said...

"The most ancient inhabitants of Lycia, as we have seen above, were the Solymi, who are generally believed to have been a Phoenician or Semitic race. "

Maju said...

Seems like Blogger Spam Filter really hates you STL. Fixed again.

I have no clear indication of Phoenicians ever having colonies in Asia Minor, just in Cyprus and then far to the West (Gadir and Carthage were their very first two colonies, even before Cyprus, it seems). Excepting Iberia they seem to have ignored the European shores altogether, what is coincident with the description of Herakles' journeys taking place along North Africa, back in the day seemingly the normal route to the mineral-rich Hesperides.

"Given that 1/7th to 1/8th of the Roman Empire was jewish"...

At what time? Do you include Christians? On first sight it seems to me a far fetched claim. That there were Jewish (or later also Christian) communities in certain areas does not make them Jewish as a whole. It's like saying Mohammed's Medina was Jewish or that Germany and Poland before Hitler were Jewish. Or that Russia or the USA are Jewish nowadays...

"It mentions Caria, Pamphylia, and Lycia as places of Jewish settlement "

And Galatia, Pamphlagonia, Cappadocia and a long etc. In brief: all Asia Minor. I am particularly intrigued about Cilicia, which is geographically close to Cyprus and culturally closer to Syria/Phoenicia than other parts of Anatolia (also a hub of early Christian proselytism), but just a thought...

On Lycia: "The eponymous inhabitants of Lycia, the Lycians, spoke Lycian, a member of the Luwian branch of the Anatolian languages, a subfamily of the Indo-European family" (from Wikipedia). Of course they may have been Semitic or something else previously but there was a clear cultural change with the Hittites.

Of course Phoenician was an important trading language and probably replaced Assyrian among the Semitic-speaking communities of Asia Minor (the first known Semitic speakers of that area were Assyrian traders, which in many aspects may resemble later Jewish communities, although I do not wish to imply here any necessary connection) but that does not mean that Phoenicians were settling Asia Minor in any significant numbers.

STL said...

Assyrians appear to be too far east. Also, it would explain the close relations between southern italians and jews, since sicily was also settled by the phoenicians.

If you notice, just by doing a Google Book Search, most of these sources appear to be coming from the ancient writers like Josephus, Herodotus, etc.

"Many, again, say that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were driven by fear and hatred of their neighbors to seek a new dwelling-place. Others describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma after their own name. "

Pamphylia in Southern Anatolia was said to be settled by the Phoenicians:

Given the socio-economic dynamic, though, I would say that the Phoenicians would be more likely. Name a more famous Mediterranean-focused semitic merchant/trader class in history (besides the Jews)?

Is there a reason you particularly don't like the Phoenician hypothesis now?

Maju said...

Hierosolyma? Jerusalem quite clearly derives from iri/iru + salem. Another similar toponym in that area is Jerico: iri-ko. Iri, uri. uru, iru, ili, ilu, etc. seem all variants of a very old word for city, which spread from West Asia to Europe (Basque iri, uri, Iberian ili, uli, Latin urbs, also Elis, Ilion, etc.) and India (I've been told it's also found in Dravidian). In West Asia we do not just find it in Irisalem and Iriko but also in many Sumerian cities: Ur, Uruk, Eridu, etc. (Sumerian for city was uru). Possibly others that I can't recall. It's a magnific example of wanderwort, just like moder "telephone" and similar, spreading across cultures and languages.

Salem is obviously Peace in Semitic languages (salam, shalom...). So Jerusalem is the city of peace or the peaceful city (or alternatively the city of a Canaanite god known as Shalem or Shalim god of dusk, who would yield his name to the Semitic word for peace - ???).

Hierosolyma is just a Greek name where hiero means "holy". Greeks had the bad habit of changing the names of cities in different languages: for example way too many Egyptian cities. Later also the Romans gave it another name: Aelia Capitolina.

Urusalim and Rusalim are known alternative names of Jerusalem in Ancient Egyptian (again iri/uru + salim). The form Yerushalayim is the oldest Biblical form, where yeru or yry is a Semitic variant of the same old iri cosmopolitan word for city.