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Thread: Razib Khan: The Origins of Ashkenazi Jews

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    I have also noticed that Yemenite Jews are very close to the Bronze Age inhabitants of the middle east. They look particularly close to the Ancient Egyptians in their autosomal makeup, in the Schuenemann et al. 2017 graphic.




    Yemen And The Yemeni Jews


    POSTED ON OCTOBER 28, 2021 BY RAZIB KHAN




    In my Substack post Under pressure: the paradox of the diamond I said this:


    The implication of these DNA results is that Yemeni Jews are by and large descended from natives of this region of Arabia. They are converts, and their genetic uniqueness is a function of their isolation from demographic currents that swept across Arabia with the rise of Islam. The Yemenis of the highlands, isolated by geography, show the same genetic signature of isolation, as they descend solely from the original inhabitants of the region. This is the nth demonstration that culture and geography are both powerful factors driving genetic distinctiveness.

    Yemen and the Yemeni Jews – Gene Expression (gnxp.com)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    ^^I think it might be a good idea, if you haven't subscribed to Razib's substack, that you read the most recent papers on Jewish ethnogenesis.
    Most of Razib's substack articles require a paid subscription, and I'm a bit tight on money. I will spare you the reasons for my personal turn of fortune. However, I am a great fan of several journalists on substack, and will show my appreciation once I have the means again.

    Luckily, I am enough of a music addict that I cannot do without Spotify, so I was able to listen to Razib's interview with Joshua Lipson. Most of what they said conformed with my basic historical intuitions. The one thing that surprised me was Lipson's finding that certain sizable Ashkenazi Y-subclades descend from Etruscan populations, and seem to have coalesced well before the circa 750 AD formation of the primary Ashkenazi population.

    Also, they seem to believe that Jews traveled directly from the Levant to Italy & Spain circa 750, whereas I imagined a more mediated & heterogenous movement, with Jews arriving from throughout the Mediterranean world to admix with local women. Evidently the Levant signal is so strong that the movement must have been direct and not mediated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malaparte View Post
    Most of Razib's substack articles require a paid subscription, and I'm a bit tight on money. I will spare you the reasons for my personal turn of fortune. However, I am a great fan of several journalists on substack, and will show my appreciation once I have the means again.

    Luckily, I am enough of a music addict that I cannot do without Spotify, so I was able to listen to Razib's interview with Joshua Lipson. Most of what they said conformed with my basic historical intuitions. The one thing that surprised me was Lipson's finding that certain sizable Ashkenazi Y-subclades descend from Etruscan populations, and seem to have coalesced well before the circa 750 AD formation of the primary Ashkenazi population.

    Also, they seem to believe that Jews traveled directly from the Levant to Italy & Spain circa 750, whereas I imagined a more mediated & heterogenous movement, with Jews arriving from throughout the Mediterranean world to admix with local women. Evidently the Levant signal is so strong that the movement must have been direct and not mediated.
    I listened to the whole interview. To the best of my recollection it's Khan who felt "perhaps" a movement straight from the Levant around 750 A.D. would explain their ethnogenesis. It's Lipson who argued for an earlier date and for the admixture to have occurred as the result of a movement north on the Italian peninsula of Jews then residing in Southern Italy. I don't remember him putting the admixture date back so far that it involved any Etruscans. That would have been putting it back before the Imperial Era, which doesn't make much sense. I'd like to know at which point in the broadcast you think he mentions the Etruscans.

    Fwiw, as I explained above, given the strictures against intermarriage between Christians and Jews which would have been in place in Italy as well as the rest of the west in 750 A.D. that scenario doesn't make much sense to me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    To the best of my recollection it's Khan who felt "perhaps" a movement straight from the Levant around 750 A.D. would explain their ethnogenesis. It's Lipson who argued for an earlier date and for the admixture to have occurred as the result of a movement north on the Italian peninsula of Jews then residing in Southern Italy. I don't remember him putting the admixture date back so far that it involved any Etruscans. That would have been putting it back before the Imperial Era, which doesn't make much sense. I'd like to know at which point in the broadcast you think he mentions the Etruscans.
    See the 27:30 to 32:00 mark for Lipson's discussion of distinctively Ashkenazi subclades that have existed in the West since well before the 750 AD juncture. The most significant, according to Lipson, the 3rd largest Cohanim line, is a subclade of J2b which *descends* from the Etruscans but does not *split off* and become *specifically* Jewish until around 200 to 300 CE. He cites the 2019 Antonioni paper here. Lipson also mentions R-L4, a subclade of the more broadly Celto-Latin R1b-U152, which he thinks is slightly younger, branching off as *specifically* Jewish around 300 to 500 CE. Last, he mentions his own personal lineage, a subclade of E, that while probably Levantine in origin appears to have existed in the Western Mediterranean since at least 350 to 400 CE, and today has closely related branches in Tunisia, Sicily, Spain, France.

    Nonetheless, without relistening to entire interview, my impression is that both Razib & Lipson believe most Ashkenazi descend from Y-lines that moved *directly* from modern-day Israel to Italy in the 8th century. The lineages mentioned in the paragraph above are exceptions to this broader pattern. But given the complexity of Ashkenazi genetics, perhaps the question is not so clear-cut. Have there been any studies devoted to Sephardics?



    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Fwiw, as I explained above, given the strictures against intermarriage between Christians and Jews which would have been in place in Italy as well as the rest of the west in 750 A.D. that scenario doesn't make much sense to me.
    Yes, I find the speculation, toward the end of their conversation, that Jewish males may have admixed circa 750 with local Italian women who were somehow more "pagan" unconvincing. Although this might hold true for what happened in Eastern Europe, especially with Litvaks, in Italy the most "pagan" women would have been in more rural areas, while Jewish newcomers were likely in towns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malaparte View Post
    See the 27:30 to 32:00 mark for Lipson's discussion of distinctively Ashkenazi subclades that have existed in the West since well before the 750 AD juncture. The most significant, according to Lipson, the 3rd largest Cohanim line, is a subclade of J2b which *descends* from the Etruscans but does not *split off* and become *specifically* Jewish until around 200 to 300 CE. He cites the 2019 Antonioni paper here. Lipson also mentions R-L4, a subclade of the more broadly Celto-Latin R1b-U152, which he thinks is slightly younger, branching off as *specifically* Jewish around 300 to 500 CE. Last, he mentions his own personal lineage, a subclade of E, that while probably Levantine in origin appears to have existed in the Western Mediterranean since at least 350 to 400 CE, and today has closely related branches in Tunisia, Sicily, Spain, France.

    Nonetheless, without relistening to entire interview, my impression is that both Razib & Lipson believe most Ashkenazi descend from Y-lines that moved *directly* from modern-day Israel to Italy in the 8th century. The lineages mentioned in the paragraph above are exceptions to this broader pattern. But given the complexity of Ashkenazi genetics, perhaps the question is not so clear-cut. Have there been any studies devoted to Sephardics?





    Yes, I find the speculation, toward the end of their conversation, that Jewish males may have admixed circa 750 with local Italian women who were somehow more "pagan" unconvincing. Although this might hold true for what happened in Eastern Europe, especially with Litvaks, in Italy the most "pagan" women would have been in more rural areas, while Jewish newcomers were likely in towns.
    I just re-listened. By the time the "Jewish" branch of J2b2 coalesced in 200-300 C.E. the Etruscans were long gone, absorbed into the broader population. Plus, while I get that Lipson, like a lot of other Jewish researchers, wants the admixture to have happened in Europe, that lineage is not, to my knowledge, unique to Italians of the Imperial Era.

    The debate between Lipson and Khan is this:

    Lipson, using coalescence dates for certain y chromosomes, is placing the date of admixture between Southern Europeans, specifically Italians, in the Imperial Period. Khan, using the Carmi method which is based on autosomes and the length of chromosome segments which can be labeled as Southern European, puts it at 750 A.D.

    So far as I can tell, they agreed to disagree.

    Khan, going by the Carmi analysis, and seeing just two admixture groups, Levantine and Southern European, specifically more Central/Western Southern European, assumes that since the "Levantine" group is relatively "pure", that it must have recently arrived from the Levant.

    I think that's an unwarranted assumption.

    For one thing there weren't all that many Jews in the Levant in 750 A.D. There had been three rebellions in the East, let's not forget, with resulting exiles. The number of Jews living there was much reduced.

    Second of all I don't know why he thinks that Jews who were living in the West would show admixture already by 750 A.D. so the males, presumably, who were admixing with Italian women would have only Levantine chromosomes. That's not necessarily true.

    On balance I'm leaning more toward Lipson on this, although I don't know how either he or Khan explain this sudden emergence of a group of Jewish males who found themselves without Jewish females with whom to mate.

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    1 members found this post helpful.

    A proposed model for the recent AJ history.

    Khan's blog post is roughly based on the 2017 study done by Xe et al., who acknowledged the study's shortcomings in their concluding remarks, such as the lack of samples from the Caucasus and Africa. Additionally, a reference population currently representing one geographic region might have migrated there recently and they did not attempt to identify the precise identity of the ancestral source. The results are based on the working hypothesis that Ashkenazi Jews are the result of admixture between primarily Middle-Eastern and European ancestors.

    Our model of the AJ admixture history is presented in Fig 7. Under our model, admixture in Europe first happened in Southern Europe, and was followed by a founder event and a minor admixture event (likely) in Eastern Europe. Admixture in Southern Europe possibly occurred in Italy, given the continued presence of Jews there and the proposed Italian source of the early Rhineland Ashkenazi communities [3]. What is perhaps surprising is the timing of the Southern European admixture to ≈24–49 generations ago, since Jews are known to have resided in Italy already since antiquity. This result would imply no gene flow between Jews and local Italian populations almost until the turn of the millennium, either due to endogamy, or because the group that eventually gave rise to contemporary Ashkenazi Jews did not reside in Southern Europe until that time. More detailed and/or alternative interpretations are left for future studies.Recent admixture in Northern Europe (Western or Eastern) is consistent with the presence of Ashkenazi Jews in the Rhineland since the 10th century and in Poland since the 13th century. Evidence from the IBD analysis suggests that Eastern European admixture is more likely; however, the results are not decisive. An open question in AJ history is the source of migration to Poland in late Medieval times; various speculations have been proposed, including Western and Central Europe [2, 10]. The uncertainty on whether gene flow from Western Europeans did or did not occur leaves this question open.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380316/
    Давайте вместе снова сделаем мир великий!

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThirdTerm View Post

    A proposed model for the recent AJ history.

    Khan's blog post is roughly based on the 2017 study done by Xe et al., who acknowledged the study's shortcomings in their concluding remarks, such as the lack of samples from the Caucasus and Africa. Additionally, a reference population currently representing one geographic region might have migrated there recently and they did not attempt to identify the precise identity of the ancestral source. The results are based on the working hypothesis that Ashkenazi Jews are the result of admixture between primarily Middle-Eastern and European ancestors.
    Thank you. Good to know I'm on the right track in that there's no way of telling whether the Levantine portion of the Ashkenazi ancestry came directly from the east or were long resident in the west but had practiced strict endogamy before the admixture in question.

    My reading and experience with religious Jews makes me lean toward the latter, although that would then leave open the question of why they would suddenly decide to forsake endogamy in the 8th century, when the strictures of state and church forbade Christians, women or men, from converting, and without conversion to Judaism, no such unions would have been recognized by other Jews.

    For that reason, an earlier time period, say in the 2-300s C.E. would make more sense, as the Church and its teachings were not in control and it isn't so hard to believe that there would have been "pagan" women who would have been willing to convert. Heck, there were still pagans in the Lunigiana and Garfagnana north of Lucca, from which one of the major founding families of the Ashkenazim came, up until at least the 500s, because as I said the Bishop of Luni was still sending priests to topple the statue stele in that time period. It also isn't so hard to believe that in the earlier part of the Empire there were still Jews who hadn't yet admixed with Greeks or other Southern Europeans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    For that reason, an earlier time period, say in the 2-300s C.E. would make more sense, as the Church and its teachings were not in control and it isn't so hard to believe that there would have been "pagan" women who would have been willing to convert. Heck, there were still pagans in the Lunigiana and Garfagnana north of Lucca, from which one of the major founding families of the Ashkenazim came, up until at least the 500s, because as I said the Bishop of Luni was still sending priests to topple the statue stele in that time period. It also isn't so hard to believe that in the earlier part of the Empire there were still Jews who hadn't yet admixed with Greeks or other Southern Europeans.

    That is how I see it too.

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    Why does anyone still use Razib as a reference. He basically reads some outdate paper, writes an article about it, charges 8 dollars for it to make his grifter money.
    Last edited by ren0106; 15-11-21 at 04:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ren0106 View Post
    Why does anyone still use Razib as a reference. He basically reads some outdate paper, writes an article about it, charges 8 dollars for it to make his grifter money.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
    I don't always agree with him, and he has his own biases, but I'd sure listen to him than to some unknown poster who puts Angola as his home.

    Why don't you come out of hiding, tell us who you really are, and give us your credentials, prior posts showing your powers of anaysis, logic and prediction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I don't always agree with him, and he has his own biases, but I'd sure listen to him than to some unknown poster who puts Angola as his home.

    Why don't you come out of hiding, tell us who you really are, and give us your credentials, prior posts showing your powers of anaysis, logic and prediction?
    What does Angola have to do with whether my words are to be respected or not?

    So you trust someone who writes articles for dollars, articles based on free information?
    Last edited by ren0106; 15-11-21 at 04:14.

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    People pay to go to lectures all the time, and they pay to go to university, but you probably don't know anything about that. So, likewise, people pay Razib Khan, a geneticist by training, and someone with a body of work going back probably ten years, to get his take on issues of population genetics.

    If you think you're so much more knowledgeable, go ahead, start a substack page and see how many people sign up. Oh wait, they don't know who you are, and you have no body of work which people can read and make their own judgments as to your expertise.

    Why don't you start here. Give us your name and your CV. Be sure to link to places where your work can be found. I'm not paying anybody money unless they've been right the majority of the time.

    Angola is an issue because it is further proof, the content of your posts being the primary one, that you're a t-roll.

    There's a saying which goes: When you're already in a hole, quit digging.

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    I'd rather not argue with you..
    Last edited by ren0106; 15-11-21 at 04:14.

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