Introducing Jon Entine, Anthropology.net’s new guest blogger

I want to introduce a new guest blogger here at Anthropology.net, his name is Jon Entine and he’s a very well known producer and writer. You should be interested in his work.

Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon EntineHis new book, Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People and a companion website, integrates genealogy and genetics with religion and identity and to help understand the shared biblical ancestry of Jews and Christians. This book enters at a very poignant point; I think this is a critical time where we will see experiments test the genetic component and origin of cultural identities.

Ancestry.com recently found out that 25% percent of their people they polled have sought genetic researchers for more information about their ancestors. And of that 25% about 11% have taken or sponsored a single test, while another 14.% are already on their second test and third, according to the survey. In addition almost 60% plan on taking steps to learn more about their own genealogy.I predict this interest to understands our genetic geneaology will all get more with Ancestry.com’s cheap at-home genetic tests.

This interest in genetic genealogy started off in academia. Back in 1997 I remember reading reports in Nature of the results of a genetic genealogy analysis of 188 Jewish males from Israel, England and North America, I was astonished. The subjects’ Y chromosome led researchers to identify a unique array of six markers, shared in 97 of the 106 who identified themselves as descendants of Cohanim, descendants of the Jewish family who claim to be direct descendants of the biblical Aaron. Now opening up a discussion with that implies there’s genetic evidence to support the religion is like cracking open Pandora’s box, but it is really important to correlate a genetic similarities to cultural identities.

Currently, I’m helping Jon get situation with blogging here. He will be blogging under the screen name ‘abrahamschildren’ and I welcome the opportunity to have him blog at Anthropology. Personally, I can’t wait to read more from him.

13 thoughts on “Introducing Jon Entine, Anthropology.net’s new guest blogger

  1. This is for Jon Entine. I recently had my mtdna done, as did my uncle (my mother’s brother) have Ydna testing done. My uncle is predominently Scotch/Irish, German, Swiss and Russian. Mine is predominently Swiss, German, Russian, and Irish. Both of us were very surprised to find out that there are a large Ashkenazi group for each of us as well. My mom’s side of the family is almost entirely Amish and Mennonite, who were also hidden and persecuted throughout Europe. Like Jewish people, the Amish and Mennonite were also pretty closed societies. My uncle (from his dad), is primarily Lutheran. I know those are religions not races, but I am wondering how the Jewish component moved into the DNA. As a Christian, I really like the idea that we have Jewish DNA because Christ was a Jew. Anyhow, any theories how Amish and Mennonite people would end up with Ashkenazi DNA? We know that we were documented in Poland in 1485 and in Switzerland in 1515. Thank you for any help.

    1. Ingrid:

      My family is Ashkenazi and we have a mennonite name. The jews in parts of Russia, such as the Ukraine, experience horrible persecution in the form of pogroms and harsh military service. The occasional sought refuge in the mennonite colonies, as the Russians would not persue them there. I speculate this is how my family came to have a mennonite name, and your family came to have Ashkenazi heritage.

      On another note. If your Ashkenazi heritage is from your mother’s side, and her mothers, and so on, in other words, if it was an Ashkenazi woman who contributed the DNA, you could very well be a jew by orthodox standards.

  2. In response to Ingrid Briles question regarding how Mennonite and Amish people may have Ashkenazi DNA is quite simple. A significant number Jews believed in Jesus, ( historians say about 1/3 of Israel)they left Judea before the siege of Jerusalem. They remained endogamous, they kept many Jewish traditions, they believed in Jesus as Messiah and did not convert or assimiliate into gentile Christianity/Catholicism. Many of them fled to the Italian Alps around the 4th century where they lived quietly until around the Reformation times when persecution faced them again and drove them out. They believed they were the “Woman in the Wilderness” found in the book of Revelations. Those that fled into Holland were later called Mennonites after a prominent leader Menno Simmons, other that went into Switzerland were called Amish after Joseph Amman and those that went into Austria were called Hutterites after a famous leader and martyr Jacob Hutter. Martin Luther despised them more than rabbinical Jews because he said they lived like Jews, keeping the Sabbath, dietary laws, Jewish holidays, circumcision but claimed “Christ” . He wanted them dead. The Jews despised them also because of their messianic beliefs. Persecution drove them to drop many of the Jewish traditions and to deny their heritage in attempts to live peaceable lives. Still, take a look at their culture and you will notice many similarities between them and the ultra orthodox, be it in dress, family values, male/female roles, etc. Although one can leave the community, no one can join a Hutterite, Amish or Old Order Mennonite community, one must be born into it. It is more than a religion but a ethnic group with a long standing history of persecution. The germanic dialects spoken by these groups has more in common with Yiddish than modern day German, their dialects are based on medieval German proving these communities have been intact for a long time, they did not suddenly come together in the 16th century as modern day Anabaptist history states, linguistics proves otherwise. In some ways, the Amish/Mennonite/Hutterites are like the Crypto Jews that had to hide their true identity due to the Spanish Inquisitions. I have no doubt there were also rabbinical Jews that joined the Mennonite communities as I have seen several surnames among the Mennonites that denote lineage from a family of rabbis or from cohanim. Interestingly, their migration patterns through Europe are also identical as they sought religious freedom which would come and go as easily as it came.

    1. Thanks to you and all the others about confirming what I have long suspected–an Amish/Jewish link. I look at old pictures of relatives and I clearly see it! I recently asked a distant cousin (in her 90s and very intelligent) about it, and she said, “Oh, that was a long time ago. Who knows?” She recently died at 101! I think she knew…..! All relatives appear to have come from Switzerland as early as 1730, especially Zurich. Last name are Frey/Frei and Pelsy/Belsley/Belsy/Baltzli — if anyone is interested in replying.

      1. I am relieved to discover that I am not the only person interested in the connection between Jews and Mennonites. I have been told all of my life that I am Jewish, but was unable to make any connection until recently. Nearly all of my mother’s people were Mennonite immigrants. My DNA mutations revealed that, of the 4 mutations, 3 were always present in over half of the Jews and Mennonites tested. One of these is a common mutation, but the other 3 are not. Examining the migration patterns, social isolation, history of persecutions, I too believe that Mennonites have Jewish heritage (maybe not all, but quite a bit).

        1. Thank you, Loren! I don’t know where I’m going with all these “hunches”. I should really go the DNA route, as you have!

          Best regards….

      2. I have started suspecting that I have Jewish lineage also. However, my great-grandfather was from Amish/Mennonite background. Then it struck me – – could there have been a connection between Jews and Amish? I couldn’t believe what I found when I started digging around on Google. I am currently researching this and plan to get genetic testing done once I can afford it.

    2. Your analysis is fascinating! Where can I find more information about this? Where did you get all of your detailed information? Is there genetic testing to prove this?

    3. I would very much agree with your assessment, that indeed many of the Amish and Mennonites share the bloodline of the Jewish or Levitical heritage. My mothers family from Bath, PA. The Godshall’s(anglicized) meaning God’s servant) and the Meyers(light bringer) both very Hebrew names! And the personal family customs too.

  3. I have been looking for the past few years for a mention of this very thing. My maternal grandmother had a mother who was born to Mennonite parents in Nebraska. Her Mennonite mother didn’t join the Mennonite Church until she had been married to her Mennonite husband for about 8 years. This 2nd great grandmother of mine was born in the Ukraine as were her parents and their parents. I haven’t been able to confirm that they were Mennonites living in the Ukraine; just that they lived along the Volga River. Also my great grandmother whose parents were Mennonites was never baptized as a Mennonite. She as far as I know had no religion until she married my German great grandfather who was a Lutheran. She was confirmed as a Lutheran after she married him. Fast forward ahead to 1996 and my great uncle (my grandmother’s brother) passes away. His son found hidden under his bed, a box that had been wrapped in multiple layers of heavy tape a big shoe box. After cutting through the tape, he opened and found a menorah, prayer shawl, and the band worn on the arm that holds the prayer book. I don’t know why but my great grandmother’s name was written in the prayer book. None of us had any knowledge of these things before and we are not sure why he was in possession of them. Was Judaism secretly passed to my great grandmother from her mother from Russia? I probably will never know for sure. However I do also plan to have my mtdna tested to see what haplogroup my maternal line belongs to. On a side note, my mother’s father’s surname has been shown to test as being of the E1b1b1c1a haplotype which is well known to be of both Ashkenazim and Sephardim. I have to have my uncle tested to confirm that we are of that line as well. It goes back to England.

  4. This is exactly what I am looking for ! I am looking for as much proof of the amish mennonite connection to Jews.Can any one help me?

  5. Yes. I can help. I keep a Masonic oral history that dates back to the time of Saint Alexander the great. The Amish and Mennonite people are the “true Jews”: Descended from the first followers of Jesus. Many crypto Jews immigrated to America including Thomas Jefferson. Scottish rite masonry unlike the York rite, was founded by crypto Jews who built the Cathedrals of europe. It was well known in ancient times the the best stone masons came from the midle east. Jesus was one of these Master Masons. The word “Ashkenazim” applys to those Jews that coluded with the Romans and are used to this day as propaganda for the dead Persian Empire- a Persian King will never be Messiah. In fact the word means a Priest and a warrior to lead their people. These two men were Jesus and his brother James. The Jews that followed the true way applies more to Sephardic Jews-(with many of the same DNA markers as all middle eastern people). These Jews broke up into many crypto Jewish cults including the Knights Templar. The Templar aided their fellow Jews in forming the country of Switzerland- this is simple historical fact. The Ashkenazi has falsely claimed the title of “Jew”, but the truth is always far more complicated.

  6. I find these stories very interesting, and all over the net I have been reading different people making the same claims, kind of strange. And also all over the net I have been finding that different groups all claim to be the “true” Jews. You have the “Israelite’s” and the Mennonites, and the Amish and the Black Israelites, all claiming to be the true Jew. I too have a Jewish background and would like to know more about what this statement means. Most people I have read about seem to quote from the King James Bible as to how they are the true Jews, but I started reading a Hebrew Bible and I didn’t even find the word Gentile in there and it is used multiple times throughout the King James Bible. In the Hebrew Bible it does mention the fact that Michael will be the prince. It never mentions Jesus. It does say in Hosea 13:4 “Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou knowest no God but Me, and beside Me there is no saviour. ” So that would kind of do away with jesus’ idea that no one gets to the F-ther except through him. So would a true Jew be the one who believes that G-d is the one, the only true G-d? I’m just curious here as to how others look at it. Thanks for your input and please answer carefully as I wouldn’t want anyone to get into trouble with the F-ther.

    P.S. Wouldn’t DNA testing be considered witchcraft?

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