Reply to Claim that Khazars Did Not Become Jewish (8 July, 2014, 10 Tammuz, 5774)
2. Academic Monopoly on Access to Information Perpetuates a Tyranny of Prejudice Based on Class Warfare! The Real Revolution is on the Way! Be Warned.
Joan Griffith forwarded the following article.
Did the Khazars Convert to Judaism? New Research Says "No"!
Hebrew University professor Shaul Stampfer cites lack of any reliable
source for conversion story
Jerusalem, June 26, 2014 - Did the Khazars convert to Judaism? The
view that some or all Khazars, a central Asian people, became Jews
during the ninth or tenth century is widely accepted. But following an
exhaustive analysis of the evidence, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
researcher Prof. Shaul Stampfer has concluded that such a conversion,
'while a splendid story,' never took place.
From roughly the seventh to tenth centuries, the Khazars ruled an
empire spanning the steppes between the Caspian and Black Seas. Not
much is known about Khazar culture and society: they did not leave a
literary heritage and the archaeological finds have been meager. The
Khazar Empire was overrun by Svyatoslav of Kiev around the year 969,
and little was heard from the Khazars after. Yet a widely held belief
that the Khazars or their leaders at some point converted to Judaism
Reports about the Jewishness of the Khazars first appeared in Muslim
works in the late ninth century and in two Hebrew accounts in the
tenth century. The story reached a wider audience when the Jewish
thinker and poet Yehudah Halevi used it as a frame for his book The
Kuzari. Little attention was given to the issue in subsequent
centuries, but a key collection of Hebrew sources on the Khazars
appeared in 1932 followed by a little-known six-volume history of the
Khazars written by the Ukrainian scholar Ahatanhel Krymskyi. Henri
Gregoire published skeptical critiques of the sources, but in 1954
Douglas Morton Dunlop brought the topic into the mainstream of
accepted historical scholarship with The History of the Jewish
Khazars. Arthur Koestler's best-selling The Thirteenth Tribe (1976)
brought the tale to the attention of wider Western audiences, arguing
that East European Ashkenazi Jewry was largely of Khazar origin. ...
Stampfer notes that scholars who have contributed to the subject based
their arguments on a limited corpus of textual and numismatic
evidence. Physical evidence is lacking: archaeologists excavating in
Khazar lands have found almost no artifacts or grave stones displaying
distinctly Jewish symbols. ....Stampfer concludes that the simplest and
most convincing answer is that the Khazar conversion is a legend with
no factual basis. There never was a conversion of a Khazar king or of
the Khazar elite, he says.
.... Stampfer says the lack of a credible basis for the conversion story means that many pages of
Jewish, Russian and Khazar history have to be rewritten. If there
never was a conversion, issues such as Jewish influence on early
Russia and ethnic contact must be reconsidered.
Prof. Shaul Stampfer is the Rabbi Edward Sandrow Professor of Soviet
and East European Jewry, in the department of the History of the
Jewish People at the Hebrew University's Mandel Institute of Jewish
Studies. The research has just been published in the Jewish Social
Studies journal, Vol. 19, No. 3 (online at http://bit.ly/khazars).
The link with the report by Prof. Shaul Stampfer is not available to the public. It is open to registered members of academic institutions only.
In order to read it one has to belong to one of the listed universities and give the necessary user name and password required by MUSE.
This is a common phenomenon with online academic papers.
A lot of information is out there but often only those with the university connections are allowed to access it.
Why do they do this?
What are they afraid of?
Most of them are left-wing pink liberals with rich antecedents whose generosity ends at the portals of knowledge.
They speak of democracy and of equal rights BUT when it touches, even in a peripheral manner, on their own specialities it becomes a different story.
Judging from the descriptive article from which we quoted extracts there may well have not been much worth reading there anyway.
Getting back to the Khazars.
We are among the foremost scholars on this subject.
KhazarIndex. The Khazars and the Scots
It was published in 2008.
It has almost 400 pages and is probably one of the best books ever written on the subject.
If I ever get the chance I may re-publish a shorter slightly altered version of it.
It is a good book containing valuable, otherwise not available, information.
It is well written, humorous, and revealing.
It is also disappearing. The book sells and it gets lost.
Some books seem to have a life of their own.
The Khazars. Tribe 13 is about a portion of the Ten Lost Tribes. The book does that. It gets lost.
I lost some in the past moving them around in Israel. Others of my family may have lost more moving them around overseas. Other copies simply disappeared.
Some people (thank God) even bought and occasionally still buy it.
It is a disappearing object.
Buy it while you can.
[And keep it. In the future it may become a collectors item!]
This was a Classic of Western Literature written in the early 21st century, a gem of genuine original historical research.
Read it now.
4. Proofs from Archaeological Findings and Historical Sources that the Khazars Became Jewish.
Getting back to the subject,
The Khazars probably did contribute to the Jewish Ashkenazic population. They were a minority.
They consisted of a ruling group who ruled over a great many other peoples. The ruling group was a combination of Jews from Babylonia, Iran, Caucasia, with another element.
This additional non-Jewish group had traditions that they descended from Israel. The Tribes of Manasseh and Simeon were mentioned.
They accepted the Jewish Religion and were recognized as Israelites by the Jews.
How much proof do we actually have of this?
How do we know that they really became Jewish or at least were considered Jews and practised the Jewish religion?
In Sweden a coin was found (part of the Spillings Hoard) dating from 830 to 840 CE. Markings show its provenance was from the Kingdom of the Khazars, a realm in southern Russia between the Black and Caspian seas. It was an imitation of Arab coins that at the time passed for common currency. It bore an Arabic inscription reading ''Moses is the messenger of God". This apparently was a Jewish variant on the Islamic credo "Mohammed is the messenger of God."
In addition we have the following sources:
Eldad HaDani (ca. 850 CE) , himself a Khazar, said the Khazars came from Simeon and Manasseh. The work attributed to Eldad is actually partially that of Eldad along with a collation of different legends all tracing the Khazars to Israelite Tribes.
The Schecter Text, written by a Khazar, refers to the Khazars as Jews descended in part from converts from the Tribe of Simeon.
The Midrashic-Rabbinical source, Akton De Mar Yaakov, confirms the Schecter Text.
The Midrash Ten Exiles says the Khazars came from Simeon.
The Medieval Chronicles of Jerahmeel mentions Khazar origins from Judah and Simeon; from Issachar, Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulon.
The Cochin Scroll gives the Khazar origin as from Simeon and Manasseh. Historical details from the Cochin Scroll tie in with the Geography of Ptolemy that lists tribes with names of Israelite clans from Simeon and Manasseh in areas where the Scroll says they should be, by the Caspian Sea shores etc.
Arab sources (Ibn Fadlan, Maquadasisi, Ibn Hawkal, Masudi) identify the Khazars as Jews.
The Russian Chronicle and Russian folklore also identify Khazars as Hebrews or as Jews [The most frequently used word in Medieval Russian for Jew was "Hebrew"].
The Khazars were identified in Renaissance German legends with the Red Jews meaning the Lost Ten Tribes.
The Khazars were located in areas where the Lost Ten Tribes had been exiled to.
The Ruling House of the Khazars in Arabic was named the House of Jesse i.e. of David son of Jesse.
Popular Russian Epics did not use the appellation "Khazariah" but rather "Land of the Hebrews [Jews]". Neither did Jewish (and earlier European) tradition know them as Khazars but as "Red Jews".
We also have the work by Yehudah Ha-Levi based on reports of the Khazars having converted to Judaism.
We may also add to our list of sources affirming an Israelite origin for the Khazars identifications of Khazar Areas being those of the Lost Ten Tribes. Jewish tradition places the Lost Ten Tribes in areas such as beyond and beside the Sambation River, in the Mountains of Darkness, the Mountains of Snow, etc. These regions were usually those where the Khazars were to be found. The Sambation River was the Don, or in some version the neighboring Dneister River. The Mountains of Darkness and the Mountains of Snow were terms applied to the Caucasus Region. Adiabene had been a place to which Israelites were taken by the Assyrians. All of these areas were points of origin of the Khazar Peoples.
The Khazars Were Hebrews!