Monday, March 11, 2013

From Abraham Back to Noah and Our Ensuing DNA

Nadene Goldfoot
One of the 3 sons of Noah was Shem.  From Shem came, according to the Bible, the nations of:
1. Elam
2. Asshur
3. Arpachshad.  He was father of: Eber who was the ancestor of Abraham.
     A.   Shelah
     B.  Eber.  He was ancestor of Abram-Abraham.  Abraham's father was Terah and they lived in Ur of the Chaldees, now in Iraq. Terah's father was Nahor I.  Nahor's father was Serug.  Arpachshad was the founding father of this line.

Abraham's brothers were Haran and Nahor II.  Eber was the grandson of Shem (Gen. 10-11) His descendantss form the Semitic peoples and tribes including the Israelites who are therefore, according to one view, called Hebrews.
            (1) Peleg
            (2) Joktan
                  (a) Almodad, Shelph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, Jobab.
4. Lud

5. Aram.
    A. Uz, Hul, Gether, Mash

Shem and Eber were the son and great grandson of Noah and their graves are to be found in a cave next to a synagogue in Safed, Israel that bears their names.

There are many legends about this.  The location is relatively far from the old Jewish Quarter of Safed.  The Arabs didn't destroy this building like they did others because Muslims also thought this was a holy place.  Abraham was said to have bought the cave of Machpelah as a family burial place.  Circumcision is called by both Jews and Muslims as "the Covenant of Abraham our Father."  Abraham lived at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE.

They believe that Jacob, son of Isaac, studied here for 14 years with a famous teacher and that this is the burial site of the holy messenger who told Jacob that Joseph was lost.  Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob and the 1st born of Jacob's 2nd wife, Rachel, his true love.  He was a favored son.  Josephs story is amazing, but the bottom line is that he was finally joined by his father and brothers and had received grazing land in Goshen, beginning the Israelite settlement in Egypt.  This story of Jacob has been dated during the Hyksos domination of Egypt  (18th-16th cents. BCE.)

Jewish tradition says that one of Jacob's daughters, and I only know of Dinah,  and all of his 12 sons, including Joseph, are buried in the 2nd cave.

This historical site is not on the regular tourist paths and few visit here.  The neighbor of Dov Silverman, who wrote about this legend in his book, Legends of Safed,  was the caretaker.  He is happy to open the gate and show visitors this most unusual and ancient religious site.

Shem is supposed to be the ancestor of the Semitic peoples who spoke Semitic languages.  It was a tongue akin to Hebrew.  Arabs speak Arabic whose language fits the description.  For instance, peace, in Hebrew, is Shalom and Salaam in Arabic.  In Hebrew, the letter used for S or Sh is the same, and in one case is called a Sin and in the other is called a Shin.  A dot if used at all denotes which sound to use.

Noah's other 2 sons were Ham and Japheth.  From these 3 sons came the first 70-80 people from which we all came from.  This information comes to us from Genesis 6 in the Bible which is the Flood story.  The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic also contains a parallel flood story where instead of Noah, has a hero named Utnpishtim.  Our "Song of Songs 6:8" include the 74 that rabbis have found and listed including both Nimrod and Pelishtim as well as Peleg's son Reu, his son Serug, his son Nahor, his son Terah, his sons Nahor and Haram.  Some researchers omit Nimrod from the count of 70 and instead include Pelishtim (Philistines).

DNA shows that all people are 99% the same.  It is that 0.1% that holds the map telling more about our particular families and how we differ.  DNA shows that we differ as individuals for sure, but also as groups.

This wouldn't be too far fetched from what science is discovering in DNA studies by  human population geneticists.  Male lines of Y dna are identified as distinct haplogroups : A, B, C, C3, D, D2, E, E3a, E3b, F, G, G2, G2c, H, I, J, J2, J1 (which is called the Cohen gene stemming from Moses's brother Aaron and perhaps even Moses himself and also including  J1 line of Arab Muslims) K, K*, L, M, N, O, O3, O1, P, Q, Q3, R, R1, R2, R1a, R1b.

The most common Y-DNA haplogroups among Jewish men worldwide would be haplogroups J1 and J2
 As for haplogroup J, Jews of Portugal/tras-os-Moriles had 57 people in a sample size tested which found a total J M267 at 12.3% in testing by Nogueiro;  Jews that were Cohanim were tested in a sample of 215 men who were 46.0% J M267 and 46.0% of J-P58;  this testing was done by Hammer and Behar in 2009.  One of my friends here in Portland, a Cohen in the synagogue,  was also tested by ftdna as J1 or M267. His surname was not Cohen.  Jews who were non Cohanim  were tested in a study of 1,360 men and 14.9% were J M267, with 0.9% J-M267 (x P58) and 14.0% were J-P58.  This test was done by Hammer in 2009.  So ever since 70 CE at the time of a great dispersal from Jerusalem, the oral history of being a Cohen which means serving in the synagogue in this role has been handed down from Aaron to the next generation of males and has been at least 50% as an exact lineage.  J-M267 is common throughout the Levant and Jewish populations, dominated by J-P58, but some specific sub-populations have now frequencies.  A distinctive Arab line is J13cd.

Other Sephardic Jewish male Y haplogroup lines are E1b1b which makes up 20% of Ashkenazis and 30% of Sephardis; R1b1a2, I, and E1b1a found in different places.  Q1b1a make up 5% of the Jewish and is an Ashkenazi population.  " Jewish communities are more closely related to each other and to other Middle Eastern Semitic populations -– Palestinians, Syrians, and Druze -- than to their neighboring non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora.  The results also indicate a low level of admixture (intermarriage, conversion, rape, etc.) into the gene pool of these various Jewish communities.

A was believed to have been the first Y chromosome lineage to diverge.  It is restricted to Africa, where it is present in several groups at a low frequency, but is mostly found in population of the Khoi and the San tribes of southern Africa.  R1b is the most common haplogroup in European populations.  It is believed to have spread throughout Europe as humans recolonized after the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.  It has the Atlantic Modal Haplotype.  

Abraham was the progenitor of  the 2 billion Christians, 1.3 billion Muslims, and 13-14 million Jews of today.  G-d promised in the Bible that his descendants will be "as numerous as the stars of the heaven and the sands on the seashore"...Today a new Pope is being considered and voting is in progress.  We find that the United States has 75 million Catholics, about 1/4 of the population and about 7% of the Catholics in the world.  In Oregon, 14% of the population is Catholic and is the largest Christian denomination in the state.  Jews make up only 0.02% of world population.

Reference:  Oregonian newspaper,  page B, Living
Abraham's Children, race, identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon Entine
Legends of Safed by Dov Silverman published by the Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA, USA
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Tanach, The Stone Edition

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