Poll: Do you consider patrilineal Jews to be Jewish?

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Thread: Do you consider patrilineal Jews to be Jewish?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikeliot View Post
    Someone once told me that Jewish matrilineal descent came from in the diaspora, because Jewish women were raped by Russian, Polish, German, etc. men and as such, the child's identity would need to be tied to the mother's. I doubt this is the real reason.
    Someone else stated similar scenario but much earlier with regards to Roman soldiers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
    Someone else stated similar scenario but much earlier with regards to Roman soldiers.
    But this would make no sense, since the Jewish population in Rome would have been mostly descended from Jewish men, and non-Jewish women (probably a mixture of Italics and Magna Grecians).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikeliot View Post
    But this would make no sense, since the Jewish population in Rome would have been mostly descended from Jewish men, and non-Jewish women (probably a mixture of Italics and Magna Grecians).
    No someone mentioned that in Judea under Roman rule when all the trouble was brewing that Jewishness being passed down maternally came about because local Roman soldiers kept raping Jewish Women,so to get over the “is the Child still Jewish” they used the Jewishness being passed down as maternally to get around this problem.
    Obviously this is not corroborated by Roman Italian Paternal clades in today’s Jewish men but one has to take into account that most of local Roman soldiers were local Phoenician’s and Syrian’s.
    (On a side note similarly related have you never heard of the theory of Jesus father being a Roman Soldier of Phoenician descent called Pantera)
    BC6443AE-CFF5-48B5-A0E8-E6A51C0F610B.png
    94FD0F95-83CE-44A4-899C-62B756948050.png
    Last edited by Claudio; 07-28-2019 at 02:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudio View Post
    No someone mentioned that in Judea under Roman rule when all the trouble was brewing that Jewishness being passed down maternally came about because local Roman soldiers kept raping Jewish Women,so to get over the “is the Child still Jewish” they used the Jewishness being passed down as maternally to get around this problem.
    Obviously this is not corroborated by Roman Italian Paternal clades in today’s Jewish men but one has to take into account that most of local Roman soldiers were local Phoenician’s and Syrian’s.
    (On a side note similarly related have you never heard of the theory of Jesus father being a Roman Soldier of Phoenician descent called Pantera)
    BC6443AE-CFF5-48B5-A0E8-E6A51C0F610B.png
    94FD0F95-83CE-44A4-899C-62B756948050.png
    See תלמוד בבלי Babylonian Talmud מס׳ כתובות Tractate Ketubot the first sugiyyah deals thoroughly with the whole Roman soldier issue

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    Rape as the cause of matrilineality doesn't really make sense, at some point in the Talmud there is a discussion on whether the children of non-Jewish fathers should be considered mamzerim (illegitimate, this word does not have the negative connotations associated with the word "bastard")... The sages eventually ruled against this, but you'll have to agree that there are better ways of soothing the pain of a woman who was raped.

    As for the antiquity of matrilineal descent itself. While Ezra and the return from exile is taken by many to mark this shift, a closer inspection of the historical sources shows that matrilineal descent was basically unknown by the first centuries CE. Philo makes no mention of it and goes as far as to call children born to non-Jewish fathers "nothoi" (which echoes the argument I mentioned in the Talmud). Josephus openly assumes that the offspring of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother is Jewish, and pays zero attention whatsoever to the offspring of non-Jewish fathers. But what is even more interesting IMO are the popular attitudes of the time. The Herodian dynasty was widely viewed as a foreign one because it was of Idumean origin (along the paternal line), the fact that several Herodian rulers were born to Jewish mothers (including Mariamne, a Hasmonean princess) did not make them any more Jewish in the eyes of the people of Judea. It took the destruction of Judean society for the stigma of Idumean, Iturean and other non-Jewish pedigrees to disappear, no less than that.

    If I am to make an educated guess, I think this shift to matrilineality started in a few isolated rabbinical communities after the great revolt, and that it spread rapidly. Considering the wording in the Talmud, it's also doubtful the objective was to exclude the offspring of non-Jewish mothers, but it eventually took that form. If we are to use the DNA evidence, the fact that the Y-Chromosomal lineages tend to be of Levantine origin in their absolute majority while the opposite is true for the mitochondrial lineages (there are of course exceptions to this, artemv's mitochondrial lineage is very likely to be Israelite in origin for example) does suggest that it took quite some time for the matrilineal principle to be applied in a quasi-universal manner in the Rabbinical Jewish world, this in my view is another indication that the custom is likely to have appeared in Tannaitic times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erikl86 View Post
    There's an additional theory, which says that perhaps 1st century CE Tannaim-period Jews were influenced from the Roman law Mater semper certa est. This Roman law states that the mother of the child is conclusively established, from the moment of birth, by the motherís role in the birth.
    While the custom probably dates back to Tannaitic times, I'm not sure this was the reasoning behind its adoption. There are two reasons for this:

    • Jews during the last centuries BCE and the first centuries CE certainly would've been familiar with the story of Solomon's judgment, this figures in Melakhim Alef 16-28 and basically deals with a case where maternity is uncertain as two women claim to have mothered the same child. With stories such as this, it's hard to believe Second Temple-era Jews would so eagerly declare the mother's identity to be always certain.

    • The preservation of patrilineal status and hierarchy throughout the Mosaic world. Normative Judaism recognises three "classes", namely Isra'elim, Levyim and Kohanim; all of which are transmitted patrilineally. This was taken so seriously that we now know that a genetic reality underlies each one of these (in the form of drastically different Y-DNA frequencies).


    IMO the logic behind the matrilineal principle has more to do with kil'ayim, the application of this logic to Jewishness would've provided Rabbinical Judaism with a more harmonious and straightforward system.
    Last edited by Agamemnon; 07-28-2019 at 03:49 PM.
    ᾽Άλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δ᾽ ἐνὶ φρεσὶ βάλλεο σῇσιν:
    κρύβδην, μηδ᾽ ἀναφανδά, φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
    νῆα κατισχέμεναι: ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.


    -Αγαμέμνων; H Οδύσσεια, Ραψωδία λ

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  9. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
    Rape as the cause of matrilineality doesn't really make sense, at some point in the Talmud there is a discussion on whether the children of non-Jewish fathers should be considered mamzerim (illegitimate, this word does not have the negative connotations associated with the word "bastard")... The sages eventually ruled against this, but you'll have to agree that there are better ways of soothing the pain of a woman who was raped.

    As for the antiquity of matrilineal descent itself. While Ezra and the return from exile is taken by many to mark this shift, a closer inspection of the historical sources show that matrilineal descent was basically unknown by the first centuries CE. Philo makes no mention of it and goes as far as to call children born to non-Jewish fathers "nothoi" (which echoes the argument I mentioned in the Talmud). Josephus openly assumes that the offspring of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother is Jewish, and pays zero attention whatsoever to the offspring of non-Jewish fathers. But what is even more interesting IMO are the popular attitudes of the time. The Herodian dynasty was widely viewed as a foreign one because it was of Idumean origin (along the paternal line), the fact that several Herodian rulers were born to Jewish mothers (including Mariamne, a Hasmonean princess) did not make them any more Jewish in the eyes of the people of Judea. It took the destruction of Judean society for the stigma of Idumean, Iturean and other non-Jewish pedigrees to disappear, no less than that.

    If I am to make an educated guess, I think this shift to matrilineality started in a few isolated rabbinical communities after the great revolt, and that it spread rapidly. Considering the wording in the Talmud, it's also doubtful the objective was to exclude the offspring of non-Jewish mothers, but it eventually took that form. If we are to use the DNA evidence, the fact that the Y-Chromosomal lineages tend to be of Levantine origin in their absolute majority while the opposite is true for the mitochondrial lineages (there are of course exceptions to this, artemv's mitochondrial lineage is very likely to be Israelite in origin for example) does suggest that it took quite some time for the matrilineal principle to be applied in a quasi-universal manner in the Rabbinical Jewish world, this in my view is another indication that the custom is likely to have appeared in Tannaitic times.
    I also believe rape isn't really the reason behind this, because:
    1. Rape very rarely result in pregnancies, in fact, a short google search will show that its less than 10% chances for several reasons, so I doubt this was a wide enough phenomenon to justify an entire change in definition of who's Jewish.
    2. The fact that virtually all Jewish lineages are Levantine, shows that rape with pregnancies as well as male conversion to Judaism was extremely rare.

    If I can address the part of your post I've emphasized... I said it earlier, but I suspect that the fact that Rabbinic Judaism required the mother to be Jewish, coupled with what we know now - that most converts were women - kind of points to the possibility that this policy was adopted to make sure that women were properly converted, as there was no issue (or almost unheard of) that a man of such union would be non-Jewish.

    The fact that in Philo's eyes, both parents were supposed to be Jewish, coupled with the fact that the 12th century Karaite Jews in Egypt also required both parents to be Jewish for the offspring to be Jewish (though they considered it to be partilineal definition for some reason), knowing that Karaites usually used to be more harsh on keeping more archaic rules than Rabbinic Jews, kind of, at least IMO, points out that perhaps that policy was enacted to cope with the popularity of Judaism among non-Jewish women.
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  11. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erikl86 View Post
    There's an additional theory, which says that perhaps 1st century CE Tannaim-period Jews were influenced from the Roman law Mater semper certa est. This Roman law states that the mother of the child is conclusively established, from the moment of birth, by the mother’s role in the birth.
    I guess its political issue, religious leaders always pay attention to political considerations, even if they do not admit it.
    For example Yehuda a-Nasi ordered to write down the Oral Torah (although it was forbidden), because he felt this is the only way for it not to be forgotten. Or during Macabee revolt it was decided not to keep shabbat at the time of war.

    How could people of some religion, or some movement within religion survive if they are a small minority and politics from majority do not make it possible for them to recruit new members? Fight against mixed marriages (because they usually mean conversion to religion of majority), make conversion into their religion difficult (as accepting converts is very risky).
    What are religions that make conversion difficult or even impossible? Religions of minorities on Middle East. Like Alawites, Druze, Jews, Yezidi, Zoroastrians, Samaritans - almost all religions, that survived under Muslem rule on the Middle East. Christians of the Middle East did not change their religious rules as they are written - but they changed them de-facto, as there was death sentence for converting from Islam to another religion.

    So after Jews lost independence and then authonomy inside Roman Empire they got under religious pressure. After Parthian de-centralized state collapsed, and more centralized Persian state with Zoroastrianism as a state religion emerged, there was some religious pressure againt Jews in Babel also. Rabbinic leaders started fighting against mixed marriages. Previously it was common that if Jewish man marries non-Jewish woman their kids will be Jewish, so it was ok to marry any woman. Noone expected kid of Jewish mother and father from majority to be Jewish, and change from partilinear to matrilinear definition of a Jew was one of measures against assimilation.
    Both more accurate approach towards converts and change of Jewish definition to mother-side happened because Jews lost their state and even authonomy, and had to live as a minority.

    After Jewish state was created and tolerant approach towards Jewish religion won in USA, there is now a push to soften those policies. Who are against? Ultra-Orthodox Jewish, those who feel themselves as a minority in Jewish, but mostly secular society.
    Last edited by artemv; 07-28-2019 at 04:50 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
    As for the antiquity of matrilineal descent itself. While Ezra and the return from exile is taken by many to mark this shift, a closer inspection of the historical sources shows that matrilineal descent was basically unknown by the first centuries CE. Philo makes no mention of it and goes as far as to call children born to non-Jewish fathers "nothoi" (which echoes the argument I mentioned in the Talmud). Josephus openly assumes that the offspring of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother is Jewish, and pays zero attention whatsoever to the offspring of non-Jewish fathers. But what is even more interesting IMO are the popular attitudes of the time. The Herodian dynasty was widely viewed as a foreign one because it was of Idumean origin (along the paternal line), the fact that several Herodian rulers were born to Jewish mothers (including Mariamne, a Hasmonean princess) did not make them any more Jewish in the eyes of the people of Judea. It took the destruction of Judean society for the stigma of Idumean, Iturean and other non-Jewish pedigrees to disappear, no less than that.
    Just notice here that both Ezra and Philo, who obviously fought against mixed marriages, both were born and grew up in diaspora.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikeliot View Post
    I violated this by voting before I read your post!! I am sorry. If a moderator can reverse my vote that would be helpful.
    I've just removed your vote from the "Yes" option (7 -> 6).

    However, due to vB 4.2.5's settings, your name's still listed in the username list for that option and there's no front-end means through which we can remove that.

    The only alternatives here:
    1) Reset the poll as-is and ask everyone to repeat their previous choices (with you not voting in it this time), or
    2) Reset the poll, but make the votes anonymous, permitting the mods/admins to repeat the previous count (Yes = 6, it's complicated = 3)

    As this is Agamemnon's thread and poll, I'll leave the choice to him. Please let me know which you'll prefer. I'll check in later.

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  17. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    I've just removed your vote from the "Yes" option (7 -> 6).

    However, due to vB 4.2.5's settings, your name's still listed in the username list for that option and there's no front-end means through which we can remove that.

    The only alternatives here:
    1) Reset the poll as-is and ask everyone to repeat their previous choices (with you not voting in it this time), or
    2) Reset the poll, but make the votes anonymous, permitting the mods/admins to repeat the previous count (Yes = 6, it's complicated = 3)

    As this is Agamemnon's thread and poll, I'll leave the choice to him. Please let me know which you'll prefer. I'll check in later.
    No need to reset the poll, you've done enough
    ᾽Άλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δ᾽ ἐνὶ φρεσὶ βάλλεο σῇσιν:
    κρύβδην, μηδ᾽ ἀναφανδά, φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
    νῆα κατισχέμεναι: ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.


    -Αγαμέμνων; H Οδύσσεια, Ραψωδία λ

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