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Thread: Are the Ethiopian Beta Israel Jews?

  1. #11
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    The ethnogenesis of Beta Israel (aka Ethiopian Jews) is shrouded by a lot of mythology and legends.

    While there were Jews as far south as the area bordering Egypt and Sudan (I'm talking about Elephantine island) during the 5th century BCE and we have a very well documented evidence for it including archaeological remains and written accounts of pre-Classical Judaism, and evidence of extensive intermarriage with local non-Jews, I doubt that the stories claiming this community sprang individuals which went further south and introduced Judaism into Ethiopia has any merit.

    I'm also not buying into the whole Queen Sheba lore in terms of it being the origin of Ethiopian Jews.

    On the other hand, I don't think Ethiopian Jews descend from Christians who discovered the truthfulness of the Old Testament / Tanakh all of the sudden.

    IMO, there are too many coinciding events in the dating of the beginning of Jewish presence in Ethiopia - such as the Jewish Kingdom of Semien being formed around the 4th century CE, when Aksum ruled parts of the Arabian peninsula, or the myths about some of ancestors of Ethiopian Jews crossing over from the Arabian peninsula.

    I think the links to the Himyarite Kingdom, which coincidentally enough, converted to Judaism in the 4th century CE, bordering Ethiopian Aksum which also ruled parts of the Arabian peninsula, should be where we should look. Considering Yemenite Jews seem to mostly descend from Yemenite converts to Judaism, there's a good chance that they descend from the inhabitants of Himyar. So we might want to check uniparental sharings between Yemenite Jews and Beta Israel, especially male uniparentals.

    Last edited by Erikl86; 05-15-2020 at 02:16 PM.
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