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Are Russian Jews Descended from the Khazars? Unauthorized reproduction of this page is prohibited.
This essay presents the pros and cons of the controversial "Khazar theory" of Eastern European Jewish origins and will attempt to provide a likely middle-ground solution to the question.
Unlike other treatments of the question, this essay uses recent discoveries, is meant to be objective, and is fully sourced so that you can be guaranteed of the authenticity of the information.
Many of these writers made naive simplifications. It just happens that a Khazarian element is missing. Evidence in favor of the Khazar theory According to most historical sources, Judaism was widespread among the Khazar inhabitants of the Khazar kingdom.
Archaeological evidence, however, has not yet corroborated this. The findings described below, some of which are more conclusive than others, add strength to the argument that there were many Jews residing in eastern Europe prior to the immigration of German, Austrian, Bohemian, Spanish, and Portugese Jews into Poland and Hungary.
Judaism is almost always noted in our medieval documentary sources as having been the most important religion in the Khazar kingdom.
It is often the only religion cited when referring to the Khazars. And the Hebrew script is noted as being the script of 10th century Khazars. Here are some examples: The Bulgars, however, who are of the same seven tribes [as the Khazars], are now becoming baptized [into Christianity].
But they have been Judaized recently. This happened recently in the days of the Abbasids For this was a man who came single-handedly to a king of great rank and to a very spirited people, and they were converted by him without any recourse to violence and the sword.
And they took upon themselves the difficult obligations enjoined by the law of the Torah, such as circumcision, the ritual ablutions, washing after a discharge of the semen, the prohibition of work on the Sabbath and during the feasts, the prohibition of eating the flesh of forbidden animals according to this religion, and so on.
We, however, believe in the one God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
If God had loved you and your law, you would not be scattered throughout foreign lands. They disclosed their identity to them, embraced their religion, were circumcized in the cave, and then returned to their country, eager to learn the Jewish law.
They kept their conversion secret, however, until they found an opportunity of disclosing the fact gradually to a few of their special friends. When the number had increased, they made the affair public, and induced the rest of the Khazars to embrace the Jewish faith.
They sent to various countries for scholars and books, and studied the Torah. Their chronicles also tell of their prosperity, how they beat their foes, conquered their lands, secured great treasures, how their army swelled to hundreds of thousands, how they loved their faith, and fostered such love for the Holy House that they erected a tabernacle in the shape of that built by Moses.
They also honored and cherished the Israelites who lived among them. The greater part of these Khazars who use this script are Jews.
Constantine Akropolites copied 11th-century stories about Saint Zotikos and the leprosarium that he founded in Pera, a suburb of Constantinople. The stories reveal the settlement of Jewish Khazars in Pera, near the leprosarium, and how these Khazars had married with other Jews and become fully integrated into the Jewish district.
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