Monday, February 4, 2008

Yossi Nagar, Forensics and Israelite Origins

The results of recent forensic investigations of DNA from ancient Canaanite remains and modern inhabitants of that region are featured in the documentary on Joshua in the series Ancient Evidence. Yossi Nagar speaks briefly about his work in the documentary, and his 2003 book presumably presents his findings. The book in question, entitled Mi anahnu? : sipuran he-`atik shel ukhlusiyot Yisrael, is currently available only in the modern Hebrew original, and for that reason appears to not be having the impact on Biblical studies in the English-speaking world that it might otherwise.

Have any of the speakers of modern Hebrew reading this blog read the book? I'd invite you to share a synopsis and/or comments here. Are there plans to translate the book into English? His conclusions based on genetics, that the Israelites and Canaanites were the same, separated not by biology but only theology, are relevant to the historical and archaeological questions that many Biblical scholars are investigating, and would presumably make an important contribution to the discussion if made accessible to a wider audience.

As I noted a while back on my own personal blog, there are a couple of other genetic studies relevant to this topic, although without including the forensic evidence from ancient Canaanites. One is "The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East", and the other is "The Origin of Palestinians and Their Genetic Relatedness With Other Mediterranean Populations". The data from such studies need to be part of the discussions of historical questions about Israelite origins.

1 comment:

Archaeologyknits said...

It would be great if this were available in English somewhere, as it fits exactly with my current research on ethnicity in Iron Age S-P