> My information is mostly what the
online Britannica gives, plus the web sites they provide:
> Yes, if your mother was Jewish at the
time of your birth, you are Jewish.
> But one can also convert to Judaism,
and it is conversion, at least among the upper classes, which is the present
case. The child of a
> converted Jewish mother is as Jewish by birth as any other
Judaism is mainly the belief that Jews are the chosen people, and thus, to a
Jew, the conversion to Judaism would seem as an atmept to senak to the chosen
people. The Jews didn't willingly let others convert to Judaism, and there
weren't many people willing to convert.
> The Khazars are obscure, and would be
virtually forgotten was it not for the religious connection. While their
language is said to be Turkic, when
> dealing with Steppe peoples, language and
ethnicity have to be carefully looked at. The Khazars certainly did not meet the
usual expectation of omadic
> Turkics wandering west, but were rather
sedentary. Their center was also the Volga-North Caucusus, which raises
additional questions. This region
> is an ethno-linguistic goulash.
Language replacement would seem to be a factor here. Turkic may have been their
chancery language/lingua franca.
seems that the Khazars themselves were nomads who settled down in the region,
and, having fought off the Alans and the pressing Arabs, established a thriving
Caganate. However, late they fell victims to the Arabic onslaught, and were
pressed north into the Volga delta. And then the Jews, who were persecuted
in the Islam states, came there. The power went to offsrpings of Khazar men, and
Jewish women, because such a child would be a Khazar (which gave all the
advantages as a son of a Khazar noble), and a Jew by virtue of being a son of a
Jewess. The real Khazars, who had no dealings with Jews, just didn't pop
> for the religious issue, it is to
be noted they fought off the Islamics near the Caspian; they also seem to
have not been on the best terms with the
> Byzantines. Instead of Christianity or Islam,
they seem to have chosen Judaism as a way to keeping apart from either. It
should also be stressed, I
> think, is
that normative Rabbinical Judiasm was not the monolithic thing it is today.
AFAIK The Khazar people (not the
nobiltiy, but the herders of the delta) retained the original Steppe religion
(we don't know whether it was paganistic or the monetheistic Tengri-khan
belief). THEY didn't "choose" Judaism, they fell victims to the Jewish
> There is a lot of controversy here.
It's a fascinating question, though.
really don't know of any Western scientists who worked on the subject, but in
Russia L. Gumilev and M. Artamonov are worth mentioning.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2000 1:30
Subject: RE: [tied] Re: Croatian:
is my first post, so sorry for any slips ,
far as my knowledge of the Khazar Caganate (not Khanate, definitely) lasts,
the Khazars were a people akin to the Mongols. They established a powerful
state around the 8th century in the North Caucasus and lower Volga. However,
the country was subject to an influx of Jews due to its strategic position,
and finally the state authority passed to the Jews.
"original" Khazars couldn't possibly become Judaists, since Judaism is not a
proselitic religion (you can't become a Jew unless you're the child of a
power of the state passed to the offspring of Jewesses and Khazar nobility,
and the hereder Khazars lost all rights. The Caganate was crushed by
the Kiev princes only in the beginning of the 10th
Interesting from a Biblical mythology point of view.
Strange how the
"kurgan fact" parallels "medieval myth". In modern
Koestler also tried similarly to connect Ashkenazi Jews to
medieval Jewish Khazar Khanate.
Tried to connect? It's my
understanding that the Khazarian influx, mixing with Sephardim
originating from the west, has been proven by genetic testing. The
Khazars, from my reading, were quite fair.