Re: Croatian: Etymology

From: John Croft
Message: 3037
Date: 2000-08-10

Pavel wrote
> > Yes, if your mother was Jewish at the time of your birth, you
> > 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
> AFAIK, Judaism is mainly the belief that Jews are the chosen
> thus, to a Jew, the conversion to Judaism would seem as an atmept
> to the chosen people. The Jews didn't willingly let others convert
> Judaism, and there weren't many people willing to convert.

This is not strictly true. There were periods in time in which
Judaism has been a proselitising religion. Khazar history speaks of
Khagan Bulan, (whose mother WAS Jewish), "called upon the
representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedanism to
their doctrines before him. This discussion convinced him that the
Jewish faith was the most preferable, and he decided to embrace it.
Thereupon he and about 4,000 Khazars were circumcised"

There have been other periods in which large numbers of people
converted to Judaism. Arabs in the period before Muhammed were
converting in droves. King Abraha of Yemen, adopted Judaism as
state religion in the 570's, as a way of asserting Yeminite
independence from both Christian Abbyssina and the Zoroastrian
Sassanids. There were also "gentilic Jews" at the time of Christ who
were attracted to the ethical position of Judaism.

> > The Khazars are obscure, and would be virtually forgotten was it
not for
> the religious connection. While their language is said to be
> > dealing with Steppe peoples, language and ethnicity have to be
> looked at. The Khazars certainly did not meet the usual expectation
> omadic
> > Turkics wandering west, but were rather sedentary. Their center
was also
> the Volga-North Caucusus, which raises additional questions. This
> > is an ethno-linguistic goulash. Language replacement would seem
to be a
> factor here. Turkic may have been their chancery language/lingua
> It seems that the Khazars themselves were nomads who settled down
> region, and, having fought off the Alans and the pressing Arabs,
> a thriving Caganate. However, late they fell victims to the Arabic
> onslaught, and were pressed north into the Volga delta. And then
> who were persecuted in the Islam states, came there.

Jews have been rarely persecuted in medieval Islam. As dhimmi
they were considered "People of the Book" - misguided, but
having received prophets from God.

The persecution of Jews in fact came earlier under the Mazdean heresy
of Zoroastrianism. It was one of the reasons why Jewish populations
in the Khazar lands was quite high at the time of 622, when Heraclius
appealed for Khazar help against Khusrau and the Sassanids.

>The power went
> 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
> with Jews, just didn't pop up.

The Khazar ruling class were "real" Khazars. By the time of
Khagan Obediah, Jewish Khazars were everywhere, and evidence shows
pagan Khazar symbols in grave yards had completely disappeared to be
replaced with Jewish icons.

> > for the religious issue, it is to be noted they fought off the
> 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
> Judaism as a way to keeping apart from either. It should also be
> 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
> retained the original Steppe religion (we don't know whether it was
> paganistic or the monetheistic Tengri-khan belief). THEY didn't
> Judaism, they fell victims to the Jewish rule.

There was not much "victimisation" here. Certainly no persecution or
forced conversions at the point of a sword (like there were for
Christianity). The Khazar realm was amazingly tollerant. Saint
Cyril, who established orthodoxy amongst the Slavs tried to convert
the Jewish Khazars but had no luck, they were happy with their faith
(far from being victims). He shifted the focus of his missionary
activity - with the results that history confirms.

> > There is a lot of controversy here. It's a fascinating question,
> Yes, it is
> I really don't know of any Western scientists who worked on the
subject, but
> in Russia L. Gumilev and M. Artamonov are worth mentioning.

Thanks for the references.

In your earlier post you wrote

> This is my first post, so sorry for any slips ,
> As far as my knowledge of the Khazar Caganate (not Khanate,
> 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.

It would appear that the Khazars were Western Turks. The differences
between Turkish and Mongol languages was deep. Some have argued that
Altaic is a phylum not even a language family, so deep are the
differences. I also understand that the Khazar term for their
government was Khaganata. "Khan" was a term given later to Chingis
a late Mongol adaptation of the earlier Turkish term.

> However, the country was subject to an influx of Jews due to its
> position, and finally the state authority passed to the Jews.

From the early 700 there was almost 30 years of continuous warfare
with the late Ommayyads. At first things went well for the Khazars,
ably led by their able general ((the Khagan's son, Barjik, who isbest
known for decapitating an Arab general and using his head as a
decoration for his throne), the Khazars began to be pushed back into
their homeland. When Barjik was killed and the Arabs were at the
of the Khazar capital of Samander, the reigning Khagan surrendered
agreed to convert to Islam. The new Arab commander, Marwan
al-Ummayyad, withdrew his forces to fight rebelling elements in the
Caliphate. He was soon crowned Caliph of all Islam but he was killed
in 750 when the Abbasid family came to power and massacred most of
Ummayyad house. It is very likely that the success and popularity of
the Abbasid rebellion was due in part to the Ummayyad dynasty's
wars in Khazaria.

Gottesman's belief is that Khazar military leaders feared the
new conversion to Islam and staged a coup, leaving him as a
without power and elevating the bek, or supreme general, (Bulan) to
the status of a hereditary monarch.