I’m certainly no DNA expert.
But here’s some thoughts anyway. First of all, finding any sort of Hebrew DNA anywhere in the Americas certainly gives critics of the Book of Mormon pause, as it directly refutes some of their arguments. But how important is this discovery?
Let’s talk about the name Cohen first. As I learned from Quest for the Lost Tribes, the name Cohen represents the Tribe of Levi. This is the priesthood tribe. As we go back to the 12 Tribes of Israel, remember that the Tribe of Levi was given no land of inheritance, but was instead granted the priesthood to administer among the other tribes.
Simcha Jacobovichi claims to have found a group of Cohens in Northern Africa, and as the Mormon Times article states, the Lemba Tribe in Southern Africa may be related to this Cohen DNA. (For more info on the Lemba tribe in Africa, you can download an episode of Digging for the Truth for just $2. It is a truly fascinating episode. It took me about an hour to download it on DSL. I liked the episode so much, I purchased seasons 1 and 2 on DVD.)
Anyway, the point is that Lehi was from the Tribe of Manasseh, not Levi. So, while the DNA is Hebrew, it is from the wrong tribe as far as the Book of Mormon is concerned. Will the correct tribe be found someday? Time will tell. If they can find Levi, perhaps they will find Mannaseh at a later date……
I agree, as far as you went. May I suggest that you look into the Haplogroup X findings from those DNA studies. I believe you may find the group you’re looking for. These are the Amerindians called the Algonquin or Micmac tribes. They share a unique mitochondrial DNA marker with only two other groups in the world. These are found in Europe and the Middle East only.
Kind of ties that one group of Amerindians to ancient Israel, don’t you think?
And consider this: Large migrations of Israelites moved into Europe, leaving their DNA markers. Not only is Cohen (Cone, Cohan, etc.) Hebrew for “priest,” the name is found in the Nordic tribes as Conan. (Yes, the barbarian!) Moreover, the Gaelic “Erin” is a virtual cognate for the Hebrew “Aaron.”
The term Celt (Kelt) comes from the Roman and Greek names for these peoples: Galatae and Keltoi, respectively. These are all derivitives of the name applied to anyone from Northern Israel in ancient times: Galilee. Moreover, the ancient name for the Hebrews (Israelites) was Habiru. (See the El Amarna letters.) These Hebrews (Habiru) not only bore their homeland name as Galileans into Europe to become the Gaels and eventually the Celts (Kelts), they left their traditional name (Hebrew, Habiru) everywhere they went as well. Thus we have the “Iberian” Peninsula in Southwestern Europe, “Siberia” in Northern Europe and “Hibernia” as the ancient name for Ireland. In fact, a reading of the name “British” is “Covenant Man” (“Brit Isha” in Hebrew with a Germanic syntax).
So according to the Haplo X group results, the Israelites migrated from the Middle East to two locations: Europe and American. Significantly, that’s where the etymology takes them as well.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’d be happy to share more if you care to hear it.
Thanks for the comments. Book1830 posted some pretty damaging links from Simon Southerton regarding any American DNA. You might want to check my post titled “Amazing” NY Geography – Part 4. The comments there are pretty interesting.
The Southerton links are found here.
Click to access Southerton.pdf
Anyway, please don’t think I’m shutting you down. I’d love to hear more of your research. You’ve already added to the discussion, and I’d love to hear more. I checked out your website, and it looks like you’ve got some really interesting things. That Longest Day of Joshua sounds really interesting….
But more importantly, please help me understand the whole DNA thing. Some of the articles are quite technical, and I really have a hard time deciphering them.
Yes, the arguements are technical. And therein lies the rub. After a lot of technical dancing, Southerton dismissed the Northeastern group with a dismissive wave of the genetic wand, saying that they “are most likely to be the result of interbreeding with Europeans since Columbus.” That is an assumption, not hard evidence. Geneticists like to think that theirs is the final and definitive answer. I like to look at all the evidence.
While I admit to being an unabashed apologist for the Book of Mormon, I’ve never believed that all American Indians were Lamanites. I served a mission in Mexico, and I studied the subject firsthand. Since that time, it has been evident to me that the vast Mesoamerican cultures had nothing to do with the Book of Mormon. I so indicated to Carl Chessman, a BYU religion professor who taught a class on Book of Mormon evidences in the new world. Needless to say, he was dismayed at my failure to tow the party line.
The Haplogroup X data came as confirmation to me that the work of maverick anthropologist Barry Fell was right on the mark. While his work has also been disparaged by mainstream anthropologists, it is powerful evidence for the limited incursions of Mediterranian peoples on the American East Coast, principally. To cite his voluminous evidence would take up too much space here, so I suggest you read his books “Saga America” and “America BC.” It nicely coincides with the Haplogroup X findings. If you’d care to send your email address, I can forward some of my writings on the subject to you.
Opps. I neglected to respond to your kind comment about “Joshua’s Long Day.” You can watch that 23 minute program on You Tube, along with some other short clips. (http://youtube.com/user/toeknee1943) There are also several articles posted on my website that you may wish to read. (www.mormonprophecy.com)
Lastly, you can read many of my monographs by going to the LDS Anarchy blog. (http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/)
One last comment about Book of Mormon geography. A hugely vital element of that subject is overlooked by almost all expositors and researchers: The face of the land has been changed dramatically since the Nephites inhabited this land. In my never-to-be-too-humble opinion, there are few direct correlations between the present topography and that of the past. It’s like trying to find the needle when the haystack has been suffled and reshuffled since the needle was dropped. You’ll have to read more of my research and conclusions before you can appreciate how profound those changes have been. I humbly urge you to do so. Thanks for your interest and your inquiry.
Anthony is clearly in the Wayne May camp of Northern Geographists for the Book of Mormon. It is unfortunate that the X haplogroup that is found among the Algonquin or Micmac tribes has been proven just in the past few years to be Siberian in origin. The claim that the X haplogroup comes from the Middle East is true, but just like the other Native American haplogroups, (A. B. C. and D.) they all passed through the Middle East some 40,000 years ago. If your going to claim X is from the Middle East, and ignore the time frame then why not got for the gold, call them all Hebrew and claim an unequivocal victory?
One other problem, mtDNA doesn’t shuffle. It passes from one generation to the next with a mutation rate of once every 10,000 years. It’s not like our regular DNA that shuffles. Your describing a completely different science. The X hapogroup is a mtDNA. As long as the people have children and half of them are female, it wont dilute, shuffle or go away. The Book of Mormon describes a succsessful people. If they really were in the Americas and the book was for their desendants. The mtDNA would surface.
It takes a while to wrap ones mind around such things.
Any chance your the Anthony E. Larson who wrote the Prophesy Trilogy? I used to track down volumes for people when I worked at a used Mormon book store.
From the dust jacket: “You will learn why modern science teaches us to disbelieve eyewitness accounts from the past, and why we misunderstand the message that our ancestors struggled to pass on to us through their records. The theories examined in this book lend added support to the Scriptures as the revealed word of God.”
If so, have things changed for you since you have written about the end of the world?
I guess you missed my observation that the Habiru (Hebrews) migrated into and left their name upon the area we know as Siberia. Did you know that the ruling class in Samara, Russia, spoke only Hebrew and claimed that to be their heritage? The only fly in the oitment is the dating you cite, but ancient chronology is an untaimed tiger. The dating you cite is uncertain, at best, since DNA gives no dates. You rely on an interpretation of chronology that is far from settled. 40,000 years? I wonder. That’s what happens when you step outside your chosen discipline. Things can get a bit dicey.
No, I’ve not changed my mind about my interpretation of prophetic metaphors and their inestimable value to any Latter-day Saint’s gospel study, if that’s your question. But, church members in general, have lost interest in things like prophecy and ancient planetary history as it applies to the scriptures and the gospel, thinking that it has little or no impact on their testimony or their gospel comprehension.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, I’ve found that the prophetic metaphors, based in astral symbolism from antiquity, answer more questions and give more meaning to the restored gospel and temple symbolism than any other area of inquiry. As it turns out, Joseph Smith taught much of this to his contemporaries. Scholars have simply overlooked his statments because they make no sense in the context of our present paradigm, based in Gradualism. But put in a Catastrophism context, which Joseph clearly espoused, they are easily understandable and informative. I invite you to investigate further.
Thanks for your response. I have a beter understanding where your coming from.
We should have a discussion sometime about Scholarship and Apologetics. (and how never the twain shall meet)
Apologetics: Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position, system or institution.
Scholarship: Knowledge resulting from study and research in a particular field.
These two ideas are actually opposed to each other. One draws on the information to form the knowledge, the other defends the idea, often formed before the defender was ever born. When I typed these two words side by side into Google. I found that of the top 10 websites that came up. Six were Mormon.
Mr. Larson for example thinks he’s a scholar. But the facts are, Hebrews only came into existence just a little over 2000 years ago. The Americas were settled by Siberian Asians about 20,000 years ago. To understand otherwise is simply apologetics and has no basis in scholarship or reason and hovers around the credibility level of those who devote their lives to the study of Big Foot and UFOs.
As I’m sure you’re aware, Sorenson dismisses the idea that the land changed significantly, and while I may not agree with Sorenson entirely, on this point I think he’s got a good point. Many proponents of the Chilean theories use that argument to say that South America was a small island, and that the earth rose up at the time of Christ. While I’m no geologist, it doesn’t appear to me that this rising up happened 2000 years ago, and I have similar geological problems with the variations of the Great Lakes Theories as well, though I must admit that the only one I’ve studied much is the BOMC site, which is surely lacking in scholarship.
Book1830, you’ve got a good idea for a post. I think I will devote one to that topic. While I agree that often apologetics and scholarship often disagree, I don’t think they are always at odds with each other.
That would be great. I think I can make an argument that scholarship and apologetics are inherently opposing concepts. Let’s see what pans out. I’ll see who I can invite to the thread and let them kick the heck out of my ideas.
One more thing about this whole recent earth stuff. It’s an apologetic that helps people lessen their cognitive dissonance. They want the world to be as they were told as children and when pesky facts get in the way, instead of accepting the new information, they create new myths in order to make the old system work. The world isn’t 6,000 years old. It’s 6 billion years old. Native Americans didn’t come to the new world 2,000 years ago, they came 20,000 years ago. Being an adult and accepting new and maybe troubling information is a hard thing, but it’s a must, in order to form a healthy and mature mind.
Stop with the ad hominum attacks already. Calling people childish and ignorant instead of addressing their views with respect is dismissive and counterproductive – not to mention irritating and agrivating. Talk about cognative dissonance — scholarspeak for “you’re too stupid to know what you’re talking about.” Drop the “I know better than you” act. Let’s deal with the issues at hand.
One of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Three Laws of Prediction” says, “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” Stop holding on to mainstream science as though it were the restored gospel. It’s opinion, and nothing more. It’s not even well informed, actually. Clarke also said that if a scientist says something is “impossible,” he’s almost certainly wrong. I go with the prophets, and I let the ancients speak for themselves. Like Nibley pointed out, anyone can venture a guess about how the world came to its present state. But, the better alternative is to read what the ancients said about that. It’s called eyewitness testimony. It trumps speculation every time in my mind. Or is your testimony such that science trumps prophetic insight? Quit the browbeating already.
Without some sort of shared point of reference, there can be no real discussion. Take the age of the earth for example. Scholars have definitively referenced the age of the earth at 6 billion years. There can be no meaningful conversation about any “real” world history if one of the participants thinks the world is 6,billion years old and the other 6,000. The two people live in different paradigms. When I point out that the Americas were definitively settled by Siberian migrants some 20,000 years ago and that there is a scholarly consensus to this fact. And you don’t believe there was a 20,000 years ago. Were not really going to get very far.
Now, if your interested in learning what really happened among the “anciencts.” (and it won’t be very fun. Trust me, I know.) Check out the following book:
The Oxford History of the Biblical World by Michael D. Coogan
I’ll admit, it’s not quite as fun as reading the Prophesy Trilogy. Oh, and I recommend your books to anyone. I’ve sold dozens of sets over the past decade or so. “And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood” was always the hardest to locate of the three volumes.
Oh, and thanks for the Clark reference. Clark Commentaries on the bible are a lot of fun, your lucky to have a set. I gave my fathers set to a sibling. I have also enjoyed, Farrar, Ediershim, Geike if you haven’t gotten that far yet. (My guess is that you have.)
Farrar is good on the meaning of words, Edershime is strong on biblical history. Between the two one would get a very serious understanding of British Christian thought and an insight to the origins of orthodox Mormon beliefs on the life of Jesus. Both Talmage and McConkie rely hevly on them.
Joseph Klausner would be the next natural step in ones reading. his “Messianic Ideals in Israel” was very popular among thinking Mormons in the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, Klausner’s works have become harder to aquire in recent decades.
Anthony wrote “After a lot of technical dancing, Southerton dismissed the Northeastern group with a dismissive wave of the genetic wand, saying that they “are most likely to be the result of interbreeding with Europeans since Columbus.” That is an assumption, not hard evidence. Geneticists like to think that theirs is the final and definitive answer. I like to look at all the evidence.”
By his own admission Anthony chooses not to look at all the evidence. It is widely known among scholars who study American Indians that Algonquian tribes from the east coast of North America were among the most heavily impacted by the earliest European arrivals. Their populations collapsed and they interbred with Europeans very early in the history of New World colonization. There is abundant hard historical evidence for this if you choose to look at it. It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that the higher frequency of European DNA among Algonquians is due to this history. It is also quite possible that the European DNA in Algonquians arrived via the Bering Strait over 20,000 years ago, perhaps accompanied by the X lineage.
Anthony also chooses to overlook dating evidence derived from DNA.
“The dating you cite is uncertain, at best, since DNA gives no dates. You rely on an interpretation of chronology that is far from settled. 40,000 years? I wonder. That’s what happens when you step outside your chosen discipline. Things can get a bit dicey”
Scientists who work with DNA know that dating evidence cannot be ignored so easily. All 5 American Indian mitochondrial DNA lineages (A, B, C, D and X) contain about the same degree of New World-specific genetic variation, that distinguishes them from lineages in the same 5 families which occur outside of the Americas. Scientists now widely agree that these 5 lineages arrived in the Americas about 20,000 years ago. This age estimate is supported by abundant archaeological evidence as well. Even Mormon scientists Scott Woodward and Ugo Perego have published such early age estimates based on the level of DNA variation in the A â€“ D lineages.
The distribution of the X lineage in North America may coincide with the Great Lakes theory, but the X lineage commonly found among American Indians did not enter the continent in the last 4,000 years. The amount of variation in the X lineage (similar to A-D lineages) is very strong evidence that it has been present in the Americas for at least 20,000 years. There is also evidence for the occurrence of the X lineage among ancient remains of American Indians from Florida dating back 7,000 years. Together, this evidence essentially rules out the X lineage as far as the Book of Mormon is concerned.
The dilemma I see is that the Mormon Church expects members to have faith that some findings of science related to American Indians are incorrect. Those who have honestly considered all the science regarding the ancestry of Native Americans will be aware of abundant evidence that their ancestors are derived from Asia. Mainstream scientific opinion, which has no anti-Mormon agenda, has failed to find any reliable evidence for the presence of pre-Columbian Hebrews. Until just the last couple of years, Mormon apologists were afraid to even admit American Indians arrived as early as 20,000 years ago, yet this is a truth supported by abundant facts.
This is a problem unique to Mormonism. In most mainstream Christian religions members are not shunned because they accept truth uncovered by science. Even in all the traditional “battlegrounds” such as evolution, the creation, age of the earth and the Flood, Christians in other religious groups can publicly side with prevailing scientific viewpoints without fear of being silenced by church leaders. This is not the case with LDS doctrine related to American Indians. If you speak up in support of the mainstream scientific viewpoint you will be politely asked to shut up. This is the direct result of the LDS Church making religious claims within a realm of scholarship illuminated by objective scientific inquiry.
Thanks for adding your insights!!! You are certainly welcome here!!!
I do have a question about how granular DNA fingerprinting (for lack of a better word) can be. I don’t claim to be a DNA expert, but from my understanding, is it possible to be able to distinguish between different tribes of the 12 tribes of Israel?
I know that the Lemba tribe in Africa may relate to Cohen DNA, which seems to point to the tribe of Levi. In the documentary I mentioned above Quest for the Lost Tribes, Simcha Jacobovici (a jew) makes a claim that the Tribe of Manasseh is located in Malaysia.
First, could such DNA fingerprinting be able to distinguish between the Cohen gene and the Manasseh gene? As I understand it, Jacob (Israel) lived approx 2000 BC. Since Manasseh and Levi were brothers, there would be some obvious similarities in the DNA, and I just wonder how granular the DNA could be.
Secondly, if Jacobovici is correct, this could lend credence to the Malay Theory. Now, I know Malay is not accepted by very many people, but to me it seems to solve many of the DNA, horse, elephant problems. Of course there are other problems (like how did the plates get to NY), but that’s a topic for another time.
“If you speak up in support of the mainstream scientific viewpoint you will be politely asked to shut up. “
I have found this to be the case, and agree with you completely. Unfortunately, the LDS follows the Catholic model where they forced Galileo to recant. Perhaps it will change in time, as the Catholics have, but there will always be tension. It is sad when leaders try to stifle scientific inquiry.
Granularity of DNA
Most of the mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA data we are hearing about is most useful for distinguishing human populations from each other. It is not particularly useful for distinguishing closely related people from each other, although the Y chromosome does contain sufficient information to do that if you want. Given that most of the 12 tribes have generally not remained distinctive groups among Jews, it would be unlikely to find markers to distinguish them.
Europeans have mitochondrial DNA that belongs to one of about 8 or 9 lineages. Jews generally posses the same lineages but in different proportions. For example about 60% of Europeans have an H lineage while about 20% of Jews are lineage H. The dominant lineage among Jews is the K lineage (30%) which occurs in about 10% of Europeans. This is not surprising because Europeans and Jews are distantly related.
Mormon Heretic said
“I know that the Lemba tribe in Africa may relate to Cohen DNA, which seems to point to the tribe of Levi. In the documentary I mentioned above Quest for the Lost Tribes, Simcha Jacobovici (a jew) makes a claim that the Tribe of Manasseh is located in Malaysia.”
I’m not aware of any DNA evidence from South East Asia linking populations there with the Middle East. South East Asia has been heavily populated for tens of thousands of years, with large civilizations. It is possible that Jewish sailors colonized parts of Asia though.
Mormon Heretic said
“â€¦ if Jacobovici is correct, this could lend credence to the Malay Theory. Now, I know Malay is not accepted by very many people, but to me it seems to solve many of the DNA, horse, elephant problems. Of course there are other problems (like how did the plates get to NY), but that’s a topic for another time.
The closer you get to the Old World the less of a problem you have with anachronisms. But it certainly leaves Moroni out on a limb.
Simon, I really appreciate your insights.
I would really like you to see that documentary, if you haven’t. Jacobovici makes the case that these 12 tribes have remained distinct. Some tribes are Chinese, India Indians, Arab Pashtuns, Malaysian, Africans, etc. I posted on the DVD previously, and there are more details found at the link below.
Anyway, some tribes have converted to become Christians, Muslims, and others remained Jews, but specifically do not want to be associated with the Tribe of Judah. All the groups/tribes seem to have some cultural similarities to Jews, but seem to look nothing like the tribe of Judah who live in modern-day Israel. Jacobovici does not think they were Jewish sailors who colonized, but rather these tribes of Israel were scattered by the Assyrians as specific tribes.
Would DNA testing be able to definitively confirm or disprove Jacobovici’s claims? Since they are seemingly different races, would that help distinguish the tribes, or would they all be related to this Cohen gene?
Simon, could comment on these DNA tests on the Bnei Manashe mentioned in this link?
Just as their are Mormon Apologists who defend all sorts of crazy myths. The Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Zoroastrianism and Muslim worlds all have their myths also. Are you really asking Simon to unravel every kooky pseudo scientific test that someone links to hebrew claims out there? If it’s controversial, it probably doesn’t have a scholarly consensus and it’s on Wiki to boot. Any kook can post all sorts of madness to that site.
If your interested in world population migration, have a look at the National Geographic Website for population. I’ve monitored it for about six years now and it looks like it a has about a three year lag behind the scholarship.
Tom, thanks for the link. Simon did say “I’m not aware of any DNA evidence from South East Asia linking populations there with the Middle East.”
Since he’s not aware, I’m helping make him aware. Perhaps it is kooky, but he didn’t seem to mind talking about kooky BoM DNA. Perhaps this kooky jewish DNA problem is similar to BoM DNA, perhaps it is not. Besides, I don’t have a subscription to any kooky Scriptural DNA journals, and I’d really like an opinion from someone I respect.
I find using current populations to determine ancient DNA lineages problematic. In the last 500 years with the impact of European settlement on Native Americans who knows what percentage of lineages became extinct. I’ve read that something like 90% of the indigenous population became extinct. So what likelihood is their of finding links to BofM lineages
I don’t know if you’ve seen my post on the Lemba Tribe in Africa. Scientists have been able to confirm this African Tribe has Israelite DNA. This group with genetic markers from Israel obviously mixed with the African population. Do you reject these findings?
Fascinating retrieve from the archives, MH. Southernton’s sunnary of the DNA evidence is wonderful, and definitely means I’ve got to pull together a post on it.
Hint: I wonder if LDS apologists know how ro take yes for an answer? Evidence that the founding populations of America came out of Siberia 20,000 years or so ago is what they need — not evidence that shows Israelite linage 2500 years ago.
FireTag, I’m not following you. Can you explain further?
I’m drafting the post now and expect to have it up this week.
I didn’t realize that I’d accessed this site that long ago. MH I do not reject the findings in regards to the Lemba. I would argue that southern Africa hasn’t had the mass genocide that America did. I thought that you might like the following article about what we do and do not know about the DNA of ancient Israel.
The only way to know would be to do a DNA analysis of skeletons.
what always has baffled me is that the Jews claim to know where Abraham , Issac, Jacob , Joseph and their wife’s are buried.
It could all be settled in the Jews would allow an archaeological dig at the cave.
Though the Book of Mormon does not specifically say so, the Lamanites, after their arrival to the Americas, are suspected of mixing with another darker-skinned people who were already dwelling in the Americas. Could these darker-skinned people have been descendants of the Jaredites? No, they were all destroyed, and they were not dark-skinned. But, how about descendants of the “friends of Jared” and his brother? I find it interesting that the friends of Jared and his brother are treated/mentioned separately and even numbered separately… as though they are ‘special’ in some way. Perhaps dark-skinned?
We know that the Jaredites self-destructed, but the record doesn’t say anything about what happened to the descendants of the friends of Jared and his brother. Perhaps, being different, they distanced themselves from the Jaredites and went off and did their own thing. Perhaps they remained upon the land after the Jaredites vanished. Perhaps they came to be called Lamanites because they merged with Lamanites. Perhaps this is why Hebrew DNA has not been found to be abundant in Native Americans. Just something to think about.
Question: In the argument of evidense against LDS beliefs, what is the scenereo used in comparing what the results should be of DNA tests? I mean, from my understanding, Nephites and Lamanites constituted only a small group when they came to an already populated America, and for the most part, Lamanites was a term that became used simply to describe anyone who was not a ‘nephite’ rather then actual decendents, so does the theory take into account his, or does it assume that all Native Americans are decended directly from this small group? It seems to me that the results of the assumed scenereo would have a great impact on the conclusion, and that acting with a flawed premise would likewise fault the conclusion.
Daioni, the church is definitely hedging on this. Even up to the 1980’s, most believed in a hemispheric model in which the Lamanites covered the entire of North and South America, but now it is generally assumed to be a Limited Geography Theory in which the Nephites are much less numerous. I don’t believe the Lemba are a large group, yet the DNA seems to be a match. Have you seen my other, more detailed article on the Lemba? See http://www.mormonheretic.org/2009/05/31/similarities-between-the-lemba-and-lehi/
[…] include Evolution vs creation, DNA and the Book of Mormon; the list could be endless. In a recent comment, Book1830 makes the claim that Science and Religion (he refers to them as Scholarship and […]