Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

OT: Jewish Tribes

From:Leo Caesius <leo_caesius@...>
Date:Saturday, September 16, 2000, 18:15
Dan Seriff wrote:

"Actually, I've read some rather interesting work expounding on the
literally thounsands of shared words between Japanese and Ancient Hebrew.
The claim is that the Japanese are a fragment of the lost exiled
tribes of (the northern kingdom of) Israel."

    Ah, but what about the sound correspondences?  "Shared words" are
useless unless you can prove regular correspondences.

<great leap off topic>
    I was studying Sumerian in Italy with one of Falkenstein's students, and
one of my classmates was Japanese.   When the professor wrote the EN sign on
the board, the Japanese student asserted that it looked just like the
Japanese sign for daimyo (both apparently mean "lord," although I'm not sure
anyone really knows what EN means).  As I don't know Japanese I can't speak
for the veracity of this statement.

"IIRC, it's pretty well accepted that the Jews in Ethiopia are the
remnants of the tribe of Dan (my name!),"
    It's also pretty well accepted that abduction by space aliens is a fact
of life for many people ;]
    The Falasha themselves claim to be descended from Emperor Menelik I, son
of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.  Most scholars date the origins of
their community to some time before the 2nd century B.C.E.  An article
published in "Human Biology" last year by Gerard Lucotte and Pierre Smets
established that the Falasha are not related to the Jews ethnically and that
their genetic affiliations are to the Ethiopian people.  Ergo, they must
have been Ethiopians who converted to Judaism some time before the Rabbinic
period.  This is consistent with E. Ullendorf's observations (in "Ethiopia
and the Bible") which were made in the 60's, before the technology existed
to prove or disprove them.

"and there's some island off the coast of Tunisia whose population is almost
entirely Cohen (Levi, the priestly class)."
    I don't know anything about this, but I'm interested, so I will look
into it.

"There's a group in eastern India that call themselves Manasseh."
    Actually, they call themselves Menmasseh.  Ethnically, the Menmasseh are
related most closesly to the people of Myanmar across the border, and the
language spoken by most Menmasseh, Manipuri, belongs to the Tibeto-Burman
branch of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages.
    In 1894 these people were evanglized by Presbyterians, who pointed out
the superficial similarity of the name "Menmasseh" to the [anglicized
version of the] word Menashe, i.e. "Manasseh."  It was the Presbyterians,
and later the Pentacostals, who convinced these poor people that they were a
lost tribe of Israel, and by the sixties the Menmasseh had adopted many
judaizing traits in their religious expression.  The vast majority of
Menmasseh (1.5 million) continue to espouse a highly judaizing version of
Pentacostal Christianity, but some have become "Messianic Jews" (a sort of
home-grown "Jews for Jesus") and a handful have converted to Orthodox
    I understand (and I may be wrong) that the B'ne Menmasseh are seeking
official recognition of a Jewish state in India.  They even have a flag:

"Some nomadic group has the tribal divisions of Simeon, Reuben,
Gad, and some others, I think."
     This is also news to me.  I'd be very interested if you could provide
me some more references.  This sort of thing fascinates me!

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at