Considering how little is known about Khazaria, how much history has been either censored or re-written by the former Soviet Union, and the relatively sparse amount of archaelogical work that has been conducted in the region, Brook brings much information to light, detailing the tribal and linguistic origins of the Khazars. Again, this book provides a look at some aspects of Jewish history that are usually skipped over very lightly. Great effort to deliver an exciting aspect of our history. Anyone who cares about world history or Jewish history would do well to read Brook's amazing book. Kevin Allen Brook is both.
He contributed an article about the Khazars to The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, second edition, and wrote an introduction for Rabbi Daniel Korobkin's translation of The Kuzari. What a fascinating and extraordinary positive event! The author gives the standard argument for the existence of a Jewish dynasty ruling Khazaria -- rulers' names, travelers' stories -- , but they don't add up to a mass conversion, or even a conversion to Judaism as such. Savor it, but don't rush to judgement! This volume traces the development of the Khazars from their early beginnings as a tribe to the decline and fall of their kingdom. The Jews of Khazaria tells the compelling true story of this kingdom past. The word laksa means noodle, from the Turkic laqsha which became loksh in Yiddish. The sources of those Jews are from all over: Greek Jews expelled by the Byzantines, Jews of the Muslim world who traveled north, and Radhanite Jews who ran the Silk Road trade since early Roman times.
Lest I sound overly harsh, while some evidence is wanting, this book has enormous assets. The Jews of Khazaria recounts the history of the kingdom of Khazaria, located in Eastern Europe, examining its status as a world power from 650-1016. Students of early Jewish history will appreciate this college-level survey, which considers not only the Khazaria state but the rise of Jewish communities in the eastern European region. Portions of the empire's population adopted Christianity and Islam. In this thoroughly revised edition of a modern classic, The Jews of Khazaria explores many exciting new discoveries about the Khazars' religious life, economy, military, government, and culture.
There was so much to learn it was incredible. Khazaria existed as a Jewish kingdom in some form for two hundred years, until they were overwhelmed by the proto-Russians. In this thoroughly revised edition of a modern classic, The Jews of Khazaria explores many exciting new discoveries about the Khazars' religious life, economy, military, government, and culture. There are no apologetics and it is an honest investigation into a difficult topic. The book gives a comprehensive accounting of the cities, towns, and fortresses of Khazaria, and features a timeline summarizing key events in Khazar history.
The Turkic language family was quite wide-spread across Asia well into the sixteenth century, and is still quite large. The rest of the genome suggests that an intermarriage and conversion rate that could not have been more than one percent per generation. He also researches Sephardic Jewish migrations throughout the world and the presence of Jewish ancestry among Latin Americans, Sicilians, and Slavs. It succeeds in elucidating controversial issues, while contextualizing the Khazar polity within the competitive 9th-11th-century world of Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate, and two regional upstarts: the Dnepr-based aggregate of Nordic, Slavic, and Turkic peoples known as Rus', and the Turkic-Islamic kaganate of Bulgar flourishing in the middle and upper Volga territory. Further work in this area is sure to follow. Brook casually mentions along the way that 10% of the Roman Empire was Jewish, which dropped my jaw to the floor, but considering how solid the rest of the book seems, I'll take that as the truth till I read otherwise. Many of the nobles and commoners did likewise shortly thereafter.
That birth rate would have been 10 times greater than that of the local non-Jewish population. The third edition of this modern classic features new and updated material throughout, including new archaeological findings, new genetic evidence, and new information about the migration of the Khazars. As a full exploration in English of the history and culture of the Khazars, this volume is without equal. The thesis of the book, that a large portion of Ashkenazic Jewry is descended from 9th Century Turkic converts, will offend many traditionalist Jews. It will be a very helpful guide for the general reader who wishes to discover the truth about this legendary people. Folks, one bit of evidence of Khazar ancestry among eastern European Jews is the Turkic vocabulary found in Yiddish but not in German or Slavic languages, and one of those Turkic words is Laksa. As a full exploration in English of the history and culture of the Khazars, this volume is without equal, and would be quite useful reading in courses focused on the Kievan period of Russian history, as well as broader ones treating the dynamics of Central Eurasian history during these lively and formative centuries.
Since 1995, Brook has maintained the website of the American Center of Khazar Studies Khazaria. The Jews of Khazaria explores the history and culture of Khazaria—a large empire in eastern Europe located in present-day Ukraine and Russia in the early Middle Ages noted for its adoption of the Jewish religion. For history buffs, I recommend reading the whole book and perhaps use a map to aid in the reading as there are numerous references to battles, invasions and travel routes that would be much easier to understand with a map at hand. But Khazaria collapsed in the 13th century when it was attacked by the Mongols and became weakened by outbreaks of the Black Death. Aside from its well-organized text, The Jews of Khazaria has an excellent chronology, glossary, and an extensive bibliography. That being said, it was chock full of details, and obviously meticulously researched. Very rich bibliography although it'd be good to see more visual material maps, etc.
Those slavic-speaking, ethnically turkic Jews in turn were absorbed by the central European yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews who pushed east. Therefor, I mostly recommend this book for genealogists with at least 5 years experience, with some idea about the origins of the families that arrived from the Pale of Settlement; Of course, independently, the subject of the empire of Khazraia is a rich with history and glamour. The other big problem is that when Mr. The Jews of Khazaria is, in essence, a compendium of information gathered from every available source. And, it's a good thing, because the facts are fascinating.
The Jews of Khazaria chronicles the history of the Khazars, a people who, in the early Middle Ages, founded a large empire in eastern Europe located in present-day Ukraine and Russia. This nation was pressed to the west by the Byzantine Christians, to the east by the Muslims, and to the north by pagan pre-Russian peoples who warred constantly with the Khazars. Anyone interested in Jewish, Eastern European or Eurasian history, or anyone who fancies themselves a polymath, would be remiss if they failed to purchase and read this book. Such telltales have been used in past research to delve into the origins of the Basque people and the pygmy people of central Africa. They became so successful that they sent offshoots into Hungary and Romania, planting the seeds of a great diaspora. The Jews of Khazaria is an accessible introduction to Khazaria-a kingdom in the early Middle Ages noted for its adoption of the Jewish religion.
The Jews of Khazaria is, in essence, a compendium of information gathered from every available source. There are those who write history and those whom make it. After their conversion, the Khazars were ruled by a succession of Jewish kings and began to adopt the hallmarks of Jewish civilization, including the Torah and Talmud, the Hebrew script, and the observance of Jewish holidays. He disappointed me with unsubstantiated statements such as most Ukrainian Jews had Khazar background. It builds upon new studies of the Khazars, evaluating and incorporating recent theories, along with new documentary and archaeological findings. The royalty of the Khazar kingdom was descended from the Ashina Turkic dynasty.