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Abraham's Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Could our sense of who we are really turn on a sliver of DNA? In our multiethnic world, questions of individual identity are becoming increasingly unclear. Now in ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN bestselling author Jon Entine vividly brings to life the profound human implications of the Age of Genetics while illuminating one of today's most controversial topics: the connection between g ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 24th 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2007)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  132 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Dec 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Over the past few decades, geneticists have been looking at the Jews, just as they have been looking at the English and the Irish. The ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews through the male line seem to have come from the Middle East; if you look at the Y chromosome, Czech Jews are far more like the Lebanese than like the non-Jewish Czechs. Their ancestors through the female line are indistinguishable from those of other Europeans, though. Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from the Khazars in any significa ...more
Olla Dilas
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a complex, somewhat fluffy and somewhat controversial piece. I feel that the writer’s focus (along with his arguing points) was lost in abundance of digressions and somewhat confusing shift of tabular lines throughout the chapters. It is difficult to determine what author’s final intention was. The subject of genetic mutations has been somewhat of taboo for decades and it is something we may prefer to simply slip under the rug and ignore. On the other hand, most of people raised in a Jew ...more
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
In this complex book covering a wide variety of issues, Entine explores the implications of being able to trace "Jewish" DNA through the male side to the biblical era in the Middle East, potentially lending truth to biblical history, and through the female Ashkenazic side to four lines of women in various parts of Europe in the middle ages. The genealogies of so-called "Crypto-Jews" who fled to the New World from the inquisition can now be traced to Jewish roots, as can the particularly Jewish d ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
The most interesting parts of this book is the (poorly fact-checked) post-biblical history of the Jewish people. Even this part suffered from such gaffes as claiming that the Assyrians invaded Palestine around 600 BC and implying that events of 1158 were motivated by policies introduced in 1215.

Credibility is further eroded by an author who treats "Marxism" and "Marxist" as pejoratives, and impugns the credibility and motivations of any academic researcher who has findings that disagree with the
Modern Girl
Lengthy and lacks and overall argument or position. Starts off quite offensive to those involved in interfaith relations (mentions the dangers of assimilation in the same sentence as the Holocaust). Muddle through a few hundred pages on the history of the Jewish people and FINALLY you get to some good stuff at the back about Jewish diseases and Jewish intelligence and the nature of race and ethnicity. But then the author starts discussing Antisemitism, and racism, and he honestly looses his voic ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
How did he dare write this? His citations are ridiculous and his DNA info is garden variety. But what is more disturbing is his use of the name "Palestine" to describe the place called Israel. It was annoying and said everything I needed to know about his politics. He hardly mentioned serious and factual and numerous books on the subject of Jews and DNA and he aggravated me - although I read it all. Sorry Mr. Entine. Choose a subject you are actually familiar with and then add real citations. I ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthropology, judaism
This is a well presented middle-brow book on the recent research into the genetics of Jews and the contributions genetics has made to paleoanthropology, tracing the migration of Jews through their genes. The book is well footnoted, but if you already have a familiarity with Jewish history, then you can get the same information from a few chapters in _Before the Dawn_, minus all the basic Jewish history you would get from _A Short History of the Jewish People_.

Mike Horne
Jul 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Fascinating subject race and DNA! This book (much like the last book--Taboo) treads warily through the mine fields but argues that race is a legitimate construct (especially in medicine). Lots of interesting stories to found in here, but I am not sure what the thesis was. I wonder how it was received? Easy read and interesting if meandering.
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
I would have liked more information about my haplogroup. This book ends up being an apology for looking at DNA. I understand why that is and why the author feels defensive about his subject. But there's more defensiveness in this book than information. It's a long, boring read at the end of which this reader at any rate felt like they got precious little for their time.
Jeff W
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: jewish
I thought that the information contained in this book was fascinating, but the science writing was incoherent. I didn't come away feeling that I knew whether the science did or didn't uphold the notion that all Jews are related. I read a lot of it in a beach house on the North Shore of Oahu, so that't not bad.
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting study of DNA. Started strong and faded for me and I limped into the end of the book, but was glad I read it. I especially liked the personal sections where Jon wrote in first person - as contrasted with some sections that read a bit like a text book.
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
i actually really loved this book. it takes a science-y spin on Jewish historical and cultural myths. the book does take a good lull in the middle, but power through! The end was definitely worth it. I suggest this book for history lovers, theists, athiests, and those interested in geneology.
CK DesGrosseilliers
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
The author tackles a number of big issues, some uncomfortably. I appreciate the insights but I'm not sure I share all his conclusions. I do find the link between our oral histories and genetic "proof" quite interesting.
Ilana Bram
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Though a bit repetitive at times, this book was very interesting to me. It shifted the way I think about what it means to be Jewish (or to "be" anything). I feel like I now have a deeper understanding of the physical history of the Jewish people. It's a quick and easy read, and not too technical.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book on many different levels. Someone interested in cancer and other diseases research will like the chapters relating to such. I got this on iBooks for $.99 and would have willingly spent full price.
daniel dirnfeld
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good book of our DNA
Dec 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Godless book....
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
First non fiction I've read in awhile. Very interesting perspective on Jewish history.
Jun 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race, jewish
Interesting topic
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Interesting though it got preachy in the end
Larry Schwartz
This will be one of the few titles that I'm going to have to read again -- and soon -- because there are many nuances that I'm not sure that I captured during the first time around.
Jay Stern
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Intriguing book
Ed Dodson
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, best in small servings. There is more history and social Science than Biochemistry and Genetics.
Anita Rudin
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very technical , but interesting book
rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2012
Eyal Smener
rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2015
veljko vujacic
rated it it was amazing
Apr 02, 2016
Ben Shuey
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2014
Dan Bratshpis
rated it it was amazing
Jun 20, 2012
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Abraham's Children by Jon Entine 1 1 Feb 15, 2016 02:32PM  
“The discovery that Father Sánchez’s paternal line is haplogroup J1 is somewhat surprising, as Spain has no large population group from within that subhaplogroup—in fact, only about 7 percent of the Spanish population tests as J1. Given the relatively small percentage of this lineage in the rest of Europe, it can safely be assumed that many J1’s from Spain share a crypto-Judaic past, which is probably true of Father Sánchez. It is also interesting to note that the signature of the Cohanim—descendants of Jewish priests—is also found in haplogroup J1.” 0 likes
“It’s believed that the man who originated the J lineage lived in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent thousands of years before some of his descendants migrated to the Middle East 7,500 years ago. It is found at its highest variety in the Zagros Mountains in western Iran and in Iraq, where 60 percent of the population test positive for it. One branch of J, designated by geneticists as J1, is restricted almost exclusively to Middle Eastern populations, and this is where the CMH marker is most commonly found. Another clade, J2, which also includes Ashkenazi Jews, is also common throughout the Mediterranean countries and into India.” 0 likes
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