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The Origin of the JewsThe Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age$
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Steven Weitzman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174600

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174600.001.0001

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(p.317) Conclusion
The Origin of the Jews

Steven Weitzman

Princeton University Press

This book has examined what scholars know—or believe they know—about the origin of the Jews, how that thinking changes from period to period, how scholarly approaches to the issue differ, and what makes the matter extremely difficult to resolve. It has discussed origin as if it were something that can be investigated using the tools of history, anthropology, archaeology, or genealogy, but it turns out to have many of the qualities of a religious concept like God. This conclusion reflects on the prospects of whether we can ascertain the origin of the Jews through a search for their ancestors. It considers postmodernism's effort to question the ontological status of origins and notes that genealogy offers a potential path forward for probing Jewish origins. Finally, it argues that scholars should not give up on trying to tell the story of the origin of the Jews.

Keywords:   history, anthropology, archaeology, genealogy, Jews, postmodernism, Jewish origins, ancestors

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