GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-08 > 1124840276
From: "Glen Todd" <>
Subject: RE: [DNA] Sephardic Diaspora
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 17:37:56 -0600
Thanks. That's an interesting and amusing story. There's a second and
more pragmatic one as well. For a long time RC church law (which up until
the soi-disant 'Reformation' had a monopoly) forbade Christians the practice
of 'usury' (banking and effectively most of what today is called 'financial
services'). Thus Jews were essential as moneylenders, pawnbrokers, and
similar functions throughout the Roman-dominated world. (And producing a
tradition tying the ethnicity to finance and business that persists to this
day.) One of my own ancestors made a rather consummate ass of himself by
borrowing a quite large sum of money to finance a war which he then
proceeded to lose.
(As a wry aside, there are those who feel that the goblins of Gringott's
Wizard Bank in the Harry Potter books/movies are a backhanded reference to
I'm not entirely sure what all this has to do with the subject of the list,
except to make the observance that Jewish communities certainly could be
expected pretty much anywhere in Western Europe during the last two
millennia or so, for a variety of rather pragmatic reasons, and there is a
plethora of historical documentation supporting this. I've not been
following this discussion closely, for readily apparent reasons, but it
seems to me that the only valid point to be made here is that neither
absolutist position is sustainable; that the presence or absence of 'Jewish
markers' can only be viewed as contributory but not definitive evidence.
Such markers would neither be 'proof' of Jewish ancestry nor 'proof' of a
Roman source (as I believe was suggested), but would have to be integrated
with other forms of evidence.
> Not to forget that Christianity had another influence in
> actually attracting Jews to various Christian dominated countries.
> There was a time when Christian doctrine actually forebade Chistians
> from selling women's garments - particularly anything that was not
> visible on a public outing (yes, there have been some "strange"
> practices). Jewish dry goods dealers fortunately came to the
> rescue! That required extensive travel and settling in various