CORNERSTONE MINISTRIES

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THE KHAZARS

INTRODUCTION

Some believe the theory that modern day "Jews" are not in fact physically descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but are instead descended from the KHAZARS, supposedly a Turkish, non-Semitic race. Those who hold this view include

  • IDENTITY (British Israelism): those who believe ANGLO-SAXONS to be the 10 LOST TRIBES of Israel.

  • WHITE SUPREMACISTS

  • NEO-NAZIS

For more information on these hate groups see the following:

Since these groups form a fringe that is not edifying to orthodox Bible base Christianity it seemed good to address them and their erroneous beliefs.

ABOUT THE KAZARS

It is proposed that around the 8th century (A.D.) the (non-Jewish) KHAZARS converted to Judaism en masse, and later spread out to become the "Jewish" populations of eastern Europe. Therefore those who call themselves "JEWS" today (they say) are not really Jews at all. We would like to point out the historical data on the subject, and show the weaknesses in this theory.

THE SIGNIFICANCE of this is their following "arguments:

  • The "JEWS" today are NOT really Jews, and therefore not recipients of GOD's promises to Israel

  • The real Jews are the CAUCASIAN people, the true (so they say) descendants of Israel, and therefore the promises and prophecies apply to WHITE AMERICANS

  • The 1948 re-establishment of the NATION OF ISRAEL is NOT a fulfillment of prophecy.

NOTE: Let us point out that we am using the word "JEW" as it is commonly understood today: a reference to all physical descendants of Jacob (Israel) from any of the 12 tribes. We are well aware (as the white supremacists constantly point out) that the word etymologically comes from "JUDAH," which is only one of the 12 tribes, but word usage often changes over time and so we use the term as most English-speaking people today understand it: any Israelite from any of the 12 tribes.

KHAZARS: A RESPONSE TO THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE by Arthur Koestler

Here are some sources that allude to the above theory, pro and con:

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA: "A few scholars have even asserted that the Judaized Khazars were the remote ancestors of many of the Jews of eastern Europe and Russia."

JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (1906): "Many (Khazars) intermingled in the Crimea with the local Jews; the Krimtschaki are probably their descendants-perhaps some of the Subotniki also.... Some went to Hungary, but the great mass of the people remained in their native country. Many members of the Khazarian royal family emigrated to Spain."

UNIVERSAL JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (1945): "Descendants of the Khazar Jews are believed to have migrated to Kiev and other parts of Russia."

ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA (1973): "Groups have been mentioned as migrating to Central Europe from the East or have been referred to as Khazars, thus making it impossible to overlook the possibility that they originated from within the former Khazar Empire. The Turkish-speaking Karaites [Jews] of the Crimea, Poland, and elsewhere have affirmed a connection with the Khazars, which is perhaps confirmed by evidence from folklore and anthropology as well as language. There seems to be a considerable amount of evidence attesting to the continued presence in Europe of descendants of the Khazars."

D.M. DUNLOP, HISTORY OF THE JEWISH KHAZARS (Princeton Univ. Press, 1954): "It only remains now to consider the theory that the modern Jews of eastern Europe, or more particularly those in Poland, are the descendants of the medieval Khazars. This can be dealt with very shortly, because there is LITTLE EVIDENCE which bears directly upon it, and it unavoidably retains the character of a mere assumption. ... To speak of the Jews of eastern Europe as descendants of the Khazars...would be to GO MUCH BEYOND WHAT OUR IMPERFECT RECORDS ALLOW." (pp. 261,263. Emphasis has been added to quotations. Dunlop is a source book for Koestler. Koestler believes the theory that east European Jews are descendants of the Khazars.)

WHO WERE THE KHAZARS?

The Khazar Empire was located between the Caspian and Black Seas in what is now southern Russia. The empire flourished from about the 6th to the 10th centuries. They are mentioned in Arab, Jewish, Greek and Byzantine literature from mid-6th to mid-13th centuries. Where they came from is uncertain. Where they ended up after their fall is unknown for sure. The 2 Khazar contributions to history are:

  • they stopped the advance of the Muslims about the same time Charles Martel defeated the Muslims at the battle of Tours (732). If not for the Khazars the Muslims might have taken over Europe, and we might all be Mohammedans today;

  • THE CONVERSION TO JUDAISM of the Khazar king and his court about 740 A.D.(?).

THE SOURCES OF INFORMATION

The Khazars are mentioned in several sources, dating from the 6th to the 13th centuries.

  • There are about half a dozen or more BYZANTINE sources,

  • 10 or so JEWISH sources,

  • about 2 dozen ARAB sources,

  • plus some RUSSIAN sources. These often disagree with each other on dates and details. For centuries only the Jews kept alive the memory of the Khazars, with the rest of the world skeptical, until the late 19th century when other (Arab) sources came to light, and the 'scholarly' world finally admitted the existence of the Khazars and their historical importance. The Jews had based their information on documents called "THE KHAZAR CORRESPONDENCE," letters between Hasdai, a Jewish foreign minister in Spain, and Joseph, king of the Khazars, written about 960.

WHERE DID THE KHAZARS COME FROM?

The generally accepted theory is that they are of Turkish origin, But.some have believed that they were ISRAELITES: the "10 lost tribes"!:

  • Hasdai, who wrote the Khazar Correspondence, believed they were

  • Isaac ‘Akrish, who first published the Khazar Correspondence, believed the same

  • Karaite Jews of Crimea (once part of Khazaria) and Poland "claim a connection" with Khazars.....Karaite Jews claim to be directly descended from New Testament Saducees, Jews who reject the Talmud (some Russian governments would exempt Karaites from Jewish persecution, considering them to be the "10 lost tribes," and therefore not responsible for Jesus' death)

  • Ibn Fadlan, an Arab writer, refers to the Khazar king as "a Jew"

  • Maquadasisi, another Arab, says, "in Khazaria...Jews exist in large quantity"

  • Inb Hawkal, Arab, says only a Jew could be a Khazar king

  • Masudi, another Arab says the same

  • In Russian folklore Khazaria is referred to as the 'country of the Jews'

WERE THE KHAZARS ORIGINALLY JEWS??

Here are more extensive quotes documenting the above:

"The Turkish-speaking Karaites of the Crimea, Poland and elsewhere have affirmed a connection with the Khazars, which is perhaps confirmed by evidence from folklore and anthropology as well as language." (Encyclopedia Judaica, quoted by Koestler, p. 16) "Legends connect them with Abraham" (ibid., p. 22).

KHAZARS are referred to as "JEWS" (without distinguishing them as proselytes) by:

  • IBN FADLAN (Arab writer, quoting king of Bulgars),

  • IBN HAWKAL (ca. 977: "they give the Khacanship only to JEWS'),

  • HASDAI (who wrote the "KHAZAR CORRESPONDENCE") thought the Khazars to be the 10 lost tribes,

  • ELDAD HA-DANI, Jewish traveller, says Khazaria is 3 of the lost tribes,

  • the RUSSIAN CHRONICLE refers to Khazaria as "the country of the Jews,"

  • WESTERN JEWS in the Middle Ages called Khazars 'red Jews,'

  • ‘the Biblically minded SLAVONIC EPICS speak of "Jews" rather than Khazars (all above from Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe).

ISAAC 'AKRISH, 1577, publisher of "THE KHAZAR CORRESPONDENCE," thought they were Jews (Jewish Encyclopedia).

"According to another version (of the conversion), discovered by Solomon Schechter, the Jews who had sought refuge from persecution in the land of the Khazars had intermarried extensively with the indigenous peoples. The latter in those days always acclaimed the bravest of their generals as king. It happened that A JEW once distinguished himself in battle and was raised to the throne; prompted by the urgings of his wife and father-in-law, he prepared to make public his adherence to the Jewish faith" (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia).

"The khacanate is not conferred on any but a Jew" according to Arab AL-ISTAKHRI. "The Khazars were generally known to their neighbors as Jews" (Encyclopedia Judaica).

"Their king is a Jew" says Arab ISTAKHRI (932), likewise IBN-RUSTAH: "Their supreme ruler is a Jew."

According to FIRKOVITCH's theory: the "Karaites had left Palestine before the time of Christ and were in the Crimea earlier than the arrival of the Khazars."

The CAMBRIDGE DOCUMENT represents the Khazar kings as JEWISH FROM THE FIRST, not as becoming Jews.

Citing ELDAD HA-DANI: "The tribe of SIMEON is in the land of the Khazars" (all from Dunlop, History Of The Jewish Khazars).

EVEN IF THE KHAZARS ARE FROM NON-SEMITIC STOCK, the land of the Khazars all along had PHYSICAL JEWS living there. As Jews were scattered all over the world, many came to Khazaria to escape persecution, since the Khazars practiced religious toleration.

KHAZARIA HAD JEWISH IMMIGRANTS AMONGST ITS POPULATION

Khazars "had been well acquainted with Jews and their religious observances for at least a century before the conversion, through THE CONTINUED INFLUX OF REFUGEES from religious persecution in Byzantium."

"’The king of the Khazars had already become a Jew...and he was joined by JEWS FROM ALL OVER THE LANDS OF ISLAM AND FROM THE COUNTRY OF THE GREEKS.... MANY JEWS TOOK FLIGHT FROM THE COUNTRY OF THE GREEKS TO KHAZARIA.'"

"The only mercy shown by history to those who TOOK TO FLIGHT, or were driven to it, was the existence of Khazaria."

"The Byzantine Emperor forced the Jews to emigrate; these EMIGRANTS CAME TO THE KHAZAR COUNTRY."

"Jewish influence at the Khazar court must already have been strong BEFORE THE FORMAL CONVERSION."

"Saadiah Gaon (882-942)...mentions a Mesopotamian Jew who went to Khazaria to settle there, as if this were an everyday occurrence." (Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe, pp. 59,60,61,63,64,80).

IT IS GENERALLY ACCEPTED that the "CONVERSION" to Judaism (ca. 740) only included the king and his court, NOT THE WHOLE COUNTRY. There are in fact 2 versions of the "conversion," one saying that the king had been a Jew all along and only decided to finally make it public. KHAZARIA also included many MUSLIMS and CHRISTIANS and PAGANS. If the Jewish settlements of Poland and Russia were made of Khazars, IT WAS OBVIOUSLY THESE JEWS FROM KHAZARIA. If not, what happened to all those PHYSICAL JEWS who had settled there?

THE "CONVERSION" TO JUDAISM INVOLVED A FEW OFFICIALS, NOT THE GENERAL POPULATION

"Probably AD 740, the KING, HIS COURT, AND THE MILITARY RULING CLASS EMBRACED THE JEWISH FAITH."

"In this city (Khazaran-Itil) are Muslims, Christians, Jews and pagans. The Jews are the king, his attendants and the Khazars of his kind. (footnote: 'i.e., presumably THE RULING TRIBE of ‘White Khazars’).'" (Koestler, pp. 15,60)

"According to Ibn Fadlan, Ibn Dastah, and others, ONLY THE KING AND THE GRANDEES WERE FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM. The rest of the Khazars were Christians, Mohammedans, and heathens; and THE JEWS WERE IN A GREAT MINORITY." (Jewish Encyclopedia)

"KHAZARS, a medieval people...WHOSE RULING CLASS adopted Judaism during the 8th century...."

"The Jews were greatly outnumbered by the pagan masses, by Moslem and Christian inhabitants of the cities." (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia)

"THE LEADING KHAZARS professed Judaism."

"The conversion of the LEADING KHAZARS to Judaism perhaps took place toward 740 C.E." (Jewish Encyclopedia)

"The most striking characteristic of the Khazars was the apparent adoption of Judaism BY THE KHAGAN AND THE GREATER PART OF THE RULING CLASS in about 740." (Encyclopedia Britannica)

"In the town (Atil, the capital of Khazaria) are people of the Muslims, more than 10,000, it is said. They have about thirty mosques. ... Their king is a Jew.... The Khazars’ smallest group is the Jews...though THE KING AND HIS COURT ARE JEWS."

"Their supreme ruler is a Jew.... The rest of them have a religion like the religion of the Turks." (Dunlop, The History Of The Khazars, quoting Arab sources)

EVEN THOUGH THESE PHYSICAL JEWS MUST HAVE INTERMARRIED with Gentiles, that does not invalidate their Jewishness, any more than all the intermarriage that was practiced in the OLD TESTAMENT: Joseph, Abraham, Judah, Moses, Solomon and many others married Gentile wives. IN THE MESSIANIC LINE you find Rahab and Ruth and Tamar (Gentiles)... see also Deuteronomy 21:11-12.

THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO: the Jewish centers of Poland, Russia, Eastern Europe (and hence, America) were begun by JEWS from Khazaria.

We agree with Dunlop’s view: that there is LITTLE EVIDENCE to support the theory that modern Jews are in fact non-Jewish descendants of Khazar converts to Judaism, in light of the considerations as we have just documented:

  • there are many witnesses that testify that the Khazars were originally ISRAELITES

  • even if they were not, Khazaria had a significant JEWISH POPULATION of immigrants within its borders

  • many voices indicate that the only "conversion" to Judaism involved a few government officials, NOT the general population

  • there is a second account of the "conversion" that states that the king was ALREADY a Jew and merely made it public.

The data that we have overwhelmingly speaks loud and long that Koestler's theory is groundless and can be treated as nothing more than a curiosity with little or no foundation.

The identity of the 10 LOST TRIBES of Israel has been a subject of much heated debate. Many theories have been proposed:

  • Herbert W. Armstrong (and others) have claimed the ANGLO-SAXONS are the lost tribes

  • The Mormons (and many early Americans such as Cotton Mather) propose that the AMERICAN INDIANS are the lost tribes

  • Some black groups claim AFRICANS are the lost tribes

  • As we have seen, many have thought that the KHAZARS comprise the lost tribes of Israel

While it is an interesting subject there really seems to be no clear reason to think that the 10 lost tribes were ever really lost.

  • The 12 tribes are mentioned in the New Testament (James 1:1), and Anna the prophetess in Luke 2 is identified as being from the tribe of ASHER (supposedly lost).

  • The total number of JEWS from JUDAH taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar is 4,600 (Jeremiah 52:31), yet 70 years later over 42,000 returned (Ezra 2:64), so returnees must have included people from EVERY tribe.

  • Ask a Jew today what tribe he is from and he will tell you he does not know (except COHENS, which are sons of Aaron). Why wouldn't they know if they were all from Judah?

  • It is certain that the distinctions between the tribes has been lost through 2000 years of intermarrying, but there is no solid reason to think that the 10 tribes all became the Anglo-Saxon people. Read any encyclopedia article on ANGLO-SAXONS to see that their history is separate from Israel's.

    Also see Judaism is not a race.

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