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Pseudo-Science: Priestly Genetics

Updated on August 19, 2012

The following article is a recent letter exchanged with a Professor in Social Anthropology at a New York university. When he first contacted me it was in regards to his concerns that the science of genotyping was being used by some with specific political and ethnic agendas. Having seen some of the correspondence he has received from the contract laboratory performing the research then I have to agree, there is an undisclosed agenda by those that have financed the research. The researchers admit to as much saying that they never inquired why the project was funded or from whom the funding was coming. Simply stated, they were asked to identify the Cohen Modal Haplotype, in otherwords identify those people that were the high priests of Jewish descent and affix that label to them, but more so they were to establish a single genetic line to the exclusion of all others. In this particular case it was the J1e haplotype, even though many smaller haplotypes make up close to 50% of the priestly inheritance claim. And as I have written in my other articles as well as weill emphasize in this one, the fact that J1e is the majority population clearly establishes the fact that it is not the lineage of the High Priesthood but merely the line from the levites that Ezra elevated to the high priesthood due to the shortage of true Kohenim that returned from exile in Babylon. The queston one should ask is why such a tremendous amount of money has been spent to establish this genetic model in the first place and what is its ultimate purpose? As I explained to the Professor, the intent and purpose is the same that it has always been for over 2200 years. But the crime is to use science to finally achieve their goal of eradicating the lineage of the true Kohanim. If they are permitted to do this, then they have openly challenged God's will that the Rod of Aaron never falls from the hand and as the Old Testament has clearly indicated, this can only prove a disaster for all of mankind.

The Letter

Shalom Mark,
When I read his responses it was clear to me that he said the project was driven for two reasons. ONe was commercial and the secondly may have been political. I think he was very accurate with that description. He also said that they made no attempt to combine any of their work with the actual history. That is also clear. So what he was trying to say to you was don't shoot the messenger. Even within the Jewish community, propaganda machines are well oiled but one must ask exactly for what purpose. The essential questions were, 1) Why was the commercial funding made available for the project. Obviously it was the intent and purpose of those that provided the funds to achieve a defined goal. One can assume that it was to restore the Kohanim for the rebuilding of a Temple, but then why do it on the fallacy of the more common haplotype when any historian would have known that the smaller group would have been more likely descended from the original priesthood that was failed to be fully restored in the sixth century BCE during the return from exile and had to be supplemented by the lay priests. 2) What is the political purpose. And there is always a political purpose when large amounts of money are pumped into research for what would superficially appear to be nothin more than an interesting research project with no apparent return or benefit.
Now as for the timelines, I just needed to clarify some of your earlier comments so that historically you can see the progression of events.
Around 510 BCE Ezra and Nehemia return from Babylon to restore the Temple and Priesthood. They totally alienate the Samaritans whom offered to help build the Temple. Now what does this offer mean exactly? The Samaritans had their own Temple on Mt. Gerzim, so having a rival Temple build would not have been in their best interests and it is unlikely they were referring to the physical building. What they were referring to most likely was restoring the High Priest from a proper family. Since the Kohenim in Samaria were all descendants through Hilkiah from Aaron, there was no question to their legitimacy. Having one of their line serve in Jerusalem would create a strong political alliance but it would mean displacing the authority of Ezra and he was not going to have any part of that.
Around 200 BCE a new political group made up of studens arose in Judea that wanted to challenge the authority of the Temple priesthood. These were the Pharisees. Why would they challenge, because they no longer believed the priesthood was the original sanctified lineage and in that matter they were right. They knew Ezra had filled the openings with the Levites. That gave them the authority to challenge. If lay priests could teach then so could they.
The real opportunity came under the Hasmoneans. Now there was a line of priests definitely not entitled to be high priests and on top of that they called themselves kings. Alexander Jannai killed thousands of the Pharasaic protestors which only worsened the situation.
After this slaughter, in order to appease the masses who were beginning to support the Pharisees over the priesthood, a reformation occurred. The high priests were only to be taken from the original family lines that were definitely Aaronic and had returned with Ezra. These four houses were Phiabi, Anan, Seth and Boethus. This made the people happy but only made the Pharisees more determined.
As the Pharisees gained seats on the Sanhedrin they began to change the laws to move them away from the original Torah and more towards their oral traditions. There was no written Talmud as yet. This caused a split amongst the Priesthood between those that were willing to follow the Pharisim and those that were traditionalists. No surprise that the elevated lay priests were willing to go along with the Pharisees as they wanted to hold on to power, and the traditionalists were known as the sons of Zadok and sons of Boethus.
This battle went on and was still weighted towards the priesthood until about 30 BCE. At that time two Pharisim began the rabbinical movement. These were Hillel and Shammai. They started to ordain Rabbis, teachers that would go out amongst the people and officiate in religous matters thus usurping the priestly authority. After the fall of the Temple there was no longer anyone to challenge these rabbis. The Zadokite and Boethian movements remained for severall hundred years but during this time the rabbis were writing the Talmud to supplant the Torah, finishing that work in the fourth century ACE. At that time total control was in the hands of the Rabbinate.
In the 8th century ACE, the rightful exilarch, Anan ben David had his authority stripped by the Rabbinical council. Recognizing that everything they did was in direct conflict with the Torah he bagan what is known as Karaism. If anything it was an extension of the Boethian movement. By the 10 and 11 century, the movement had gained in such popularity that it threatened to become the majority sect of Judaism. That is when the Rabbinate branded us as heretics and Saadia Gaon made his edict that to Kill a Karaite is no different then Killing a dog. And it happened. Mesopotamia, Spain, they slaughtered us in the thousands but they will not admit to it even though they know their own history of having blood on their hands. In my Karaite heritage I was told to never forget what they did and I never will. Judah Ha Levi, one of their own scholars praised the killing of the Karaite heretics in Spain. They were proud of their achievements.
What does this all have to do with the original quesions. Simply that the rabbanite cannot afford to have the rightful priesthood challenge them for authority. Though Karaites are still small in number, there are many beginning to see the sense behind joining our movement which eliminates the Talmud. If you have ever read the Talmud you would understand why this book has been the cause of many of the porgroms and exterminations of our people. Simply stated, the genetic testing could restore the original priesthood, which by Torahitic law are the only teachers of the Jewish people and that would prove disasterous to the very lucrative rabbinical business. Being well aware that one way or another the genetics will proceed, it is better from their perspective to fund the science so that it ordains a specific priesthood, (the elevated lay priests) to the title of High Priests so that the authority remains under the control of the Rabbinate and they do not lose their power.
That is how I view the situation and why the CMH efforts were made in the first place.
Hope this history has helped place it all in perspective.
Shalom Aleichim

In Conclusion

As a Kohen of J2a4h2e descent I know exactly who my ancestors are. I know the stories that have been passed down through my family and the heritage we have cherished for over three thousand years cannot be merely wiped away because there is a group lobbying for their candidate line to be declared as true inheritors. I appeal to my close relatives within the Katz (KAhana TZedec) family to declare your disdain of this pseudo-science that is attempting to remove our ancestors from the pages of history. Though you as Katz have been firmly within the Rabbanite camp and are legendary for your many rabbinic sages, I remind you that above else your ancestors, which are also mine, prized their priestly inheritance above all else. Are you willing to let that God-given birthrite be removed from us because of some spurious agenda of a rabbanite group in league with a group of scientists that will do and say anything for money? Let's set aside our Karaite-Rabbanite differences and at this time openly declare our inheritance once and for all in defiance of this genetic distortion by usurpers. You know why we were called Kahana. You know why you were Kahana Tzedec from which you took the name Katz. Because historically we were always recognized that we were direct descendants of the Kohen Gadol. No one must ever be permitted to take that away from us!

Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana


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    • Kahana profile image

      Kahana 5 years ago

      The Zadokite and Boethian movements predated the Karaite movement but one often hears that they were all one and the same. So in that case the terminology changed but the official opposition group to the Rabbanites was long established from the 2nd century BCE.

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      mkaufma 5 years ago

      According to some Karaite websites I have read Anan ben David did not start Karaism because there were already Karaite communities in existence in Egypt. They say that to counter the rabbinic charge that Karaism was not an organic movement and that not everyone excepted the authority of the rabbis. Is that completely false? Also, are there others such as yourself who have a family history reaching out to the depths of the past into the Kahana? If that was the case it his more likely that a public case could be made for the Kahana.