The Non-Jewish Origins of the Sephardic Jews

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The author uses linguistic, ethnographic, and historical evidence to support his theory that the origins of Sephardic Jews are predominantly Berber and Arab.
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The author uses linguistic, ethnographic, and historical evidence to support his theory that the origins of Sephardic Jews are predominantly Berber and Arab.
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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
Following in the pattern of his earlier works on the origins of Ashkenazic Jewry, Professor Wexler presents a fascinating, but controversial linguistic study on the origins of Sephardic Jewry. Finding that many of the language patterns of Sephardic Jewry have their origins in non-Jewish languages, the author suggests that many Sephardic Jews are actually descendants of the converts who brought with them the language of their birth and integrated it into Sephardic speech patterns and dialects. furthermore, he uses linguistic clues to suggest both migration patterns and the possible isolation of Sephardic Jewry.
Based on the premise that Jewish languages such as Judeo- Arabic, Ladino, and Yiddish offer crucial clues to ethnic origins, Wexler (linguistics, Tel-Aviv U.) challenges the prevailing view that Sephardic Jewry originated in Spain, asserting that they were in fact descended from Berber proselytes. The author finds remnants of this North African Berber and Arab substrate in the language and culture of the Sephardic Jews and presents an array of linguistic (as well as historical, literary, and ethnographic) data in support of his hypothesis. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
“This is a fascinating book based upon a wealth of diverse sources not usually brought together by scholars of Sephardic history. It is based upon the premise that Jewish languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, and Yiddish offer invaluable clues to ethnic origins.Wexler challenges the prevailing view that Sephardic Jewry did not have its genesis in Spain, but in North Africa, and that the Sephardic Jews were not descended from the ancient Judaeans, but were primarily the posterity of Berber proselytes. The author detects remnants of this North African Berber and Arab substrate in the language and culture of the Sephardic Jews. He marshals a dazzling array of historic, literary, ethnographic, and—most important—linguistic data in support of his highly original hypotheses.” — Norman A. Stillman, Binghamton University
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul Wexler is Professor of Linguistics at Tel-Aviv University.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Citations
A Note on Citations and Linguistic Terminology
1 Approaches to the Study of Jewish Ethnicity and Ethnic Myths 1
2 Conversion to Judaism in the Asian, African, and Iberian Lands up to c.1200 A.D. 21
3 The North African Homeland of the Sephardic Jews and the Origin of the Term "Sephardic" 75
4 The Berbero-Arab Roots of the Sephardic Jews 105
5 The Processes of Judaization 191
6 Findings and Challenges 229
Bibliography 249
Index of Names and Topics 293
Index of Segments, Words, and Phrases 313
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    The non-Jewish origins of the Sephardic Jews

    This Author speaks nonsense, Sepharad Jews Been around forever as a matter of fact they are the only real Jews it is know that they were in Spain before Spain even became Spain and that they have outpost in Spain when the Pheonicians were in Spain and the Name given to all of Spain are of Hebrew For Ex. Toledo=Toledoth,Cordoba,Salamanca etc. Unlike the Ashkenazi that we know as a matter of fact are converts from the Kazhar whom are Turks and not really Jews. That's why 99% of The DNA test done to Sephardic concluded that they have J1e2 halogroup which is a Jewish identifier unlike Ashkenazi only 58% OK so who's the real Jews

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