Talk: “The Double Helix of Jewish History: Genetics and the Search for the Origin of the Jews” by Steven Weitzman

Many people assume they know the origin of the Jews, tracing them back to the ancestors described in the book of Genesis, but for scholars, the origin of the Jews remains a mystery. Even after centuries of investigation, they still haven't settled on a single theory or reconstruction to account for the origin of the Jews, and research into the question continues. This talk will explore the scholarly quest to understand the origin of the Jews, focusing on the use of genetics as a new source of evidence. What does recent study of DNA reveal about the ancestry of the Jews, and why has this kind of research provoked so much criticism and controversy? Presented from the perspective of a scholar of ancient Judaism rather than a scientist, the lecture will explore what genetic research reveals about the origin(s) of the Jews and will also wrestle with the challenges of using DNA as a historical source.

This public event is presented by the Program in Jewish Culture and Society and is made possible by the Samuel and Sheila Goldberg Lectureship Fund with additional support from the Center for Advanced Study, Institute for Genomic Biology, the Department of Religion, and the Spurlock Museum.

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Contact

For further information on this event, contact the Museum Information Desk at (217) 333-2360.

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at (217) 244-5586 or cudiamat@illinois.edu (email link).