Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Jewish Dialogue With Greece and Rome





BRILL, 2001 - Religion - 579 pages
 
Twenty-seven interdisciplinary essays on aspects of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world, exemplifying a wide range of techniques, by a well-known scholar. Three are previously unpublished, including a reappraisal of the Judaism and Hellenism debate and a study of the Sardis synagogue. The book's overall coherence derives from the author's long-standing interests in the analysis of texts as documents of cultural and religious interaction, and in how Jewish communities were woven into the social fabric of Greek cities in the Hellenistic and Roman East. The four sections are: Greeks and Jews, Josephus, The Jewish Diaspora and Epigraphy, and finally Beyond the
Greeks and Jews, Josephus, The Jewish Diaspora and Epigraphy, and an epilogue, which addresses modern uses and abuses of the Greek-Jewish polarity as exemplified by three nineteenth-century writers. Scholars and students from a wide variety of backgrounds will benefit.This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details."
 
Author: Tessa Rajak

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.06.42


And, taken from: http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2004/2004-06-42.html

Tessa Rajak, The Jewish Dialogue with Greece and Rome. Studies in Cultural and Social Interaction. Leiden: Brill, 2002. Pp. 578. ISBN 0-391-04133-9. $53.00 (pb).




Reviewed by Chris Seeman, Coe College (cjseeman@webperception.com)
Word count: 1405 words


This collection of 27 essays (most of them previously published) spans nearly three decades of a prodigious scholarly career. As the title intimates, the unifying thread of these studies is their concern with documenting the impact of Hellenic culture and Roman rule on the Jews of Palestine and of the Mediterranean Diaspora (with one foray into Parthian territory). Throughout, Rajak is committed not only to exploring how these encounters shaped Jewish society and self-perception, but also with the ramifications of this process for our own understanding of the nature and potentialities of "Hellenism" -- a neologism which, we must remember, was itself coined by a Jewish author condemning (in polished literary Greek!) his countrymen's embrace of Greek institutions.

The collection is arranged into four parts, proceeding more or less chronologically and geographically across the terrain of Second Temple and Late Antique Judaism. The contents are as follows. PART ONE: "Judaism and Hellenism Revisited," "The Sense of History in Jewish Intertestamental Literature," "Hasmonean Kingship and the Invention of Tradition," "The Hasmoneans and the Uses of Hellenism," "Roman Intervention in a Seleucid Siege of Jerusalem?," "Dying For the Law: The Martyr's Portrait in Jewish-Greek Literature;" PART TWO: "Ethnic Identities in Josephus," "Friends, Romans, Subjects: Agrippa II's Speech in Josephus' Jewish War," "Justus of Tiberius as a Jewish Historian," " Josephus and Justus of Tiberius," " The Against Apion and the Continuities in Josephus' Political Thought," "Ciò Che Flavio Giuseppe Vide: Josephus and the Essenes," "Josephus and the 'Archaeology' of the Jews," "Moses in Ethiopia: Legend and Literature," "The Parthians in Josephus;" PART THREE: "Was There a Roman Charter for the Jews?," "The Jewish Community and its Boundaries," "Jews and Christians as Groups in a Pagan World," "Benefactors in the Greco-Jewish Diaspora," "Archisynagogoi: Office, Title and Social Status in the Greco-Jewish Synagogue," "Inscription and Context: Reading the Jewish Catacombs of Rome," "Jews, Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Sardis: Models of Interaction," "The Synagogue in the Greco-Roman City," "The Rabbinic Dead and the Diaspora Dead as Beth She'arim;" PART FOUR: "Jews, Semites and their Cultures in Fergus Millar's Roman Near East," "Talking at Trypho: Christian Apologetic as Anti-Judaism in Justin's Dialogue," "Jews and Greeks: The Invention and Exploitation of Polarities in the Nineteenth Century."

Inasmuch as these essays may be taken to share an overarching thesis or starting point, it is their author's unswerving conviction that the "Hellenization" of groups or individuals cannot be measured by any externally derived, monolithic scale. Ethnic identity, as Jonathan Hall has pointed out, consists not primarily of indicia, but resides rather in self-definition, in categories and constellations generated by the actors themselves. To this paradigm shift Rajak adds the further methodological distinction that the study of Jewish identity in relation to Greek culture must differentiate between incipient acculturation (which need not even be conscious) and the deliberate use of Greek institutions or conventions as a tool of policy. "Hellenism" Rajak reserves for the latter. These two processes are separable, she argues, because the actors who encounter and engage them perceive them to be so. The topical and evidential diversity of Rajak's research in this volume reflects the challenges created by this agenda.

Rajak wastes no time in tackling head-on the Hasmonean dynasty, whose career has traditionally been treated as the archetype of "Hellenism vs. Judaism as a zero-sum game." In her incisive analysis of the rise of the Maccabees under Seleucid patronage, Rajak powerfully demonstrates that interdependence with Macedonian hegemony increased in direct -- rather than inverse -- proportion to Hasmonean efforts to present themselves in terms of traditional Israelite models of leadership: in coinage, literary production, and public pronouncements. The successors of Judas Maccabee, Rajak suggests, neither categorized their own actions, nor were categorized by others, in terms of degrees of "Greekness." Rajak spends less time exploring the other side of this equation: to what extent the policies of the Hasmoneans (such as their forced circumcision of neighboring peoples) affected how "Jewishness" was conceived. Her suggestion (following Doron Mendels), that this novel tool of expansionism may have had more to do with a concept of territoriality than with a conversionist ethos, is a thought worth pursuing further.

Josephus is rarely absent from Rajak's deliberations. His own multiple identities as native aristocrat, Flavian client, and expositor of Judaism to a Greek world renders him a natural centerpiece for the collection. Josephus' substantial literary production adds important historiographic and rhetorical dimensions to Rajak's account. Rejecting simplistic caricatures of Josephus as a mere Flavian apologist or facile purveyor of interpretatio Graecae, Rajak undertakes close readings of Herod Agrippa's pre-revolt speech in Book 2 of the Jewish War, and of Josephus' descriptions of the Essenes in relation to the literature of Qumran, in order to produce a nuanced view of the complex interface between historical veracity, authorial voice, and audience expectations. In the case of Agrippa, she concludes that, while the speech is a literary artifact of Josephus, it nonetheless plausibly reproduces attitudes Agrippa is likely to have held. Agrippa's representation of Roman rule, though himself a beneficiary of it, falls well short of a benign view of empire (and hence should not be regarded as a mere cipher for Flavian ideology).

In the case of the Essenes, Rajak persuasively demonstrates that, while Josephus based his depiction of the Essenes in Book 2 of the Jewish War on first-hand knowledge, the sequence of rubrics he deploys to arrange this information has been modeled upon the categories of Greek ethnographic writing and, less directly, on Plato and Aristotle's discussion of constitutional forms. This accounts not only for what details Josephus includes for his Greek audience but also which aspects of Essene life (derived from our knowledge of the Dead Sea Scrolls) he chooses to leave out. Rajak's analysis operates on the premise that Qumran was, in fact, an Essene community (a matter of continued scholarly debate). While she makes a good case for this, it does not necessarily follow that the Qumranites were foremost in Josephus' mind when he produced his description. Qumran may well have been Essene, but it need not have been representative of all Essenes. We should remain wary of Josephus' simplification of Judaism into a triad of "philosophies" with unitary identities and mutually exclusive boundaries.

Part Three of this collection (the Mediterranean Diaspora) fittingly begins with Rajak's groundbreaking -- and still provocative -- essay on Jewish civic status in the Roman world, which effectively demolishes the long-held notion that the Hellenistic polis was an ethnically bounded entity from which Jews were necessarily excluded, such that they required explicit legislation to make their standing secure. Rajak's arguments need not be rehearsed here. What is significant about the essay's inclusion in this collection is that the articles which follow it provide ample corroboration for its thesis on the basis of epigraphic evidence -- not for Jewish privileges, but for the integration of Jewish communities into Greek cities through the informal ties of private benefaction. This is seen not only in the "donor inscriptions" of Aphrodisias and Acmonia, but equally by the honorary character of titles pertaining to "offices" of the Jewish community, most notably that of archisynagogos.

The counterpoint to Rajak's emphasis on the synagogue is her questioning of the degree of rabbinic (i.e., Palestinian) influence on the forms of Jewish life in the Diaspora. Rajak's assessment of this matter is largely negative, not with a view to minimizing the importance of the rabbinic movement to late antique Judaism but rather to emphasize the time it took for such influence to be exercised and felt abroad. Even in the holy land itself, as her critical appraisal of the tomb inscriptions of Beth She'arim indicates, the rabbis did not yet dominate social and religious life.

Rajak's concluding essay is an exercise in modern intellectual and cultural history, rather than an analysis of ancient evidence; yet its relevance for the latter is obvious. As Rajak observes, the Romantic elevation of Hellenism to a cultural ideal by Herder, Renan and others set the terms in which Jewish history would be conceptualized in scholarly discourse as well as popular imagination during the 19th and into the 20th centuries. "Greekness" came to be defined by what it was not, and that was Judaism (or "Hebraism," as the participants of that debate would have dubbed it). This legacy of oppositionally defined cultures is still with us today, and it is that which endows Rajak's reorientation of the subject with enduring value.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nebuchednezzar Descended from Queen of Sheba in Rabbinical Literature

 
 

Taken from: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11407-nebuchadnezzar

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—In Rabbinical Literature:

Nebuchadnezzar, the "wicked one" ("ha-rasha'"; Meg. 11a; Ḥag. 13b; Pes. 118a), was a son—or descendant?—of the Queen of Sheba by her marriage with Solomon ("Alphabet Ben Sira," ed. Venice, 21b; comp. Brüll's "Jahrb." ix. 9), and a son-in-law of Sennacherib (Targ. to Isa. x. 32; Lam. R., Introduction, 23, says "a grandson"), with whom he took part in the expedition of the Assyrians against Hezekiah, being one of the few who were not destroyed by the angels before Jerusalem (Sanh. 95b). He came to the throne in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim of Judah, whom he subjugated and, seven years later, killed after that king had rebelled. Nebuchadnezzar did not on this occasion go to Jerusalem, but received the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, informing that body that it was not his intention to destroy the Temple, but that the rebellious Jehoiakim must be delivered to him, which in fact was done (Seder 'Olam R. xxv.; Midr. 'Eser Galuyyot, ed. Grünhut, "Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim," iii.; Lev. R. xix.; comp. Jehoiakim in Rabbinical Literature).
 
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Close Convergence of Abram (Abraham) and Menes

 
Egyptian God of Wisdom, Thoth

 
Taken from:
http://www.emmetsweeney.net/article-directory/item/70-abraham-and-egypt.html

by
 
Emmet Sweeney

 
Abraham and Egypt

According to biblical tradition, the Hebrews were a tribe of Mesopotamian nomads who, under the leadership of Abraham, or Abram, made their way to the “promised land” of Canaan. Their wanderings did not stop there, however, for we are told that during a time of famine Abraham led his followers into Egypt.
The Scriptures tell us very little of Abraham’s sojourn in the land of the Nile, save that after an initial welcome he and his followers were asked to leave by the pharaoh. The first century historian Josephus has rather more to say and provides a curious story, evidently derived from Jewish oral tradition. According to this, Abraham was the inventor of numerous arts and sciences, and it is hinted that he taught the Egyptians the rudiments of civilized life. Pharaoh, according to Josephus, gave Abraham,
… leave to enter into conversation with the most learned of the Egyptians; from which conversation his virtue and reputation became more conspicuous that they had been before.
For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one another’s sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry with one another on that account; Abram conferred with each of them, and confuting the reasonings they made use of, every one for their own practices, he demonstrated that such reasonings were vain and void of truth; whereupon he was admired by them in these great conferences as a very wise man, and one of great sagacity. He communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for, before Abram came into Egypt they were unaccustomed with these parts of learning. (Jewish Antiquities, Bk. 1)
Until now, these claims of Josephus (and similar ones in Talmudic literature) have been dismissed as little more than the patriotic boasts of a Jew on behalf of the founder of his race. His claim that Abraham had taught the arts of civilization to the Egyptians – always regarded as one of the oldest of civilized nations – has always seemed absurd.
Thus matters have long rested. But with the advent of modern archaeology in the nineteenth century strange facts began to emerge which called Josephus’ words to mind. Flinders Petrie, for example, who did extensive work on the origins of dynastic Egyptian culture, was astonished to find that the very earliest stage of pharaohnic civilization was heavily influenced by Mesopotamia. (Petrie, The Making of Egypt, London, 1939) The evidence seemed conclusive, becoming more voluminous with each dig; and indeed the pronounced Mesopotamian inspiration behind the first Egyptian civilization has now become part of received wisdom.
In the 1971 edition of the Cambridge Ancient History, I. E. S. Edwards devoted considerable space to the question:
“Foremost among the indications of early contacts between Egypt and Mesopotamia must be counted the occurrence in both countries of a small group of remarkably similar designs, mostly embodying animals.” (Edwards p. 41) The artistic parallels are detailed and striking: “Both on the Narmer palette and on the seals, the necks of the monsters are interlaced – a well-attested motif in Mesopotamian art, to which the interlaced serpents found on three protodynastic knife-handles may be an additional artistic parallel.” (Edwards, “The Early Dynastic Period in Egypt,” in The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 1 part 2 (3rd ed) p. 41)
Some Egyptian work of this period looks as if it was actually produced in Mesopotamia. A famous ivory knife-handle, for example, found at Gebel el-Araq, “portrays in finely carved relief a bearded man clothed in Sumerian costume and holding apart two fierce lions.” In Edwards’ words, “… so closely does the composition of this scene resemble the so-called Gilgamesh motif, frequently represented on Mesopotamian scenes, that the source of its inspiration can hardly be questioned.”
Even the earliest Egyptian architecture, found in the Early Dynastic mastaba tombs, has an apparently Mesopotamian antecedent: “ … excavation in Mesopotamia has revealed the more primitive wooden constructions from which this style of architecture was no doubt derived, and … the earliest Mesopotamian examples in brick are considerably older than the first mastabas of the Naqada form found in Egypt, where thy appear quite suddenly at the beginning the First Dynasty.” (Edwards, loc cit. p. 43)
In terms of writing, the Sumerian and Egyptian hieroglyphic scripts showed “certain affinities”. Nonetheless, the differences between the two are “too significant to be disregarded,” and “it is probably correct to assess the Sumerian contribution to the Egyptian science of writing as mainly suggestive and limited to imparting a knowledge of the underlying principles.”
Scholars are at a loss in trying to identify these Mesopotamian culture-bearers. Commercials intercourse is regarded as “unlikely” because “the movement seems to have been in one direction only – from East to West.” The bearers of the Mesopotamian influences were “Sumerians who migrated to Egypt and settled in the Nile valley.” (Edwards, loc cit. p. 44) This was no great invasion but the movement, over a short period of time, of small groups. “There are good grounds for believing that the numbers of immigrants was not such as to constitute an invasion and that the flow could not have continued after the beginning of the First Dynasty.” (Edwards, loc cit. p. 45)
The reader could be excused for believing that in the above sentence Edwards was actually trying to describe, in modern terms, the migration of the Abraham tribe into Egypt. But of course no such thought could enter a contemporary scholar’s mind, since biblical chronology places Abraham, roughly, around 2000 BC, whereas Menes, the first pharaoh, is dated to slightly before 3000 BC – over 1000 years earlier! Thus any possible connection between the migration of Abraham to Egypt (which Talmudic sources placed during the reign of the first pharaoh) and the very real connections between Mesopotamia and Egypt which archaeology found at the start of the First Dynasty, was ruled out even before it was considered. Yet, strangely enough, there exists a whole corpus of other evidence linking Abraham to the First Dynasty; indeed to the first pharaoh: For the character and personality of Abraham bears close comparison with that of Menes, the semi-legendary founder of the First Dynasty.
First and foremost, Menes – like Abraham – was regarded as the founder of civilized life. A whole series of arts, sciences and skills were associated with his name. Later Egyptians insisted that it was with Menes that the people of the Nile Valley became a cultured and literate nation,
Both characters were also regarded as religious innovators. Thus in Genesis 17:9 Abraham initiates the custom of circumcision, a ritual that was to stay with the Hebrews throughout their history and was to become a central religious duty. In Moses’ time, the instrument used to perform the operation was a flint knife – suggestive of the custom’s remote antiquity. (Exodus 4:12) But circumcision was also one of the most ancient customs of Egypt, apparently introduced near the beginning of the dynastic period. Circumcision seems to have constituted a type of propitiatory sacrifice, and we know from Diodorus Siculus that Menes “taught the people to worship gods and offer sacrifices” (Diodorus i, 45, 1). The names Menes, which Herodotus renders as Min, reminds us of the phallic god Min, who was one of the most important deities in early dynastic times. It would appear that Menes is but an euhemerization of this god (no pharaoh named Menes has been found in the contemporary monuments), and if this is the case then the custom of circumcision most assuredly dates from the start of the First Dynasty and the connection with Abraham before even stronger.
As well as initiating circumcision, Abraham appears to have been credited, like Menes, with initiating the custom of flesh sacrifice. We recall at this point Abraham’s abortive sacrifice of Isaac. In the biblical account the patriarch does not sacrifice his son but instead offers a ram caught in a nearby thicket. For this reason, some commentators have argued that Abraham is hereby abolishing human sacrifice. This however was not the opinion of the great Eduard Meyer, who held that the legend originated in the sacrifice of children to a god named pachad yitzchak or “Fear of Isaac.” (Meyer and Luther, Die Israeliten und ihre Nachbarstämme (1906)). Human sacrifice, it should be stressed, was one of the most characteristic features of religious practice during the early dynastic epochs of both Egypt and Mesopotamia.
In summary then Abraham and Menes share at least three outstanding features:
  1. Both were credited with initiating civilized life and being cultural innovators.
  2. Both were believed to have introduced now forms of religious worship including, almost certainly, flesh sacrifice.
  3. Both were associated with circumcision and were linked to a phallic cult.
A further consideration adds yet more weight to the argument. Abraham, as well as Menes, was clearly related, in terms of general character, to the god Thoth/Hermes. Amongst the Egyptians, Thoth was regarded as the patron of learning and it was believed he bequeathed civilization to mankind. It was said that he invented language, writing and medicine. The Greeks regarded Thoth (whom they associated with their own Hermes) as one of the oldest of the gods. He had a frivolous and impetuous nature and, it was suggested, could be destructive. It was said he assisted the Three Fates in the invention of writing, astronomy, the musical scale, the arts of boxing and gymnastics, weights and measures and the cultivation of the olive tree (Diodorus, v, 75). He was also a religious innovator and was credited with initiating the custom of flesh sacrifice, when he cut two stolen cattle into twelve equal portions as an offering to the twelve gods (Apollodorus, iii, 10, 2).
Thoth was a deity of great importance during the First Dynasty and at least two pharaohs seem to have been named in his honour. He was also, like Menes and Abraham, linked to the cult of phallus-worship. Hermes/Thoth was called “caduceus” and his symbol was a staff intertwined with coiled serpents. He was worshipped throughout the Hellenic and Roman worlds round a sacred stone phallus, or “herme”. All of these symbols are of great importance during the Early Dynastic period (the intertwined serpents are found repeatedly in artwork from both Egypt and Mesopotamia during this epoch), and are clearly linked to the personality of Abraham, whose phallicism is expressed not only in his name (“father of a multitude”) and his initiating of circumcision, but also in the story of the apparently ritual homosexuality of Sodom.
A wealth of evidence therefore links the story of Abraham to the very beginnings of literate civilization in the Nile valley. The literary evidence is supported by archaeology and elucidated by it. Therefore the millennium which, in conventional chronology, separates Abraham from Menes is an illusion and the history of Egypt needs to be brought forward by a thousand years to tie in with that of Israel. In fact, making the Abraham and Menes epochs contemporary also demands that Imhotep be identified with Joseph; and using the same chronological measuring-rod we would expect the Exodus to have occurred at the end of the Third Dynasty, which would make the last pharaoh of that line, Huni, also known as Ka-nefer-ra, identical to the pharaoh of the Oppression. The first pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, Sneferu, would also have been a contemporary of the Exodus. Without, at this stage, going into the details of the Exodus and its place in history, we should note that one legend tells of a magician parting the waters of a sacred lake during the time of Sneferu, whilst the Hellenistic writer Artapanus of Alexandria told a strange tale about the Exodus, in which the pharaoh who oppressed the Israelites was named Khenephres.

Monday, April 8, 2013

King Hiram Drives A Hard Bargain


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In the Alalakh tablets, Abban and Iarim-lim argue over whether the city of Alalakh is a fair exchange for the city of Irridi, east of the Euphrates, and at a critical ...

AMAIC: The following article becomes more chronologically reasonable when Iarim Lim is recognised as the same monarch as King Hiram of Tyre:








[PDF]







Bulletin for Biblical Research



14.2 (2004) 205-221








Big Dreams and Broken Promises:
Solomon's Treaty with Hiram in
Its International Context









MICHAEL S. MOORE
FULLER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY SOUTHWEST



Solomon's Treaty with - Institute for Biblical Research

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by MS MOORE - 2004 - Cited by 2 - Related articles

David and Solomon as Models for Plato's Philosopher King



Taken from: http://apaul-solomonsmind.blogspot.com/2008/01/platos-republic.html

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Plato's Republic


After church one day, I spoke to a friend and I brought up a thought I had during the service about David and Solomon being the first Philosopher Kings. Everything I heard about Plato’s Philosopher kings was that he led by great wisdom. I started to think if Plato used Solomon as the cornerstone of his work “The Republic”? Solomon, being the wisest man the world has known, brought great wealth and power to Israel and the people were at peace. He would have been the perfect person to base a great leader on. Plus Plato lived in the 4th Century BC. Plus he traveled greatly during the time including a trip to Judea before writing this Classic. This peaked my interest, that perhaps the great Philosopher King that the earthly world is clamoring for is based on Solomon? I had to do more research. I had read many accounts of “The Republic” but I had never read the Dialogue, so I read the work and here is what I found.
The Dialogues of Plato are written almost as plays, that places his old mentor Socrates as the central character. Plato seems to explain his thoughts through the interaction of Socrates with the other characters in the story. The Republic starts as Socrates and a few friends going to a festival and they start talking about philosophy of a just man, then move into a story of the best government for the people and who should lead it. All through this Dialogue he uses Socrates’ questioning style to maneuver the other characters into his line of thought. He speaks about leaders and being a just ruler by stating that a just ruler does thing for the weak the same way that a Doctor does things for the sick and not the healthy, and the same way a captain does things for the good of the crew not what is good for him.
Then he goes on and describes justice and praises the just man. Socrates’ friend gives a description of the purely unjust man and shows how a perfectly unjust man will seam like the most just man of all. They state that the truly unjust man will go about it in the truly right way and gets away with it. The one that is not perfectly unjust will gets caught and is considered incompetent and is not the perfectly unjust, since perfect injustice consists of appearing just when you are not. The perfectly unjust man will have reputation of being the most just man. Then we need to contrast him with the “truly” just man. He is a simple and honorable man that does not appear to be just. We must deprive him of the appearance of justice because the appearance of justice will bring him recognition and rewards and then it will not be clear if his motive for justice was a desire for justice or a desire for the rewards and the recognition. This I disagree with completely, that a perfectly just man will not care of the view of others. He will do what is just and leave it at that, not boasting or using this deed. Plato contends that we must strip him of everything but justice. He must have the worst possible reputation for injustice but truly being just, and have this reputation until his death. This description almost makes me think that Plato has a premonition of the only truly just man. Does not Christ meet every aspect of the truly just man listed above? Was he not given a criminal’s death when he was completely just? They then talk of the life that awaits them both here on earth. The unjust man would ask to rule cities because he has the reputation of justice. He can marry who he likes and make contract and partnership with who he wants. He finds it easy to make himself a rich man because he has no compunction about acting unjustly. And the just man is nothing of the sort. He just receives a cross to bear (These are my words).
Socrates defends the just man. And he gives the just man three elements to being just; Courage, Wisdom, Temperance or Self-discipline. First Socrates changes the subject to a just city but intends to describe the just man with the description of the just city. They start with the origin of a city. He starts stating that the origin of a city is because not one of us is self sufficient and need others. He starts talking about how a city is formed and what makes a just city and come to conclusion that a just city is just because of its rulers are just. At this point, he explains that citizens should be classified into four types, the Gold, the Silver, the Bronze and Iron. Gold should be the ruling class and would be the best of the people. They should be trained to be the most just and wise. They should also be removed from the need for money and therefore not be restrained by greed. They should learn the needs of the people and learn what is best for the people. The Silver would be the warrior class and the other lesser important leader roles like doctors and such. And next would be the Bronze and lower classes. These are the common people that need leaders.
The guardian class or Gold class would live communally and would need for nothing except the needs of their people. They would learn from an early life the philosophy and manager skills to run a city. Socrates finally states that these leaders should be Philosophy Kings, for only the Philosopher can have the wisdom to run such a city. He states that these rulers should do whatever is needed to better the lives of the people. Then a question on the women and the children come up, and he comes to say that the families for the ruling class should be in common, that women should be treated the same as the guardian men, each man with knowledge of each women and not knowing his children. With children he states, that the best class should reproduce and have many children and with the lower classes it would only be best that the embryos never see the light of day. This is also the view of any deformed children; only the best people should be born, not the lesser people.
After defining the just city he returns to the just man and states that the just man would be one that does what he is best suited to do; a hunter being a hunter, a farmer being a farmer, a bronze man being a bronze man and a ruler being a ruler. A hunter should not be a ruler because he does not have the skills to be a ruler. Only one trained to rule should rule.
All in all I came from this book with a greater understanding of the liberal view of today’s society. The leaders of the liberal view feel that they are Philosopher Kings in charge of a great just city, and they are the great defender of this city. These are the same liberals that called for free love and communal living in the 60‘s. They force abortion on the lower classes and try to destroy the common people’s society by degrading the value of marriage. All of this thought came not just from Plato, but also from Rousseau and Voltaire. Rousseau and Voltaire shouted “let us make a heaven here on earth and forget about God. Let us rely on reason and human understanding.” These are the same people that attempted at trying to have Enlighten Despots in many European nations, that would rule a nation like these Philosopher Kings of Plato and Socrates, but they all failed with huge amounts of bloodshed; with the French Revolution the bloodiest of all.
In all of these descriptions of the just man I saw one thing. The just man that they described is the perfectly unjust man of the first part of the story. "...The truly unjust man goes about it in the truly right way and gets away with it. The one that gets caught is considered incompetent since perfect injustice consists of appearing just when you are not. They will have the reputation of being the most just man..." They gave this statement when describing the unjust man. Does the Just man in the second part of the story not sound like he will have the gone about it in the right way? This just man lies to his people because “The end justifies the means” and ends up doing what is not just for all the people; only the ruling class. He does all of this in the guise of making the best choices for the society.
Plato tried to introduce his great leader as a man that uses his great human reasoning ability. He believed that man’s wisdom could create a society that was perfectly just, but he did not want to admit that man could never be perfectly just. That ingrained into him was something that would always move to the evil inside of his spirit. Since he lived only a couple hundred years after the greatest part of Israel‘s history, Plato must of known of the story of how David and Solomon ruled with great wisdom and created a great and just nation. He must have known that with this great wisdom that each man ended up doing unjust things after failing to follow God’s guidance. So in the end even Solomon, whom was considered the wisest man ever to live, that had great courage, and was very self-disciplined, ended up becoming unjust to his people and led them astray.
I will say that at the same time of the Enlightenment and the attempts of Philosopher Kings in Europe, a group of castaways in the new world created a different republic that was not formed in the image of Plato’s Republic, but in the theory that each individual is as great as another and getting representatives from all the people would create a truly just nation. They based there nation on something different then man’s wisdom; God’s wisdom. Thomas Jefferson, who admired the French enlightened leaders as a Deist, still spent many a line on the importance of God in society. As is written in a Memorial dedicated to this man are these words.
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. That his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between Master and Slave is Despotism. Nothing is more written in the book of fate then that these people are to be free.
This Book of Plato’s does give good information, but not of the proper enlightened government, but of the folly of man’s justice. As Solomon has shown us, man can rule justly, as long as he follows the guidance of the truly just man, Jesus Christ.

This is the Highly Religious King Hiram of Tyre


Basalt Head of Yarim Lim
 




[According to the AMAIC, Yarim Lim, or Iarim Lim, was the biblical Hiram]



A Legacy Buried, But Not Gone: The Importance of the Ancient Near East for Modern Religious and Political Life




— Sam Boyd
Once upon a time, in a far-away land, there existed a large kingdom. The king's name was Yarim-Lim, and he was king of the Yamkhad dynasty, the capital of which, Halab, rivaled the capital of the other empires surrounding him. Yarim-Lim was a religiously observant man, as many of that time and place were, and was keenly aware of the fate of his father who was killed when attempting to overthrow another king named Shamshi-Adad. The god Adad had appointed Shamshi-Adad as ruler, and Yarim-Lim's father paid for his transgression with his life. As a result, when Yarim-Lim succeeded his father, he became obsessive about religious protocol, insisting that political and religious observance (which sometimes overlapped- like they do in the modern world) be followed in all interactions with his peers.

This story may seem like a fairy tale, full of strange names, dramatic events, and unusual customs from a foreign world. It is also a story very much grounded in history. The capital Halab is now known as Aleppo in modern day Syria. Yarim-Lim ruled in the first part of the second millennium BCE, contemporaneous with another king, Hammurabi, whose name may be much more familiar to people today. Yet during his lifetime, Yarim-Lim's power and authority perhaps exceeded Hammurabi's, and also likely surpassed the magnitudes of those more famous kingdoms, Israel and Judah, which would emerge centuries later. If Yarim-Lim was such a powerful ruler, why is his name now so obscure compared to other ancient kings?

Part of the answer lies in the peculiar nature of Aleppo's history. It is one of the oldest and most continuously occupied cities in the world. As such, its early remains are buried under millennia of human occupation. Part of the obscurity of Yarim-Lim also stems from modern lack of awareness of ancient Near Eastern history and culture. A quick browse at many local bookstores reveals that world history quickly jumps from categories like "myth" and "fairytale" to Greco-Roman history (with a few books on the Egyptian pyramids sprinkled in between). Yet it was the genius of Henry James Breasted, founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, to show that modern thought and categories are much more deeply indebted to Near Eastern culture than many presentations of world history suggest. This connection between the ancient East and modern West is memorialized above the main entrance of the Oriental Institute's museum, where an ancient Egyptian is shown handing the light of knowledge to a modern person. Even our familiarity with documents such as the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) in modern religious traditions often hides how ancient this document is. The lack of familiarity with ancient Near Eastern texts (including the Hebrew Bible) exists even as many people attempt to coopt these texts and the personas therein in the modern political landscape. This situation necessitates the critical study of this seemingly arcane period in human history in order to check the claims of those who would illegitimately appropriate some aspect of this period for their political advantage.

Adopting the legacy of ancient heroes and heroines is nothing new. The famous third century CE philosopher, Porphyry, dedicated his major work to Cleopatra, an oddity since Porphyry's connection to this famous last of the pharaohs is by no means obvious or logical. It seems as though queen Zenobia of Palmyra had established herself in the legacy of Cleopatra so closely that she even took on the pharaoh's name. More recently, when Saddam Hussein came to power in the Baathist regime, he immediately began to build a replica of Nebuchadnezzar II's palace. This Neo-Babylonian structure had multiple lives in antiquity, including being the site of Alexander the Great's death. Saddam Hussein's contribution to the afterlife of this structure had profound religious and symbolic power: by copying the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, and even adopting the name of the Neo-Babylonian king as a secondary name, Hussein sought to shape his role in the modern world. Just as Nebuchadnezzar II had destroyed ancient Judah and its capital Jerusalem, Saddam Hussein hoped to oversee a similarly destructive outlook towards Israel. He also aspired to create an enduring legacy like Nebuchadnezzar's and Alexander's.

Halab remains buried, as does its king Yarim Lim, a reminder that forgotten kingdoms, though they may not be a part of modern consciousness, played pivotal moments in our world's history. The fact that Yarim-Lim rivaled Hammurabi of Babylon attests to the former's historical influence at a time when Hammurabi was creating literary culture through his laws that would last a thousand years and possibly influence the Bible itself (in the law code in the Book of Exodus). As such, the study of the ancient Near East remains vital for understanding world history, even when the people and places are initially unfamiliar to us. Moreover, this history is crucial for understanding how modern politicians craft their agenda as part of a lineage they claim simply to be preserving. The example of Nebuchadnezzar shows how the legacy of these ancient rulers can be resurrected and manipulated in the modern political and religious landscape. Indeed, the historical study of this region perhaps matters now more than ever as leaders such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad make claims that Israel had no historical existence in the land and therefore currently has no modern validity as a nation. It is through the study of the ancient Near East that such fallacious historical assertions are shown to be the extremist propaganda that they are.

References

Alan Riding, "Aftereffects: Babylon; Monuments Recall Another Empire That Ignored Writing on the Wall," New York Times, May 2, 2003.

Robert M. Whiting, "Amorite Tribes and Nations of Second-Millennium Western Asia," in Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (edited by Jack Sasson; Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000).
Sam Boyd is a PhD Candidate in a multidisciplinary degree between the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and The Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

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Taken from: http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2012/1129.shtml








Sunday, April 7, 2013

Missouri Cherokee Tribes proclaim Jewish Heritage!



Northern Cherokee Tribe claims to have escaped desert fortress at Masada!

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(PRWEB) February 5, 2003
 
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Missouri Cherokee Tribes proclaim Jewish Heritage!
The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory has recently shocked the world by claiming their ancient Oral legends tell of a Cherokee migration made to America from the area known as Masada.
This startling evidence is being offered to the public by Beverly Baker Northup whom is the spokesperson for their organization. The evidence offered in support of this connection to Cherokees escaping the mountain fortress of Masada is based in part of what Northup claims is stories passed down from elders and the similarity between ancient words.
Beverly Baker Northup believes there is a connection between these two peoples based on evidence of Jews of the region around Masada during Roman times wearing braided hair and the similarities that the spokesperson attributes to Hebrew language.
In explaining this connection Beverly Baker Northup is quoted as saying:
"The story has been kept alive among our Cherokee people that the Sicarii who escaped from Masada, are some of our ancestors who managed to cross the water to this land, and later became known as Cherokees. (Please note the phonetic resemblance of Si'cari'i and, Cherokee or Tsa'ra-gi'.)"
Northup claims that the famous scholar Josephus wrote that there were escapees from Masada in which the spokesperson for the Northern Cherokee states that this is evidence that gives credence to this connection between the Cherokee Indians and the Jews.
In addition to other startling claims, there is also the belief by the Northern Cherokee that a rock that was uncovered in Tennessee in 1889 that is named the Bat Creek Stone, proves a transatlantic connection to Jews. Northup believes that the scratched writings on the rock indicate that the stone is evidence of a first century Atlantic Crossing to America by these escaped Jews that later became known as the Northern Cherokee Indians.
The Northern Cherokee attempted to gain full legislative recognition in the State of Missouri in 1985 that was eventually vetoed by Governor John Ashcroft. Governor Ashcroft made the following statement concerning his decision to veto the recognition of the Northern Cherokee:
"The Federal Government has traditionally exercised authority with respect to Indian Affairs. I am not persuaded that the state has such a substantial interest in this area that it should become involved in the recognition of Indian tribes."
Sources among some federally recognized Indian Tribes have stated that Mr. Ashcroft's comments were 100% correct and should be referred to from time to time.
 
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Israelites Came to Japan?


 
[The AMAIC considers this to be very interesting,
without however being able to vouch for all of it]
 
 
 
 
 

Many of the traditional ceremonies in Japan and their DNA
indicate that the Lost Tribes of Israel came to ancient Japan


Arimasa Kubo



Ark of the covenant of Israel (left) and "Omikoshi" ark of Japan (right)
Dear friends in the world,

I am a Japanese Christian writer living in Japan. As I study the Bible, I began to realize that many traditional customs and ceremonies in Japanare
very similar to the ones of ancient Israel. I considered that perhaps these rituals came from the religion and customs of the Jews and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who might have come to ancient Japan.
The following sections are concerned with those Japanese traditions which possibly originated from the ancient Israelites.

The reason why I exhibit these on the internet is to enable anyone interested in this subject, especially Jewish friends to become more interested, research it for yourself, and share your findings.
The ancient kingdom of Israel, which consisted of 12 tribes, was in 933 B.C.E. divided into the southern kingdom of Judahand the northern kingdom of Israel. The 10 tribes out of 12 belonged to the northern kingdom and the rest to the southern kingdom. The descendants from the southern kingdom are called Jews. The people of the northern kingdom were exiled to Assyria in 722 B.C.E. and did not come back to Israel. They are called "the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel." They were scattered to the four corners of the earth. We find the descendants of the Israelites not only in the western world, but also in the eastern world especially along the Silk Road. The following peoples are thought by Jewish scholars to be the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

Yusufzai
They live in Afghanistan. Yusufzai means children of Joseph. They have customs of ancient Israelites.

Pathans
They live in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have the customs of circumcision on the 8th day, fringes of robe, Sabbath, Kashrut, Tefilin, etc.

Kashmiri people
In Kashmir they have the same land names as were in the ancient northern kingdom of Israel. They have the feast of Passover and the legend that they came from Israel.

Knanites
In India there are people called Knanites, which means people of Canaan. They speak Aramaic and use the Aramaic Bible.

In Myanmar (Burma) and India live Shinlung tribe, also called Menashe tribe. Menashe is Manasseh, and the Menashe tribe is said to be the descendants from the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They have ancient Israeli customs.

Chiang
(Qiang or Chiang-Min) tribe
They live in China and have ancient Israeli customs. They believe in one God and have oral tradition that they came from far west. They say that their ancestor had 12 sons. They have customs of Passover, purification, levirate marriage, etc. as ancient Israelites.

Kaifeng, China
It is known that there had been a large Jewish community since the time of B.C.E..

Japan
I am going to discuss this on this website.


The "Suwa-Taisha" shrine
A Japanese Festival Illustrates the Story of Isaac.
In Nagano prefecture, Japan, there is a large Shinto shrine named "Suwa-Taisha" (Shinto is the national traditional religion peculiar to Japan.)
At Suwa-Taisha, the traditional festival called "Ontohsai" is held on April 15 every year (When the Japanese used the lunar calendar it was March-April). This festival illustrates the story of Isaac in chapter 22 of Genesis in the Bible - when Abraham was about to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. The "Ontohsai" festival, held since ancient days, is judged to be the most important festival of "Suwa-Taisha."
At the back of the shrine "Suwa-Taisha," there is a mountain called Mt. Moriya ("Moriya-san" in Japanese). The people from the Suwa area call the god of Mt. Moriya "Moriya no kami," which means, the "god of Moriya." This shrine is built to worship the "god of Moriya."
At the festival, a boy is tied up by a rope to a wooden pillar, and placed on a bamboo carpet. A Shinto priest comes to him preparing a knife, and he cuts a part of the top of the wooden pillar, but then a messenger (another priest) comes there, and the boy is released. This is reminiscent of the Biblical story in which
Isaac was released after an angel came to Abraham.
At this festival, animal sacrifices are also offered. 75 deer are sacrificed, but among them it is believed that there is a deer with its ear split. The deer is considered to be the one God prepared. It could have had some connection with the ram that God prepared and was sacrificed after Isaac was released. Since the ram was caught in the thicket by the horns, the ear might have been split.

The knife and sword used in the "Ontohsai" festival
In ancient time of Japan there were no sheep and it might be the reason why they used deer (deer is Kosher). Even in historic times, people thought that this custom of deer sacrifice was strange, because animal sacrifice is not a Shinto tradition.

A deer with its ears split
People call this festival "the festival for Misakuchi-god". "Misakuchi" might be "mi-isaku-chi." "Mi" means "great," "isaku" is most likely Isaac (the Hebrew word "Yitzhak"), and "chi" is something for the end of the word. It seems that the people of Suwa made Isaac a god, probably by the influence of idol worshipers.
Today, this custom of the boy about to be sacrificed and then released, is no longer practiced, but we can still see the custom of the wooden pillar called "oniye-bashira," which means, "sacrifice-pillar."

The "oniye-bashira" on which the boy is supposed to be tied up
Currently, people use stuffed animals instead of performing a real animal sacrifice. Tying a boy along with animal sacrifice was regarded as savage by people of the Meiji-era (about 100 years ago), and those customs were discontinued. However, the festival itself still remains.
The custom of the boy had been maintained until the beginning of Meiji era. Masumi Sugae, who was a Japanese scholar and a travel writer in the Edoera
(about 200 years ago), wrote a record of his travels and noted what he saw at Suwa. The record shows the details of "Ontohsai." It tells that the custom of the boy about to be sacrificed and his ultimate release, as well as animal sacrifices that existed those days. His records are kept at the museum near Suwa-Taisha.

The festival of "Ontohsai" has been maintained by the Moriya family ever since ancient times. The Moriya family thinks of "Moriya-no-kami" (god of Moriya) as their ancestor's god. They also consider "Mt. Moriya" as their holy place. The name, "Moriya," could have come from "Moriah" (the Hebrew word "Moriyyah") of Genesis 22:2, that is today's Temple Mount of Jerusalem. Among Jews, God of Moriah means the one true God whom the Bible teaches.
The Moriya family has been hosting the festival for 78 generations. And the curator of the museum said to me that the faith in the god of Moriya had existed among the people since the time of B.C.E..

Apparently, no other country but Japanhas a festival illustrating the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac.
This tradition appears to provide strong evidence that the ancient Israelites came to ancient Japan.
The Crest of the Imperial House of JapanIs the Same As That Found On the Gate of Jerusalem.
The crest of the Imperial House of Japan is a round mark in the shape of a flower with 16 petals. The current shape appears as a chrysanthemum (mum), but scholars say that in ancient times, it appeared similar to a sunflower. The sunflower appearance is the same as the mark at Herod's gate in Jerusalem. The crest at Herod's gate also has 16 petals. This crest of the Imperial House of Japan has existed since very ancient times. The same mark as the one at Herod's gate is found on the relics of Jerusalemfrom the times of the Second Temple, and also on Assyrian relics from the times of B.C.E..

The mark on Herod's gate at Jerusalem (left) and the crest of the Imperial House of Japan (right)

Japanese Religious Priests "Yamabushi" Put A Black Box on their Foreheads Just As Jews Put A Phylactery on their Foreheads.
"Yamabushi" is a religious man in training unique to Japan. Today, they are thought to belong to Japanese Buddhism. However, Buddhism in China, Korea and India has no such custom. The custom of "yamabushi" existed in Japan before Buddhism was imported into Japan in the seventh century.

On the forehead of "Yamabushi," he puts a black small box called a "tokin", which is tied to his head with a black cord. He greatly resembles a Jew putting on a phylactery (black box) on his forehead with a black cord. The size of this black box "tokin" is almost the same as the Jewish phylactery, but its shape is round and flower-like.

A "yamabushi" with a "tokin" blowing a horn
Originally the Jewish phylactery placed on the forehead seems to have come from the forehead "plate" put on the high priest Aaron with a cord (Exodus 28:36-38). It was about 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) in size according to folklore, and some scholars maintain that it was flower-shaped. If so, it was very similar to the shape of the Japanese "tokin" worn by the "yamabushi".

A Jew with a phylactery blowing a shofar
Israel and Japan are the only two countries that in the world I know of that use of the black forehead box for religious purpose.

Furthermore, the "yamabushi" use a big seashell as a horn. This is very similar to Jews blowing a shofar or ram's horn. The way it is blown and the sounds of the "yamabushi's" horn are very similar to those of a shofar. Because there are no sheep in Japan, the "yamabushi" had to use seashell horns instead of rams' horns.


"Yamabushis" are people who regard mountains as their holy places for religious training. The Israelites also regarded mountains as their holy places. The Ten Commandments of the Torah were given on Mt. Sinai. Jerusalem is a city on a mountain. Jesus (Yeshua) used to climb up the mountain to pray. His apparent transfiguration also occurred on a mountain.

In Japan, there is the legend of "Tengu" who lives on a mountain and has the figure of a "yamabushi". He has a pronounced nose and supernatural capabilities. A "ninja", who was an agent or spy in the old days, while working for his lord, goes to "Tengu" at the mountain to get from him supernatural abilities. "Tengu" gives him a "tora-no-maki" (a scroll of the "tora") after giving him additional powers. This "scroll of the tora" is regarded as a very important book which is helpful for any crisis. Japanese use this word sometimes in their current lives.


There is no knowledge that a real scroll of a Jewish Torah was ever found in a Japanese historical site. However, it appears this "scroll of the tora" is a derivation of the Jewish Torah.
Japanese "Omikoshi" Resembles the Ark of the Covenant.
In the Bible, in First Chronicles, chapter 15, it is written that David brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord into Jerusalem.

"David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. ...Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the singers, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. So all Israelbrought
up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams' horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps." (15:25-28)

Illustration of Israeli people carrying the Ark of the Covenant
When I read these passages, I think; "How well does this look like the scene of Japanese people carrying our 'omikoshi' during festivals? The shape of the Japanese 'Omikoshi' appears similar to the ark of the covenant. Japanese sing and dance in front of it with shouts, and to the sounds of musical instruments. These are quite similar to the customs of ancient Israel."

Japanese "Omikoshi" ark
Japanese carry the "omikoshi" on their shoulders with poles - usually two poles. So did the ancient Israelites:
"The Levites carried the ark of God with poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD." (1 Chronicles 15:15)


The Israeli ark of the covenant had two poles (Exodus 25:10-15).
Some restored models of the ark as it was imagined to be have used two poles on the upper parts of the ark. But the Bible says those poles were to be fastened to the ark by the four rings "on its four feet" (Exodus 25:12). Hence, the poles must have been attached on the bottom of the ark. This is similar to the Japanese "omikoshi."


The Israeli ark had two statues of gold cherubim on its top. Cherubim are a type of angel, heavenly being having wings like birds. Japanese "omikoshi" also have on its top the gold bird called "Ho-oh" which is an imaginary bird and a mysterious heavenly being.
The entire Israeli ark was overlaid with gold. Japanese "omikoshi" are also overlaid partly and sometimes entirely with gold. The size of an "omikoshi" is almost the same as the Israeli ark. Japanese "omikoshi" could be a remnant of the ark of ancient Israel.
Many Things Concerning the Ark Resemble Japanese Customs.
King David and people of Israelsang and danced to the sounds of musical instruments in front of the ark. We Japanese sing and dance to the sounds of musical instruments in front of "omikoshi" as well.

Several years ago, I saw an American-made movie titled "King David" which was a faithful story of the life of King David. In the movie, David was seen dancing in front of the ark while it was being carried into Jerusalem. I thought: "If the scenery of Jerusalemwere
replaced by Japanese scenery, this scene would be just the same as what can be observed in Japanese festivals." The atmosphere of the music also resembles the Japanese style. David's dancing appears similar to Japanese traditional dancing.

At the Shinto shrine festival of "Gion-jinja" in Kyoto, men carry "omikoshi," then enter a river, and cross it. I can't help but think this originates from the memory of the Ancient Israelites carrying the ark as they crossed the Jordan river after their exodus from Egypt.

In a Japanese island of the Inland Sea of Seto, the men selected as the carriers of the "omikoshi" stay together at a house for one week before they would carry the "omikoshi." This is to prevent profaning themselves. Furthermore on the day before they carry "omikoshi," the men bathe in seawater to sanctify themselves. This is similar to an ancient Israelite custom:
"So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel." (1 Chronicles 15:14)

The Bible says that after the ark entered Jerusalem and the march was finished, "David distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins" (1 Chronicles 16:3). This is similar to a Japanese custom. Sweets are distributed to everyone after a Japanese festival. It was a delight during my childhood.
The Robe of Japanese Priests Resembles the Robe of Israeli Priests.
The Bible says that when David brought up the ark into Jerusalem, "David was clothed in a robe of fine linen" (1 Chronicles 15:27). The same was true for the priests and choirs. In the Japanese Bible, this verse is translated into "robe of white linen."

In ancient Israel, although the high priest wore a colorful robe, ordinary priests wore simple white linen. Priests wore white clothes at holy events. Japanese priests also wear white robes at holy events.


In Ise-jingu, one of the oldest Japanese shrines, all of the priests wear white robes. And in many Japanese Shinto shrines, especially traditional ones, the people wear white robes when they carry the "omikoshi" just like the Israelites did.
Buddhist priests wear luxurious colorful robes. However, in the Japanese Shinto religion, white is regarded as the holiest color.


The Emperor of Japan, just after he finishes the ceremony of his accession to the throne, appears alone in front of the Shinto god. When he arrives there, he wears a pure white robe covering his entire body except that his feet are naked. This is similar to the action of Moses and Joshua who removed their sandals in front of God to be in bare feet (Exodus 3:5, Joshua 5:15).
Marvin Tokayer, a rabbi who lived in Japan for 10 years, wrote in his book:
"The linen robes which Japanese Shinto priests wear have the same figure as the white linen robes of the ancient priests of Israel. "

Japanese Shinto priest in white robe with fringes
The Japanese Shinto priest robe has cords of 20-30 centimeters long (about 10 inches) hung from the corners of the robe. These fringes are similar to those of the ancient Israelites. Deuteronomy 22:12 says:
"make them fringes in the... corners of their garments throughout their generations."


Fringes (tassels) were a token that a person was an Israelite. In the gospels of the New Testament, it is also written that the Pharisees "make their tassels on their garments long" (Matthew 23:5). A woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage came to Jesus (Yeshua) and touched the "tassel on His coat" (Matthew 9:20, The New Testament: A Translation in the Language of the People, translated by Charles B. Williams).


Imagined pictures of ancient Israeli clothing sometimes do not have fringes. But their robes actually had fringes. The Jewish Tallit (prayer shawl), which the Jews put on when they pray, has fringes in the corners according to tradition.

Japanese Shinto priests wear on their robe a rectangle of cloth from their shoulders to thighs. This is the same as the ephod worn by David:
"David also wore a linen ephod." (1 Chronicles 15:27)


Although the ephod of the high priest was colorful with jewels, the ordinary priests under him wore the ephods of simple white linen cloth (1 Samuel 22:18). Rabbi Tokayer states that the rectangle of cloth on the robe of Japanese Shinto priest looks very similar to the ephod of the Kohen, the Jewish priest.


The Japanese Shinto priest puts a cap on his head just like Israeli priest did (Exodus 29:40). The Japanese priest also puts a sash on his waist. So did the Israeli priest. The clothing of Japanese Shinto priests appears to be similar to the clothing used by ancient Israelites.
Waving the Sheaf of Harvest Is Also the Custom of Japan.
The Jews wave a sheaf of their first fruits of grain seven weeks before Shavuot (Pentecost, Leviticus 23:10-11), They also wave a sheaf of plants at Sukkot (the Feast of Booths, Leviticus 23:40). This has been a tradition since the time of Moses. Ancient Israeli priests also waved a plant branch when he sanctifies someone. David said, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean" [Psalm 51:7(9)]. This is also a traditional Japanese custom.

Shinto priest waving for sanctification
When a Japanese priest sanctifies someone or something, he waves a tree branch. Or he waves a "harainusa," which is made of a stick and white papers and looks like a plant. Today's "harainusa" is simplified and made of white papers that are folded in a zigzag pattern like small lightning bolts, but in old days it was a plant branch or cereals.

A Japanese Christian woman acquaintance of mine used to think of this "harainusa" as merely a pagan custom. But she later went to the U.S.A.and
had an opportunity to attend a Sukkot ceremony. When she saw the Jewish waving of the sheaf of the harvest, she shouted in her heart, "Oh, this is the same as a Japanese priest does! Here lies the home for the Japanese."
The Structure of the Japanese Shinto Shrine is Similar to God's Tabernacle of Ancient Israel.
The inside of God's tabernacle in ancient Israelwas divided into two parts. The first was the Holy Place, and the second was the Holy of Holies. The Japanese Shinto shrine is also divided into two parts.

The functions performed in the Japanese shrine are similar to those of the Israeli tabernacle. Japanese pray in front of its Holy Place. They cannot enter inside. Only Shinto priests and special ones can enter. Shinto priest enters the Holy of Holies of the Japanese shrine only at special times. This is similar to the Israeli tabernacle.


The Japanese Holy of Holies is located usually in far west or far north of the shrine. The Israeli Holy of Holies was located in far west of the temple. Shinto's Holy of Holies is also located on a higher level than the Holy Place, and between them are steps. Scholars state that, in the Israeli temple built by Solomon, the Holy of Holies was on an elevated level as well, and between them there were steps of about 2.7 meters (9 feet) in width.

Typical Japanese Shinto shrine
In front of a Japanese shrine, there are two statues of lions known as "komainu" that sit on both sides of the approach. They are not idols but guards for the shrine. This was also a custom of ancient Israel. In God's temple in Israel and in the palace of Solomon, there were statues or relieves of lions (1 Kings 7:36, 10:19).

"Komainu" guards for shrine
In the early history of Japan, there were absolutely no lions. But the statues of lions have been placed in Japanese shrines since ancient times. It has been proven by scholars that statues of lions located in front of Japanese shrines originated from the Middle East.

Located near the entrance of a Japanese shrine is a "temizuya" - a place for worshipers to wash their hands and mouth. They used to wash their feet, too, in old days. This is a similar custom as is found in Jewish synagogues. The ancient tabernacle and temple of Israelalso
had a laver for washing hands and feet near the entrances.

In front of a Japanese shrine, there is a gate called the "torii." The type gate does not exist in China or in Korea, it is peculiar to Japan. The "torii" gate consists of two vertical pillars and a bar connecting the upper parts. But the oldest form consists of only two vertical pillars and a rope connecting the upper parts. When a Shinto priest bows to the gate, he bows to the two pillars separately. It is assumed that the "torii" gate was originally constructed of only two pillars.
In the Israeli temple, there were two pillars used as a gate (1 Kings 7:21). And according to Joseph Eidelberg, in Aramaic language which ancient Israelites used, the word for gate was "tar'a." This word might have changed slightly and become the Japanese "torii".
Some "toriis," especially of old shrines, are painted red. I can't help but think this is a picture of the two door posts and the lintel on which the blood of the lamb was put the night before the exodus from Egypt.

In the Japanese Shinto religion, there is a custom to surround a holy place with a rope called the "shimenawa," which has slips of white papers inserted along the bottom edge of the rope. The "shimenawa" rope is set as the boundary. The Bible says that when Moses was given God's Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, he "set bounds" (Exodus 19:12) around it for the Israelites not to approach. Although the nature of these "bounds" is not known, ropes might have been used. The Japanese "shimenawa" rope might then be a custom that originates from the time of Moses. The zigzag pattern of white papers inserted along the rope reminds me of the thunders at Mt. Sinai.

The major difference between a Japanese Shinto shrine and the ancient Israeli temple is that the shrine does not have the burning altar for animal sacrifices. I used to wonder why Shinto religion does not have the custom of animal sacrifices if Shinto originated from the religion of ancient Israel.
But then I found the answer in Deuteronomy, chapter 12. Moses commanded the people not to offer any animal sacrifices at any other locations except at specific places in Canaan (12:10-14). Hence, if the Israelites came to ancient Japan, they would not be permitted to offer animal sacrifices.

Shinto shrine is usually built on a mountain or a hill. Almost every mountain in Japan has a shrine, even you find a shrine on top of Mt. Fuji. In ancient Israel, on mountains were usually located worship places called "the high places". The temple of Jerusalem was built on a mountain (Mt. Moriah
). Moses was given the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai. It was thought in Israel that mountain is a place close to God.

Many Shinto shrines are built with the gates in the east and the Holy of Holies in the west as we see in Matsuo grand shrine (Matsuo-taisya) in Kyoto and others. While, others are built with the gates in the south and the Holy of Holies in the north. The reason of building with the gates in the east (and the Holy of Holies in the west) is that the sun comes from the east. The ancient Israeli tabernacle or temple was built with the gate in the east and the Holy of Holies in the west, based on the belief that the glory of God comes from the east.


All Shinto shrines are made of wood. Many parts of the ancient Israeli temple were also made of wood. The Israelites used stones in some places, but walls, floors, ceilings and all of the insides were overlaid with wood (1 Kings 6:9, 15-18), which was cedars from Lebanon (1 Kings 5:6). In Japanthey
do not have cedars from Lebanon, so in Shinto shrines they use Hinoki cypress which is hardly eaten by bugs like cedars from Lebanon. The wood of the ancient Israeli temple was all overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:20-30). In Japan the important parts of the main shrine of Ise-jingu, for instance, are overlaid with gold.
Many Japanese Customs Resemble Those of Ancient Israel.
When Japanese people pray in front of the Holy Placeof a Shinto shrine, they firstly ring the golden bell which is hung at the center of the entrance. This was also the custom of the ancient Israel. The high priest Aaron put "bells of gold" on the hem of his robe. This was so that its sound might be heard and he might not die when ministered there (Exodus 28:33-35).
Golden bell at the entrance of Shinto shrine
Japanese people clap their hands two times when they pray there. This was, in ancient Israel, the custom to mean, "I keep promises." In the Scriptures, you can find the word which is translated into "pledge." The original meaning of this word in Hebrew is, "clap his hand" (Ezekiel 17:18, Proverbs 6:1). It seems that the ancient Israelites clapped their hands when they pledged or did something important.

Japanese people bow in front of the shrine before and after clapping their hands and praying. They also perform a bow as a polite greeting when they meet each other. To bow was also the custom of the ancient Israel. Jacob bowed when he was approaching Esau (Genesis 33:3).
Ordinarily, contemporary Jews do not bow. However, they bow when reciting prayers. Modern Ethiopians have the custom of bowing, probably because of the ancient Jews who immigrated to Ethiopiain
ancient days. The Ethiopian bow is similar to the Japanese bow.

We Japanese have the custom to use salt for sanctification. People sometimes sow salt after an offensive person leaves. When I was watching a TV drama from the times of the Samurai, a woman threw salt on the place where a man she hated left. This custom is the same as that of the ancient Israelites. After Abimelech captured an enemy city, "he sowed it with salt" (Judges 9:45). We Japanese quickly interpret this to mean to cleanse and sanctify the city.

I hear that when Jews move to a new house they sow it with salt to sanctify it and cleanse it. This is true also in Japan. In Japanese-style restaurants, they usually place salt near the entrance. Jews use salt for Kosher meat. All Kosher meat is purified with salt and all meals start with bread and salt.
Japanese people place salt at the entrance of a funeral home. After coming back from a funeral, one has to sprinkle salt on oneself before entering his/her house. It is believed in Shinto that anyone who went to a funeral or touched a dead body had become unclean. Again, this is the same concept as was observed by the ancient Israelites.

Japanese "sumo" wrestler sowing with salt
Japanese "sumo" wrestlers sow the sumo ring with salt before they fight. European or American people wonder why they sow salt. But Rabbi Tokayer wrote that Jews quickly understand its meaning.
Japanese people offer salt every time they perform a religious offering, This is the same custom used by the Israelites:
"With all your offerings you shall offer salt." (Leviticus 2:13)








Japanese people in old times had the custom of putting some salt into their baby's first bath. The ancient Israelites washed a newborn baby with water after rubbing the baby softly with salt (Ezekiel 16:4). Sanctification and cleansing with salt and/or water is a common custom among both the Japanese and the ancient Israelites.



In the Hebrew Scriptures, the words "clean" and "unclean" often appear. Europeans and Americans are not familiar with this concept, but the Japanese understand it. A central concept of Shinto is to value cleanness and to avoid uncleanness. This concept probably came from ancient Israel.
Similar to Judaism, in Japanese Shinto Religion, There Are No Idols
Buddhist temples have idols which are carved in the shape of Buddha and other gods. However in Japanese Shinto shrines, there are no idols.
In the center of the Holy of Holies of a Shinto shrine, there is a mirror, sword, or pendant. Nevertheless, Shinto believers do not regard these items as their gods. In Shinto, gods are thought to be invisible. The mirror, sword, and pendant are not idols but merely objects to show that it is a holy place where invisible gods come down.


In the ark of the covenant of ancient Israel, there were stone tablets of God's Ten Commandments, a jar of manna and the rod of Aaron. These were not idols, but objects to show that it was the holy place where the invisible God comes down. The same thing can be said concerning the objects in Japanese shrines.
Old Japanese Words Have Hebrew Origin.
Joseph Eidelberg, a Jew who once came to Japanand remained for years at a Japanese Shinto shrine, wrote a book entitled "The Japanese and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel." He wrote that many Japanese words originated from ancient Hebrew. For instance, we Japanese say "hazukashime" to mean disgrace or humiliation. In Hebrew, it is "hadak hashem" (tread down the name; see Job 40:12). The pronunciation and the meaning of both of them are almost the same.

We say "anta" to mean "you," which is the same in Hebrew. Kings in ancient Japan were called with the word "mikoto," which could be derived from a Hebrew word "malhuto" which means "his kingdom." The Emperor of Japan is called "mikado." This resembles the Hebrew word, "migadol," which means "the noble." The ancient Japanese word for an area leader is "agata-nushi;" "agata" is "area" and "nushi" is "leader." In Hebrew, they are called "aguda" and "nasi."
When we Japanese count, "One, two, three... ten," we sometimes say:

"Hi, fu, mi, yo, itsu, mu, nana, ya, kokono, towo."

This is a traditional expression, but its meaning is unknown it is thought of as being Japanese.
It has been said that this expression originates from an ancient Japanese Shinto myth. In the myth, the female god, called "Amaterasu," who manages the world's sunlight, once hid herself in a heavenly cave, and the world became dark. Then, according to the oldest book of Japanese history, the priest called "Koyane" prayed with words before the cave and in front of the other gods to have "Amaterasu" come out. Although the words said in the prayer are not written, a legend says that these words were, "Hi, fu, mi...."

"Amaterasu" is hiding in a heavenly cave; "Koyane" is praying and "Uzume" is dancing.
Joseph Eidelberg stated that this is a beautiful Hebrew expression, if it is supposed that there were some pronunciation changes throughout history. These words are spelled:
"Hifa mi yotsia ma na'ne ykakhena tavo."
This means: "The beautiful (Goddess). Who will bring her out? What should we call out (in chorus) to entice her to come?" This surprisingly fits the situation of the myth.
Moreover, we Japanese not only say, "Hi, hu, mi...," but also say with the same meaning:

"Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu, itsutsu, muttsu, nanatsu, yattsu, kokonotsu, towo."

Here, "totsu" or "tsu" is put to each of "Hi, hu, mi..." as the last part of the words. But the last "towo" (which means ten) remains the same. "Totsu" could be the Hebrew word "tetse," which means, "She comes out. " And "tsu" may be the Hebrew word "tse" which means "Come out."
Eidelberg believed that these words were said by the gods who surrounded the priest, "Koyane." That is, when "Koyane" first says, "Hi," the surrounding gods add, "totsu" (She comes out) in reply, and secondly, when "Koyane" says, "Fu," the gods add "totsu" (tatsu), and so on. In this way, it became "Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu...."


However, the last word, "towo," the priest, "Koyane," and the surrounding gods said together. If this is the Hebrew word "tavo," it means, "(She) shall come." When they say this, the female god, "Amaterasu," came out.

"Hi, fu, mi..." and "Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu..." later were used as the words to count numbers.
In addition, the name of the priest, "Koyane," sounds close to a Hebrew word, "kohen," which means, "a priest." Eidelberg showed many other examples of Japanese words (several thousand) which appeared to have a Hebrew origin. This does not appear to be accidental.

In ancient Japanese folk songs, many words appear that are not understandable as Japanese. Dr. Eiji Kawamorita considered that many of them are Hebrew. A Japanese folk song in Kumamoto prefecture is sung, "Hallelujah, haliya, haliya, tohse, Yahweh, Yahweh, yoitonnah...." This also sounds as if it is Hebrew.
Similarity Between the Biblical Genealogy and Japanese Mythology
There is a remarkable similarity between the Biblical article and Japanese mythology. A Japanese scholar points out that the stories around Ninigi in the Japanese mythology greatly resemble the stories around Jacob in the Bible.
In the Japanese mythology, the Imperial family of Japanand the nation of Yamato (the Japanese) are
descendants from Ninigi, who came from heaven. Ninigi is the ancestor of the tribe of Yamato, or Japanese nation. While Jacob is the ancestor of the Israelites.

In the Japanese mythology, it was not Ninigi who was to come down from heaven, but the other. But when the other was preparing, Ninigi was born and in a result, instead of him, Ninigi came down from heaven and became the ancestor of the Japanese nation. In the same way, according to the Bible, it was Esau, Jacob's elder brother, who was to become God's nation but in a result, instead of Esau, God's blessing for the nation was given to Jacob, and Jacob became the ancestor of the Israelites.


And in the Japanese mythology, after Ninigi came from heaven, he fell in love with a beautiful woman named Konohana-sakuya-hime and tried to marry her. But her father asked him to marry not only her but also her elder sister. However the elder sister was ugly and Ninigi gave her back to her father. In the same way, according to the Bible, Jacob fell in love with beautiful Rachel and tried to marry her (Genesis chapter 29). But her father says to Jacob that he cannot give the younger sister before the elder, so he asked Jacob to marry the elder sister (Leah) also. However the elder sister was not so beautiful, Jacob disliked her. Thus, there is a parallelism between Ninigi and Jacob.


And in the Japanese mythology, Ninigi and his wife Konohana-sakuya-hime bear a child named Yamasachi-hiko. But Yamasachi-hiko is bullied by his elder brother and has to go to the country of a sea god. There Yamasachi-hiko gets a mystic power and troubles the elder brother by giving him famine, but later forgives his sin. In the same way, according to the Bible, Jacob and his wife Rachel bear a child named Joseph. But Joseph is bullied by his elder brothers and had to go to Egypt. There Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt and gets power, and when the elder brothers came to Egypt because of famine, Joseph helped them and forgives their sin. Thus, there is a parallelism between Yamasachi-hiko and Joseph.

Similarity between the biblical genealogy and Japanese mythology
And in the Japanese mythology, Yamasachi-hiko married a daughter of the sea god, and bore a child named Ugaya-fukiaezu. Ugaya-fukiaezu had 4 sons. But his second and third sons were gone to other places. The forth son is emperor Jinmu who conquers the land of Yamato. On this line is the Imperial House of Japan.

While, what is it in the Bible? Joseph married a daughter of a priest in Egypt, and bore Manasseh and Ephraim. Ephraim resembles Ugaya-fukiaezu in the sense that Ephraim had 4 sons, but his second and third sons were killed and died early (1 Chronicles 7:20-27), and a descendant from the forth son was Joshua who conquered the land of Canaan (the land of Israel). On the line of Ephraim is the Royal House of the Ten Tribes of Israel.


Thus we find a remarkable similarity between the biblical genealogy and Japanese mythology - between Ninigi and Jacob, Yamasachi-hiko and Joseph, and the Imperial family of Japan and the tribe of Ephraim.


Furthermore, in the Japanese mythology, the heaven is called Hara of Takama (Takama-ga-hara or Takama-no-hara). Ninigi came from there and founded the Japanese nation. Concerning this Hara of Takama, Zen'ichirou Oyabe, a Japanese researcher, thought that this is the city Haranin
the region of Togarmah where Jacob and his ancestors once lived; Jacob lived in Haran of Togarmah for a while, then came to Canaanand founded the Israeli nation.

Jacob once saw in a dream the angels of God ascending and descending between the heaven and the earth (Genesis 28:12), when Jacob was given a promise of God that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. This was different from Ninigi's descending from heaven, but resembles it in image.


Thus, except for details, the outline of the Japanese mythology greatly resembles the records of the Bible. It is possible to think that the myths of Kojiki and Nihon-shoki, the Japanese chronicles written in the 8th century, were originally based on Biblical stories but later added with various pagan elements. Even it might be possible to think that the Japanese mythology was originally a kind of genealogy which showed that the Japanese are descendants from Jacob, Joseph, and Ephraim.
Impurity during Menstruation and Bearing Child
The concept of uncleanness during menstruation and bearing child has existed in Japan since ancient times. It has been a custom in Japan since old days that woman during menstruation should not attend holy events at shrine. She could not have sex with her husband and had to shut herself up in a hut (called Gekkei-goya in Japanese), which is built for collaboration use in village, during her menstruation and several days or about 7 days after the menstruation. This custom had been widely seen in Japan until Meiji era (about 100 years ago). After the period of shutting herself up ends, she had to clean herself by natural water as river, spring, or sea. It there is no natural water, it can be done in bathtub.

This resembles ancient Israeli custom very much. In ancient Israel, woman during menstruation could not attend holy events at the temple, had to be apart from her husband, and it was custom to shut herself up in a hut during her menstruation and 7 days after the menstruation (Leviticus 15:19, 28). This shutting herself up was said "to continue in the blood of her purification", and this was for purification and to make impurity apart from the house or the village.

Menstruation hut used by Falasha, Ethiopian Jews
This remains true even today. There are no sexual relations, for the days of menstruation and an additional 7 days. Then the woman goes to the Mikveh, ritual bath. The water of the Mikveh must be natural water. There are cases of gathering rainwater and putting it to the Mikveh bathtub. In case of not having enough natural water, water from faucet is added.

Modern people may feel irrational about this concept but women during menstruation or bearing child need rest physically and mentally. Woman herself says that she feels impure in her blood in the period. "To continue in the blood of her purification" refers to this need of rest of her blood.
Not only concerning menstruation, but also the concept concerning bearing child in Japanese Shinto resembles the one of ancient Israel.

A mother who bore a child is regarded unclean in a certain period. This concept is weak among the Japanese today, but was very common in old days. The old Shinto book, Engishiki (the 10th century C.E.), set 7 days as a period that she cannot participate in holy events after she bore a child. This resembles an ancient custom of Israel, for the Bible says that when a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be "unclean 7 days". She shall then "continue in the blood of her purification 33 days". In the case that she bears a female child, then she shall be "unclean two weeks", and she shall "continue in the blood of her purification 66 days'" (Leviticus 12:2-5).

In Japan it had been widely seen until Meiji era that woman during pregnancy and after bearing child shut herself up in a hut (called Ubu-goya in Japanese) and lived there. The period was usually during the pregnancy and 30 days or so after she bore a child (The longest case was nearly 100 days). This resembles the custom of ancient Israel.


In ancient Israel, after this period of purification the mother could come to the temple with her child for the first time. Also in the custom of Japanese Shinto, after this period of purification the mother can come to the shrine with her baby. In modern Japan it is generally 32 days (or 31 days) after she bore the baby in case of a male, and 33 days in case of a female.
But when they come to the shrine, it is not the mother who carries the baby. It is a traditional custom that the baby should be carried not by the mother, but usually by the husband's mother (mother-in-law). This is a remarkable similarity of purity and impurity of the mother, after childbirth, with ancient Israeli custom.
Japanese "Mizura" and Jewish Peyot
The photo below (left) is a statue of an ancient Japanese Samurai found in relics of the late 5th century C.E. in Nara, Japan. This statue shows realistically the ancient Japanese men's hair style called "mizura," which hair comes down under his cap and hangs in front of both ears with some curling. This hair style was widely seen among Japanese Samurais, and it was unique to Japan, not the one which came from the cultures of China or Korea.

Ancient Japanese Samurai's hair style "mizura" (left) and Jewish "peyot" (right)
Is it a mere coincidence that this resembles Jewish "peyot" (payot) very much, which is also a hair style of hanging the hair in front of the ears long with some curling (photo right)? "Peyot" is a unique hair style for Jews and the origin is very old. Leviticus 19:27 of the Bible mentions:
"'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head."


So, this custom originated from the ancient Israelites. The "peyot" custom of today's Hasidic Jews is a recovery of this ancient custom. Yemenite Jews have had this custom since ancient times. There is a statue from Syria, which is from the 8th or 9th century B.C.E.. It shows a Hebrew man with peyot and a fringed shawl.
DNA Research on the Japanese and Jews
DNA shows the common ancestry of the Japanese and Jews
Recent DNA researches on Y-chromosome showed that about 40 % of the Japanese have DNA of haplogroup D. Y-chromosome DNA is passed from father to son, and is classified according to genetic features into genetic groups called haplogroups” from A to T. Only Japanese and Tibetan peoples in the world have haplogroup D at a high frequency. D is rarely found even among the Chinese and Koreans.
According to geneticists, haplogroup D is the compatriot of haplogroup E, which is found in all Jewish groups of the world. Haplogroups D and E were once one and have the common origin, as Wikipedia encyclopedia states:
Along with haplogroup E, D contains the distinctive YAP polymorphism, which indicates their common ancestry.” [Haplogroup D (Y-DNA)]

According to Family Tree DNA, a DNA test provider, especially E1b1b1 type of haplogroup E is “found in all Jewish populations, from Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Kurdish, Yemen, Samaritan and even among Djerba Jewish groups.” They use this genetic marker to find Jewish descendants.
The Pathans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are said to be descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, have haplogroup E remarkably. The Uzbekistan Jews, who are also said to be from the Lost Tribes, have haplogroup E at the frequency of 28 %. The Falasha, Ethiopian Jews, have haplogroup E at 50 %. Haplogroup E is found even among those said to be from the Lost Tribes of Israel.

Haplogroups D and E were once one, but became separate in the Near East. Those who remained in the Near East or went west became Jews, while those who moved east became the Lost Tribes of Israel in the East, including”Israelite Tibetans” and the Japanese.
What I call “Israelite Tibetans” are the Chiang (Qiang) people (southwest China), the Shinlung (Bnei Menashe, northeast India) and the Karen (Myanmar). They all live near Tibet and speak language of Tibet-Burma language group. Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail of Amishav thinks that these tribes are descendants of the Lost Tribes, because they have many ancient Israeli customs. It is noteworthy that especially 23% of the Chiang people have haplogroup D, which came from the common ancestor with E. The Japanese, having haplogroup D also, are closely related to them.
Rabbi Avichail thinks that these Chiang, Shinlung and Karen were once one and the same tribe, because they all once wandered in China, were persecuted by the Chinese and lost the Torah there, having the same legends and customs. It seems that the origins of the Japanese and these Israelite Tibetans were once the same.

Current Jews, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, mainly have haplogroups J, E and R. It is thought that ancient Jews mainly had haplogroups J and E.
Some people think that especially J was peculiar to original Jews, because about 80% of paternally inherited Cohen families, who are descendants of the High Priest Aaron, belong to J. However, Aaron was a Levite, and J is found among paternal Levites only at a relatively low frequency. The Levites have haplogroup E as other Jews do, and Samaritan Levite priests belong to haplogroup E. For haplogroup E is found in all Jewish groups of the world, E had been a distinctive Jewish haplogroup since before the diaspora of 70 C.E..
Israelites had experienced blood mixing since very early times. The Bible mentions about the exodus from Egypt, "Many other people who were not Israelites went with them" (Exodus 12:38, New Century Version). Moses many times mentioned about foreigners living among his people. They could become Israelites if circumcised and living as Israelites (Exodus 12:48, etc). There were thus some haplogroups found among ancient Israelites.

However, most of the
peoples who are said to be from the Lost Tribes of Israel do not have haplogroup J, including the following peoples:
*Chiang (Qiang, southwest China)
*Bnei Menashe (Shinlung, northeast India)
*Karen (Myanmar)
*Bene Ephraim (South India)
*Beta Israel (Falasha, Ethiopia)
*Bukharan Jews (Persian Jews)
*Igbo Jews (Nigeria)
The Japanese also do not have haplogroup J. It seems that the basic haplogroup of ancient Israelites was haplogroup E or haplogroup DE (ancestor of haplogroups D and E). Today, the Pathans and Uzbekistan Jews, who are the Lost Tribes of Israel living in West Asia or Central Asia, have haplogroup E. While in the East, the Chiang and the Japanese have haplogroup D.
D and E were once one. The Japanese are genetically from the Lost Tribes of Israel.