Summary of Jon Entine's Book
Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People
By Jon Entine
Can identity be found in a pinprick of DNA? What can genes tell us about our our ethnic and religious roots—what used to be called our “race”? In ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN, best selling author Jon Entine marries genealogy and genetics to vividly bring to life a new understanding of Western identity and the shared biblical ancestry of Jews and Christians.
Every one of us has at least some DNA from King David, Cleopatra, Constantine and other ancient historical figures. As Cole Porter once said, humans are driven by an “urge to merge,” and as a result most of us are related, however distantly. Genealogists, who used to rely on sketchy oral family histories and public records now use genetic genealogy to trace their own family roots with far more accuracy and far further back in time than old fashioned methods.
ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN uses the latest DNA technology to reconstruct genealogical trees and captivating family narratives. This is a biblical epic told through the prism of our genes. Entine traces the historical travails of Abraham and his seed. Is there genetic witness to the story of the Exodus? Have the Lost Tribes vanished, as we have come to believe, or is there truth to the claims of Israelite ancestry by sects in Africa, India, and China? What role does the story of the Ten Tribes play in Mormon theology? How did Jesus revolutionize Western religion and alter forever the genealogical signatures left by the ancient Israelites? Are most of today’s Jews the descendants of converts? Do our genes shed any light on the unending conflict between Middle East Jews and Arabs over the “right of return” to the Holy Land of their ancestors?
DNA is both time machine and microscope, offering answers to provocative mysteries. Entine addresses the riddle of the vast ruins known as the Great Zimbabwe, the only surviving architectural marvel in Africa, and the pride of black Africa--which geneticists now believe may have been built by Israelites in exodus from the Middle East. He discusses the rise and fall of the golden age of religious tolerance, when Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived at peace in an enlightened Spain. He unravels the story of Christian Hispaños of the American Southwest, many of whom have come to believe they are descendants of Jews who had been forced to renounce their faith during the Holy Inquisition. Entine examines the origins of many diseases, from breast cancer to brain disorders, which often target one ethnic or religious group over another. And he explores how medieval Christian practices may have contributed to the once-common belief that Jews are a race apart—and may also explain why Jews are known to have the highest IQ of any ethnic group in the world.
This book is a fascinating journey back in time and through history to reconnect with our biblical Israelite ancestors. In our multiethnic, socially fragmented, post-modern world, identity is often elusive. ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN brings to life the profound implications of the Age of Genetics for how we think about who we are.