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Jacob's Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish…
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Jacob's Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History (edition 2008)

by David B. Goldstein

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666274,386 (3.64)3
Who are the Jews? Where did they come from? What is the connection between an ancient Jewish priest in Jerusalem and today's Israeli sunbather on the beaches of Tel Aviv? These questions stand at the heart of this engaging book. Geneticist David Goldstein.
Member:mfagan
Title:Jacob's Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History
Authors:David B. Goldstein
Info:Yale University Press (2008), Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
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Jacob's Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History by David B. Goldstein

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This book is about what has been learned from genealogical studies of Jews using genetic data. The author appears to be one of the main researchers in the field and it is published by Yale University Press -- although it is geared towards layman.

The most astounding findings are the ones that have already gotten the most attention -- the fact the "Kohen's" or Jewish priests are disproportionately descended from one man about 3,000 years ago and that the African Lemda really are related to Jews. But they get more attention in this book along with more detail of how exactly the research was performed -- some of which led me to think that a lot of this research is still in a relatively primitive stage with more room for judgment than I would have expected.

The book also covers some other topics, including the link between genetic diseases like Tay Sachs and intelligence, bringing considerable skepticism to evolutionary explanations of Jewish intelligence by Cochran and his co-authors.

Ultimately, however, much of what one would want to know is simply not accessible to the genetic analysis we can do today -- and may not every be accessible. So while I look forward to the sequel with new discoveries and insights ten or twenty years from now, genes will still leave a maddening number of mysteries. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
This book is about what has been learned from genealogical studies of Jews using genetic data. The author appears to be one of the main researchers in the field and it is published by Yale University Press -- although it is geared towards layman.

The most astounding findings are the ones that have already gotten the most attention -- the fact the "Kohen's" or Jewish priests are disproportionately descended from one man about 3,000 years ago and that the African Lemda really are related to Jews. But they get more attention in this book along with more detail of how exactly the research was performed -- some of which led me to think that a lot of this research is still in a relatively primitive stage with more room for judgment than I would have expected.

The book also covers some other topics, including the link between genetic diseases like Tay Sachs and intelligence, bringing considerable skepticism to evolutionary explanations of Jewish intelligence by Cochran and his co-authors.

Ultimately, however, much of what one would want to know is simply not accessible to the genetic analysis we can do today -- and may not every be accessible. So while I look forward to the sequel with new discoveries and insights ten or twenty years from now, genes will still leave a maddening number of mysteries. ( )
  jasonlf | Jul 31, 2011 |
An interesting study of various topics in Jewish genetics, by a geneticist who was centrally involved in the research that underlies the book. First, it examines genetic evidence suggesting that a specific group of modern-day Jews (those identifying themselves as of priestly decent, many named Cohen or some variant therof) are in fact descended directly from the priests of ancient Israel. Second, he shows that there is indeed genetic evidence of Jewish descent for an African tribe whose legends claim such descent. Finally, he looks at the claim that a study of "Jewish diseases" like Tay-Sachs showed that Jews have genetic predisposition to high intelligence. This evidence he does not find convincing, arguing that there are several other possible explanations for Jewish intellectual achievement, and that much more study is needed. One of the virtues of this book is that it discusses what genetics cannot (at present) tell us, as well as at what it can. Another is that the book presents a clear exposition of how geneticists trace lines of descent -- material which at least one lay reader needs to have explained again and again. The weakness of the book -- it's a less than gripping read -- is the result of its virtues: it is a carefully scientific piece. ( )
1 vote annbury | Nov 21, 2010 |
An excellent account of a fascinating body of population genetic studies focused on the genetic history of the Jews. I found the descriptions of historical events particularly interesting. Goldstein does an exemplary job at explaining the limits of historical inference from these studies, and his frankness about his feelings regarding the social impacts of the conclusions (real or distorted) drawn from his studies by others is refreshing and thought provoking. I am an evolutionary geneticist, and for me, the science in the book was understandable. But this is a book targeted to a general audience, and I think that despite Goldstein's efforts to incorporate analogies, some of the descriptions of methodological and analytical details are still too esoteric. Nevertheless, I think any reader will enjoy the book and come away with a better understanding and capacity to think critically about Jewish history, genetics, and the scientific process. ( )
  bsquaredsf | Mar 14, 2010 |
Excellent read. ( )
  paladin | Jul 17, 2008 |
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This book is dedicated to the memory
of my grandmother, Estelle Goldstein, who
somehow tied up my cultural moorings
while no one was looking
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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300125836, 0300151284

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