Friday, May 06, 2016

Did the Khazars convert to Judaism?

Did the Khazars Convert to Judaism? New Research Says ‘No’
Hebrew University professor cites lack of reliable source for conversion story

Did the Khazars convert to Judaism? The view that some or all Khazars, a central Asian people, became Jews during the ninth or tenth century is widely accepted. But following an exhaustive analysis of the evidence, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Prof. Shaul Stampfer has concluded that such a conversion, “while a splendid story,” never took place.

Prof. Shaul Stampfer is the Rabbi Edward Sandrow Professor of Soviet and East European Jewry, in the department of the History of the Jewish People at the Hebrew University’s Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies. The research has just been published in the Jewish Social Studies journal, Vol. 19, No. 3 (online at

The theory that Askenazic Jews came from Khazar converts has come up from time to time on PaleoJudaica. I have collected the posts here in relation to the recent publication that claims that Ashkenazic Jews and Yiddish originated in Turkey. A followup to that post is here and includes input from Professor Stampfer.