Archaeology and Jewish Law: The Birth of Racism

Around 60,000 years ago, two forms of humans met in what is now Northern Israel. They lived together, ate together and probably slept together and even had children (at least some) together. They are referred to as Neanderthal and Homo sapien. This lasted about 30,000 years when the Neanderthals seem to vanish (extinction or assimilation?) and homo sapien went on to populate the rest of the world.

The Neanderthals came from the North and the homo sapiens came up from the South. There is no reason to suppose that ALL of the neanderthals left their Northern origins in what is now Western and Eastern Europe nor is there any reason to believe that ALL of the homo sapiens left their Southern origins.

And in fact, despite the over-simplified version now professed by archeological experts, there is no reason to believe that NONE of the Neanderthals went North with Homo Sapiens or that NONE of the Neanderthals went South. And we do not know if the progeny of the interbreeding of these two closely related humanoids ever survived or took the place of what had been Neanderthal or what would become homo sapien and if they did survive whether they too might have gone North South, East and/or West.

It is possible that Neanderthals were modified by their interaction with homo sapien and vica versa. It is also possible that those Neanderthals that did not migrate were not modified and that those homo sapiens who did not migrate were also not modified — at least until the return of their ancestors, and whatever visitors they brought with them. 

Thus we have several groups: Neanderthals may or may not have evolved on their own and either died out through extinction or still live among us closely resembling what we call homo sapien. The differences may be subtle enough that the two might be confused. If so, this “race” was probably light skinned because they evolved in the Northern colder climates. Homo sapiens may or may not have evolved on their own as well, producing a “race” that was not intermixed with external breeding. If so, it is likely that this “race” was dark skinned because they evolved from the Southern hotter climates.

Interbreeding might have produced uneven results with deformities and other “flaws” or “defects” appearing regularly, hence the continual references in the Torah to avoiding such people — the Nephalim. These were people to the naked eye but whose nature was closer to the animal kingdom than to the humans with a “soul.” They were clearly regarded as subhuman but apparently “used” for a variety of menial and “dirty” or “unclean” tasks, perhaps including handling of the dead. 

There is also no guarantee that the migrations of any one of the three “races” described above did not involve East-West migration. Hence, Asia might be the result of migration from the West or Western evolution might have been affected by migration FROM the East where yet another form of humanoid was evolving independently. In any event this obviously resulted in yet another “race.”

Back when things were just evolving into these groups it was of course part of the hard wired nature of every living thing with a brain that processes information to regard anything other than themselves as either food or threat. The “us” and “them” basic primeval instinct caused customs and traditions to evolve separately and to regard others as not quite “equal” or perhaps, as we have seen above “subhuman” or not human at all even if they looked mostly human. 

The interesting irony about all this is that in all likelihood, experts agree, we are more descended from homo sapien than Neanderthal or any hybrid of Neanderthal, homo sapien or any evolutionary amendments thereto. And THAT means our origins are mostly dark skinned rather than light skinned — even if later migration caused the skin to lighten to suit Northern climates. Hence the black-white racial divide in America might well be “the pot calling the kettle black” and any traditions based upon “differences” might well be institutionalization of misperception.


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3 Responses to “Archaeology and Jewish Law: The Birth of Racism”

  1. omegetymon Says:

    thank you!!!!!!!
    Please let me know of all that you produce, I’m always looking
    to ride with, on, beside a brain wave.

  2. monogamous Says:

    monogamous says : I absolutely agree with this !

  3. Pastavangelist Says:

    I have no objection to the message of this essay. We should all get along, live in harmony, we’re all part of one big human family tree. However, there were quite a few parts that…eh… were completely inaccurate.

    “Humanoid” is a Sci-Fi term, not an anthropological term. I think you meant “Hominin” or “hominine” or “hominid” or “hominoid” which all NOT all the same, they each refer to different classifications of human ancestors (including the apes).

    Also there has never been genetic evidence suggesting that any human alive today is descended from a neanderthal ancestor. People from some of the most remote parts of the world have been tested against neanderthal DNA and there has never been a match. Even if we were related closely enough to have interbred (many scientists believe neanderthals were a different species rather than a subspecies, in which case fertile offspring would have been almost impossible), they still did not carry their genes to the present day.

    The scientific name “Homo sapiens” is not plural, therefore you cannot say “Homo sapien” as a singular noun (and the genus name is always capitalized). If you believe that the two populations were able to interbreed and produce viable offspring, then you must also believe that they are subspecies. If they are subspecies then their full names are: “Homo sapiens sapiens” and “Homo sapiens neanderthalensis”…..therefore both would be Homo sapiens.

    If, however, you agree with the majority of scientists, then you would say “Homo sapiens” and “Homo neanderthalensis”. In that case, calling cro-magnon man “Homo sapiens” would be fine. It distinguishes him from the neanderthals…. BUT they wouldn’t be able to interbreed in which case the essay’s conclusion doesn’t really work.

    The essay had a very positive message, but I find it just as positive to think of all humanity as being VERY closely related (all modern humans have been shown genetically to have had a common ancestor 150,000 years ago), rather than wondering about some ancient race’s modern descendants.

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