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Who were the Khazars and why they adopted

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vulkan02 View Drop Down
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  Quote vulkan02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Who were the Khazars and why they adopted
    Posted: 22-Jun-2005 at 14:10
Anyone knows about this... i find it kinda hard to make sense why they would adopt Judaism when the Byzantine empire was at its peak and the Orthodox faith was right next door.
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  Quote Murtaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jun-2005 at 14:46

They lived at north of black see, If I am not wrong.

I think khazars are Turkic, But who now maybe they are not.

It looks like our knowledge about Turks are not much true.

I think at that times they were some christian Turks too.

Most probably they are karamanlis Turks(Or greeks, but their main langauge is  Turkish), who went to Greece at population exchange.

 

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  Quote Kuu-ukko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jun-2005 at 14:55
Wasn't Judaism adopted because then Khazaria would be safe from muslim and christian attacks/conversions, seeing that both of the mentioned religions somewhat respected Judaism?
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  Quote vulkan02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jun-2005 at 15:32

this is from wikipedia so i don't know how reliable it might be... though it still isn't very clean

Conversion to Judaism

Jewish communities had existed in the Greek cities of the Black Sea coast since late classical times. Cherson, Sudak, Kerch and other Crimean cities possessed Jewish communities, as did Gorgippa, and Samkarsh / Tmutarakan was said to have had a Jewish majority as early as the 670s. The original Jewish settlers were joined by waves of immigration fleeing persecution in the Byzantine Empire, Sassanid Persia (particularly during the Mazdak revolts, and later within the Islamic world. Jewish merchants such as the Radhanites regularly traded in Khazar territory, and may have wielded significant economic and political influence. Though their origins and history are somewhat unclear, the Mountain Jews also lived in or near Khazar territory and may have been allied with or subject to Khazar overlordship; it is conceivable that they too played a role in the conversion.

At some point in the last decades of the 8th century or the early 9th century, the Khazar royalty and nobility converted to Judaism, and part of the general population followed. The extent of the conversion is debated. Historically, most scholars believed that only the upper classes converted to Judaism; there is some support for this in contemporary Muslim texts. However, recent archeological excavations have uncovered widespread shifts in burial practices. Around the mid 800s burials in Khazaria began to take on a decidedly Jewish flavor. Grave goods disappeared almost altogether. Judging by interment evidence, by 950 Judaism had become widespread among all classes of Khazar society.

Essays in the Kuzari, written by Yehuda Halevi, details a moral liturgical reason for the conversion which some consider a moral tale. Some researchers have suggested part of the reason for this mass conversion was political expediency to maintain a degree of neutrality: The Khazar empire was between growing populations; Muslims to the east and Christians to the west. Both religions recognized Judaism as a forebear and worthy of some respect. The exact date of the conversion is hotly contested. It may have occurred as early as 740 or as late as the mid 800s. Recently-discovered numismatic evidence suggests that Judaism was the established state religion by c. 830, and though St. Cyril (who visited Khazaria in 861) did not identify the Khazars as Jews, the khagan of that period, Zachariah, had a biblical Hebrew name. Some medieval sources give the name of the rabbi who oversaw the conversion of the Khazars as Isaac Sangari or Yitzhak ha-Sangari.

The first Jewish Khazar king was named Bulan which means "elk", though some sources give him the Hebrew name Sabriel. A later king, Obadiah, strengthened Judaism, inviting rabbis into the kingdom and building synagogues. Jewish figures such as Saadia Gaon made positive references to the Khazars, and they are excoriated in contemporary Karaite writings as "bastards"; it is therefore unlikely that they adopted Karaism as some (such as Abraham Firkovitch) have proposed.

The Khazars enjoyed close relations with the Jews of the Levant and Persia. The Persian Jews, for example, hoped that the Khazars might succeed in conquering the Caliphate (Harkavy, in Kohut Memorial Volume, p. 244). The high esteem in which the Khazars were held among the Jews of the Orient may be seen in the application to them, in an Arabic commentary on Isaiah ascribed by some to Saadia Gaon, and by others to Benjamin Nahawandi, of Isaiah 48:14: "The Lord hath loved him." "This," says the commentary, "refers to the Khazars, who will go and destroy Babel" (i.e., Babylonia), a name used to designate the country of the Arabs (Harkavy in "Ha-Maggid." 1877, p. 357).

Likewise, the Khazar rulers viewed themselves as the protectors of international Jewry. They were known to retaliate against Muslim or Christian interests in Khazaria for persecution of Jews abroad. Ibn Fadlan relates that around 920 the Khazar ruler received information that Muslims had destroyed a synagogue in the land of Babung, in Iran; he gave orders that the minaret of the mosque in his capital should be broken off, and the muezzin executed. He further declared that he would have destroyed all the mosques in the country had he not been afraid that the Muslims would in turn destroy all the synagogues in their lands.

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  Quote Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jun-2005 at 03:50

 

There is a story in the book The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler:

The kagan could not choose between christianity, islam and judaism. He invited a rabbi, an orthodox priest and a mullah and ask them what they beleives in and what they think about each other. Finally he chose the judaism because both the christians and the muslims stated this is the common base of their faith. He said this must be truth.



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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jun-2005 at 04:12
Originally posted by vulkan02

Anyone knows about this... i find it kindahard to make sense why they would adopt Judaism when the Byzantine empire was at its peak and the Orthodox faith was right next door.


There is an excellent book on this topic, "The Dictionary of the Khazars" by the Yugoslav author Milorad Pavic.It is a semi-fictional account of the Khazars' history and their conversion and was a huge bestseller in Germany in the late 80s.
Although it's a long time ago since I read it, I can recommend it strongly.

Dictionary of the Khazars
[IMG]http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i137/komnenos/crosses1.jpg">
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  Quote Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jun-2005 at 04:36

 

Here is a link to the 13th tribe:

http://198.62.75.1/www2/koestler/

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  Quote Seljuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jul-2005 at 13:08

Here is a source on Khazars:

http://www.khazaria.com


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  Quote Kenaney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jul-2005 at 14:03
Originally posted by Seljuk

Here is a source on Khazars:

http://www.khazaria.com

I think youre link has huge wrongness.

Like it stands "Jews of Khazars" its actually Turkic people who beliefe in Judaism, or jew religion...

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  Quote Seljuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jul-2005 at 16:55

Well "jew" is a religious term like "muslim" or "christian". It doesn't refer to any ethnicity. What's wrong with it?

A paragraph from site:

Medieval Kingdom of Khazaria, 652-1016

Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe.


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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jul-2005 at 20:01
In fact jew refers to an ethnicity. You should have ethnical hebrew origins (mother ancestry) to be born as a jew.  But most probably at that age, state politics and international relationships became more important than religious rules, so i dont think they had a big amount of non Turkic (Jewish) blood.
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  Quote vulkan02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jul-2005 at 20:03
Oguzoglu... is that supposed to be the turkish James Bond??
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  Quote Monteleone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jul-2005 at 16:33
Originally posted by Kenaney

Originally posted by Seljuk

Here is a source on Khazars:

http://www.khazaria.com

I think youre link has huge wrongness.

Like it stands "Jews of Khazars" its actually Turkic people who beliefe in Judaism, or jew religion...

I have to agree with you. I have had discussions with the Author a few years ago and he choices to ignore some historical documents out there from some original sources. It has "Huge Wrongness".

The Anonymous Geographer from Ravenna mentions the Kazars in the early part of the 7th century

Ravennati Anonymi Cosmographia ed. M. Pinder et G. Parthey. Berolini, 1860, p. 158 (IV-1)."

quae dicitur Chazariae, et usque maior Scythia appellatur, quam Iordanis Cosmographus in modum Fungi scarifum esse dixit, quos Chazaros supra scriptus Iordanis Agaziros vocat per quam Chazarorum patriam plurima transeunt Flumina, inter cetera Fluvius maximus qui dicitur Cuphis.

is the so called Chazaria, which was constantly called the Big Scythia, about which the geographer Jordanes tells that was in the shape of a mushroom. Those Chazars the above-mentioned Jordanes calls Agazirs. Through this fatherland of the Chazars flow many rivers, of which the largest one is called Cuphis).

This map is a reproduction the world map from his writings

http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/203.html

Now Jordanes wrote his history of the Goths around 550 AD but never actually writes Agazirs

He mentions two other races of people that may be these Agazirs. The Acatziri and the Altziagiri

In the land of Scythia to the westward dwells, first of all, the race of the Gepidae, ..... .....the Aesti, a subject race, likewise hold the shore of Ocean. To the south dwell the Acatziri, a very brave tribe ignorant of agriculture, who subsist on their flocks and by hunting. ... ....From this region the Huns, like a fruitful root of bravest races, sprouted into two hordes of people. Some of these are called Altziagiri, others Sabiri; and they have different dwelling places. The Altziagiri are near Cherson, where the avaricious traders bring in the goods of Asia. In summer they range the plains, their broad domains, wherever the pasturage for their cattle invites them, and betake themselves in winter beyond the Sea of Pontus.

Jordanes full text can be found here: http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~vandersp/Courses/texts/jordgeti. html 

A good map showing the different tribes can be found at: www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/6200/regions.html

So you decide the Chazars where the Agazirs, which are the Altziagiri or the Acatziri. Or you can go with the Turkish theory of that Author.

I prefer orginal sources rather than mordern opinion.



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  Quote Kenaney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jul-2005 at 13:05

Thanks for the info

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  Quote Aygucu Tonyukuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jul-2005 at 16:58
Khazars' descendants are called "Karays" and they live in Lithuania, Crimea (These are called Kirimcak"), Poland and Turkey. They are ethnically Turk and they believe in the same faith with Jews.
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Jul-2005 at 08:47
Originally posted by Oguzoglu

In fact jew refers to an ethnicity. You should have ethnical hebrew origins (mother ancestry) to be born as a jew.  But most probably at that age, state politics and international relationships became more important than religious rules, so i dont think they had a big amount of non Turkic (Jewish) blood.


It's quite surprising that Khazars were allowed to convert to such a closed religion as Judaism, still it happened and, actually, it seems that a great deal of Askhenazi Jews are at least partially descendants from Khazars, what would explain their non-Mediterranean appearence.

Also we have to consider that originally converting to Christianity was also converting to Judaism, as Christianity was just a Judaist sect, though eventually open to non-Jews.

It is not clear to what ammount some Judaist groups or sects engaged in proselitism in other regions and times as well, for instance in Arabia in the pre-Muslim period. Currently one can convert to Judaism but it's not an easy proccess and different currents have different rules (what indirectly has an effect in the imigration policies of Israel).
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  Quote Arvedui Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Aug-2005 at 07:45
Khazars were the descendants of Gktrks I know their noble family is the same with gktrks ashina( the ruling dynasty of middle asia during 500 s)
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