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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/176

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

even yet of the unique achievement of this landless people. That the Jews have preserved their individuality despite all mutations of environment goes without saying. They have done more. They have accomplished this without absolute unity of language. Forced of necessity to adopt the speech of their immediate neighbors, they have only where congregated in sufficient numbers been able either to preserve or to evolve a distinctive speech. In Spain and the Balkan states they make use of Spanish; in Russia and Poland they speak a corrupt German; and in the interior of Morocco, Arabic. Nevertheless, despite these discouragements of every kind, they still constitute a distinctive social unit wherever they chance to be.

This social individuality of the Jews is of a peculiar sort. Bereft of linguistic and geographical support, it could not be political. The nineteenth century, says Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, is the age of nationality; meaning obviously territorial nationality, the product of contiguity, not birth. To this, he says, the Jew is indifferent, typifying still the Oriental tribal idea. As a result he is out of harmony with his environment. An element of dislike of a political nature on the part of the Christian is added to the irreconcilability of religious belief. It has ever been the Aryan versus the Semite in religion throughout all history, as Kenan has observed; and today it has also become the people versus the nation, as well as the Jew versus the Christian. Granted that this political dissonance is largely the fault of the Gentile, its existence must be acknowledged, nevertheless.

How has this remarkable result been achieved? How, bereft of two out of three of the essentials of nationality, has the Jew been enabled to perpetuate his social consciousness? Is the superior force of religion, perhaps abnormally developed, alone able to account for it all? Is it a case of compensatory development, analogous in the body to a loss of eyesight remedied through greater delicacy of finger touch? Or is there some hidden, some unsuspected factor, which has contributed to this result? We have elsewhere shown that a fourth element of social solidarity is sometimes, though rarely, found, in a community of physical descent. That, in other words, to the cementing bonds of speech, tradition, belief, and contiguity, is added the element of physical brotherhood—that is to say, of race. Can it be that herein is a partial explanation of the social individuality of the Jewish people? It is a question for the scientist alone. Race, as we constantly maintain, despite the abuses of the word, really is to be measured only by physical characteristics. The task before us is to apply the criteria of anthropological science, therefore, to the problems of Jewish derivation and descent. Only incidentally and as matters of contributory interest shall we consider the views of