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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/359

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343
THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

body of the Jews in Europe to-day—certainly all the Ashkenazim, who form upward of ninety per cent of the nation, and quite probably the Sephardim also, except possibly those in Africa—have departed widely from the parental type in Palestine; or else the original Semitic type was broad-headed, and, by inference, distinctly Asiatic in derivation; in which case '"it is the modern Arab which has deviated from its original pattern. Ikof is the only authority who boldly faces this dilemma, and chooses the Asiatic hypothesis with his eyes open.[1] Which, we leave it to the reader to decide, would be the more likely to vary—the wandering Jew, ever driven from place to place by constant persecution, and constantly exposed to the vicissitudes of life in densely populated cities, the natural habitat of the people, as we have said; or the equally nomadic Arab, who, however, seems to be invariable in type, whether in Algeria, Morocco, the Canary Islands, or Arabia Felix iself? There can be but one answer, it seems to us. The original Semitic stock must have been in origin strongly dolichocephalic—that is to say, African as the Arabs are to-day; from which it follows, naturally, that about nine tenths of the living Jews are as widely different in head form from the parent stock to-day as they well could be. The boasted purity of descent of the Jews is, then, a myth. Renan (1883) is right, after all, in his assertion that the ethnographic significance of the word Jew, for the Russian and Danubian branch at least, long ago ceased to exist. Or, as Lombroso observes, the modern Jews are physically more Aryan than Semitic, after all. They have unconsciously taken on to a large extent the physical traits of the people among whom their lot has been thrown. In Algiers they have remained long-headed like their neighbors, for, even if they intermarried, no tendency to deviation in head form would be provoked. If, on the other hand, they settled in Piedmont, Austria, or Russia, with their moderately round-headed populations, they became in time assimilated to the type of these neighbors as well.

Nothing is simpler than to substantiate the argument of a constant intercourse and intermixture of Jews with the Christians about them all through history, from the original exodus of the forty thousand (?) from Jerusalem after the destruction of the second temple. At this time the Jewish nation as a political entity ceased to exist. An important consideration to be borne in mind in this connection, as Neubauer suggests very aptly, is that opposition to mixed marriages was primarily a prejudice of religion and not of race. It was dissipated on the conversion of the Gentile to Judaism. In fact, in the early days of Judaism marriage with a nonbeliever was not in-


  1. Compare Brinton, 1890 a, p. 132, and 1890 b, for interesting linguistic data on the Semites.