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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/361

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valid at all, as it afterward became, according to the Jewish code. Thus Josephus, speaking of the Jews at Antioch, mentions that they made many converts, receiving them into their community. An extraordinary number of conversions to Judaism undoubtedly took place during the second century after Christ. As to the extent of intermarriage which ensued during the middle ages discussion is still rife. Renan, Neubauer, and others interpret the various rigid prohibitions against intermarriage of Jews with Christians-—as, for example, at the church councils of 538, 589, at Toledo, and of 743 at Rome—to mean the prevalent danger of such practices becoming general; while Jacobs, Andree, and others are inclined to place a lower estimate upon their importance. Two wholesale conversions are known to have taken place: the classical one of the Khozars, in South Russia, during the reign of Charlemagne, and that of the Falashas, who were neighboring Arab tribes in Yemen. Jacobs has ably shown, however, the relatively slight importance of these. It is probable that the greatest amount of infusion of Christian blood must have taken place, in any event, not so much through such striking conversions, as insidiously through clandestine or irregular marriages.

We find, for example, much prohibitive legislation against the employment of Christian servants by Jews. This was directed against the danger of conversion to Judaism, by the master, with consequent intermarriage. It is not likely that these prohibitions were of much avail, for, despite stringent laws in Hungary, for example, we find the archbishop of that country reporting in 1229 that many Jews were illegally living with Christian wives, and that conversions by thousands were taking place. In any case, no protection for slaves was ever afforded. The confinement of the Jews strictly to the Ghettos during the later centuries would naturally discourage such intermixture of blood, as also the increasing popular hatred between Jew and Chrisian; but, on the other hand, the greater degree of tolerance enjoyed by the Israelites even during this present century would be competent speedily to produce great results. Jacobs has strenuously, although perhaps somewhat inconclusively, argued in favor of a substantial purity of the Jews by means of a number of other data—such as, for example, by a study of the relative frequency of Jewish names, by the supposed relative infecundity of mixed marriages, and the like. Experience and the facts of everyday observation, on the other hand, tend to confirm us in the belief that racially no purity of descent is to be supposed for an instant. Consider the evidence of names, for example. We may admit a considerable purity, perhaps, to the Cohns and Cohens, legitimate descendants of the Cohanim, the sons of Aaron, early priests of the temple. Their