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American Center of Khazar Studies]
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Last Updated: June 12, 2015

For information about THE JEWS OF KHAZARIA, click here Read about The Jews of Khazaria - the general-interest book about the Khazars in English.

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History professor Boris Zhivkov's 350-page book Khazaria in the 9th and 10th Centuries was published by Brill in May 2015. Brill's marketing says the book "uses not only the known documentary sources and archaeological finds but also what we know from history of religions (comparative mythology), history of art, structural anthropology and folklore studies." This is an English translation from the Bulgarian version Khazaria prez IX i X vek that had been published by IK Gutenberg in Sofia in 2010.

The author and magazine editor A. J. Jacobs was tested by 23andMe as were his sister and father. A. J. was recently interviewed by Jesse Rifkin for the June 7th article "Six Degrees: Massive Genealogy Project Shows We Are Family–Literally" in The Daily Beast. A. J. said, "I thought my roots were completely Ashkenazi Jewish from Eastern Europe. Yet according to my DNA genome analysis, I have a little Scandinavian in me, there’s even a little Asian." As A. J. told Frankfurter Allgemeine's Anne Haeming in her June 6th article "Wir brauchen einen Anker", he and the actress Mila Kunis belong to the same maternal haplogroup, H7. I also belong to H7. H7 is common among North-Central Europeans and probably came into the Ashkenazic community through a non-Jewish woman who converted to Judaism. Surprisingly, none of the Asian ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews comes from Turkic Khazars. Ashkenazi Levites paternally descend from an Iranian people not from Khazars or Slavs, per genetic evidence revealed in a new study by Siiri Rootsi et al. discussed here, here, here, and here. Since no other paternal or maternal haplogroup among Ashkenazim comes from a Central Asian Turkic source either, we are now left with the total absence of evidence for Khazar ancestry in Ashkenazim.

In a brief moment early in episode 10 ("Decoding Our Past Through DNA") of season 2 of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Ashkenazic playwright Tony Kushner responds with happiness to the finding of 0.1% East Asian ancestry in his personal autosomal DNA as tested by 23andMe. His autosomal test also found he's a genetic cousin of the Ashkenazic singer-songwriter Carole King.

My article "The Chinese Lady Who Joined the Ashkenazic People" appeared in Jewish Times Asia's March 2015 issue.

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. On these pages it is hoped that you may learn more about this fascinating culture.

Current Publications for Sale

by Kevin Alan Brook
This book discusses all major issues surrounding the Khazar Empire, including diplomacy, trade, culture, military affairs, Khazarian Judaism, and migrations. The book draws from major primary and secondary sources, and includes a concise timeline and glossary towards the end. This was the first English-language book on the Khazars to contain a substantial amount of archaeological data.

edited by Peter B. Golden, Haggai Ben-Shammai, and András Róna-Tas
An expensive but valuable collection of wide-ranging views from academic specialists on the Khazars. The 18 articles discuss the Khazars' economy, language, international relations, and more.

by Boris Zhivkov
Examines documentary sources, archaeological discoveries, religious history, art history, folklore studies, and more.

by "Oleg Ivik" (the collective pseudonym of Olga Kolobova and Valeriy Ivanov) and Vladimir Klyutchnikov
A comprehensive discussion of the Khazars' history, government, religion, and more as revealed by artifacts and old documents. The authors' own archaeological expeditions form part of the discussion. In Russian.

by Osman Karatay
A 336-page general-interest book about the Khazars. In Turkish.

translated and annotated by Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin
In this classic philosophical work by Yehuda HaLevi, a Jewish sage explains the principles of Judaism to an inquisitive Khazar king. As a special bonus, the historical communications exchanged between Khazar King Joseph and the Spanish Jewish diplomat Hasdai ibn Shaprut are included in this volume.

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