The Wandering Mind

The Lost Tribes of Israel

Posted in Mormonism,The Twelve Tribes by wandren on 10 June 2009

17th- to Mid-20th-Century Theories

Wikipedia: Since at least the 17th century both Jews and Christians have proposed theories concerning the lost tribes, based to varying degrees on Biblical accounts. An Ashkenazi Jewish tradition speaks of the Lost Tribes as Die Roite Yiddelech, “The little red Jews“, cut off from the rest of Jewry by the legendary river Sambation “whose foaming waters raise high up into the sky a wall of fire and smoke that is impossible to pass through”.[2]

On December 23, 1649, after Manasseh ben Israel, a noted rabbi of Amsterdam had been told by Antonio de Montezinos that some of the Lost Tribes were living among the Native Americans of the Andes in South America, he wrote:

… I think that the Ten Tribes live not only there … but also in other lands scattered everywhere; these never did come back to the Second Temple and they keep till this day still the Jewish Religion … [3]

In his “Book of Travels (~1173),” Benjamin of Tudela wrote of tribesmen he encountered in the Arabian Peninsula, “There are men of Israel in the land of Persia who say that in the mountains dwell four of the tribes of Israel, namely, the tribe of Dan, the tribe of Zevulun, the tribe of Asher, and the tribe of Naphtali.  They are governed by their own prince, Joseph the Levite. Among them are learned scholars.  They sow and reap and go forth to war as far as the land of Cush, by way of the desert.  They are in league with the Kofar-al-Turak, pagan tribesmen who worship the wind and live in the wilderness.”

Of the Jews of Kheibar, the largest settlement in Arabia, he wrote, “These tribesmen are of the tribes Reuven and Gad, and the half-tribe of Menasseh.  Their seat of government is a great city surrounded by the mountains of the North.  The Jews of Kheibar have built many large fortified cities.  The yoke of the gentiles is not upon them.  They go forth to pillage and to capture booty in conjunction with the Arabs their neighbors.”

Following the Spanish colonization of South America, several settlers associated the Indians with the Lost Tribes (NOVA).   Bartholeme de Las Casas (16th C) wrote that he was “convinced the Indians originate in Ancient Israel, ” and that he could “bring proofs from the Bible that they are of the Lost Tribes.”

Antonio Montezinos (17th C) wrote, “There is a Jewish Indian tribe living beyond the mountain passes of the Andes. Indeed, I myself heard them recite the She’ma (the expression of the Jewish faith) and saw them observe the Jewish rituals.”

During the American and French Revolutions of the 18th Century, abolitionists believed that the Messianic Age would be realized when the slaves had been freed and the Indians, being descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, accepted Christ.


2 Responses to 'The Lost Tribes of Israel'

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  1. […] the plausible evidence that today’s Native American Indians are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel (see the Holy Stones of Newark and the Decalogue of Los Lunas), I don’t see a conflict […]

  2. […] some of them to seek refuge on another continent, leading us to the theories that the “Lost Tribes of Israel” colonized the […]

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