Rassenkunde des jüdischen Volkesby Hans F. R. Günther page 1
Rassenkunde des jüdischen Volkesby Hans F. R. Günther page 2
Rassenkunde des jüdischen Volkesby Hans F. R. Günther page 3

Rassenkunde des jüdischen Volkesby Hans F. R. Günther

Embed Size (px)

Text of Rassenkunde des jüdischen Volkesby Hans F. R. Günther

  • Rassenkunde des jdischen Volkes by Hans F. R. GntherReview by: W. H. WorrellJournal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 50 (1930), pp. 164-165Published by: American Oriental SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/593064 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 19:16

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.


    American Oriental Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal ofthe American Oriental Society.


    This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 19:16:19 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions



    Rassenkunde des jiidischen Volkes. Von Dr. HANS F. R. GUNTHER. Minchen: J. F. LEHMANNS VERLAG, 1930. 352 pp., 305 illustrations, 6 maps. Price, 11 marks and (bound) 14 marks.

    Ethnological study of modern Jews is justified by purely scientific interests-historical, philological, biological-and has been actuated no doubt by social and political issues, such as Antisemitism and Zionism. Religious, philological, and even historical scholarship have been hardly aware of the true nature of the problem, or of the means available for its solution, because they deal with cultural groups rather than with physically related ones.

    Dr. Gunther is remembered as the author of Rassenkunde des deutschen Voikes (13th ed., 1929), Rassenkunde Europas (3rd ed., 1929), Rassengeschichte des hellenischen und des rdmischen Volkes, and four or five other widely read works on physical ethnology. The present work has arisen out of the appendix to the first of these; and, as might be expected, gives at least due weight to the early appearance of Nordic stock in the Near East and to its im- portance. Also, it revolves about the question of Jewish maladjust- ment as upon an axis. Nevertheless it will profit and interest even those whom it does not please. Even a casual reader will be aston- ished and held by the gallery of racial portraits, among which he will find those of Lord Reading, Sir Frederick Cowen, Saint-Saens, Charlie Chaplin, and a Polish archbishop.

    Gunther is a racial determinist, allowing little or nothing for the effect of selective environment within historical times. For him the psychic peculiarities of the great Anatolian (Armenoid) race, as exhibited in Armenians, modern Greeks, and East-Jews, were acquired anciently and over a vast period, not, as Huntington would have it, within recent centuries. As a result, while Gunther can account for Arab opposition to Armenians, Greeks, and East-Jews, he cannot well account for the incompatibility of Turks and Arme- nians, both of which groups are essentially Anatolian, nor for the apparently perfect harmony between Libanese and Palestinian " Arabs ", the former being much more Anatolian than the latter. Gunther is however on safer ground when he points out that the diaspora of East-Jews, Armenians, Greeks, and Syrians is due to a racial endowment and limitation, which expresses itself in rather


    This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 19:16:19 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


  • Worrell, Rassenicunde des jixdischen Volces 165

    specialized economic functions, the pursuit of which entails wander- ing and scattering, with inevitable economic and social results. The maladjustment of East-Jews is of course usually accounted for by a difference of religion, and the Diaspora explained as the result of historical events or even of divine dispensation.

    The physical and psychic characterization of the racial strains is painstaking and detailed; and the physical traits can indeed be recognized in many of the portraits. Historical argument justifies in a degree the quantitative estimates: (1) Anatolian, (2) Oriental (Arab), (3) East-Baltic, (4) Alpine, (5) inner-Asiatic, (6) Nor- dic, (7) Hamitic, and (8) Negro, for the East-Jews; (1) Oriental, (2) Anatolian, (3) Mediterranean, (4) Hamitic, (5) Nordic, (6) Negro, for the South-Jews. Few readers will accept Wallisch's serological results, interesting as they are.1 Most important, how- ever, is the apparent fact of very different racial constitution between the Ashkenazim (East-Jews) and Sephardim (South- Jews), not only in the relative quantity of certain racial stocks, but even in the stocks themselves. The large Anatolian element and the East-Baltic element characterize the former; the large Oriental (Arab) element characterizes the latter.

    Gunther reminds us that a mixture of races does not in itself produce a new race nor even a secondary one, for such a mixture endlessly produces individuals in which all the inheritance elements of all the races turn up in endless combination and in full force. A race is a group which breeds true, producing over and over again nothing but its characteristic type. By this test the Jews are, like most nations, a people (Volkstum) and not a race. They have been on the way to produce a race, however. That is done by excluding additions from outside, even from the original stocks, and by unswerving selection and elimination. Exclusion began seriously with Nehemiah and Ezra, but was never a fact, even between 1000 and 1800 A. D.; and the future does not point that way. Selection and elimination took place over a long period according to ideals laid down in the Talmud; but the influence of these ideals is wan- ing; and selection occurs more and more according to current ideals of gentile environments.

    W. H. WORRELL. University of Michigan.

    1 Zeitschrift fMr Rassenphysiologie, i, 3/4: "Serologische Untersuchungen tiber das Rassentum der Juden."


    This content downloaded from on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 19:16:19 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions