Book of Mormon/DNA evidence/Identification of "Jewish" or "Middle Eastern" DNA/Lemba and Cohen modal haplotype

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The Book of Mormon and the Lemba and Cohen modal haplotype

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Question: Can the Lemba and Cohen modal haplotype associated with Levite lineage be used to either prove or disprove the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon suggest that there were no Levites among the Lehi party

Thomas Murphy uses the "Lemba" as an example of a group proven to be Jewish via DNA testing. But, this example is misleading. The Lemba were identified as Jewish because of a marker called the "Cohen modal haplotype." This marker is carried by about half of those who claim descent from Aaron, Moses' brother, and only 2-3% of other Jews.

But, the Book of Mormon does not suggest—and in fact seems to exclude—the idea that Levites (the priestly family of Aaron) were among the Lehi party. Without priestly families, one would not expect to find the Cohen modal haplotype! Yet, only 2-3% of modern Jews from non-priestly families (to say nothing of Ephraim and Manasseh—remember, Lehi and company are not "Jews") can be identified by this test. [1] Are these 97-98% of modern Jews then not Jews because the genetic test is negative for them? Excluding the Nephites on the basis of such a poor test that we would not even expect them to pass (since they do not include Levitical families) shows how far the critics will twist the evidence to find fault.


Notes

  1. See "Cohen Modal Haplotype," in David G. Stewart, Jr., "DNA and the Book of Mormon," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): 109–138. off-site wiki FairMormon link

Further reading

Articles which discuss Cohen modal haplotype issues:

  • Matthew Roper, "Swimming the Gene Pool: Israelite Kinship Relations, Genes, and Genealogy," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 129–164. off-site
  • David G. Stewart, Jr., "DNA and the Book of Mormon," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): 109–138. off-site wiki FairMormon link  (Key source)