What are Jews: interrogating genetic studies and the reification of race

Noa Sophie Kohler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scientific studies on the genetic proximity of Jews undertake to shed light on "who or what Jews really are". However, various scientists and scholars have warned that such studies reify racial thinking. This essay delineates and contextualizes the debate held between various geneticists and social scientists on the danger of reification within the Jewish context. This is mainly a debate about the impact of (traditional, religious, and Zionist) narratives on scientific research as well as on the ethical responsibility of scientists. The paper claims that such genetic studies test Jewish religious narratives against genetic research results and do not necessarily enforce old notions of distinctiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Anthropological Sciences
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Genetic population studies
  • Genetic studies
  • Jewish identity
  • Race
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'What are Jews: interrogating genetic studies and the reification of race'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this