Philadelphia (Apr. 8)
(Jewish Daily Bulletin)
A remarkable discovery, bearing upon the ancient racial characteristics of the Jews, the result of a year’s patient deciphering of 3,000-year-old clay tablets, was announced at the 138th annual meeting of the American Oriental Society.
The meeting, which is to last two more days, with sessions in Dropsie College as well as the University of Pennsylvania, is being attended by many Jewish Orientalists, among them several rabbis, as well as scores of eminent authorities on the Near East from other parts of this country.
Dr. E. A. Speiser, a young Jewish scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Edward Chiera. a famous authority on the Near East, joined in announcing that they had discovered beyong a doubt that many of the apparently non-Semitic characteristics of the Jews, long a source of wonder to anthropologists; are due to the infiltration in Biblical times of a non-Semitic race called the Hurri.
The Hurri, according to Dr. Speiser and Professor Chiera, are no other than the Horites of the Bible.
The records of this ancient race, hitherto unknown to modern civilization, more than 3,000 years old, and whose power vied with that of the Assyrians and Egyptians as they ## in the shadow of the Tower of Bebel, were revealed in two papers read before the Society.
“At present,” Dr. Speiser told the Orientalists, “there is sufficient linguistic, historical and archaeological evidence to prove that an important stratum of population in Armenia, Mesopotamia and Palestine was closely related.
“These people influenced Assyrian and Babylonian civilization to a considerable extent. Their Palestine outposts were the so-called Horites of the Bible. Once they formed a great empire, known as the Mitanni Empire, which, in the second millenium, vied with Egypt and the Empire of the Hittites for the supremacy of the Near East.
“Anthropologists have long suspected that numerous racial characteristics of the Assyrians and the Hebrews are attributable to a non-Semitic strain. There is little doubt that this strain was received from the Hurri.”
Taken by Dr. Chiera from the private archives of a rich landowner, some of the tablets reveal that the Hurri were responsible for the overthrow of the dynasty of the Hammurabi, founders of the famous Hammurabi Code. Dr. Chiera discovered about 1,000 of the tablets at Kerkuk, Mesopotamia, the records upon which cover a period of five generations in one family.
Dr. James A. Montgomery, professor of Semitics at the University of Pennsylvania, was elected president of the Society. Prof. Max L. Margolis, of Dropsie College, was made editor of the Society’s official journal.
At the opening session of the meeting Dr. Nathaniel Reich, of Dropsie College, read a paper in which he set forth the belief that the ancient Egyptians had divorce and alimony laws.