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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Ashkenaz', אִשְׁכְּנָז, signif. unknown [comp. ASHPENAZ]; Sept. Ἀσχανάζ, Genesis 10:3, v. r. Ἀσχενέζ, in 1 Chronicles 1:6; Ἀσχαναζαῖοι v. r. Ἀχαναζέοι in Jeremiah li, 27; in both the latter passages Auth. Vers. "Ashchenaz"), the first named of the three sons of Gomer, son of Japhet (B.C. cir. 2478), and of a tribe of his descendants. In Jeremiah it is placed with Ararat and Minni, provinces of Armenia; whence it is probable that Ashkenaz was a province of Armenia (q.v.), or, at least, that it lay not far from it, near the Caucasus, or toward the Black Sea (see Rosenmuller, Bibl. Geogr. I, i, 258). Among other less probable conjectures may be named the following: Bochart (Phaleg, iii, 9) refers it to the lake Ascanius in Bithynia (Strabo, 12:563 sq.; Plin. v, 43; 31:46, 2), and the city and region of Ascania in Phrygia Minor (Arrian, Alex. i, 30; Plin. v, 40; see Michaelis, "Spicileg. i,:58 sq.); Calmet to the Askantians at Tanais land the marsh Maeotis-(Plin. 6:7, where, however, the best editions read "Contacaptas" for "Ascanticos"); 'Schulthess (Parad. p. 178) to the district Astaunitis (in the vicinity of Ararat) and the neighboring city of Asltanaca. Hasse (Entdeck. i, 19) regards the word as a -corruption -for " Pontus Axenus," so as to designate the inhabitants of the province of Pontus; Josephus (Ant. i, 6, 1) merely says "Aschei-az (Ἀσχάναζος ) founded the Aschanazians -(Ἀσχανάζους ), whom the Greeks now call Rhzgians ( ῾Ρηγῖνες );" but this latter name does not occur in classical geography (Joseph Mede conjectures the Rhaetians, ῾Ρηγῖνες, but these are as far from probability as the supposition of the modern Jews that the Germans are meant, see Vater, Com. i, 100). The Targum of Jonathan understands Adiabene (הִדְיָב ), a province of Assyria; and the Arabic in Genesis the Sclavi, in Jeremiah the inhabitants near the Caspian Sea. Assuming that the. Japhetic tribes migrated from their original seats westward and northward (See JAPHET),.thus peopling Asia Minor and Europe, we may perhaps recognise the tribe of Ashkenaz (as having migrated along the northern shore of Asia Minor) in Europe in the name Scandia, Scandinavia. Knobel (Volkertafel, p. 35) regards the word as a compound (אשאּכנז ), the latter element being equivalent to the Gr. γένος, Lat. gens, genus, Eng. kind, kin; the meaning, therefore, being the As-race. If this were so, it might seem that we here find the origin of the name Asia, which has subsequently been extended to the whole eastern part of the world. The slightness of the foundation, however, of all these identifications is evident. The opinion of Gorres (Volkertafel, p. 92) that Ashkenaz is to be identified with the Cymry or Gaelic race seems even less probable than that of Knobel. (See ETHNOLOGY);

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ashkenaz'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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