Many people looking at Jewish population history have boggled at the idea of a small group expanding to a few million in a thousand years or so, and have come up with various scenarios other than Italy → Rhineland → Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth model, such as Koestler’s Khazar theory or Wexler’s idea that the Ashkenazi Jews came from the East. Koestler and Wexler are both wrong, by the way – the genetic evidence is quite clear.
There was never anything particularly particularly improbable about the Ashkenazi population expansion. Moderate prosperity, which the Ashkenazim had for most of their sojourn in Europe, easily allows a family to average 3 surviving kids. Given that rate of growth, a population increases by a factor of more than one million in 35 generations. Ask the French Canadians, or the Puritans, or the Boers.
But since anyone who can’t understand this by now never will, I look forward to the first revisionist history of the Amish.
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