Jewish Folklore and Ethnology


The essay traces the “Lost Tribes of Israel” legend to the purported academic discovery of lost and hidden “crypto-Jews” in contemporary New Mexico. The essay explores perceptions and beliefs of Jewish diasporic survival and identity in folkloristic, religious, historical, and genomic contexts. Analysis exposes pseudo-ethnography and pseudoscience as the basis for New Mexican claims, influenced in part by habitual association of the regional landscape with lost, hidden, and/or “wandering” Jews.