July/August 2011

Vol.  X - No 6

In This Issue

  • Journal

  • Samaritans Today

  • Sports

  • Authority

  • Sitzungsbcrichte

  • Inscriptions

  • Miscellaneous

  • Bells

  • Fragment

  • Links

  • Publication

  • Articles

  • Biblios

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 The Samaritans call themselves

Bene-Yisrael “Children of Israel”, or Shamerim “Observant Ones”

Hebrew: שומרונים‎ Shomronim,

Arabic: السامريون‎


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Studies and Related Conferences:

The Eighth Congress, Erfurt

July 15, 2012 – July 20, 2012

The Eighth Congress of the Société d'Études Samaritaines will take place in Erfurt, Germany, July 15.-20., 2012.




2011 Annual Meeting

San Francisco, CA

Meeting Begins: 11/19/2011
Meeting Ends: 11/22/2011

Call For Papers closed


Call for papers: The 2011 Aramaic Studies section will have an open call for papers in any area relating to the various aspects of Aramaic language, literature, and context. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic.



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Important Links


Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim.


























2011 Upcoming Festivals

The Festival of The Seventh Month - Tuesday, September 27
Day of Atonement - Thursday, October 6
Succot [Booth] Festival, Thursday, October 11
Shemini 'Atzeret. the Eighth Day of Succot Festival - Thursday, October 18,


A Group of Samaritans from Vol. X. of "Jewish Encyclopedia." Funk & Wagnalls Co. 1905



Journal of My visit to the Israelite Samaritans And to Mount Gerizim, Samaria By: Tsafon Etzion, Dallas, Texas

A.B. - The Samaritan News, Issue no. 1090-1091, 15.7.2011
Tsafon Etzion [On the right] with Mr. Geoffrey Ben Nathan from London in Joseph Tomb in Nablus and with Archimendrit Stephanus in Jacob's Well for his journal of his first visit to the Israelite Samaritans and Mount Gerizim)


Warmest greetings to the Israelite Samaritans from Dallas, Texas, USA. Just this past Shavuot I had the great pleasure of meeting many of you. I am sorry I didn't get the chance to meet all of you but you probably saw me sitting in the back of the synagogue. I am happy to share about my first trip to the Holy Land. Unlike the vast majority of tourists who travel to Israel, I did not visit Bethlehem, nor the sea of Galilee. I did not float in the salty Dead Sea. I did not get baptized in the Jordan River. I did not even go to Jerusalem like 2.4 million other tourists this last year. I did not have a need to visit those sites. My heart's desire was to go to Mount Gerizim, where the ancient Israelites were commanded to go first and proclaimed the Blessing. I also believe that the Name of The Almighty and the Commandments were written into the plastered rock on Gerizim (The Mountain of Blessing) and not on Ebal. I believe that Mount Gerizim is where we are to seek Him out and go to like it says in Deuteronomy. 12:5. Monday, the week prior to Shavuot, I was picked up at the airport by my good friend Benny Tsedaka and brought to his home in Holon. I had a brief tour of the neighborhood and then that afternoon we loaded up a van and headed into the West Bank, and up to the top of Mount Gerizim where I spent the rest of the week. There on the top of the mountain, in your community of Kiryat Luza, I met many of the Samaritan Israelites. I know many of you wondered what that goyim [Gentile] was doing in the back of your synagogue. Many of you asked me why I was there, where I was from, what I thought of the Samaritans and eventually, several people asked if it was true that I wanted to join the Samaritans. Allow me to give a brief history of who I am in introduction and to help answer those questions. I was born in the U.S.A. I was born into a very religious evangelical Christian family. My ancestors came to the United States from Norway and Sweden three generations before I was born. I can only trace my heritage back a handful of generations which is not uncommon for Americans. I am 40 years of age. I have a wife and six children. Up until the year 2007 I was an active, passionate, Christian. I worked in a worldwide ministry of Christianity for 10 years. I have an Associates degree in Bible studies and a Bachelor of Science degree from a Christian university. Everything I pursued in life was Christian but I am the kind of person who wants to understand why we do things a certain way and believe what we believe. In my desire to search for God and for what He wanted from me, I knew the closest thing to the pure truth would be looking back at the origins of the Bible. I began to study the Jewish origins of the Christian faith. While studying the Pentateuch ( Torah ) I began to wonder what it meant to truly fear God. I began to pray for God to teach my heart what it meant to fear Him. I began to question the religion I so passionately participated in. I began to ask why Christians don't keep the feasts, why Christians don't keep the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, and where in Torah did it prescribe that a righteous man had to die for the wickedness of others. Obviously, it didn't. I came to the conclusion that what God wanted was for His people to obey Him, to obey His Torah. So I and my wife and kids removed the New Testament from our collection of "sacred" books and began to keep Shabbats and the cleanness laws to the best of our understanding.

At that point I was only following the Tanak (Old Testament). I was never interested in the Talmud or Rabbinical writings. So for a few years we were pursuing Karaite Judaism. They believe that only the Old Testament is "sacred". As I studied the Old Testament I began to have questions about the Prophets and specifically about King David and Solomon and Jerusalem. I began to have questions about the Priest Eli and his two sons and the prophet Samuel. What kept playing over and over in my mind was "do not add to or take away from Torah." Well, the Jewish Tanak has added the Prophets and the Writings to the Torah. It adds Jerusalem, and a messiah of the lineage of David. Well, that does not fit with Torah. I was wondering if there were any people on the planet that just kept Torah. Then some friends of mine heard about the Samaritans from the Internet and asked if I had ever heard about them. I said, "Do you mean like the Good Samaritan from the New Testament?" They said, "Yes. And they still exist and they say only Torah is sacred." My friends were not interested in pursing any more information but I was and I began to do as much research as I could about you Israelites. Unfortunately, most of what you'll find on the Internet is either written by Christians or Jews or academics, and they usually focus on negatives or don't have accurate facts. But I did find some information written by Samaritans themselves including information from Benny Tsedaka and his e-mail address. I decided I needed to hear what the Samaritans say about themselves so I contacted him and asked many questions. I was delighted to hear his sincere love for Torah and willingness to answer our questions. Then a year and a half ago Benny was so kind to meet us in Texas and spent five wonderful days answering questions and sharing with my wife and kids and I about the Samaritans. So for two years now we have been learning about the traditions kept by the Samaritans and have been trying to keep Torah as best we can in Texas. Then I decided I needed to come and see you all and the Mountain for myself. I came to Israel as an observer and visitor and student. You had questions about me and I had many questions about you. I wondered if the Samaritans were sincerely keeping Torah or just following rituals passed on from generation to generation. As you can see most people in this world just do what they have been given to do without asking if they are on the right path. I wondered if you had added to Torah or taken away from Torah. I just did not know what to expect. So I came to see for myself. I am thrilled to say that I found a sincere people that obviously love Torah and keep Torah to the best of their ability. I found a people that love God and fear God, love their families, and love their community. One Samaritan was explaining to me that the Israelite Samaritans are a people of peace. They do not want to destroy other people and they respect others because they fear God. They are not like animals. They are men created in the image of God. That statement was very important for me to hear because I wanted to know specifically if the Samaritans are a people that fear God. I want to be around people who have the fear of God. I want my children to grow up to love God and fear God. All of my experiences were so wonderful and so new that it is hard to say one was more incredible than the other but a few do stick out. I had the great honor of meeting both the Samaritan High Priest and the Vice High Priest on different days. This world does not understand, like you do, that the High Priest is the highest authority of mankind granted by God. I would rather meet him than the President of the United States, or the Pope in Rome, or any movie star. They were both so kind to me and welcomed me into their homes. I pray that the whole country of Israel would acknowledge their authority some day. Wouldn't that be incredible? Visiting many of your homes was wonderful. I was overwhelmed with how many of you said to me, "welcome, welcome." I enjoyed sitting in your homes, sharing tea and bread and listening to your stories. Much of the time I could understand only a word here and there but I could see your passion and kindness. I felt welcome. Sitting in many of your homes reminded me of when I would sit in my relatives' homes as a small child listening to the adults. It felt very comfortable. I also loved to observe when two of you would debate. The boldness that you would speak to each other with and yet remain friends was refreshing to see. Voices could be raised, people could express their opinions and even get mad, but it was very healthy and honest and good. In the U.S. people are often too polite. They smile and listen but don't express their true feelings. They are too careful to not hurt feelings and it just is not honest. I would much rather have an honest relationship where people can express differences and not worry about it. One of my very favorite things was to hear the Torah read out loud in the Ancient Hebrew. I especially enjoyed the Memorial Day of "the Assembly on Mount Sinai" on Wednesday when the whole Torah was read out loud. I happily sat for many hours listening. One embarrassing event that you may have heard about happened on that evening. I was given a most delicious meal of potatoes, onions, and lamb that had been roasted by the family of Yoseph Alteph. When asked what I had eaten I explained that I had had the most wonderful potatoes, onion, and CHICKEN I had ever tasted. Well, it was lamb. They must of thought I was crazy. You see, I have only had lamb maybe three times in my entire life. I have chicken many times a week so without thinking I just assumed it was chicken. So, it was the best lamb I had ever tasted and all I can do is laugh about it. Finally, I was there as an observer but I was also there as a worshiper. How could I not be? I believe Torah with all my heart. I was at the Mountain of Blessing with God's people. I was a visitor but my desire was also to worship and obey the Almighty with all of my heart for I do fear God. So as the week went on I did try to worship more. I could not understand the ancient Hebrew but I loved hearing it. It was beautiful music to my heart. I could only pray in English but I was praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Samaritan Israelites. When you would bow down I bowed down also. When you would stand I would stand also. If any of my actions were offensive to any of the Samaritan Israelites I am deeply sorry. You must realize that I and my family are like children just learning about you now. We have not had parents and grandparents to pass on the traditions, songs, prayers, or language. Benny is like a father to us now teaching us and I ask that you will all be patient with us and kindly point out to us anything we may need to know. The next step for us: We know that we are commanded to make the pilgrimage to the Mountain three times a year but we do not have the money or time off from work that would allow that. So our goal is to someday live in Israel where we can keep Torah as completely as possible. We need the Israeli citizenship to be allowed to work. But, as it stands right now, the Jewish Government says we must become Jews to become Israeli Citizens and they will not allow a convert to the Samaritan Israelites to be acceptable for citizenship. Well, obviously, that is unacceptable. Your people have never left the land. You are Israelites in every way. The Jews are your brothers. You should have every right that they do and more when you consider that you have the system of Levitical Priesthood still functioning. This may be a battle that will have to go to your Supreme Court but it is important for the Israeli government to acknowledge the Samaritans' rights. So our prayer is for God to make the way and we will be patient and do this in the right way. I hope that the next time I can come and visit you I will be able to bring my whole family. That of course is very expensive so maybe we will be coming to stay. I pray that God would bless your people and keep you safe in the middle of this world of turmoil. We will be praying for prosperity and health and joy for you and your families. And we will be praying for the ability to join you someday.

Sincerely with Highest Regards, Tsafon Etzion, Dallas, Texas


The Israelite Samaritans Today, July 2011
By: A.B. - The Samaritan News Services
Issue no. 1090-1091 15.7.2011
   The Samaritans are aware of the latest changes among the Palestinians in their attempts to organize a united government from all their different political parties.  The Samaritans are in no way taking sides or cooperating with these changes, but as an entity that is fighting for her existence in the most sensitive region in the political world - the Middle East in general and the region of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis in particular.  The Samaritans cannot be indifferent to what is happening and yet they have to prepare themselves in all ways in order to ensure their future existence.  They keep their activity with an aim in becoming a bridge of peace between all entities involved in the Middle East Conflict, by keeping friendship with all sides.  This policy proves itself every day when Palestinians from every stream and the Israelis from all of their streams give respect to the Samaritans and speak favorably about the Samaritans.  This is also expressed by both sides granting aid to the Samaritans for different projects on Mount Gerizim. 
   For this matter a delegation of Samaritan seniors came in recent days to meet with Dr. Salam Fayaad, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.  The High Priest, Aaron Ben AbHisda, the Secretary of the Community Committee, Yitzah Altif, and the member of the committee, Abed Cohen - all came especially to wish Fayaad well who is now recovering from the CPA to his heart that was done while he was in the USA.  Fayaad welcomed the delegation warmly and spoke of his deep friendship with the Samaritans. 
   The future changes in the Palestinian government caused the delay of the transmitting of the sum that was donated to activate the sewage project on Mount Gerizim
   Fayaad promised that he would make it happen faster, and regarding this it should be stated that Fayaad is the most discussed candidate as the Prime Minister of the United Palestinian government, a fact that will expedite all development projects on Mount Gerizim. 
   At the end of the meeting the Palestinian Prime Minister insisted to escort his guests for a long distance from his office to the elevators, while he continued to hug them and to make friendship statements to the Samaritans.  On the other side, the recent calm regarding the tomb of Joseph in Nablus is due to the cooperation between the Palestinian security forces and Israeli security forces and has caused an increased number of visits from within the Samaritans in Holon and Mount Gerizim.  Joseph, the righteous, the father of Ephraim and Manashe, the forefathers of the Israelite Samaritans, holds a place in the Samaritan belief having the qualities at this tomb of receiving blessing and healing for thousands of years.  The testimonies of the visits to the tomb of Joseph are the most ancient testimonies in written sources that tell about the history of the region without leaving any doubt about the ancientness of the place.  Unfortunately the tomb of Joseph became in the last three decades a center of political confrontations between Palestinians to religious Israelis and extremists on both sides, some of these confrontations ended with casualties on both sides, but mostly the tomb of Joseph suffered destruction and burning by Palestinian extremists as a reaction to stimulation of Israeli extremists that entered the site during the middle of the night without coordination of the security forces.  There are some people that we call intelligent ignorants from the academia, the media and politics, that destroy the peaceful atmosphere by creating doubts if this is the original tomb of Joseph.  When we say intelligent ignorants we mean that there are people who have ambitions to know something about everything, but there are some things that they are totally ignorant about, and they cannot admit that they do not know.  In this matter we must note that the unending visits to the tomb of Joseph of Jews and Samaritans for thousands of years never lied.  It is not the tomb of Yosef Alony, nor Sheik Yusef London, nor Yusef Kirchenbaum, and not even the Islamic Sheik Yusef being buried there, but this is the original righteous Joseph.  To this place came Jews and Samaritans to visit for thousands of years.  This is a historical fact. 
   The uprising of thousands of Israelis in recent days to visit by the thousands to this place, who are not coming for pure intentions of admiration to Joseph the Righteous.  In a talk that we had with Mr. Noam Arnon, one of the leaders of the visitors, agreed with us that all holy places should be ex-territorial and out of the political conflict and should be accessible to everybody without any of the site we try to control the holy place by force.  To these attempts there are three results, destruction of the place, casualties, and reinforcing the hatred between Jews and Muslims. 
   Lately there is cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis to give the tomb of Joseph its original respect as it was the first 15 years after 1967.  A.B. the Samaritan News begs the Israelis and the Palestinians to start mutual cooperation.  Joseph the righteous was a seeker of peace and consolation as he acted between his own brothers, and it is recommended that everybody learn from him.  In Holon since the centrality of the activity moved to the hands of Elitzur Marchiv there is feeling that there is movement in the activity of the community committee.  He leaves all his business as a manager in private business and arrives as an official of the committee.  The result is more grants to the pleasure of the committee and activity that is very prominent in the area after a long stagnant period.  There are new air conditioners in the central synagogue in Holon and the sight of the two synagogues improved.  There is activity to preserve the respect of the two cemeteries in Kiriat Luza in Mount Gerizim and Kiriat Shaul in Tel Aviv.  Elitzur reported lately that the committee allowed the payment of 500 shekels monthly to a private contractor for the maintenance of the cemetery on Mount Gerizim.  During the last Pesach the cemetery on Mount Gerizim was cleaned totally, but since then the bushes became overgrown.  Constant care will prevent the neglect of the cemetery on Mount Gerizim. 
   A.B. the Samaritan News is very satisfied with the fruitful participation of the committee in Holon with the committee in Mount Gerizim.  The trust between the two has increased and both are active with full energy for the communities of Luza and Holon.

Samaritan Sports Activity
And we will finish this report with the sports activity in Holon and on Mount Gerizim that doubles when summer comes.  In Holon a new summer league began successfully with six teams from all of the Samaritan young people in Holon.  Each of the teams is called by one of the stones that was on the breastplate of Aaron the High Priest as mentioned in Torah.  At the same time Mount Gerizim's youth organized a league of basketball with six teams as well that hold names of the most prominent teams of the NBA, National Basketball Association.  The enthusiasm is very high.  In Holon it is escorted by a special leaflet that reports the results, scores, the games.  On Mount Gerizim they do so by a special website as a part of Facebook, in which they express their enthusiasm in Arabic and Hebrew.  It is very helpful to unite the Samaritan young people around one subject and prevent them from being involved in other unhealthy subjects which are against the general Samaritan spirit.  The Samaritan girls are very involved with the teams and they are coming in great numbers to the games to watch and admire the most successful players.  A.B. the Samaritan News is not responsible for other results of this activity, other than reporting the scores of this game and giving the report. 

The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version [Hardcover]

Sharon Sullivan (Editor), Benyamim Tsedaka (Translator), James H. Charlesworth (Introduction), Emanuel Tov (Foreword) Pre-order now for $61.75 List Price: $100.00 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (June 15, 2011)

According to Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company:

Book not yet in print Expected ship date: 10/29/2011




The Division of Authority Amongst the Leadership of the Samaritan People Helped Their Survival [A & B Editorial] Issue no. 1090-1091 15.7.2011
   From the very beginning in which a chain of command for the top leadership of the people of Israel was created, sharing the authority between the High Priest with a leader of the people who was not from the tribe of Levi was tradition.  The beginning of creating the roles was not between Moses and Aaron, because both of them were Levites chosen by the Almighty; Moses who centralized all roles of authority as a priest and as a prophet, as a judge and a recognized representative of the People of Israel before the nations: the Egyptians, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Ammonites and the Midianites. Aaron started his activity as the spokesman of Moses and ended it when he was crowned with the crown of the priesthood upon his head, as the main activist in offering the sacrifices in the tabernacle.  The authority roles started with the clear division between the civil role of the leaders from among the people - Joshua bin Nun, the successor of Moses in the leadership alongside Elazar ben Aaron the first High Priest of the People of Israel in the Land of Israel of whom from him derived the family of the High Priests.  Joshua served as a chief of staff, the leader who took out and brought in the army of Israel during its wars to fulfill the promise of dwelling in the Land of Israel for the People of Israel.  His partner in the leadership, High Priest Elazar, continued in his father's role for being responsible for the cult in the tabernacle of Moses, that was erected at the top of Mount Gerizim, but in addition to his religious leadership role was added the fame of being the representative of the Almighty here on earth; the personality who made the coronation of the king and the chief judge in regard to all matters that were connected with fulfilling the commandments of the Torah.  After centralizing most of the roles in the hand of one person, Moses, his duties were divided between the heads of the tribes of Israel to the head of the tribe of Levi.  However, there is a clear difference between the two leaders at the time that the leader from within the people is a man of initiative that was prominent with his natural leadership over all heads of the People of Israel, whereas the High Priest serves by being the choice of the Almighty and the successor of the chosen family to lead the People of Israel, the family of Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aaron the Priest; that through it the High-priesthood is delivered from father to son or to another family member if there were not natural siblings to the holder of this great position.  However, here enters the factor of the personality of the two holders of these greatest positions, in most number of cases he who held the position of the High Priest had his control directly from the blessing of the Almighty, and due to that he was the chief leader, the most prominent between the two.  In some other times the military leader himself was a member of the chosen priestly family, as it happened during the Byzantine period in the Land of Israel, when the High Priest was the Iqbon ben Natanel, and the main leader of the People of Israel, the head of the army and the chief of judges who renewed the religious cult; and yet the builder of the synagogues to reinforce the religion was his brother Baba Raba the Great.  The main role of these leaders, the high priest and the leader of the people, was to take care of the continuation of the political and religious activity of the people.  Sometimes the leaders of the people was the prominent one, and sometimes the high priest was the one who directed everything in the leadership. 
   So was the High Priest Yair, son of Yonaton, from his place in Mount Gerizim before King David, so was the High Priest Hezekiah, before Alexander the Great, so was Baba Raba before the Byzantine rulers, so was the High Priest Elazar before the Islamic rulers.  At the time of the Mameluke rulers, the leadership was divided between the high priest alongside a president position.  During the Ottomon period the position was divided between the Phinchas high priest alongside the position of the Judge of Israel.  Both the president and the judge were from within the people and not from the priestly family, and they fulfilled their civil position by representing the Samaritans before the authority of that time in which the high priest continued to be holding the supreme religious authority that centralized the cult and encouraged the religious and social culture.  In this way the priest Abisha ben Pinchas, ben Yosef, described the duty of the high priest in a short hymn that is sung on the Shabbat of the ten days of forgiveness.  "The prayer ended, with the praising of our God.  The noon prayer started with the Name of our God.  I have to mention who established it for us, they are the high priests, our forefathers."
   Abisha indicates that the high priests, sons of Pinchas, his forefathers were the founders of the structure of the prayers and the poems in the synagogue cult.  Since ancient days after the animal sacrifices ceased from the center in Mount Gerizim the high priests of Pinchas were those who determined that the prayers replaced the offerings.  Two prayers a day, in the morning and in the evening, they are the fulfillment of the commandment "the first sheep you have to make in the morning, and the second sheep between the sunsets."  The prayers of Shabbat replaced the sacrifices of Shabbat, and this is the same with the first days of each month, and the seven festivals of the year.  The high priests of Pinchas were those who established the ancient songs and poems in rhythm to stabilize the poetry early in the Hellenistic period.  They were the first that fixed the cult of public bath purification, and they led the Samaritan synagogue that probably was earlier in purity and in the cult of the synagogue in comparison to the Jewish ones. 
   The Priests of Pinchas led the structure of the prayer and they were those who made changes to this structure.  Yes, there were changes to the structure of the cult of the prayers from time to time.  At the beginning the prayer was focused on the reading of the Torah, all of it or a portion of it, in regard to the festivals and shabbats.  After that hymns of the ancient sages of the Samaritans were integrated into the cult.  The best of the authors, such as Amram Dareh, Marqeh, Ninna, Yehoshua son of Baraq, The Dustan, and Matanah the Son of Abraham, and many anonymous writers.  In the second golden age of the Samaritan culture during the fourteenth century the high priests of Pinchas, Joseph ben Azzi, and mainly his son Pinchas and the two sons of Pinchas Elazar and Abisha, started a new prayer structure, and they were helped by the giant poet Abed Ela Ben Shalma, the father of the High Priest of our days, and also he composed many musical vocal pieces, and processed and integrated the hymns of the contemporary writers in the cult, the authors of his days, until today the Samaritan singers are honored to give first priority to these hymns after it is agreed that the most ancient ones are the foundation of every prayer in the past and to the future.  Besides all of these the clear division between the religious activity that is led by the high priests of Pinchas, to the civil and military and regular activity that was led by the national leader was prominent, because without this division it was impossible to lead and establish the people to any activity that the people demanded to do from time to time.  Baba Rabba divided the land according to the Samaritan centers into twelve regions and in each region he appointed a priest who would take care of the religious activity and would be an address to all Samaritans in the region in regard to the cult and the commandments in the synagogue that was built in the region, and with him he appointed a president from within the people in which his duty was to judge and centralize the military activity in each time that the leader Baba Rabba (who lived in Shechem) asked him to draft an army for revolts against the Byzantines, in which all ended in success, this and much more. 
   Beside the High Priest, his brother Iqbon ben Natanel, Baba Raba appointed a supreme court of seven members, three priests and four Israelites.  It was a supreme court and discussion for the religious and cultural needs of the people.  Significant reference to the divisions of the authority between priests and leaders of the people is prominent in the time that Baba Rabba succeeded to establish the people around him and bring them to military, religious, and economical success in a period that was considered the most prominent golden age of Samaritan history. 
   This Samaritan leadership establishment that was in its prime at the time of Baba Rabba and continued among the Samaritan people through all generations.  The high priests and the leaders of the people exemplified by their lives before the people in their personal behavior in which they led to have the authority to teach the people the laws of the Almighty and His book.  They led the people in the hardest periods, the high priest and the chiefs of the people, the heads of the big households were like a magnet to the whole parts of the people by being personalities that could be trusted in leadership and strong during the hardest events that happened through the generations.  They stood together before their persecutors, but also they worked together religiously and structurally to stabilize the people, like the stabilization of the leader Abraham, the son of Jacob the Dinfi, with the High Priest his friend Tabia son of Yitzhaq, of which both fixed the structure of the prayer and hymns of the first fourteen days of the first month and its two shabbats. 
   The High Priest Amram ben Shalma was the priest and the leader in one person in the mid 19th century, and to him shouted the unmarried person in the community to help them with their marriage in the dying community of his time - to the leader of the Samaritans outside of Nablus, Yefet the son of Abraham Tsedaka approached the High Priest Abisha Ben Pinchas and Amram ben Yitzhaq to help in drafting donations for the religious institutions in Nablus during the first half of the 20th century. 

The Sitzungsbcrichte der Kais. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien (Philosophisch-Historische Klasse), Band cxlvii, contains a paper by Dr. Alois Musil, entitled 'Sieben Samaritanische Inschriften aus Damaskus.' These seven inscriptions in the Samaritan character were found on stones in the wall of an old house at Damascus, and are at present in the possession of a Turkish surgeon there. Information regarding them, accompanied by copies of the inscriptions, was sent to Dr. Musil by A. Xanthopulos, the vice-consul for Austria, who imagined that the stones might have originally belonged to the Gerizim temple. That, of course, is out of the question; they are much more likely, as Dr. Musil suggests, to have formed part of a Samaritan house of prayer at Damascus. Meanwhile, pending further investigations, Dr. Musil has published facsimiles of the inscriptions, with transliteration into Hebrew letters, and a German translation.  The Expository Times Edited by James Hastings,  (p. 256) vol. 15, Oct. 1903-Sept. 1904, T. & T. Clark, 38 George Street






APPENDIX NOTE 16 (§ 360)


   The most general reference is that which occurs on one of the doors of the great palace of Khorsabad in one of the summarizing documents with which these doors are inscribed (see Winckler, I, p. x). In the course of a list of Sargon's achievements, we have the statement (Winckler, PI. 38, 1. 31 f.): "The conqueror of the city of Samaria and the whole land of Beth-Omri." In the Cylinder Inscription, 1.19, Sargon calls himself "the subjugator of the broad land of Beth-Omri."

   The long summarizing inscription on the walls of the Khorsabad palace (see Winckler, p. x) gives the following account (lines 23-25, Winckler, PI. 30 f.): "The city Samaria I besieged (and) 27,290 people, inhabiters of it, I took away captive; 50 chariots (which were) in it I appropriated, but the rest (of the people) I allowed to retain their possessions. I appointed my governor over them and the tribute of the late king I imposed upon them."

   The report in the Annals is the fullest, but it is unfortunately mutilated. I give a translation of what remains, along with the restorations that seem probable (for the text see Winckler, PI. 1, 10 ff.): "In the beginning [of my reign] the city Samaria ... [I took] . . . with the help of Shamash, who secures victory to me [. . . 27,290 people inhabiters of it] I took away captive; 50 chariots the property of my royalty [which were in it I appropriated . . . The city] I restored, and more than before I caused it to be inhabited; people of the lands conquered by my hand in it [I caused to dwell. My governor over them I appointed, and tribute] and imposts, just as upon the Assyrians I laid upon them." Here we have an indication of the clemency of Sargon towards the Samarians and of his desire to have the city repeopled.

History, Prophecy and the Monuments, by James Frederick McCurdy, Vol. I, New York, MacMillan and Co., New York and London, 1894, p. 425)

Also see http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Sargon.html



Samaritan Inscription Found at Amos

(Translation: "Blessed be His Name for ever.")

(By permission of the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.)

Photo taken from Famous Nations, the Stories of Peoples

which have attained prominence in History, Vol. 18, Part I,

The Story of the Jews under Roman Rule by W.D. Morrison, G.P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, New York & London, 1895, p. 118.

See http://www.emmaus-nicopolis.org/English/thehistoryofemmaus/byzantineperiod



Visit To Samaria.—I bad no idea before of the beautifully romantic situation of this ancient Sychcm, or Sychar. Here the Samaritans still are dwelling; about fifty families. M'e visited their synagogue, and saw the ancient Samaritan pentateuch, which they hold in great veneration. The rabbi who attended us (a fine and venerable man) took it out of the ark with a great deal of ceremony, seated himself on the ground, and opened it before us; not, however, until after we had particularly entreated him to do so. It bears all the marks of antiquity: is written on vellum, rolled up, and dressed just in the same manner in which the Jews do their books of the law. The rabbi said it was 3,500 years old. There were several other manuscripts of the pentateuch, quite modern ones, deposited in an ark covered by a veil, just as in all the Jewish synagogues. The place itself is a very plain large room. We were soon surrounded by nearly the whole community: all seemed to understand and speak Hebrew, more or less; but they do not read it in the square character. With the chacham I conversed freely: they all speak Arabic. The first question they asked was whether there are not Samaritans in England? It seems they confound England with India, where there are supposed to be some. When I asked whether they believed in the coming of the Messiah, the old rabbi replied in the affirmative with some enthusiasm, and immediately quoted Deut. xviii. 18. I could perceive at every sentence a great hatred towards the rabinnical Jews. When we left the synagogue the chief took us into his room, which was a respectable, clean apartment. A fine young Samaritan attached himself to us as our guide, and took ns to see the town and neighbourhood. When we approached the Jewish burying-ground, he made us go on, but remained himself at a distance, saying they are not allowed to go near it, considering the place unclean. A striking proof of how to this day the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. There are a few Jews residing in the place, but they seem to keep quite aloof from each other.—Bishop Alexander.


The Church of England Magazine vol. 16, January to June 1844 London: Edwards and Hughes, 12, Ave-Marie Lane; James Burns, 17, Portman Street, 1844. London; Printed by Joseph Rogerson, 24, Norfolk Street, Strand. (p. 264)


A Samaritan temple to the Lord on Mt. Gerizim By Yitzhak Magen

   According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, the Samaritan leader Sanballat promised to build a temple on Gerizim, the Samaritan’s holy mountain, in imitation of the Jerusalem temple. This, Josephus tells us, occurred at the time of Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Land of Israel (332 B.C.E.).

Merrill’s Letter questioned with Magen’s Response

Biblical City of Shekem Set to Open in the West Bank

Working in tense political conditions and less-than-pleasant physical ones, archaeologists are excavation through layer of trash and debris in the Palestinian city of Nablus to uncover the ruins of the Biblical city of Shekem. Recent excavations are the latest in a series that have spanned a century, as political and military turmoil as well as two world wars have interrupted archaeological work in the region. Under the auspices of the Palestinian Antiquities Authority, Dutch and Palestinian authorities are working to learn more about the ancient city of Shekem and open the site to the public next year.

Read more about the ancient Biblical city of Shekem set to open to the public next year.



Mas1o Papyrus Paleo Fragment ("Mount Gerizim")
David K. Geilman, and E. Jan Wilson
Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute

Description and Background

Mas1o is the only scroll fragment in the Masada exhibit that is written on papyrus. It is distinctive also because it is written in the paleo-Hebrew script by two scribes. One scribe wrote on the "front" side of the fragment, the other on the "back" side. In his preliminary report of the excavation, Professor Yigael Yadin noted that the script of this fragment is similar to that of the coins found in the same location as the fragment.1

Of the fragment's few discernible words, the phrase joyful singing occurs in three consecutive lines. These lines are followed by a line containing the place-name Mount Gerizim. This fragment has been identified as a Samaritan document because of the unique way Mount Gerizim is written. Cont'd Mas1o Papyrus Paleo Fragment ("Mount Gerizim") - Maxwell Institute


Yearly Tour of Benyamim Tsedaka

Lectures and conferences on Samaritan studies are going on:

June 20-28 - London, August 8-14 - Thessaloniki, Greece, October 23 - November 12 - Berlin, Poznan, Helsinki, Zurich and London, November 13 - December 24, 2011 - USA: Cincinnati, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Las Vegas, Dallas and San Francisco
   If any of you would like to be in touched with for lecturing of October - December 2011, please let
Benyamim Tsedaka know. sedakab@yahoo.com


From the Editor

   I searched the Bibliography of the Samaritans for what many authors have written, "Baron de Sacy," or plainly "De Sacy" as referred in # 969 - 976  of a Bibliography of the Samaritans, Second Edition, by Alan David Crown, ATLA Bibliography Series., No. 32, The American Theological Library Association and Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, N.J. & London, 1993, but you will not find these references under D. in the more recent edition. De Sacy's name is really Antoine Isaac, Baron Silvestre de Sacy. Antoine Isaac Silvestre de Sacy, Silvestre de Sacy was born in Paris to a notary named Abraham Silvestre, of Jewish origin.[1] The additional name of de Sacy was taken by the younger son after a fashion then common with the Parisian bourgeoisie. So in the recent edition, A Bibliography of the Samaritans, Third Edition, Revised, Expanded, and Annotated, by Alan David Crown and Reinhard Pummer, ATLA Bibliography, No. 51, The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Maryland, Toronto, Oxford. 2005, you will find his references under # 4450-58. under his last name Silvestre de Sacy. Being his first and middle name is Antoine-Isaac.

Thank You for setting this straight!


Also I would like people to notice that on the main page of the Samaritan Update, a map has been added of the world, showing the locations of web viewers to our sight. What is interesting is the Spanish speaking countries, which is interesting. I wonder how many scholars have written or exposed the Spanish populous of the remaining Samaritan-Israelites today!


European Association of Biblical Studies

Thessaloniki Meeting, 8-11.8.2011

 Abstracts of Subject Read at the Meeting

MosheFlorentin (Wed-VI-mor) Tel Aviv University (With Abraham Tal (Wed-VI-mor) Tel Aviv University)

The Samaritan Pentateuch in English Garment – Problems and Solutions

Following the great success of the well known Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press and the Tel Aviv University Press have initiated a new series, the Classical Hebrew Library. We are delighted with their decision to inaugurate the new series with the Samaritan Pentateuch, and glad to accept their request that we lead this demanding task.

Although we have long been immersed in the project itself, we continue, even up to the present, discussing innumerable questions, hesitations and difficulties relating to it.

We aim to present in our lecture some of these questions along with several decisions that might be subject to discussion. What should the nature of the translation of the Samaritan text offered to the contemporary educated English speaking scholar be? Should it be literary, offering a kind of friendly commentary on the source, or rather should we offer a literal translation that tries faithfully to preserve the flavor of the Hebrew text while respecting English grammatical and phraseological English rules?

Another matter of concern is the great variation the extant manuscripts display, and the frequent discrepancies between the written text and its present liturgical reading. They apparently testify about a certain textual development, which often left traces in the Samaritan Aramaic and Arabic Targum. Moreover, these Targumim, which differ from one to another, sometimes represent the changing perception of the Samaritan Vorlage.

Should these alternative understandings be represented in the English translation or in the apparatus of annotations?

We would like to submit to the audience our hesitations as well as our decisions for discussion.


Ingrid Hjelm (Wed-VI-mor) University of Copenhagen

“The Pentateuch that the Samaritans Chose” and theories of the so-called “Pre-Samaritan” texts from DSS as stepping stones to a fully developed Samaritan Pentateuch

“The Pentateuch that the Samaritans Chose”, is the heading of Magnar Kartveit’s chapter seven in his recent book, The Origin of the Samaritans, from 2009. The heading is highly problematic regarding the origin of the Samaritans and the production of biblical texts and books in ancient Palestine. If as Kartveit assumes the Samaritans “chose one text-type in particular among the different texts available”, it definitely raises questions of who wrote these available texts? When where they written? At what time in their long history did the Samarian/Samaritan community around Mount Gerizim enter the library and pick up a fully developed Pentateuch, which “they supplemented with the tenth commandment and made other changes that were related to the altar on Mount Gerizim”? Kartveit’s assumption rests on several old paradigms about Samaritan origins and religion, which fit badly recent evidence from archeology and epigraphy. A continuous independent Yahvist cult in Israel, from at least the Iron Age, a temple on Mt Gerizim, from early in the Persian period, and a highly developed temple city on Mt Gerizim in the Hellenistic period, do not sustain paradigms of Samaritans as an ‘aberrant’ branch of Judaism. The Pentateuch’s Samaritan perspective has found support in a recent find of a fragment of Deut. 27.4-6, which reads Hargerzim against MT’s Mount Ebal. The fragment has been published by James A. Charlesworth, who declares it to be authentic and the reading original, with the implication that the MT reading has been altered by Jewish scribes after the destruction of the Samaritan temple in 110 BCE. However, Samaritan-Jewish controversies over the proper cult place long postdate the construction of their principal places. From this follows that our scenarios and terminology, are in grave need of rethinking and reformulation. Do words like “chose”, “adoption”, “alteration”, “expansion”, “original reading” and the like really fit the case?


 BenyamimTsedaka(Wed-VI-mor) The A.- B. Institute of Samaritan Studies, Holon, Israel

Evidence of the Samaritan Diaspora and its Relations to Mount Gerizim and the Israelite Samaritans in the Land of Israel during the Hellenistic, Byzantine and Islamic periods

The speaker will dedicate his lecture to the Samaritan Diaspora and its link to Mount Gerizim and the Israelite Samaritans in the Holy land during the Hellenistic, Byzantine and Islamic Periods. The speaker will discuss points as, what was the size of the Samaritan diaspora, how it was established, what are the evidences to its existence, and what happened to all those Israelite Samaritan communities in many places outside the land of Israel?


Society of Biblical Literature

2011 Annual Meeting- San Francisco
Meeting Begins: 11/19/2011
Meeting Ends: 11/22/2011

Aramaic Studies

Description: The Aramaic studies section is intended to provide a forum for scholars interested in various aspects of Aramaic language. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic.
Papers: The 2011 Aramaic Studies section will have an open call for papers in any area relating to the various aspects of Aramaic language, literature, and context. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic.

Social History of Formative Christianity and Judaism

Description: This section is dedicated to a study of formative Christianity and formative Judaism utilizing a broad methodological perspective that places an emphasis on interpreting the data within specific social, cultural, and linguistic contexts. We function as a clearinghouse for developments in social historical methodology and perspectives for our period. (previously Social History of Early Christianity)

Papers: This section welcomes all proposals engaging topics and methodologies in the social/cultural history of formative Christianity and Judaism. This year we seek proposals that focus on texts as material objects: At some point in the development of sacred texts, readers became aware of them as material entities. How did this awareness affect their adornment (calligraphy, illumination, ornamented covers)? How did this development influence ritual practices, and how did the ritual production of texts affect the reading habits of ancient scriptural traditions? How does thinking about the materiality of ancient texts (and attendant technologies) provide insight into the development of ritual practices and other embodied ideas of the sacred? This is a three way co-sponsored session with RWLA and Art and Religion in Antiquity; please submit paper proposals only once to any of the sponsoring units. Our section is also planning invited sessions on (1) Samaritans (2) sight and sound in early Jewish and Christian practice; and (3) a panel related to Seth Schwartz's Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society?





On Sherd and Papyrus: Aramaic and Hebrew Inscriptions from the Second Temple, Mishnaic, and Talmudic Periods by Michael Sokoloff

The introductory chapter (pp. 11-36) deals with the use of the paleo-Hebrew script, the adoption of the Aramaic script by the Jews, and the Samaritan alphabet. The author deduces from the Aramaic dedicatory inscriptions, written in the Hebrew square script found in the Samaritan Temple on Mt. Gerizim and dating from the second century C.E., that the Samaritans also employed the Aramaic script alongside the paleo-Hebrew script just as the Jews did (e.g., on coins). The Samaritans, however, continued to use the paleo-Hebrew script in later periods for religious purposes just as Jewish sectarians did earlier in the Second Temple period. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2081/is_n1_v118/ai_n28706806/


Studies in Samaritan Scribal Practices and Manuscript History: IV. An Index of Scribes, Witnesses, Owners and Others Mentioned in Samaritan Manuscripts, With a key to the Principal Families Therein. By A.D. Crown



"The Confort of Kin: Samaritan community, kinship, and marriage" Verfasserin Mag. Monika Schreiber-Humer; Angestrebter akademischer Grad, Doktorin de Philosphie (Dr. phil) 2009



The Elusive Samaritan Temple Author: Robert T. Anderson Source: The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 104-107



Members of the Ancient Samaritan community pray during a pilgrimage marking the end of the holy day of Shavuot. The pilgrimage took place at the religion's holiest site on Mount Gerizim, near the West Bank town of Nablus
Photograph: Oded Balilty/AP






Musings of An Inveterate Traveler II by Dr. Robert H. Schram Publisher: Xlibris (October 28, 2010) ISBN-10: 1456802178, ISBN-13: 978-1456802172 Modern visit to Gerizim and the Samaritan Museum.




New Articles in our Samaritan Resources Section

Many more! Check them all out!

Samaritan Resources


New Biblios

Byeways in Palestine by James Finn, London: & CO., 21 BERNERS MDCCCLXVIII. JAMES NISBET STREET.

Appletons’ Journal of Literature, Science and Art. Volume Third, From Number Forty to Number Sixty-Five Inclusive, January 1, To June 25, 1870 New York: Appleton and Company 90, 92 & 94 Grand Street, 1870 (p. 181 ) Discovery of a New Manuscript of the Pentateuch.

The Romance of Precious Bibles By Rev. Sidney N. Sedgwick, M. A. S. Bagster & Sons, Ltd., 15 Paternoster Row, London (published on or before 1908, found in the end of the book Judith by Herbert Pentin, 1908, same publisher)

The Romance of Precious Bibles

Author of " Petronilla," " Story of the Apocrypha," "A Daughter of
the Druids," "Tales of British Christianity," &c. &c.
Contents.—I. For Love of a Samaritan, the Story of the Samaritan Pentateuch. II. The Devotion of Thecla, the Story of the Codex Alexandrinus. III. Out of the Pirates' Power, the Story of the Lindisfarne Manuscript. IV. The Battler, the Story of the Cathach of St. Columba. V. The Baby of the Nuns, the Tale of Caedmon the Cowherd. VI. The Black Prince's Booty, the Story of the Codex Ezrae. VII. The Lollard's Humour, a Tale of WickhnVs Bible. VIII. One Day in May, the Story of Anne Boleyn's Testament. Illustrations.—The Ruthwell Cross.—The Samaritan Roll.—The Codex Alexandrinus.—The Lindisfarne Gospels. —The Cathach of the Irish Psalter.

"Mr. Sedgwick takes us from the Samaritan Pentateuch to Tyndale's translation. There is a refreshing breadth about his views of things. . . . The idea is a good one, and has been carried out with no little literary skill and in a spirit of comprehensive sympathy."— The Spectator.

"Bibles are interesting because the Bible is. The Rev. Sidney N. Sedgwick, M.A., has told 'The Romance of Precious Bibles.' He has told it in a very romantic fashion, bringing the precious Bibles into touch with the private life of men and women and little children, and giving us an interest in them as well as in the Bibles. It it a good book for Sunday School or family reading. Mr. Sedgwick begins with the Story of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and ends with the Story of Anne Boleyn's Testament."—Expository Times.



The following books were offered for sale in London (TSU Editor)

The Bookseller, Nov. 4, 1893, p. 1140 and also in issue Dec. 15, 1893, p. 1221

T. Carver, 6, High St., Hereford: Samaritan Pentateuch

The Bookseller, May 1, 1871,  p. 438, Charles Edmonds, Bull St., Birmingham

Samaritan Pentateuch


As recommended by one of our Subscribers, I shall attempt to add a full Bibliograqphy of Articles placed in our Archives section of the Samaritan Update

please check out our

Samaritan Resources

In the past month about 90 new articles have been added!

more coming soon! (Editor)



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