December 20th 2001
THE SAMARITANS IN EGYPT
By: Reinhard Pummer
University of Ottawa]
For the last three hundred years Samaritans have lived only in
the Holy Land. And in fact, today’s Samaritans consider it a duty to live
there. However, from antiquity to approximately the year 1700, Samaritans were
found in numerous cities outside the Holy Land, from Damascus to Rome. One of
the most important diaspora groups lived in Egypt.
A number of surveys have been written about the Samaritan
diaspora in general or in antiquity. The oldest seems to be Th. G. J.
Juynboll’s chapter six in his work Commentarii in historian gentis samaritanae
published in 1846. It is entitled “De Terris, in quibus Gens samaritana
olim vixit, et Urbibus, ubi Coetus samaritani antea flouerunt”. J.W.Nutt
presented a brief overview in Fragments of a Samaritan Targum, published
in 1874. More recent studies are the articles by A. D. Crown, “The Samaritan
Diaspora to the End of the Byzantine Era”, and “The Samaritan Diaspora”; and by
P.van der Horst, “De Samaritaanse diaspora”, and “The Samaritan Diaspora in
The following paper will focus on one area, Egypt, and will try
to bring together all available information about the Samaritan diaspora in
that land. Completeness was sought as much in the collection of the material,
except for one aspect, i.e. not every manuscript with a colophon or a deed of
sale that mentions Egypt, was identified and listed. In any event, it is not
always the case that “Egypt” refers to that region, but often Gaza in intended.
(This article in its
complete can be found at our archives section of our website: The-Samaritans.com)
The Book of Enlightenment and The
Samaritan Chronicle Or
The Book of
Joshua, the son of Nun.
And coming soon:
BRIEF THEORITICAL POINTS OF VIEW
SAMARITAN SECT OF NABLUS
BY ATEF NAGI and YUSEF ABU-EL-HASAN- Cohen
to the Editor:
A quick question: In Samaritan Update Nov.22, it says that the
Septuagint (LXX) agrees that Joshua set up an altar on Mt. Gerizim, not Ebal.
In LXX texts I can find, Joshua 8:30(=9:2a in LXX) and Deut.27:4 both have EBAL. Who wrote this article? I am aware of one possible source of this
statement. As Emanuel Tov reports, the Old Latin translation of the Septuagint
has Gerizim in Deut.27:4. But my understanding is that no ancient Greek version
with Gerizim is known. It is possible that the LXX was also changed after the
time of the Latin translation, but it is difficult to see how this would have
occurred, as the Greek texts would have been widely circulated, and why would
the Christians be interested in changing them? On the other hand, the Latin
copyist got it from somewhere. I would be grateful for any clarification on
this point, from the author of the article.
We are happy that you read the Samaritan
Update. In the writings of the LXX, you will find that you are correct as to
the translation concerning the altar being erected on mount Ebal. It appears a
clarification should be made on this article that I wrote and to the meaning
behind that which was intended.
The Septuagint that the
honorable Professor Tov may have been thinking of was most likely the Vetus
Latina. It has Mount Gerizim in place of Ebal. Professor Emanuel Tov informs me, “readings in the Old Latin deviating from the
main text of the LXX are always a riddle. But the assumption is that there once
existed an ancient Greek text, original or not vis-a-vis the MT, from which the
Latin was translated, probably in the first century C.E. Since the old Latin
cannot be suspected to be Samaritan, the possibility exists that this reflects
a Greek reading, and possibly an original Hebrew reading.”
Jerome’s Latin version known
as the Vulgate began when he noticed the Septuagint diverged from the
Hebrew text of the Jews. With the help of his Jewish friends and teachers,
Jerome prepared a fresh Latin translation in which he believed to be from the
“original truth of the Hebrew text, “the Hebraica veritas.” The Vetus Latina
has Gerizim in place of Ebal in Deuteronomy 27.
There is a fragment of an
ancient Greek parchment that contains Deuteronomy, chapters 24-29. It
illustrates Mount Gerizim instead of Ebal. The Giessen University Library
purchased the fragment in Egypt from a grant by the Committee on Papryology in
Berlin. Paul Glaue and Alfred Rahlfs published their studies on the parchment
in 1911. It has been recognized to be a partial Greek translation of the
Origen’s Hexapla (“the sixfold,”),
completed in 245 C.E., gives marginal notes that quote from a Samareitikon, a
Greek translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. There is no known copy of the
Samareitikon to exist today. But it could be that the Fragment from Egypt is a
portion of the Samareitikon or maybe even the original LXX. Origen found that
there appeared to be a problem with the Greek text, it differed from the Hebrew
text of the Jews. The Jews were dissatisfied with the Septuagint that
the Christians had also.
that the newly formed Dosithean sects that developed from the writings of Dusis
became the Christian is evident from names such as Simon Magnus (Samaritan
origin). The Dustan sect claimed to have the true text that was given to the
seventy elders by Moses. Their text differed somewhat from that of the
Samaritans and the Jews. This would have given at least three different texts
of the Torah. There are over thirty uncials (4th to 9th
century) and close to 350 cursives (9th- 15th) in
existence today while there are only a very few fragments prior to 2nd
century BCE. While today all extant manuscripts in Greek are from Christian
translation from the Hebrew to Greek texts would have also differed developing
into fused controversies. As a result Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus made
new versions in the course of the second century. In the second century, Aquila
and Onkelos translated the Torah in to Greek and Arabic under the direction of
Rabbi Joshua ben Chananiah and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcan. It appears around the
time of the Maccabees (2nd century or so) the men in charge in
Jerusalem were call, ‘the Beth Din of the High Priests.’ The number of their
body was seventy. Some of their books they complied were from defective books.
This may have been the LXX.
There is little evidence today to give us the positive
proofs we need to accredit from which book the Greek versions derived from. The
Samaritan text and LXX have ‘sixth’ in Genesis 2:2, wherein the Masoretic text
has seventh. This is evidence of a better reading, “And on the sixth (seventh
MT) day God ended his work.”
It is also interesting that writers like
Josephus places not the altar on Gerizim or Ebal but between them. Josephus
also instructs us that Shechem lay between the two mountains (AJ. IV viii, 44).
According to Ps-Philo, “And Joshua went down to Galgala and built an altar of
very great stones, and brought no iron upon them, as Moses had commanded……(See XXI,
7-9). But he also writes that Joshua moved the tabernacle that would include
the altar, to Silo (XXII,8). But we know that Silo or Shiloh did not exist as
the home of the Tabernacle during the days of Joshua.
It would have been difficult to offer sacrifices on mount Ebal
considering that there is no known now and past any water sources that would
have been used for the sacrifices. Where as Gerizim has now and past many
springs of fresh water.
Moses Gastor gives a convincing agreement on the origin of the
“The origin of the LXX will now also find a better explanation
since every legend must have some kernal of truth. The idea of the LXX is not
wholly the result of a pious fiction. It so happened that at the end of one or
two of the MSS. of the Samaritan Pentateuch in book form I found a peculiar
colophon. Among others reference is made to the ‘70’, and in many of their
writings, especially the Book of the Laws which will be described hereafter, it
is distantly stated that the text of the Bible in their possession is the one
which they received as an ‘ancient tradition’ from the seventy elders. These
were the seventy elders chosen by Moses in the wilderness to whom he had
entrusted a copy of the Law. According to their statements, the text which the
Samaritans exhibited before King Ptolemy Philadelphus was a text which rested
upon the authority of the seventy elders. These were the ‘70’ who were
responsible for the text and later for the translation which was made from that
By the way, the Samaritan Torah differs from the Messoric text at
about 6,000 details. And of these occurrences the LXX agrees with the Samaritan
but mostly in small details.
I agree with S. Kohn, the LXX came from the Samareitikon. But it
is hard to say. Even today there are over two thousand different Bibles in
English for sale, each different from the next in its own way.
Shomron (I wrote the article,
but never corrected or edited it. My mistake! I found it in my archive and
thought it was finished. It will not happen again! I hope!)
Judaica, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, Israel, 1972.
Samaritan Pentateuch and the origin of the Samaritan Sect, James D. Purvis,
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1968.
Samaritans, their History, Doctrines and Literature by Moses Gaster, Humphrey
Milford, Oxford Press, London, 1923.
to Holy Writ, Establishing, on Documentary Evidence, the authorship, date,
form, and contents of each of its books and the Authenticity of the Pentateuch,
Isaac M. Wise, Cincinnati, Robert Clarke & Co. 1891.
Samaritans, edited by Alan Crown, JCB Mohr, Tubingen, 1989.
Text-Critical use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research, Emanuel Tov, Simor Ltd.,
Criticism by D.C. Simpson, Oxford University Press, London, 1924.
A Simple Computer Trick Worth Doing.
When/if a worm virus gets into your computer it heads straight
Email address book and sends
itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends and
associates. This trick won't keep the virus from getting
into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread
further. Here's what you do: First, open your address book and click on
"new contact". In the window,
type your friend's first name, type in !000 (that's an exclamation mark
followed by 3 zeros). Enter the new email address, type in WormAlert. Then
complete by clicking add, enter, ok, etc.
The "name" !000 will be placed at the top of your address book
as entry #1. This will be where the
worm will start to send itself to all your friends. But when it tries to send itself to !000, it will be undeliverable
because of the phony email address you
entered (WormAlert). If the first
attempt fails (which it will because of the phony address), the worm goes no
further and your friends will not be infected. Here's the second great
advantage of this method: if an email cannot be delivered, you will be notified
of this in your InBox almost immediately. Hence, if you ever get an email
telling you that an email addressed to WormAlert could not be delivered, you
know right away that you have the worm virus in your system. You can then take steps to get rid of
it! Pretty slick.
Uncle Jim supplied this
FOR COPIES OF:
Written material from
1907-1908 by Jacob ben Aaron, the Samaritan High Priest. I cannot locate
“Circumcision Among the Samaritans,” “The Messianic Hope of the Samaritans,”
and “The Samaritan Sabbath.” Any help would be appreciated to finish my
collection of his works. Please contact Shomron at Shomron@Yahoo.com .
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Samaritan Interactive CD: A Samaritan interactive CD-ROM from Nes
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chronicles, community, language and literature. There is even a quiz that can
be taken. It has the Samaritan singers (Osher sings with them in this cd rom).
Full of information.
Other items: A Samaritan Cook book in Hebrew, The cd of the
Samaritan Singers, A copy of the Samaritan Torah, post cards of the Samaritans
or if you are looking for something. Interested parties can contact Osher at firstname.lastname@example.org
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the past and hope you visit us again real soon. We ask you to forward this
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may you be blessed from the Holy One from above.
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