June 20, 2002
*A Samaritan Youth was Shot
*A Modern Samaritan Scholar
*The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela
*New Articles Posted at Our Web Site
*Two Stories of the Samaritan Passover
*Reminder of the Samaritan Torah Scroll at the NY Auction.
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New Articles Posted at Our Web Site
Read and gain knowledge at our website:
New! The Last Israelitish Blood Sacrifice by John D. Whiting, 1920.
New! The Samaritan Passover by Owen Tweedy, 1928.
A Samaritan Scholar:
Alan David Crown: Born 9/28/32 in Leeds, England, is now living in Australia, where he is a Professor at the University of Sydney, Australia. Mr. Crown, is an author, editor, lecturer and one of today's top Samaritan scholars. Mr. Crown's contribution to Samaritan Studies has helped educate the world concerning the Samaritan-Israelites, not to mention all his other works. Thank You, Professor Crown!
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Shavuot was last Sunday, June 16th, 2002
All the Samaritans had a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Sites on
Mount Gerizim on Shavuot. It was the second pilgrimage this year.
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A Samaritan Youth was Shot
A shooting incident took place when Yaacov, son of the priest Matzliach, a deaf-mute, walked past the IDF barricade near the Jewish settlement of Berakha, unheeding the soldiers' call to halt, at the checkpoint. The “A.B.” was informed by IDF Lt. Colonel Doron Segal, that the soldiers at the barricade could not have known that Yaacov was a deaf-mute and went by all the regulations before opening fire on the youth. Yaacov who was hit in his thigh, was rushed to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tiqva, where the operation was successfully. (A.B. News Services)
THE ITINERARY OF BENJAMIN OF TUDELA
CRITICAL TEXT, TRANSLATION AND COMMENTARY
BY MARCUS NATHAN ADLER, M.A
pages 32-34, 48
(page. 48)Three thousand Jews abide in this city (Damascus), and amongst them are learned and rich men. The head of the Academy of the land of Israel resides here. His name is R. Azariah, and with him are his brother, Sar Shalom, the head of the Beth Din: R. Joseph, the fifth of the Academy: R. Mazliach, the lecturer, the head of the order: R. Meir, the crown of the scholars: R. Joseph ben Al Pilath, the pillar of the Academy: R. Heman, the warden: and R. Zedekiah, the physician. One hundred Karaites dwell here, also 400 Cuthim, and there is peace between them, but they do not intermarry.
Notes (notes not from article):
1. Benjamin of Tudela lived in the second half of the 12th century.
2.From Jerusalem it is two parasangs to Bethlehem equaling a distance of five miles or eight kilometers.
Thoughts : From the first note on page 48of the above article, "Pethachia estimates the Jewish population at 19,000. This confirms the opinion already given (p. 26) that Benjamin refers to heads of families." If there were estimated to be 3000 heads of the Jews in the city making their total as per the note, to be about 19,000 Jews, than calculating, there would be 6 plus members per family. If the Cuthim were of Samaritan origins, then 400 times 6 would place over 2400 Samaritans living in Damascus at this time. Looking back to page 32 that displays a total of 200 Cuthim meaning Samaritans, multiplying by six would have totaled the number to be about 1200 Samaritans living in Caesarea in the year 1170. And as calculating the number of the Samaritans in Nablus from 1,000 heads of family, would change to 6,000 Samaritans. That is if the Samaritans and Jews had an average of the same number per family. And it could be that Benjamin's or Pethahiah (a 12th century traveler, visiting about 1175) numbers were wrong or during time there were 19,000 Jews but it does not necessarily mean that there were that many there, at the time of Benjamin's visit.
Information from the Samaritan book, Tolidah, may give light to Benjamin's statements with the story of invaders capturing Samaritans carrying them to Damascus. This happened in 1137, when a raid by Bazwadj, captured five hundred Samaritans taking them to Damascus. An unknown number of the Samaritan families may have been to poor to pay the ransom demanded and forcing them to stay in Damascus. And if there were, say, one hundred persons of the five hundred that stayed for what ever reason, then after 33 years(1137-1170), say, per 6 per family(16 to 17 families) and each family had 6 offspring (as described above) that married at a young age and their children had the same, than the total from these 100 persons alone would have numbered well over 400 and that is not taking into count of any previous Samaritan families that may have lived prior. According to Itzhak Ben-Zvi's book, The Exiled and the Redeemed, Rabbi Obadiah of Bertinoro (1488) states that according to Samaritan sources of information, there were then in existence not more than 500 families numbering 2,500 souls including Damascus. That roughly is 5 members per family. So the family unit then could have been 5 to 6 members. But since the Samaritans were a minority and most likely fell under all types of abuse from the locals, would have made it difficult to raise an average size family, but again one never knows. Priest Amran Ishak wrote in, The History and Religion of the Samaritans, "And when Mohammed appeared, this nation was very numerous, and they possessed many cities and villages until the year 700 of the Hegira. And there were in the city of Caesarea, and round about it, about thirty thousand whom Salahuddin Alioseph (Saladdin) exiled, a man from the great ameers, Islam. And there was a great number of them in Damascus, and Asham, and in Egypt, and in Aleppo, and in Gaza, and in the city of Joppa, besides those who lived in Nablus and in this mountain." Priest Amran Ishak, stated, 'this nation' meaning the Samaritan nation. Zebulon Altif made a statement in an article called, The Good Samaritans, Somehow they have survived, by James Kraus; “We are really to small a nation to be of interest to anybody.” The article appeared in the Present Tense, in the summer of 1979 (vol. 6, #4), and it demonstrates that still today the Samaritans call themselves a nation. This shows that in 1184 there were more Samaritans existing in the land then either of our two travelers ever noticed or heard about.
For the entire text, visit this web site http://www.uscolo.edu/history/seminar/benjamin/benjamin1.htm
Two Stories of the Samaritan Passover
There are two new articles of the Samaritan Passover that have been added to our website archives; The Last Israelitish Blood Sacrifice by John D. Whiting and The Samaritan Passover by Owen Tweedy. Both stories give a detailed description of the Samaritan Passover in the 1920's, when the Samaritans dwelt in tents on Mount Gerizim. Tweedy's story how ever does appear nine years after John Whiting's account of the Samaritan ceremony. The first statement of Tweedy's 1928 article begins as follows, "The Samaritans are the smallest and oldest sect in the world." The title of John F. Hurst article of 1889 appearing in Harper's New Monthly Magazine was, "The oldest and smallest sect in the world." I appears to the reader (me) that Owen Tweedy's article was written from the two articles above. There is the second paragraph that does display some information concerning the Samaritan Passover falling on a Friday. His article was published about a year later than the described event giving him a window from another source. It is my conviction that Owen Tweedy never himself witnessed the Samaritan Passover but wrote his article from previous narratives of real eyewitness accountants. But his story did give some readers a glimpse of the Samaritan Passover in his day. Read the three articles posted at our web site and decide for yourself.
Reminder of the Samaritan Torah Scroll at the NY Auction.
The handwritten Torah scroll previously owned by Dr. Schrire will be auctioned by Kestenbaum and Company in New York. The Samaritan Scroll was written by Yacob B. Azzi in Shechem in the 1920's and offered at the auction by Fishburn Books of London. The auction will be June 25th. Their website will display the results of the auction at http://www.kestenbaum.net/index.htm Catalogs can be obtained through the website or by phone. The name of the catalog is 'Import Hebrew printed Books.' And do not forget that Fishburn Books still have some of the remaining books from Dr. Schrire collection still for sale. Visit and inquire at their website at http://fishburnbooks.com/
Crown, A.D., “The Samaritans, their Literature and the Codicology of their Manuscripts,” BAIAS 15 (1997): 87-104.
Davies, G., “A Samaritan Inscription with an Expanded Text of the Shema,” PEQ 131 (1999): 3-19.
Fraade, S.D., “Enosh and His Generation Revisited,” in Biblical Figures Outside the Bible, M.E. Stone and T.A. Bergen, eds. (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998), pp. 59-86. For Fragmentary Targums and Samaritan Targum, see pp. 66, 74.
Pummer, R., “The Greek Bible and the Samaritans,” REJ 157:3-4 (1998): 269-358.
Tal, A., “Divergent Traditions of the Samaritan Pentateuch as Reflected by Its Aramaic
Targum,” JAB 1:2 (1999): 297-314. Tal, A., “The Hebrew Pentateuch in the Eyes of the Samaritan Translator,” in The
Interpretation of the Bible: The International Symposium in Slovenia, J. Kraovek,
ed., JSOT Supp 289 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998). Samaritan.
Schiffman, Lawrence, The Samaritans in Tannaitic Halakhah," JQR 75 (1985), pp. 323-50
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