December 18, 2003  

Vol.  III - Nu.9

In This Issue

  • Shema or God?

  • A Samaritan Prayer

  • Tell Balatah

  • Lead Sealing

  • The Asatir

  • Manuscripts For Sale

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Shema or God?

By Shomron

The first principle of the statement of the Samaritan-ISRAELITE declaration of faith is, "One God, who is the God of Israel." The God of Israel is the sole object of Israelite-Samaritan Worship. The name given to the God of Israel by the Samaritan-Israelite transliterated to "Shema,"  means "the Name".   The Name Shema is used to avoid uttering the pronounce the four letters of the name of "YHWH."(in Ancient Hebrew: YUT-HIY-BA-EIY) "All the names of God are attributive except the name 'YHWH,' which does not consist of any attribute" (Memar  Markah II.9). Shema (may He bless us with understanding) is Creator, King, King of kings, King of the worlds, God of gods, and Lord of lords. He is Might, the Mighty One, Great, Strong, Able, Enduring, Victor, Redeemer, the Living One, the Wise, the Great Power and  the Rock and the Stone of Israel.

Now if you are Jewish, you understand and have known the word 'Shema' to mean the twice daily recitation of the declaration of God's unity, in which the word Shema is derived from the first word of the recitation of Deuteronomy 6:4 'Hear.'

The word 'shem' as you may know means 'name' just like in the use of the son of Noah, Shem. This is how the Samaritan Israelites use the term as shown above. But when scholars refer to the Samaritan-Israelite deity they use the common universal word 'God' which is the general usage of the one deity. But if you review each religious deity, you will find a difference between them. And some denominations will admit that they do not worship the same deity as other religious groups do. Even scripture states that  this: "Do not follow other gods, any gods of the peoples about you"  Deut. 6:14. "For their rock is not like our Rock " Deut. 32:31. Even this well known term, "God" is in reality the name of an ancient deity. How we came about to use this term is practically unknown.

But back to the Samaritan-Israelite usage of the term of their deity. The word god is not a welcomed practice among the small community. Even the written usage by scholars is not in reality practical or accepted. There is no reason in this educated environment to use the term to represent the deity of the Samaritan-Israelites. Use the correct term, which is 'Shema,' when essential and deity when fundamental use is applied. When quoting past articles, it will be acceptable to quote the written words but in the future, out of respect for the Samaritan-Israelites, the appropriate words shall be relevant.

I would like to thank Benny Tsadaka for bring this to our attention.


A Samaritan Prayer


   Praise be to Shema, the quintessence of Unity; the indivisible and eternal;

   To him who is far above either mother or son;

   To the forgiver of sins to every on that repents with purity of conscience;

   To him who overlooks shortcomings, and consoles the disconsolate hearts;

   To him who alone is perfect and eternal, and liable neither to malady nor disease;

   He is eternal and immutable, far above destruction, or any possible damage;

   He is the Everlasting, who is too exalted to be represented either by image or likeness;

   And is far above measurement or drawing.

   He is described by the most exalted names;

   To him belongs the ineffable name AHIH ASHR AHIH.

   He is the one who hears and beholds all things.

   Verily he hears the flowing of water in the most parched wilderness,

   And sees the black ants in the darkest recesses of the rock.

   There is no deity but he;

   None but he is worthy to be worshipped.

   He is invisible, eternal in his eternity,

   And Lord of all the heavens.

   Exalted and blessed be his Name (Shema)!

   He is praised in the secret and in the open;

   In the conscience and by the tongue;

   Inwardly and outwardly.

   He is the only judge,

   Who will avenge Himself on the rebellious on the last day.

   Holy be His Great Name! Amen.


Notes and Extracts From the Semitic manuscripts in the John Rylands Library:  By Edward Robertson will be on in full very soon.


Tell Balatah (Shechem or Ancient Nablus) Nablus/West Bank, Palestine
Located just east of the modern West Bank town of Nablus, Tell Balatah has long been associated with the ancient city of Shechem, mentioned throughout the Bible and in numerous Egyptian documents. An influential commercial center, the city prospered from trade in locally produced grapes, olives, wheat, and livestock from the Middle Bronze Age into the Late Hellenistic Period (ca. 1900100 B.C.). Archaeological excavations have revealed that the city was destroyed and rebuilt 22 times until its final destruction in the second century B.C.. Among the citys visible remains are a series of defensive walls and gates, a palace or governors house, a residential quarter, as well as fortified Canaanite temple, and a portion of a temple to Zeus commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the second century B.C. In addition to overall current civil unrest in the West Bank, the main threats to the site are lack of conservation and maintenance as well as vandalism and encroachment of agricultural fields and urban development. Heavy rains have taken their toll on the mud-brick architecture. Collapse of earlier excavations baulk zones and squares is evident. The site is in desperate need of a management and conservation plan, a public awareness campaign, as well as a comprehensive documentation of finds recovered during excavation.


Lead Sealing for sale: #942

 2nd-3rd cent. A.D. Sealing in Samaritan alphabet and script. Obverse shows an inscription in incuse circle. Reverse appears to be a multi-line small letter inscription. Measures 17 by 15mm. cf. Diringer page 237. Very rare. Min. $375. Choice. Est. $750.


Section from The Asatir,

the Samaritan Book of the Secrets of Moses

Together with the Pitron or Samaritan Commentary

Written and translated by Moses Gaster, 1927.


Chapter VII, verse 24, page 260: The principles of faith are fear, merit and repentance.

Manuscripts For Sale: September 2003


MANUSCRIPT, Arabic & Samaritan. Mas'il al-Khilf by Munajj ibn Sadaqa (part II). An old copy of Mas'il al-Khilf, a treatise on the differences between Jews and Samaritans by Ab l-Faraj Munajj ibn Sadaqa ibn Gharb, a twelfth-century physician of Damascus. As usual, our copy comprises only the second part of the text: there is no manuscript extant containing both parts. This work is a major source for the history and customs of the Samaritans and their relations with the Jews, both Rabbanites and Karaites. The provenance of the manuscript, which may date from the early 15th century, lies in Nablus itself, as appears from a long ownership note on p. 2, partly written in Samaritan. The note states that Ysuf ibn Hiba Mu`n hak-Khn, the Custodian of the Sacred (Abisha) Scroll in Nablus, has studied the contents of the manuscript. Subsequently it was studied by Ibrahm ibn Ya`qb al-Mafraj (note on p. 24) and Ibrahm ibn Ya`qb ibn Marjan Ibrhm ibn Ism`l (note on p. 25). `Imrn ibn Salma ibn Ghazel hak-Khn in his long note dated 1838 on p. 226, describes the state of the manuscript when he collected, repaired and completed it (jama'ahu wa-rammahu...tafwd m d'a minhu...). The previous owner of this manuscript was David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942), ms. 717. It is much the most important and certainly the oldest of four manuscripts of this work once in the Sassoon library. (Description based on Sotheby's catalogue LN4369 Sassoon. See also D.S. Sassoon, Ohel Dawid, descriptive catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan manuscripts in the Sassoon library. London 1932, II p. 594. Additional information, with thanks, from Dr. I. R. M. Bid.) EUR 4090

MANUSCRIPT, Samaritan. Kitb al-qawnn li-irshd al-mutaallimn, by Ab Sad b. Abi l-Hassan b. Sad. Nablus, dated 1327. A small manuscript of 11 leaves (176 x 125 mm) bound in one gathering, written in Arabic, 15-16 lines to a page, in a cursive naskh script, with short words and phrases in a small square Samaritan hand, and with some early glosses. Five couplets of religious poetry in Arabic are added on p. 1. The leaves show some worming (mostly marginal), dampstaining, browning on the lower parts, and some marginal repairs. Modern cloth. EUR 4430

MANUSCRIPT, Samaritan. Tarjamat al-Tawrh al-Muqaddasa. The Samaritan Pentateuch, in the Arabic translation of Abu l-Suryn. Perhaps Nablus or Damascus, 18th or 19th century (but see below). The manuscript consists of 296 leaves, 344 x 223 mm, of slightly glossy European paper, and is apparently complete; the text is written in black ink, 19 lines to a page, in a rather shaky Arabic hand, with the title and basmala in a larger bold letter, and with various marginal additions. The manuscript is bound in an early nineteenth-century European quarter red morocco over orange paper boards, the bottom of the spine is torn and the boards are somewhat stained, but otherwise it is a fine and well-preserved copy. EUR 4400

MANUSCRIPT, Samaritan. Kitb al-tubkh (?) A fragment of a Samaritan theological work, probably on Samaritan oral law. The name of the author and the title of the work are not mentioned. Probably copied at Nablus, possibly Damascus, in the 14th century. Large-8vo. An incomplete manuscript consisting of 24 leaves (262 x 173 mm), lacking leaves at the beginning, after pp. 18, 36 and 44 and at end; the leaves, marked by catchwords, are bound in three gatherings, the collation being as follows: i9 [of 10, lacking x], ii9 [of 10, lacking x], iii6 [presumably of 10, probably lacking i-ii, vii and x]. The text is written in Arabic, in 23-24 long lines, in a well-formed cursive naskh script interpersed throughout with words and phrases in Samaritan script. The manuscript is dampstained throughout, frayed at the edges and bound in modern cloth. EUR 2730


An Other book concerning Samaritan Dialects


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