July 15th, 2004  

Vol.  III - No.24

In This Issue

  • The Sixth

  • Samaritan Session

  • Earthquakes in Nablus


  • Book Ordering

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A. B. - Samaritan News


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Sunset Times for Central Israel calculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon


begins Friday July 16th, 6:48pm to Saturday 17th, 6:48 p.m.

Weekly Parshiyot-



with Genesis



23rd, 6:44pm- 24th 6:44pm

Weekly Parshiyot-



with Genesis



Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals


Festival of the Seventh Month- Oct. 14th, 2004

Day of Atonement Oct 23rd, 2004

Succoth- Oct. 28th

Rejoicing of the Torah- Nov. 4, 2004


Studies and Related Conferences:

Session at the EABS in Grooningen, July 25-28, 2004 organized by Ingrid Hjelm


In Planning Stage

SES: In University of Papa/ Hungary in 2008.

 organised by Dr. Joseph Zsengelle'

Markah Memar iv.5

God does not like the evildoer and will not have pity for such, but he loves the good who hear his voice and keep his commandments, for he is merciful and pitiful, forgiving all who seek him sincerely.


Plan on buying a Book? Buy through us and support our main website: www.the-samaritans.com




The Sixth International Congress of Samaritan Studies

A.B. The Samaritan News
   The sixth International Congress of Samaritan Studies went very well on July 5-7, 2004, on the 30th floor of Eshkol Tower of the University of Haifa on Mount Carmel/Israel. Thanks to the blessed work and preparations of Prof. Menachem Mor the new Dean of the University and his colleagues to the preparation's committee, Prof. Uriel Rappoport of the same university and Dr. Moshe Florentin of the University of Tel-Aviv. The Congress has been adopted by three institutions: SES - the Society of Samaritan Studies in Paris, University of Haifa and Yad Ben-Zvi/Jerusalem.

(Photo 1- The new dean of the University of Haifa which hosted the Sixth International Congress of Samaritan Studies, the Samaritonologist Prof. Menachem Mor is forwarding the congress [Left to right: The Guest of Honor - The Samaritan-Israelite High Priest Elazar b. Tsedaka, Prof. Mor, Prof. Gideon Fux, The head of the school of History of Israel in the university and Prof. Yosi Ben-Artzi, The new vice president of the University of Haifa.)

(Photo 2- Part of the tens of the scholars that attended the Congress.)
The opening session is held the opening words and blessing of the priests [Numbers, Chap. 6] by the guest of Honor, the Samaritan Israelite High Priest Elazar b. Tsedaka. In his words the High Priests has surveyed the enormous accomplishments of the Samaritan Studies during the last four years since the previous congress that held in Helsinki/Finland in the year 2000. High Priest Elazar has pointed mainly the three books that came out since then: The Book of The Samaritans, a collection of 28 articles mainly on the History of the Samaritan Israelites; The Book "From Samaria to Shechem" by Prof. Menachem Mor, first attempt to write a comprehensive description of the History of the Samaritans in the Biblical and Helenistic periods; The book "Mount Gerizim Excavations 1" first of 5 books series that describe 395 Inscriptions in Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic scripts discovered in Ancient Luza on the peak of Mount Gerizim by Dr. Yitzhaq Magen.

(Photo 3- High Priest Elazar with Dr. Nissim Dana, a popular lecturer of Eretz Yisrael Studies in Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan/Israel that participated in the Congress and lectured about "The Samaritans Between Past and Present".)

High Priest Elazar has blessed the vast contribution of many scholars to the Samaritan Studies from all corners of the world. He remarked specially the self contribution of the Samaritan scholars and beginning of books came out in Arabic in the Middle East about the Samaritan heritage.

Then Prof. Mor has read a letter of blessing from the acting president of SES, Prof. Reinhard Pummer and the Congress has started in a successful momentum. At the first night the University of Haifa staff has prepared a special dinner that utilized by the participants from everywhere to be acquainted to one another.

26 lectures on various subjects have been read in English to show the great progress of the Samaritan Studies. Over half of the lecturers were new faces in Samaritan Studies a fact that proves the great future of the object. There were lectures on the history of the Samaritan People, the culture, art, archaeology, language, literature, Samaritans and Jews, Samaritans and Christians, Samaritan in the Islamic period - The new discoveries of Dr. Milka Levi Rubin that has filled a hole of 130 years[800-930] in the history of Jews and Samaritans in the Land of Israel, thanks to a very special document, Ms. 10 of the Samaritan Collection of the National Library of Paris scribed in the year 1523 A.D. A survey of Benyamim Tsedaka of like a 150 Samaritan Households and Families that disappeared mainly through the late Islamic period. New Discoveries of Prof. Bat Sheva Bonne-Tamir on the Genetics of the Samaritans. New reports by Israel Tsedaka on the  great treatment and help of the late Second President of Israel Yitzhaq Ben-Zvi and the first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion towards the Samaritans in the State of Israel. Most of the lectures were on a very high level. All lectures will be collected to a proceeding will be published soon as usual after each congress. The discussions after most of the lectures were in a high standard and fruitful.
(Photo 4 - Prof. Yochanan Eshel, the chairman of the second session with Dr. Milka Levi-Rubin of the Middle Eastern Studies Department of The Hebrew University In Jerusalem that lectured on "Islamization of the Samaritan Community during the Early Moslem Period")

In the final session, Wednesday Evening, July 7, 2004, Prof. Mor has thanked all the participants for their highly participation in the Congress. Dr. Joseph Zsengelle' from Hungary has invited the participants and members of the SES to the Seventh Congress that he wished to host in the University of Papa/ Hungary in 2008.


Samaritan Session for EABS in Groningen 2004, July 28th.

Ingrid Hjelm, University of Copenhagen

The Relevance of Samarian / Samaritan History for Research in Political and Religious Circumstances in Judaea in the Persian Period. 

Abstract: In biblical scholarship, 2 Kings’ 17’s deportation of Samaria’s population, has basically led to a neglect of the city and province of Samaria’s political and religious roles the city and province of Samaria played during Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian hegemony. Deceived by 2 Kings’ shift of focus and Ezra and Nehemiah’s ‘people of the land’ (am ha-aretz) and ‘enemies of Judah’ as well as Josephus’ placement of the building of a temple on Mt. Gerizim during Alexander rather than Darius, Samaria and Samaritan history has been treated as nothing but a disturbing element in the Judah and Jerusalem oriented histories of post-Assyrian biblical Israel. Recent excavations on Gerizim, Inscriptions, Onomastic evidence in e.g. Elephantine and Samaria Papyri, all of which point to a well established Yahweh cult on Gerizim and in Samaria from early in the Persian period, seriously undermines standard assumptions of Jerusalem’s priority as Yahwism’s centrum and producer of the shared Jewish and Samaritan Torah and Joshua traditions. This lecture will argue that scholarly paradigms for exilic and post-exilic Samaria’s and Judah’s political and religious relationship must be changed to accord with extra-biblical evidence from both regions.

Rivkah Shahal, Ashkelon Academic College, Israel

The Samaritans, the Godfearers and Proselytism in Rabbinic Sources

Abstract: The phenomenon of those who join themselves to God goes back many years. Examples are in abundance. Are the Samaritans also part of proselytism –do they also fit into the category of joining themselves to the people of Israel? In my lecture, I will discuss the following points, especially the historical phenomenon of the ‘God Fearers’ in relation to the Samaritans. The term ‘God fearing’, which appears a number of times in the Hebrew Bible, is unclear. Is it an adjective alone or does it have social-religious affiliations as a characterisation of certain groups? Do the Samaritans fall into the category of being ‘God Fearers’? 1) An obscure verse in Isaiah enabled the sermonizer of Bamidbar Rabba to grade the different categories. ‘God fearing’ is at the bottom of the scale. Samaritans are not mentioned and they are not found to be part of the Jews. 2) Post-exilic Judaism was tolerant of accepting and even encouraging proselytism. Were Samaritans object of this interest? Apparently not. 3) In the first century CE, Paul encountered idolatrous ‘God Fearers’ in the synagogue at Antioch and other places. He called them: hoi phoboumenoi ton theon. 4) The finding of the pillar at Aphroditias in minor Asia sheds light on the ‘God Fearers’. 5) To the sermonizer, ‘God Fearers’ are on the same level as true proselytes. The Samaritans, on the contrary, are not true ‘God Fearers’ (yir’ey  elohimi) and therefore are not true proselytes, because they continued to worship idols: ‘They feared the Lord and served their own gods’ (2 Kgs 17.33). The sermonizer used the Hebrew root yr’ in his characterisation of both. The sermon opposes Rabbi Akiva’s position that the Samaritans are true proselytes. In my lecture I will analyse the possible reasons that motivated the sermonizer to blame the Samaritans for idol worship.

Benyamim Tsedaka, A.B.-Institute for Samaritan Research, Holon, Israel. The Collection of Samaritan Manuscripts at the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, as a Tool for Complete Research on Samaritan Literature.

Heinz Pohl, Berlin. Polemic between the Karaites and the Samaritans on the Background of some of the 80 Samaritan manuscripts in the State Library of Berlin.

Joshua Sabih, University of Copenhagen. Samaritan, Jews and Christians under Islam: Script, Language and Religious Identity.

Thank you Ingrid Hjelm for sending us this information!


Earthquakes in Nablus

BY Shomron

   Recently, I read the Israel Exploration Journal,(IPJ) volume 44, numbers 3-4, Jerusalem, Israel, 1994. I was wanting to read the article by Ronny Reich; 'The Plan of the Samaritan Synagogue at Sha'alvim'. Nice article Ronny! But I must admit what really caught my attention was the article by D.H.K. Amiran, E. Arieh and T. Turcotte; 'Earthquakes in Israel and Adjacent Areas: Macroseismic Observations since 100 B.C.E.'.

   I recalled reading  in the Samaritan Chronicles of earthquakes in Nablus. So I went back to the Chronicles to compare dates. The first date that appealed to me in the (IEJ) was May 19th, 363, when a strong quake hit the land (page 265). According note 17 the 'assume that three cisterns in the Zeus temple at Balatah (Nablus) were destroyed by this earthquake; the dating is based on numerismatic finds." According to A Samaritan Chronicle, of Jeffrey M. Cohen, the Samaritan made war with the Romans and 'they demolished the Roman meeting-house which was at the summit of the Holy Mountain,' (page 103). According to Reinhard Pummer, reference in , 'Samaritan Material Remains and Archaeology,' page 169,  in Alan Crown's, The Samaritans, there are coins of Julian the Apostate (360-363 A.D.) from 362 depicting the Zeus temple on the mount. The fact that the earthquake accorded a year later is only relevant in the words of prayer from Baba Rabba, "We give thanks unto you, O Lord.......In our anguish we called to the Lord, and cried out to out God; and the Lord heard our voice and the sound of our cries. The earth shook and the foundations of the mountains quaked and shook by reason of His anger.' This was the prayer that was said just after the Samaritan battled the Romans in revolt. The date has been agued but a reflection on the quake and the prayer may shed light in some eyes.

   One must also remember that of Amorah Nachman bar Isaac (d. 356 A.D.) was the person responsible for the Talmudic charge of the Samaritan worshipped a bird on the mount, which was the roman brass bird. This was wrong of course but a Roman bird was there years till the revolt.

   The date of Baba' appearance around 328 A.D. could place him in 363 if it were not for the assumed idea that he lived to be only 40 years of age. This of course is a guess, he may just have well lived to see it. If he appeared a mentioned, what was his age or was he born at that year, 328? If he were it would have made him 35 years old in 363. Or even if he were twenty making him 55 years old. The question also remains that if he were 40 years old as scholars assume, how old was his nephew Levi, 13, maybe 20. It would be hard to believe that Levi would have had so much power at a young age.

    'On Saturday, on the first day of the feast of Tabernacles, in the second hour, there was a great earthquake; but Almighty God's mercy sheltered (us) and no one was harmed.' The date given is 853-4 which is shown as 853+ in the IEJ.

   'In the days of Marwin a tremendous earthquake struck everywhere. The houses came down upon their inhabitants and innumerable people perished; it was an immense earthquake, such as had never before been seen. (The Continuatio of the Samaritan Chronicle of Abu l'Fath Al-Samiri Al-Danafi,(SCAF) by Milka Levy-Rubin, page 56) this was in 749. Page 11 describes another quake, 'Then in Tishrin there came a great earthquake; it was a terrible thing, but Almighty God watched over His servants, and no harm came to any Samaritan.' According to the writings in the SCAF the time of accordance was somewhere early in the 900-935 C.E. The IEJ gives a date of 1033/4 and then shows that half of Nablus was destroyed. Noticing that there is no record of any quakes shown in the IEJ article for the 900 period may reflect an err in source and the dating.




On invitation of the British representative at Nablus I accompanied him on a tour of inspection of the ruined portion of that city a few days after the recent shock. In the heart of the stone beehive was the quarter occupied by many generations of Samaritans, a small tribe isolated in the very city of their birth by the intense religious prejudice that has always pursued them. When they increased in numbers they neither would nor could expand among their neighbors. They could only build higher, could only pile another stone cubicle on the roof. The passage and the stair must come off the narrow, crowded room below. The planning was haphazard occasional, suited to the immediate need, but it endured for centuries. And so did the dirt in the dark, foul-smelling corners. I sympathized with the health officer, who was of our party. "Tear it down, let in light and air." "But it is their property, it is all they have, we can't pay for the whole place," was the answer. And so only that which was absolutely dangerous because it might fall and crush them could be torn down.


Earthquake of 1927



Book Ordering

Pummer, Reinhard  - Early Christian Authors on Samaritans and Samaritanism
  ISBN 3-16-147831-2 cloth , price per copy € 129.00   available Mohr Siebeck Verlag Distribution department
Telephone 0049 (0) 7071 / 923-17
Telefax 0049 (0) 7071 / 51104

The book by
Yitzhak Magen: Israel Antiquities Authority; Mount Gerizim Excavations, vol 1. may be ordered from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Mail a check for $50 (equivalent in local currency) , or credit card information sent to the above fax number.
(or air mail, add $15).  The book  will be dispatched by surface mail within 7days at most.
Harriet Menahem
IAA Secretary
Israel Antiquities Authority
PO Box 586
IL-91004 Jerusalem, Israel
tel. 972-2-6204624
fax 972-2-6289066
e-mail: harriet@israntique.org.il

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