November 2004  

Vol.  IV - No.3

In This Issue

  • Gerizim Excavations

  • Fulbright Grant

  • Patrilineages and Matrilineages

  • Additional DNA Research

  • New Book Publications

  • The Asatir

  • Research Detectives Wanted

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Concerning the Gerizim Excavations

 From the Editor

Recently I have received my copy of Mount Gerizim Excavations, volume 1 entitled The Aramaic, Hebrew and Samaritan inscriptions by Yitzhak Magen, Haggai Misgav and Levana Tsfania. The book was published by the Staff Officer of archaeology-Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem. The book is large of high quality paper showing color and black and white photos of the dig and inscriptions.

I was surprised by so many names, 144 mentioned in the inscriptions. The introduction appears both in Hebrew and English but the catalogue of inscriptions appears in English. The maps of the excavation shows the different eras of constructions from the Persian, Hellenistic, Byzantine and Samaritan periods. Accordingly the finds of the temple resemble the Ezekiel's description of the future temple.

History will have to be rewritten with the discoveries on the mount. Evidence shows that the Samaritans were very strict to follow the biblical commandments and that even the date given by Josephus of the temple building construction was incorrect. Many animal bones were also found most likely from goodwill offerings.

Many of the stone inscriptions are said to be from an outer wall of the Temple structure and indications of a red paint were found in the letters. The paint was not identified of its contents. I wonder if it consisted of rust and skim milk like the type used on country barns in the Americas and Europe.

There is projected to be a total of five volumes of the twenty years of excavations on mount Gerizim . The second volume will be on the Mount Gerizim and the Samaritans with a history of the excavations, Samaritan synagogues, Roman period and Samaritan settlements. The third volume will deal with the architecture and Hellenistic culture of the city on Mount Gerizim. The fourth volume will contain coins from the Persian period on found on the mount. And the last, the fifth volume will consist of the Samaritan sacred precinct and the Roman church of the Romans on the mount.

I expect that in a few years the book will be hard to find since they are selling fast. I recommend that you purchase this book and read it for yourself of the Samaritan evidence from an archeological view. The price is well worth the investment. Anyone interested in the book should order it soon. See information below.

 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:


Regent Alumna Awarded Fulbright Grant

Brenda Fulkerson, a 2004 graduate of Regent University's Robertson School of Government, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to study in Israel during the upcoming academic year. She will examine the Zone of Peace Proposal, a Samaritan initiative designed to end the ongoing cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Fulkerson's interest in studying the Samaritans is based on their potential to serve as peacekeepers. An ethnic and religious minority of approximately 670 people, half live in Israel, near Tel Aviv, and the other half near Nablus in the West Bank. Although separated geographically, the Samaritans are a close community and many of them travel back and forth or even reside in both locations.

Impartial in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Samaritans are on good terms with both sides socially, economically and politically. Despite their neutrality, the conflict affects the Samaritans on the West Bank.

(We have tried to contact Brenda but have not as of yet received a response.)


Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence 

Human Mutation: 24(3), 248 - 260, Sept. 2004

Genetic differences between the Samaritans and neighboring Jewish and non-Jewish populations are corroborated in the present study of 7,280 bp of nonrecombining Y-chromosome and 5,622 bp of coding and hypervariable segment I (HVS-I) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. Comparative sequence analysis was carried out on 12 Samaritan Y-chromosome, and mtDNA samples from nine male and seven female Samaritans separated by at least two generations. In addition, 18-20 male individuals were analyzed, each representing Ethiopian, Ashkenazi, Iraqi, Libyan, Moroccan, and Yemenite Jews, as well as Druze and Palestinians, all currently living in Israel. The four Samaritan families clustered to four distinct Y-chromosome haplogroups according to their patrilineal identity. Of the 16 Samaritan mtDNA samples, 14 carry either of two mitochondrial haplotypes that are rare or absent among other worldwide ethnic groups. Principal component analysis suggests a common ancestry of Samaritan and Jewish patrilineages. Most of the former may be traced back to a common ancestor in the paternally,inherited Jewish high priesthood (Cohanim) at the time of the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel

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RESEARCH ARTICLE Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence ...


Additional DNA Research

Batsheva Bonne-Tamir, Ph.D.

The Samaritan community is a small, isolated, and highly endogamous group numbering some 650 members who have maintained extensive genealogical records for the past 13–15 generations. We performed mutation detection experiments on mitochondrial DNAs and Y chromosomes from confirmed maternal and paternal lineages to estimate mutation rates in these two haploid compartments of the genome. One hundred and twenty four DNA samples from different pedigrees (representing 200 generation links) were analyzed for the mtDNA hypervariable I and II regions, and 74 male samples (comprising 139 links) were typed for 12 Y-STRs mapping to the non-recombining portion of the Y chromosome (NRY). Excluding two somatic heteroplasmic substitutions and several length variants in the homopolymeric C run in the HVII region, no mutations were found in the Samaritans' maternal lineages. Based on mutations found in Samaritan paternal lineages, an estimate of a mutation rate of 0.42% (95% confidence interval of 0.22%–0.71%) across 12 Y-STRs was obtained. This estimate is slightly higher than those obtained in previous pedigree studies in other populations. The haplotypes identified in Samaritan paternal lineages that belong to the same haplogroup were used to estimate the number of generations elapsed since their most recent common ancestor (MRCA). The estimate of 80 generations corresponds with accepted traditions of the origin of this sect.

  • Pel-Or Y, Korostishevsky M, Kalinsky H, Bonne-Tamir B. 1997. Sequence types and mutation rate of the hypervariable I region of mitchondrial DNA in the Samaritans. Abstract. International Conference on Molecular Biology and Evolution, Bavaria, Germany. H-12.

  • Bonne-Tamir B, Nystuen A, Seroussi E, Kalinsky H, Kwitek-Black AE, Korostishevsky M, Adato A, Sheffield V. 1997. Usher Syndrome in the Samaritans: strengths and limitations of using inbred populations to identify genes causing recessive disorders. Am J Physical Anthrop 104: 193-200.



    New Book Publications


    Jerusalem's Rise to Sovereignty Zion and Gerizim in Competition by Ingrid Hjelm

    November 1, 2004 ISBN: 0567080854 hardcover 384 Pages $135.00. Dove Books has this book for sale @ $89.99


    Ingrid Hjelm examines the composition of the Books of Kings, using the Hezekiah narratives in 2 Kings 18–20 as a focus. She argues that this narrative is taken from that of the book of Isaiah, with which it shares linguistic and thematic elements. In Kings, it is used with the specific purpose of breaking the compositional pattern of curse, which threatens to place Jerusalem on a par with Samaria.
    Jerusalem traditions are examined against theories of a late Yahwist author and the Pentateuch’s origin within a Jerusalem cult. While the Pentateuch in its final form became a common work, acceptable to all groups because of its implied ambiguity, the Deuteronomistic History’s favoring of David and Jerusalem holds a rejection of competitive groups as its implied argument.

    Author of The Samaritans and Early Judaism: A Literary Analysis. By INGRID HJELM. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, vol. 303; Copenhagen International Seminar, vol. 7. Sheffield: SHEFFIELD ACADEMIC PRESS, 2000.


    Late Samaritan Hebrew: A Linguistic Analysis of its Different Types by Florentin, Moshe  

    Publisher: E J Brill  ISBN: 9004138412  List: $193.00  

    Dove Books: $174.99  *Not Yet Printed  Expected: 1/15/2005

    This book provides a comprehensive grammatical and lexicographical review of all types of late Samaritan Hebrew in all their literary manifestations from the twelfth century to the present. Much of it is devoted to description of Hybrid Samaritan Hebrew (HSH), which since the 13th is used as the main written language of the Samaritan community.
    The whole research is based on study of a wide range of texts. All available liturgical material was computer-recorded and then analyzed. A vast array of chronicles, colophons and deeds of sale copied from manuscripts were also computerized. Included as well are unpublished manuscripts of prayers. Audio recordings and phonetic transcriptions were made of dozens of Samaritan prayers and piyyutim, and served as a database for the phonological and the morphological analysis of the language.

    Also by Moshe Florentin, Ph.D. (1989) in Hebrew, Tel Aviv University is an Advisory Member in the Academy of the Hebrew Language. He has been teaching Hebrew and Aramaic at Tel Aviv University since 1979 and has published extensively on Samaritan languages including  The Tulida: A Samaritan Chronicle - Text, Translation, Commentary
    Israel: Yad Ben Zvi, 1999 . New. in New dj. HEBREW. [english introduction] Author.  USD 40.00


    Web Links

    The Significance of Samaritan Neumes and Contemporary Practice

    Author:   Spector, Johanna L.

    Journal Title:   Studia musicologia Academiae scientiarum

    Year:   1965 Volume Number: 7 Pages:   141–53 Language:   English Tradition:  Samaritan Category: Liturgy


    The Samaritan "Canon" and the Development of the "Canon" of the Prophets


    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.

    [The following is the Pitron, pages  303-305]:


    In the year two thousand and seven hundred and ninety four years from the creation of the world, and in the fortieth year of the going out of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, in the eleventh month on the first day of the month, began our master Moses,- upon whom be the peace of God,- to copy out the holy Torah from the book which was written by the finger of God; perfectly he copied it, rolled it into a scroll, and divided it into sections (Kissim) and portions (Parashot) by the holy spirit: for thus it was (found) in the above mentioned book. And he finished the copy of this holy Torah from the above mentioned original book in thirty days, and he read it in the sight and hearing of the Elders of his community and of the priests, the sons of Levi, and he gave it unto them. And after that he went to the Tent of Assembly and opened the Ark of Testimony and he placed the Book of the Law which was written by the finger of God in it, by the side of the two Tablets upon which were engraven the ten Words, and placed upon the Ark the covering (kaporet) which no one could lift from the Ark up to this very day. There he bowed down and worshipped before the Lord in front of the Ark of Testimony.


    Research Detectives Wanted

    From time to time we run across information of someone that purchased a Samaritan Book. But the location of such manuscripts are unknown to us. While many of us are usually to busy to locate the subject on our own maybe someone like a challenge and may have some time to search on the internet, detective style to locate the items. I have done this and finding actually fun but challenging. This is strictly a volunteer position with only recognition of the find being a part of history. There is so much yet to be discovered. Finds from the Mid-East turn up all over the world from undocumented finds or sales. If you think that you may have some time, please contact the editor.

    So where is this book of Deuteronomy now?


    A framed marble plaque with carved Hebrew characters and a tree underneath. The piece has a label on the reverse from Habiru Pearl Kaplan Studio in Mission Viejo, California. Tape to the reverse is a card which states "Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician Biblical Carvings." The inside of the card reads "During a Hebrew class in 1966 Habiru was introduced to the ancient Canaanite pictogram of the sword. The Hebrew letter Zayeen originates from this pictogram. All twenty two letters of the Hebrew alphabet have their roots in the ancient Canaanite pictograms. So fascinated was he with this bit of knowledge that he started to study available books on the subject. Subsequent research by Habiru, revealed that the study of ancient middle eastern alphabets is barely 50 years old. This knowledge became available as a result of recent archaeological discoveries in the Holy Land. To date Habiru has studied numerous volumes on the subject. While in the Holy Land he was able to inspect ancient writings. Habiru had two interviews with the eminent scholar Professor David Diringer, of blessed memory, who was the head of the museum of the Aleph Bet located in Tel Aviv Israel. Habiru had the good fortune of visiting the home of the Samaritan scribe Ratzon Zedakah, where he was able to obtain a copy of a hand written book of Deuteronomy. The script is Samaritan which is related to Hebrew. It was very natural for Habiru to incorporate the ancient Canaanite pictogram of the weapon in his signature, as this was the beginning of his incredible journey into the ancient past.


    Coming soon

    A Passover Night on Gerizim, by the rev. James W. Bradsley, M.A. From The Sunday At Home, A family magazine for Sabbath Reading, No. 1196.- March 31, 1877

    WHILST sojourning at Jerusalem for a few days in the early part of April, 1868, with my father, an elder brother, and two other friends, we received a pressing invitation from Yakub esh Shellabi, the Sheik of the Samaritans, to visit the encampment on Mount Gerizim, or as he would call it, “Jebel-el-Tor,” and witness the Passover sacrifice. We were to be accompanied by a friend, then resident in Jerusalem, to whose offices we were indebted for Yakub esh Shellabi’s communication. The Samaritan Passover, like that of the Jews, is always celebrated on the full moon of the month, Nisan,

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