February 2005  

Vol.  IV - No.6

In This Issue

  • Amram Dare


  • Political and Economical Environment

  • Tradition Kept

  • Passover Night

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A. B. - Samaritan News


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Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Passover Sacrifice April 22, 2005

with Passover on the 23rd

7 days of Unleavened Bread

April 23-29, 2005



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Postcard entitled: Ruins of old Temple on Mt. Gerizim - Ruinen eines Tempels auf dem Berg Garizim. Postcard issued by Fr. Vester & Co. JERUSALEM, PALESTINE






Amram Dare ( Amram son of Sarad)

Samaritan poet and philosopher. 4th Century

By Osher Sassoni

Amram son of Sarad is the first known Samaritan Poet, and is considered to be one of the two greatest and establishers of the Samaritan Aramaic poetry in the ancient form which is still used by the Samaritan in their prayers today. The second is Markeh the son of Amram.

The history chronicles informs us that Amram who lived in the Third and Forth Century, was one of the seven sages who were appointed by the great Samaritan leader Baba Rabba, for the High council, whose goal was to teach the Samaritan people the Torah in the ancient Hebrew, and to be a member of the high court concerning religious matters. The origin of Amram's nickname, 'Dare' is the Aramaic word, meaning, 'the elder,' or the greatest in his generation. ("Dare" = generation) . Amram is the one of the greatest poets and a Samaritan philosopher. Many of the Samaritan prayers were based on his compositions, which are still used by the Samaritans nowadays. His greatest composition has twenty four verses, each one of for a different prayer. Those verses are called "Duraan verses" taken from his name. In spite of those verses and other poems written by Amram, his best and well known composition is "Niftah Fiyannu", a great poem, said in the prayer of " Yom Kippor " (the Day of Atonement) built from 42 rhyming verses, and written in pure Hebrew unlike his other poems which were written in pure Aramaic.

Some verses from his poems:

"And you (God) are not from anything

And you are not like anything

And you are the creator of anything

Not like the image of anything"

"We ( the humans) will know you

From the creation of ourselves

We will see your wisdom on ourselves

And we shall worship your greatness "


A.B. - The  Samaritan News  Services
Unexpected results in genetic research on the Israelite Samaritans have been discovered by the staff of researchers of Stenford University in Palo Alto, South California, USA. The scholars have tested the mtDNA and the development of Y-Chromosome among patrilineages and Matrilineages Samaritan families in parallel to other groups in Israel. mtDNA tests are precised like useful mathematics and it is no use to undermine them. As it is known that fingerprints are different from person to person, mtDNA tests are the same at the same level of accuracy to determine the identity of a person to be accepted legally. The test of the development of Y-Chromosome makes it possible to follow the genetic origin of every person in the world and can put the finger on the origin of definite groups as the Samaritans. Y-Chromosome is transmiting only in the male sex and delivered from generation to generation and make it possible to follow the origin of any group of people many thousand years back. The Y-Chromosome is found in the saliva and there is no need to more than one sample of the saliva to follow the development of the previous generations of the tested person.

The genetics of the Samaritans is raising great interest among the researchers because it deals with a very ancient group of people that never permited joining of males into the group from other
communities. Through testing Y-Chromosome among the Samaritans it is easy to follow the development of their generations.

No less than 4 researcher staffs of different world known university institutes are making genetic
research of the Israelite Samaritans. There is no doubt that the pioneers are the staff of the scholar Prof. Bat Sheva Bonne-Tamir, one of the heads of the University of Tel Aviv faculty of genetics that even did her PH.D. work on the genetics of the Samaritans. Prof. Bonne is escorting the Samaritan communities of Holon and Kiryat Luza on Mt. Gerizim for the last 50 years for her developed research. Other reserchers staff that working on the genetics of the Samaritans for the last decade are of the Hebrew University faculty of Rechovot in Israel. Outside Israel there are  another two staffs that researching the subject: The University of London Department of Genetics  in a research sponsored and activated by the British giant computer businessman and millionaire Mr. N. Bradman. The fourth staff is of the famous Stanford University Genome Technology Center, in Palo Alto,  Southern California. Stanford University  is considered as one of the ten best universities in the world. The Stanford Staff has completed the research recently and contain the following researchers: Peidong Shen,Tal Lavi, Toomas Kivisild, Vivian Chou, Deniz SEngun, Dov Gefel, Isaac Shpirer, Eilon Woolf, Jossi Hillel, Marcus W. Feldman and Peter J. Oefner.

The researchers have tested mtDNA and Y-Chromosome samples among 9 groups in Israel: Samaritans, Ethiopians,Ashkenazics Iraqians, Libyans, Moroccans and Yemenites, all of them Jews. Druzes and Palestinian Arabs have been tested as well. As for the Stanford research among the Israelite Samaritans 47 samples of blood had been taken from 27 males and 20 females to follow the mtDNA Sequence and 12 samples of saliva to follow the Y-Chromosome of different families of the Samaritan People today. 10 of the 12[83%] samples for Y-Chromosome have been determined as haplogroup J, which captures three of the four Samaritan families. The family of Jehoshua-Marchiv belongs to subhaplogroup J1, while families Danfi and Tsedaka belong to subhaplogroup J2, and can be further distinguished by M67, the derived allele of which have been found in the Danfi family. Also in haplogroup J2 the Danfi family is marked differently from Tsedaka family by Haplotype  M67. 

This study confirms the strong male based endogemy of the Samaritan culture. First, the Y-chromosome nocleotide diversity is lower than any except the Palestinian sample. Haplotype diversity in Samaritans on the other hand, is relatively. This is due to the contiuity of four distinct paternal lineages, which have persisted even though the population size of Samaritans fell drastically by the early 20th century. The low level of haplotype diversity in Samaritan Maternal lineages was comparable to the pattern observed throughout different Jewish communities, each showing obvious founder effects, though not overlapping in ancestry. Nevertheless the data indicate that the Samaritan and Jewish Y-Chromosomes have a much greater affinity than do those of the Samaritans and their longtime geographical neighbors, the Palestinians. However, this is not the case for the mtDNA haplotypes. In fact it shows that distances of Samaritans to Jews and Palestinians for mtDNA are about the same. Further. the low mitochondrial haplotype diversity suggests that the rate of  maternal gene flow into the Samaritan community has not been
very high despite their tradition to regard children of male Samaritans born to females from outside as Samaritan.

The Cohen Family among the Samaritans represents an interesting subgroup. It can be traced to a
single individual some 250 years ago [High Priest Shalma b. Tabia 1784-1855 in Nablus]. The Cohen model cluster is invariably associated with haplogroup  J, which probably originated some 15,000 years ago in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent, whence it began its expansion throughout the Middle East 7,500 years ago.

To the surprise of the researchers they found that all non-Chohen Samaritan Y-chromosomes belong to the Cohen model cluster. The single exception was an M67 lineage from the Danfi family. It was two microsatellite mutation steps removed from the Cohen model haplotype. Based on the classification by Nebel the Samaritan M172 lineages carried the so-called Muslim Kurd model haplotype. The Samaritan M267 lineages differed from the classical Cohen model haplotype.


However all tests have been done by Stanford staff of researcher show that Samaritan Y-Chromosome lineages cluster tightly with Jewish Y lineages, while their mitochondrial lineages are closest to Iraqi Jewish and Palestinian mtDNA sequences. The high degree of homogeneity in each of the four male Samaritan lineages, which holds with two exceptions even over 13 microsatellite loci [which does not shown in data], underscores the strong male-based endogemy of the Samaritan culture that has effectively limited any male-driven gene flow between the four Samaritan families. It is preferable to compare the findings of the Stanford University Genome Technology Center with findings of the other above mentioned university institute staffs of England and Israel that researched the subject in discussion in the last two generation before coming to far going conclusions.

The Political and Economical Environment in Nablus Area is Changed for Better
A.B. - The  Samaritan News  Services

We did not need more than a number of short visits to Mount Gerizim and to Nablus that we had last month to realize that there is a start of a change for better in the economical and political environment of the region of Nablus. The election of Mr. Machmud Abbas who called Abu Mazen to be the new Chairman/President of the Palestinian Authority after the sudden death of the previous in this position the late Yaser  Arafat starting to prove its marks, thanks to the different policy of the new president and because of the initiated extenuation's of the Government of Israel,
that made it possible to make a well organized elections for the Palestinian presidency on January 9, 2005. The same extenuattion's is permitting Mr. Abbas rolling and moving all over the Palestinian territories in Gaza Strip and Judah and Samaria.

It is expressed also in more moderated declarations of the new president and his assertive activity to reduce terror and lowering the violence severely by achieving an agreement between the Palestinian Authority leadership and extremist Palestinian groups to interlude the violent activity, as it called "Hudnah". Mr. Machmud Abbas is broadcasting an indolent activity' and in the contrary to the picture painted by political "commentators" he proved strong hand in reducing the violence in the region. He broadcasts seriousness which got him the cooperation of his colleagues in the Palestinian leadership. He has gotten even lots of compliments of seniors of the
Israeli Government and its leader prime minister Ariel Sharon. This week the two leader had met for the first time after long period in Sharam El Sheich in South Sinai thank to the initiative of Mr, Chusni Mubarak. the President of Egypt that invited King Abdalla of Jordan to that conciliation meeting. They have spoken of a new period of calming the area to a state of peace between Israel and the Palestinians with the dynamic encouragement of the United States of America.

Under the instructions of the Government of Israel her security forces have acted to comfort the pass in the checking points in the gates of the main cities of Judah and Samaria. This fact has encouraged the transportation between the Arab cities and reducing the number of checking points. The comfort step have exposed the great tiredness of the region citizens from the violent activities and the great willingness to renew the economics of this  region. movers of trades from within the Samaritan Community have reported on change for better in this regard. This fact is typical to all cities of Judah and Samaria. Especially what was impressive is the reappearance of thousands of  Palestinian armed policemen in the streets who are ensuring the order and security within the Palestinian cities. Mr, Machmud Abbas has initiated disposition of thousands of Palestinian policemen as living fence to avoid shooting primitive missiles towards Israeli settlements. With these policemen many thousands of traffic unarmed policemen had been positioned in the streets of the cities the inspect on putting transportations in order.

All these activities have contributed a gradual improvement of the economical and political life of the region. The Americans are pushing for establishment of Palestinian State in the region. The Government of Israel is not negative in this respect of course under the conditions of catalyzing the peace process in this region. An implementation of the Way Map will be ended with the establishment of a Palestinian State. From the side of the Samaritans it will cause then to adjust themselves to a new policy in this region.

The question that has been asked if the improvement in the political environment in our region has lowered the necessity of the projects to establish Mount Gerizim as the Mountain of Peace? The answer is: In the contrary, the improvement of the political environment in Nablus region will encourage such a project, because environment of peace or almost peace in this region will bring again to here hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, that will seek Mount Gerizim the Mountain of Peace as a place they will enjoy staying there and in its own centers of Peace that will be built on it.

Before he had been elected as the president of the Palestinian authority came Mr. Abbas to Nablus and asked to meet with the leaders of the Samaritans to reconfirm the friendship between the presidency of the Authority and the Samaritans. He even has promised to activate for the returning of the two old Samaritan Manuscripts that have been stolen from their synagogue in Nablus on March 21, 1995, exactly 10 years ago. The leaders of the Samaritans and their priests came down from the Mountain to Nablus to meet him. They have been introduced respectfully before him by the former mayor of Nablus Mr. Rassan ElShaka'a and the current military governor General Machmud El'Alul. Mr. Abbas has reconfirmed his personal positive consideration towards the Samaritans and that he will continue the positive policy of the late Arafat towards them. The armored seat of the Samaritans among the 88 seats of the members of the Palestinian Council will continue in the next council that will be expected to be elected next June or July 2005 if not later. In the last elections held on January 1996 the late High Priest Shalom b. Amram [1922-2004] has won the seat. After his death nobody of the Samaritans replaced him. This will be only after new elections for the Palestinian council / Parliament. So far there are four candidates from within the Samaritan Community. After all this position goes with a monthly salary and a special car. Not bad at all.

Tradition Kept: Introductions And Texts To The Literature Of The SamaritansTradition Kept: Introductions And Texts To The Literature Of The Samaritans
by Robert T. Anderson, Terry Giles, Robert T Anderson
448 pages in Hardcover from Hendrickson Publishers

(April 15, 2005)

ISBN: 156563747X

Buy from Amazon, See the link to the left side above.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Robert T. Anderson, author of Samaritan Manuscripts and Artifacts, is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Michigan State University.

Terry Giles teaches biblical studies as Professor of Theology at Gannon University. He has also been active in higher education administration and served as guest teaching faculty in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Product Description:
The "Good Samaritan" of Jesusí parable was a member of a significant religious community, also mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament accounts of early Christianity. Even though Samaritans continue to live and practice their religion in Israel and Palestine to the present day, until now, their body of sacred literature has not been widely available to the English-speaking world.

In this volume, Samaritan experts Anderson and Giles have created an accessible introduction to the sacred literature of the Samaritans. The book features fresh translations of the most important and least available portions of this literature. It includes major historical works, liturgies, theological compositions, and even samplings of Samaritan astronomical and amulet texts. Students and scholars will particularly benefit from a bibliography that provides direction for further research into the corpus of Samaritan sacred texts.

Tradition Kept is an effective companion to the authorsí history of the Samaritans, The Keepers (Hendrickson, 2002).


Late Samaritan Hebrew: A Linguistic Analysis Of Its Different Types (Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics)
  • Hardcover: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Brill (January 30, 2005)
  • ISBN: 9004138412

Jerusalem's Rise To Sovereignty: Zion And Gerizim In Competition (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series)
by Ingrid Hjelm

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: T. & T. Clark Publishers, Ltd. (November 30, 2004)
  • ISBN: 0567080854
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Samaritan Photos by Herzl Marks


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A Passover Night on Gerizim, Continuing from a the last Update

by Rev. James W. Bradsley, M.A. From The Sunday At Home, A family magazine for Sabbath Reading, No. 1196.- March 31, 1877

As we walked through the encampment, which consisted of some twenty tents arranged in a spheroidal form, we saw the seven lambs which were to be sacrificed at sunset quietly grazing near the scene of their slaughter on the verge of the encampment to the east. They had been separated four days previously, on the "tenth day" of the month (Nisan), and were males "of the first year, "without blemish." Their white fleeces said much for the care which they had been washed. The place of sacrifice consisted of a small square, inclosed on three sides by a low wall. On the fourth and open side was an oblong shallow pit, some four to five feet long, which served as a fire-place to heat the cauldrons of water used in the sacrifice, and afterwards for consuming any remains, according to the Mosaic injunction: "And ye shall let nothing of it remain until morning; and that which remaineth of it until morning ye shall burn with fire" (Exod. xii. 10.) A little to the north-east of this inclosure was a pit nine or ten feet deep, roughly walled round with stones. This pit is the oven where the lambs are to be roasted. A man was kindling the fire as we passed, and near him was a large heap of brushwood ready for fuel. I would here say that the Samaritans keep the Passover, as well as the two other great festivals, on Mount Gerizim, and not in their homes in Shechem below. In doing this they follow the command of Deut. xvi. 16: "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose." The Samaritans believe Gerizim to be this place of God's choice. We left the encampment, which was on a plateau a few hundred yards below the summit, and ascended to the Moslem Wely.

I was astonished at the ruins and the size of the beveled stones. These ruins consist of two vast rectangular fortress-like buildings. The chief structure measures 250 feet by 240, and is flanked at each corner by square towers. The second building, which lies north of the one just mentioned, covers an area of 150 feet by 100. For details I must refer the reader to the pages of M. de Saulcy, Dr, Robinson, Mr. Mills and Dr. Thomson.

In the centre of the main inclosure are the foundations of the church erected by the Christians of Nablus in honour of the Virgin, after the Samaritans had been driven from their sanctuary. The fortress which incloses it was doubtless constructed by Justinian for its defence. The Samaritans simply call these ruins el-Kuleh, "the Castle." The view from the Wely commanded one of the finest panoramas which I have seen on the west of the Jordan. As we looked down on the maritime plain, stretching from Carmel to the plain of Philistia, far south of Jaffa, and saw the Mediterranean gleaming in the sun, which was fast declining, and then looked to the mountains east of the Jordan, one of the party took out his Bible and read Deut. xi 29,30: "Thou shalt put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?" If we had been standing on the mountains due east of us, we should have seen the sun go down between the gap or opening of the twin mountains.


See the next issue for the continuation of the article.


The Revolt of the Angels

By Anatole France

Translated by Mrs. Wilfrid Jackson
Nor must we forget the Hebrew Bibles, the Talmuds, the Rabbinical treatises, printed and in manuscript, the Aramaic and Samaritan texts, on sheepskin and on tablets of sycamore; in fine, all these antique and valuable copies collected in Egypt and in Syria by the celebrated MoÔse de Dina, and acquired at a small cost by Alexandre d'Esparvieu in 1836 when the learned Hebraist died of old age and poverty in Paris.  http://www.blackmask.com/olbooks/revoltangels.htm

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