March, 2006  

Vol.  V - No.4

In This Issue

  • New Year

  • Deception

  • Impact

  • Festivities


  • Published Works

  • Needed

  • The Lands

  • Images

  • Web Links

  • Book review

  • Biblio Add

The Samaritan Update,  is an Internet Newsletter, a Division of


Subscription is free via E-mail only.


Editor: Shomron

Co-Editor: Osher    


Staff Writer:

Staff Photographer:    


Staff Translator:


Special Contributors:

A. B. - Samaritan News


Contact information:

The Editor 


Your link to the Update Index

and to our

Web Site:


Subscribe To the Newsletter -The Samaritan Update.

Sign Up !

Name & Last Name:

Email Address:

For More Information




Donate to



Samaritan related articles donated are also very happily accepted




Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals


Passover Sacrifice 

April 11, 2006

Passover Festival:

April 12, 2006

7 days of Unleavened Bread:

April 12-18, 2006

Sinai Day: May 31, 2006

Pentecost: June 4, 2006

Festival of the Seventh month: September 22, 2006

Day of Atonement:

October 1, 2006

Succoth: October 6-12, 2006

Festival of the Eight Day: October 13, 2006








Studies and Related Conferences:


2006 SBL International Meeting
 International Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. The meeting will run from Sunday, July 02 through Thursday July 06. Begins: 7/2/2006
Ends: 7/6/2006


In Planning Stage

SES: In University of Papa/ Hungary in 2008.

 organised by Dr. Joseph Zsengelle'





Do you have a question that you would like to ask:

Join Us at


Discussion Forum!







Plan on buying a Book? Buy through us and support our main website:




Tradition Kept: Introductions And Texts To The Literature Of The Samaritans
























Feasts & Fasts, A Festschrift in Honor of Alan David Crown


Available from www.mandelbaum.












Be Informed!

Have some Information that others should know, please contact  the

The Editor 



(left: Samaritan High Priest, ca 1860 Stereoview, published by M.W.Chase, Baltimore.) (Right: glass negative # 3138, 1900, Underwood & Underwood, New York city, Samaritan High Priest)


Beginning of the First Month of a New Year

By Shomron

March 29th is the first day of the first month of the beginning of another Biblical year for the Samaritan Israelites. It is also on this day that a solar eclipse will occur in Israel at 11:37 AM reaching a 84% coverage at 12:56 PM and then finishing a 2:13 PM. The Jewish New year begs the following day. Is this just another sign that the Samaritan calendar is correct?

On October 3rd of 2005, there was an annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible. 'An annular eclipse differs from a total eclipse in that the Moon appears too small to completely cover the Sun. As a result, the Moon is surrounded by an intensely brilliant ring or annulus formed by the uneclipsed outer perimeter of the Sun's disk. The solar corona is not visible during annular eclipse,' says Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC. Why we mention this day is the fact that this was the Samaritan day of the Festival of the 7th Month. Now on September 22, 2006 will be the Samaritan Festival of the 7th Month which at this time will be another annular eclipse of the Sun but will not be seen from Israel.

The Samaritan Festival of the 7th Month is the beginning of the fallow year, the years counting from the entry of the Israelites into the land. So there during both beginning of the year in its counting has an eclipse. No other calendar has such a beginning! 


On October 14th, of 2004 there was a partial eclipse of the sun which also could not be seen in Israel. On May 4th, 2004 there happened to have a total eclipse of the moon which was the day of the Samaritan Passover and the day beginning of Unleavened Bread.


The Samaritan Israelite Passover Sacrifice will take place on the eve of April 11th this year with a gathering of spectators is still expected as usual. It is 3644 years since the entrance into the Holy Land.


Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!


The Impact of Regional Political and Social Developments on the Samaritan Minority by: Dror Amsel, Ben Gurion University/Israel 2006 

Chapter 1: Introduction

In discussions in Israel about the Samaritans, one question that often arises is whether they constitute an ethnic community within Judaism or a separate religion. The Samaritans are one of the most ancient and authentic ethnic groups that exist in Israel in our days. Today their number is 650. The community is small and is struggling to survive as a homogenous ethnic group. Although living under the same sovereignty, the Samaritans live in two separate communities, one in the city of Holon and the other in Kiryat Luza, a village in mount Gerizim by Nablus.

read the full article at


Festivities in Holy Land

-Mount Gerizim, the Samaritans' ceremony of the waiving of the Torah Scroll held during Passover. Shavuoth and Succot, the pilgrim festivals that were celebrated at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Samaritans are dressed for the ceremony in white to symbolize equality before god. Hanan Isachar / Taïga.


Diffusion of Deception

By the Editor

Recently searching the internet, I came across the website of Israel Affairs, International, Gerald Derstine, Director, 1200 Glory Way Blvd. Bradenton, in which have a webpage with the following statements:

'Also a definate inroad of ministry has opened in 1993 to the Ancient Samaritan peoples of Shecham, modern name today is Nablus of the Gerizim Mountain. The high priest and officials have visited churches in America under the direction of Gerald Derstine. Since then a number of them have been water baptised into the Christian faith.'

I called their office and asked to speak to Gerald Derstine. I was only allowed to speak to the secretary on the contains of the article in question. She was very nice as she told me that many of the Samaritan converts were now dead and she mentioned a name of a friend of theirs, which I shall withhold at this time. I could not believe that this took place,  so I contacted the person (a Samaritan) via email in which he informed me that the following:

'The Christian side of the story exists only in the fully imaginative brains of Derstine himself and his staff. It never happened.........Hundreds of persons like him have visited the Samaritans since the 18th century with dreams to make them Christians, of course without success. We the Israelite Samaritans like to welcome nicely every one and believe in his right to say whatever he wants, but we will never accept any other tradition except the original Israelite one that we believe and obey now and forever.'

So there you have it, what is on their webpage is totally incorrect data even some of the spelling!


MANUSCRIPT, SAMARITAN.  Notebook in Samaritan script.
28 leaves 152 x 105 mm, different hands, early 20th century. Cloth binding with flap..
1) Now, I have a promise to keep. Remember the samples of a Samaritan ms. in Hebrew that you sent me? Well, now that my affairs are back to normal, I’ve had a proper look at them. I know the information won’t go into one of your catalogues, but it can still be used for the auction catalogue. The ms. has two categories of content, consisting of the complete first category within the order of service for the Sabbath, and a selection from the second category. The first category is selected paragraphs from the Pentateuch, from the start of Genesis to the end of Deuteronomy, giving an outline of the contents of the whole. Passages that are theologically important, such as Deuteronomy XXXII and XXXIII, are quoted at greater length, but still not in full. A digest of the whole Pentateuch in this form, if read rapidly by several readers in turn, would not be burdensome in length. The technical name for such a digest is a ??? qât?ef, an Aramaic word meaning quite literally ???????í?. There are other forms of such digests for the Festivals, and these have longer quotations from the passages relevant to the occasion and correspondingly shorter quotes elsewhere. The second category, which is also the second in order, consists of a very brief selection from the prayers and hymns for the Sabbath. I think there are some short pieces by the scribe himself at the very end. The scribe is not known to me, but his father’s name Ab Sikkûwa [Sikkuwwa] combined with his grandfather’s name ?????? puts him at the turn of the 19th c. or the first years of the 20th. (A note. The form Sachuah used by Gaster followed like sheep by Crown and others is phonetically impossible in Samaritan Aramaic. Besides, it bespeaks ignorance of the grammatical form [the pa?‘el infinitive used an abstract noun, with the feminine suffix as is usual in this form in several varieties of Western Aramaic]. In fact, it bespeaks a complete ignorance of Samaritan Aramaic, due either to laziness, or lack of the courage and self-confidence to depart from Gaster’s usage, or the inability to read German so as to use the grammar by Macuch, or the inability to handle technical linguistic notes in Hebrew so as to use Ben-Hayyim’s phonetic transcriptions and pick up the grammar by reading. I favour all four. So does my colleague Haseeb Shehadeh of Helsinki. (There was a time when I and Shehadeh and Benyamim Tsedaka and many others, including even Ben-Hayyim, used to try to correct the worst errors, if not for the sake of the reputation of the author, at least as a service to the dissemination of knowledge, but we were all bitten enough times to give up trying). The word means “hope”. The Arabic equivalent of ?? ???? is ??? ????? which is a conventional equivalent, not a translation. The scribe gives his full name as ????.?? .??.????.?? .??????.????? The personal name of the scribe is the Arabic name ???? [= Felix], to be carefully distinguished from ??? [= Leo]. The family name is to be pronounced Dinfi, not Danafi.2) First, the content is the service for the night of the Sabbath, i.e. the service just after sunset on Friday. This explains why the ms. is fairly short. Second, the date of the ms. is a bit earlier than I thought. Although the dates for As‘ad are not known to me, an approximation can be worked out. In Sam. ms. 171 of the John Rylands Library in Manchester, his son Marjân refers to him as his late father. This ms. was written in 1883. (The date 1882 in my book Principles of Samaritan Halachah p. 27 is to be corrected). Two notes in Sam. ms. 122 of the same library show that Ismâ‘îl became a grandfather in 1843. This means a date of birth for Ismâ‘îl no later than 1805, and possibly earlier, and therefore a date no later than 1833, but probably earlier, for the birth of Ab Sikkûwa the father of As‘ad, and any date from 1841 onwards, but possibly earlier, for the birth of As‘ad. It is known from a census list made in 1909 that another grandson, Marjân [= Ab Sikkûwa: see below] the son of As‘ad was born in 1854, when As‘ad must have been an adult. This means a date of birth no later than 1836, and probably earlier, for As‘ad, and a date of birth no later than 1800, and probably earlier, for Ismâ‘îl and a date of birth no later than 1818, and probably earlier, for Ab Sikkûwa. The earliest possible date for any ms. written by As‘ad, if he was born no later than 1836, is 1854. The only way to establish it more exactly would be by noting when his son first refers to him as his late father in a colophon, but I have no other photocopies of mss. written by Marjân. The date for this ms. could accordingly be anywhere from 1854, if As‘ad wrote it at the age of 18, to 1882. If these calculations have compressed the generations too much, and we push the date of birth of his grandfather and consequently his father back a bit, then his own date of birth could be pushed back a bit earlier, and so could the earliest date for the start of his activity. As As‘ad doesn’t refer to his father Ab Sikkûwa as his late father in this ms., he was probably still alive. The difficulty here is to identify the right Ab Sikkûwa, and then work out his approximate age when his son was born. His latest possible date of birth has been shown to be 1818, but if his father became a grandfather later in life, and was born in 1780 and became a grandfather in 1843 at the age of 63, the birth of Ab Sikkûwa could be correspondingly earlier, let’s say as early as 1798. His first mss. could have been written any time from 1816, if he was born in 1798, to 1836, if he was born in 1818. The last could have been written any time up to 1882. I am unable to locate any Marjân [= Ab Sikkûwa] bin Ismâ‘îl between these dates in any indexes (but my copy of Cowley’s Samaritan Liturgy is not to hand). The best I can do right now is to say that as As‘ad doesn’t refer to his father’s death, he wrote this ms. out earlier rather than later, i.e. closer to 1854 than 1882. You will have noticed that the ms. is very hastily written, and so was probably for immediate personal use. This would put the date very early, because a basic part of the liturgy such as this would have been needed very early. Later on he could have written out a ms. of better appearance at leisure. If the ms. was written out right at the start of his active participation in the community, and if the earlier end of the scale for his date of birth is to be preferred, then the date of his first activity could be moved back by 20 years, so that 1854 becomes 1834. My conclusion is that the date of 1854 would fit for the ms., and if these calculations assume too short a space between the generations, the date could be pushed back by 20 years. This is the best I can do.3) A correction. Ab Sikkûwa is the normal equivalent for Murjân, and it is ?? ???? Ab Isda that is the equivalent of ??? ????? . NOT Ab H?asda, for the very basic reason that every instance of the sound originally represented by ?? vanished in Samaritan Aramaic two thousand years ago, being replaced according to the surrounding sounds by one of the two sounds originally represented by either ?? or ?? .If this most basic fact of phonetics is not known, then any assertions about the pronunciation and grammar can be ignored and ought to be ignored, even when it comes from someone purporting to be a Samaritan scholar. Perhaps we should say must specially be ignored in such a case, since the depth of laziness and arrogance and contempt for the advancement of science that is shown by such neglect is frightening. While we’re on the subject, note that not every instance of the sound originally represented by the letter ?? has vanished, as the popular belief has it, and in fact the sound has appeared in words where it was not originally present, according to the original surrounding sounds, and according to known rules. Thus the town of Sychar where the Samaritan woman debated with Jesus (John IV) is called in modern Arabic ‘Askar ???? . The futile speculations on its location by contemporary scholars too lazy to read anything on Samaritan Aramaic, even the very few pages on phonetics and the reconstruction of the pronunciation of Palestinian Aramaic (NOT just Samaritan!) in the first c. A.D. in the grammar by Macuch, can be ignored. Obviously no-one can know everything, but if you don’t know, then it’s best to admit it, and either ask someone, or look it up, or keep quiet. I think what perturbs me the most in this instance is that New Testament scholars don’t stop to think what might be relevant to the question, and don’t look round for what they hadn’t considered or realised or known about. The really frightening thing about this apparently insignificant instance of missing the evidence for the identification of a place-name is that it represents an absence of imagination and initiative, as well as a form of laziness and self-satisfaction. We live in an era when there is a tendency for really original minds to go into fields other than Near Eastern / Middle Eastern studies, and when this is even more true of Biblical studies. Many of those that churn out journal articles don’t notice that they need to try to work out what it is that they don’t know. I used to be perturbed by the knowledge that I’m not equal to Karl Brockelmann, but now I accept my lot. What perturbs me now is that no-one else is the equal of Karl Brockelmann. Here endeth the sermon.2) There is only one part of the colophon that is not a set formula, a description and title in Arabic. This is so clumsily worded that it could be seen as evidence that this ms. was the scribe’s first ever, or at least the first that was not copied from an exemplar with a ready-made description and title. Here is the best translation that can be managed. Two active verbs have been made passive so as to make the English intelligible, as will be seen. Even so, it still sounds like pidgin. “These pericopes for the Sabbath eve prescribed for it and the prayers for the [????? crossed out] Sabbath eve were written by prescribed for it were written by [then something crossed out that looks like ‘prescribed were’ then the name of the scribe in Hebrew letters]”. (No, I haven’t made any typing mistakes here). In my judgment, all the pages sent by you are written by the same scribe, who changed his mind after deciding that he didn’t have time to finish the ms. in majuscule. The pages that seem from the photocopy to have been inserted are by the same scribe, but using a better pen. The letters are skilfully formed throughout but hastily done. This scribe could have done a much better job if the circumstances had been right, so I come back to the assumption that the ms. was written out when he was very young and needed it for immediate personal use. Here is the text, keeping to the line-division of the original. Notice the confirmation that the Aramaic name Ab Sikkûwa corresponds to the Arabic name Marjân (or Murjân). Note also the family name As-Sarâwi. The fuller form, often seen in mss. from this family over the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, is As-Sarâwi Ad-Dimishqi (Ad-Damashqi). I’m pretty sure I’m right in my reading of the word at the end of the fourth-last line. I’ve never seen this word written with exactly this flourish, but it is often written at the end of anything in the form of a similar flourish, and I can’t claim specialist expertise in Arabic script styles. The letters ??? are a mistake for ???? (= ???? ). The letters ?????? are a mistake for ??? ?????? or perhaps due to indecision over which to put down. These are more signs of haste or inexperience or both. There are no such blatant slips in the text copied. On the other hand, the spelling ???? for ???? or ??? for ??? or ???? for ???? are quite normal for the period. The spelling of the last word with ? instead of ? still means a [t] was pronounced at the end, as can be seen from the free interchange of ???? or ???? and ???? or ???? and ???? or ???? in documents. Besides, anyone with any knowledge of modern Arabic (in this context anything from the 10th c. to the present) would know that there is no special pausal form in words of this type, i.e. there is always a final [t] in the pronunciation, so the inherited spelling ???? was re-interpreted as representing ???? and so in all words with a long [a] vowel before a final [t] sound in nouns derived from a root weak at the end. The spelling of the last word with ? instead of ? indicates the actual pronunciation in Syrian Arabic (which obviously includes Palestine). The rule is that velarised and ordinary consonants have re-distributed themselves according to their surroundings in any given word. I suppose you could say that this is sort of like a consonantal equivalent of the vowel harmony of the Ural-Altaic languages, e.g. Turkish. It is extremely annoying that native speakers of Arabic and European academics that have never read government documents of the period before the fall of the Turkish Empire judge such spellings as illiterate, pontificating on about Samaritan illiteracy at conferences when pages from Samaritan mss. are shown, without realising that Moslems did the same, and in official documents at that. When they do it in reviews it is even worse. The rule is, if you don’t know about something, keep quiet and try to learn. Some of the Samaritan mss. where I have seen such spellings were written out by the Secretary to the Governor of Syria. Doubtless the government of Syria in the 14th to the 19th c. had not managed to acquire a time machine and buy some 20th c. newspapers so as to learn how to spell. This scribe was far from illiterate in Hebrew and Aramaic. Notice the usage of the word sûra (plural suwar) for “pericope”. It is normal Samaritan and Christian usage to use the Arabic terms available and apply them for their own purposes. The spelling of the name????? without an ? is not a mistake. Notice that the scribe leaves no space between the two words ???? and ?? . This is normal when there is no risk of confusion, and there is nothing Samaritan about it. The form bin rather than ibn, and so spelt, is correct, in spite of the pseudo-corrections of such a form seen in some academic publications. The division of ??????? into two parts for the sake of the rime is a common scribal flourish, of a kind often seen in Moslem mss. Now I’m going to be really ambitious and have a go at putting right-to-left script on the same page as left-to- right script without losing control of the line-division. I don’t think the information I’ve sent will be enough to raise the asking price for the ms., but it should help it sell more readily at an auction, and you might even get a bit more than the €500 you mentioned.
    € (euro) 530.00 [Appr.: US$ 632.29 | £UK 363.75 | JP¥ 74465]
     -- Smitskamp Oriental Antiquarium. Book number: 130604
    Click here to view more of our catalogue: Ancient Near East
     Keywords: Antiqbook1 @ Ancient Near East

After 35 years of bookselling I will be retiring and Smitskamp Oriental Antiquarium will be closing its doors. The greater part of our stock will be sold through the good offices of Burgersdijk & Niermans, auctioneers at Leiden, in their next three or four sales. The main part of the Islamic section has been sold as a whole, but numerous duplicates will still be for sale for some weeks at our site: For some time also many Rare Books will still be available at and
Until February 17, 2006, our shop will be open to the public. After that date we will be reorganising and packing up the books, but we will remain accessible by telephone, mail, and e-mail for questions and possible last-minute orders. It is with great satisfaction that we look back upon many years of a fruitful relationship with our customers. We thank you for your custom and wish you all the best in the future!
Rijk Smitskamp For the first auction sale, May 16-17, 2006, see .

A Needed Better Understanding

With all the bad information that is in books and especially on the internet it is really nice to see that some people are getting educated. A real Esther Raizen [] from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, USA has been lecturing on The Israelite Samaritans, Four Principles of Faith.

The Samaritans are guided by four principles of faith: one God, who is the God of Israel; one prophet, Moses son of Amram; one holy book, the Pentateuch - the Torah handed down by Moses; one holy place, Mount Gerizim. To these is added the belief in the Taheb son of Joseph, prophet like Moses, who will appear on the Day of Vengeance and Recompense in the latter days.
The Samaritan Israelites are the descendants of an ancient people. They are the remnant of the ancient northern Kingdom of Israel having split from the southern Kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Solomon. Their genealogical records trace back to Ephraim, Manasseh and Levi. In the fourth and fifth centuries CE, the Israelite Samaritans numbered about 1,200,000 persons dwelling in many cities and villages in the Land of Israel, from southern Syria to northern Egypt. Cruel religious decrees, forced conversions to Islam and Christianity, slaughter and persecution thinned the Samaritan Community to a bare 146 persons by the year 1917. In the 1930s, the Community reached a turning point and began to increase. Nonetheless, throughout all history, the Samaritans never lost their unique status and image as a people. They have their own writing, the ancient Hebrew script; they speak their own language, the ancient Hebrew dialect spoken by Jews until the beginning of the first millennium CE; and they are brought up in accordance with a unique, millennium historical tradition, dating back to the return of the People of Israel, under Joshua son of Nun, to its homeland. It is the smallest and oldest community in the world.


Published Works

Biblical Interpretation

Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers ISSN: 0927-2569 (Paper) 1568-5152 (Online)

DOI: 10.1163/156851504323024344 Issue:  Volume 12, Number 2

Michael P. Knowles Date:  April 2004 Pages: 145 - 174

What was the victim wearing? Literary, economic, and social contexts for the parable of the good Samaritan

Abstract  This study addresses in turn specific scriptural, economic, and social contexts for Lukes parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–35). Reference to 2 Chron. 28:15, to contemporary Samaritan economic activity (specifically, oil and wine production), and especially to contemporary conventions of dress furthers our understanding of how the literary and narrative world of the parable relates to the literal and social world of Roman Palestine. Critical categories formulated by Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin assist in clarifying the function of these references both within the narrative and for subsequent readers of Lukes text. McMaster Divinity College


The Life and Times of Archbishop Ussher: An Intriguing Look at the Man Behind the Annals...
by J.A. Carr LL.D. - Biography & Autobiography - 2006 - 288 pages
Page 146 - We have already seen how he furnished his patron with one of the first, if not
the first copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch known to the Western world,25 a ...


The Lands of the Saracen or, Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily, and Spain. by Bayard Taylor. Twentieth Edition. New York: G. P. Putnam, 532 Broadway.1863

Leaving the Tomb of Joseph, the road turned to the west, and entered the narrow pass between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim. The former is a steep, barren peak, clothed with terraces of cactus, standing on the northern side of the pass. Mount Gerizim is cultivated nearly to the top, and is truly a mountain of blessing, compared with its neighbor. Through an orchard of grand old olive-trees, we reached Nablous, which presented a charming picture, with its long mass of white, dome-topped stone houses, stretching along the foot of Gerizim through a sea of bowery orchards. The bottom of the valley resembles some old garden run to waste. Abundant streams, poured from the generous heart of the Mount of Blessing, leap and gurgle with pleasant noises through thickets of orange, fig, and pomegranate, through bowers of roses and tangled masses of briars and wild vines. We halted in a grove of olives, and, after our tent was pitched, walked upward through the orchards to the Ras-el-Ain (Promontory of the Fountain), on the side of Mount Gerizim. A multitude of beggars sat at the city gate; and, as they continued to clamor after I had given sufficient alms, I paid them with "Allah deelek!"--(God give it to you!)--the Moslem's reply to such importunity--and they ceased in an instant. This exclamation, it seems, takes away from them the power of demanding a second time.

From under the Ras-el-Ain gushes forth the Fountain of Honey, so called from the sweetness and purity of the water. We drank of it, and I found the taste very agreeable, but my companion declared that it had an unpleasant woolly flavor. When we climbed a little higher, we found that the true source from which the fountain is supplied was above, and that an Arab was washing a flock of sheep in it! We continued our walk along the side of the mountain to the other end of the city, through gardens of almond, apricot, prune, and walnut-trees, bound each to each by great vines, whose heavy arms they seemed barely able to support. The interior of the town is dark and filthy; but it has a long, busy bazaar extending its whole length, and a café, where we procured the best coffee in Syria.

Nablous is noted for the existence of a small remnant of the ancient Samaritans. The stock has gradually dwindled away, and amounts to only forty families, containing little more than a hundred and fifty individuals. They live in a particular quarter of the city, and are easily distinguished from the other inhabitants by the cast of their features. After our guide, a native of Nablous, had pointed out three or four, I had no difficulty in recognising all the others we met. They have long, but not prominent noses, like the Jews; small, oblong eyes, narrow lips, and fair complexions, most of them having brown hair. They appear to be held in considerable obloquy by the Moslems. Our attendant, who was of the low class of Arabs, took the boys we met very unceremoniously by the head, calling out: "Here is another Samaritan!" He then conducted us to their synagogue, to see the celebrated Pentateuch, which is there preserved. We were taken to a small, open court, shaded by an apricot-tree, where the priest, an old man in a green robe and white turban, was seated in meditation. He had a long grey beard, and black eyes, that lighted up with a sudden expression of eager greed when we promised him backsheesh for a sight of the sacred book. He arose and took us into a sort of chapel, followed by a number of Samaritan boys. Kneeling down at a niche in the wall, he produced from behind a wooden case a piece of ragged parchment, written with Hebrew characters. But the guide was familiar with this deception, and rated him so soundly that, after a little hesitation, he laid the fragment away, and produced a large tin cylinder, covered with a piece of green satin embroidered in gold. The boys stooped down and reverently kissed the blazoned cover, before it was removed. The cylinder, sliding open by two rows of hinges, opened at the same time the parchment scroll, which was rolled at both ends. It was, indeed, a very ancient manuscript, and in remarkable preservation. The rents have been carefully repaired and the scroll neatly stitched upon another piece of parchment, covered on the outside with violet satin. The priest informed me that it was written by the son of Aaron; but this does not coincide with the fact that the Samaritan Pentateuch is different from that of the Jews. It is, however, no doubt one of the oldest parchment records in the world, and the Samaritans look upon it with unbounded faith and reverence. The Pentateuch, according to their version, contains their only form of religion. They reject everything else which the Old Testament contains. Three or four days ago was their grand feast of sacrifice, when they made a burnt offering of a lamb, on the top of Mount Gerizim. Within a short time, it is said they have shown some curiosity to become acquainted with the New Testament, and the High Priest sent to Jerusalem to procure Arabic copies.

I asked one of the wild-eyed boys whether he could read the sacred book. "Oh, yes," said the priest, "all these boys can read it;" and the one I addressed immediately pulled a volume from his breast, and commenced reading in fluent Hebrew. It appeared to be a part of their church service, for both the priest and boab, or door-keeper, kept up a running series of responses, and occasionally the whole crowd shouted out some deep-mouthed word in chorus. The old man leaned forward with an expression as fixed and intense as if the text had become incarnate in him, following with his lips the sound of the boy's voice. It was a strange picture of religious enthusiasm, and was of itself sufficient to convince me of the legitimacy of the Samaritan's descent. When I rose to leave I gave him the promised fee, and a smaller one to the boy who read the service. This was the signal for a general attack from the door-keeper and all the boys who were present. They surrounded me with eyes sparkling with the desire of gain, kissed the border of my jacket, stroked my beard coaxingly with their hands, which they then kissed, and, crowding up with a boisterous show of affection, were about to fall on my neck in a heap, after the old Hebrew fashion. The priest, clamorous for more, followed with glowing face, and the whole group had a riotous and bacchanalian character, which I should never have imagined could spring from such a passion as avarice.




Israeli Images - Image List (16/11/2005)



Web Links
 North American Review, Vol.XXII/New Series Vol.XIII
Book Description: Boston Cummings and Hilliard., 1826. Marbled Edges, Leather labels, 8vo, 499 pp. Reviews on diverse subjects such as Sandwich Islands, Samaritan and Hebrew Pentateuch, and Milton on Christian Doctrine. Contains No.L/New Series No. XXV (January 1826) through No.LI/New Series No.XXVI. 1st Edition.


From The Nation - America's Longest Running Weekly Magazine. Volume: 014 • Issue #: 0361 • Date: May 30, 1872...In the oldest and most venerable of all ecclesiastical divisions, the ancient Samaritan community, who have for centuries, without increase or diminution, gathered round Mount Cterizim as the only place where men ought to worship, there is to be read upon the aged parchment scroll of the Pentateuch this commandment added to the other ten : ' Thon shalt build an altar on Mount Gerizim, and there only shalt thon worship.' Faithfully have they followed that command..


THE MIDDLE EAST UNDER ROME Maurice Sartre translated by Catherine Porter and Elizabeth Rawlings with Jeannine Routier-Pucci The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England 2005


New Light on the Nebiim from Alexandria:

A Chronography to Replace the Deuteronomistic History

Ph. Guillaume

Near East School of Theology, Beirut

John Hyrkanus soon demonstrated the frightening power of the new canon at the Gerizim, the destruction of its temple led to the rejection of the Nebiim by the Samaritans in 128 or 107 bce. The fact that the Greek translation omits to curse the Samaritans may indicate that the translation was produced before these dramatic events, or that it reflects the local situation, where Jews did not wish to aggravate the Samaritan communities living with them in Egypt.


How Plutarch Gained His Place in the Tosefta
Holger Zellentin, doctoral student in religious studies, Princeton University
There's a long history of the adaptation of the myth of Osiris—he's killed by his brother, floats down the Nile in a coffin, Isis finds him and resurrects him—best known in the works of the Greek author Plutarch. It's pretty clear that this story first got into the Samaritan midrash, called Tibat Marqe, and then into the rabbinic midrash, the Tosefta. The Samaritans were a group living in Palestine at the same time as the Jews, clearly with common roots. My argument is that the Samaritans read Plutarch, and the rabbis read the Samaritans. And the Samaritans were not always on good terms with the rabbis—they called each other heretics—so it's interesting you find them sharing the same literature.
In the Bible, Joseph dies in Egypt, he's put in a coffin, and the Israelites take him with them in the coffin in the Exodus. The Tosefta takes over the story of putting Joseph in the coffin. In Plutarch, Osiris's brother asks him to get in the coffin jokingly and then pours hot metal on it. The Tosefta tells that Joseph, after his death, was put in the coffin and then the Egyptians put hot metal on it and put it in the Nile.

PORTION: Save Us and Enslave Us
Genesis 44:18-47:27

The Samaritan version of the Torah has a slightly different wording of verse 21, and the Jews' Greek translation, the Septuagint, reflects that same wording. There, Joseph is said not to transfer the populace to cities but to subjugate them as slaves: he'evid instead of he'evir (a simple shift of one letter to another shaped very similarly) and la'avadim instead of le'arim (the same shift with another letter added). The advantage of this reading is that it picks up on the people's own language in verse 19, cited above, when they offered themselves as chattel in exchange for sustenance. But Joseph's actions are now even more repugnant: He doesn't just resettle them, he makes them into serfs. 


The Samaritans (Of Biblical Times)

Chris Whisonant

Back in June I was reading The Books and The Parchments by F.F. Bruce. Chapter 10 is about "The Samaritan Pentateuch." Basically, the Samaritan Jews only believe that the Pentateuch (First 5 books of the Bible - those penned by Moses) is Canonical and they have preserved their translation of the Pentateuch separate from the Hebrew scriptures. This is highly beneficial to the story of the transmission of our Biblical texts. But that's not really the most intriguing thing about this chapter, though.


Gerald Neil Knoppers

Head, Department of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies                        Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Religious Studies, and Jewish Studies, The Pennsylvania State University

“What has Mt. Zion to do with Mt. Gerizim? A Study in the Early Relations between the Jews and the Samaritans in the Persian Period,” in the Bulletin of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies/Le société canadienne des études bibliques 64 (2004-5) 5-32; Manu secunda, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 34/3-4 (2005) 307-336.


Newly Discovered Temples on Mt. Gerizim in Jordan
Robert J. Bull, G. Ernest Wright
Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 58, No. 2 (Apr., 1965) , pp. 234-237


The Excavation of Tell er-Ras on Mt. Gerizim by Robert J. Bull
Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 31, No. 2 (May, 1968) , pp. 58-72

Jewish History

Publisher: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V. ISSN: 0334-701X (Paper) 1572-8579 (Online)

DOI: 10.1007/BF01674492 Issue:  Volume 7, Number 1

Date:  March 1993 Pages: 9 - 25

John Hyrcanus I's destruction of the Gerizim temple and Judaean-Samaritan relations

Seth Schwartz1


King's College, Cambridge University of Rhode Island, USA


What is Google Scholar?
Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research.


BOOK REVIEW in the Jerusalem Post:

More than Myth
Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism By Howard Schwartz
Illustrated by Caren Loebel-Fried Oxford University Press 618pp., $50
Recounting and expounding on close to 700 myths, Howard Schwartz's Tree of Souls is not only impressive for the sheer bulk of its material, but unsettling with its revolutionary claims about just what makes a Jewish myth.
Schwartz, a prolific writer on Jewish folktales and myths, and a professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has produced a collection that includes all the obvious canonical texts from the Bible, Talmud, Midrash, Kabbala and Hassidism. But the surprises and gems lie in the more fringe inclusions: texts from the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha, literature from non-rabbinic sects like the Samaritans, Sabbateans and Karaites, and citations from halachic texts.
Add to that selections from the myths collected by S. Ansky in Eastern Europe, and by the Israel Folktale Archive (a collection of over 20,000 myths from immigrants from Morocco, Kurdistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Romania, Iraq and India, among others), then mix in the stories of some near-contemporaries like Franz Kafka, and some contemporaries like Reb Zalmen Shachter-Shalomi of the Jewish Renewal movement, and you can begin to see just how widely Schwartz has cast his net.


Biblio Additions

Title: The Jewish Festival From Their Beginnings To Our Own Day

Author: Hayyim Schauss

Publisher: Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Copyright Date: 1938

Edition: Sixth Printing

Description of the book:

The present work on the Jewish holidays represents a unique undertaking in the entire literature on the subject. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first book in which a writer not only gives the historical and ceremonial significance of each of the Jewish festivals and fast days, but also traces their observance and celebration throughout the centuries. For example, we learn the historical and ceremonial significance of Passover, and at the same time of its celebration during the second Temple and in the Middle Ages, and in our own day by the Jews of Morocco, the Samaritans, and so on.


Title: An Apology for the Book of Mormon

Author: E. Cecil McGavin

Publisher: Deseret News Press: Salt Lake City, Utah,

Copyright Date: 1930.

Table of Contents includes:

  1. The Task of the Translator

  2. Why the Book of Mormon Has Been Changed

  3. How the Book of Mormon Has Been Changed

  4. Other Puerile Objections to the Book of Mormon

  5. Why Corrections Were Necessary in the Bible

  6. The Samaritan Pentateuch (PLATE)


The Last of the Samaritans , Life magazine, Time Inc., May 24, 1954 with photos by Frank Horvat from Black Star. Author is not mentioned.  Great article w/ some unseen photos.


Title: Biographical Dictionary and Synopsis of Books, Ancient and Modern, Author: Edited by Charles Dudley Warner,

Publisher: The Werner Company, Akron, Ohio,

Date:1902 ~ Complete in 2 Volumes.

  • Copy of a Samaritan Writing, of the Pentateuch


    The Antiquities of the Hebrew Republick, in Four Books.
    Lewis, Tho. Book Description: NP, Dublin, 1725. 8vo. ix, 502 pp.  Some pages misnumbered; after p. 504, pages are renumbered 496-502, at the book's conclusion, but not simply a reprint of those earlier pages.

    A true copy of the opinion of Richard Gottheil: On the Samaritan manuscript,by: Richard James Horatio Gottheil

    Release Date: 1905
    Gottheil, Richard J. H. (Richard James Horatio), 1862-1936.

  • Copyright 2006