Jan/Feb 2012

Vol.  XI - No 3

In This Issue

  • Number

  • Truth

  • Principles

  • Death

  • Visiting

  • Books

  • Biblios

The Samaritan Update, is a Bi-Monthly Internet Newsletter


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 The Samaritans call themselves

Bene-Yisrael “Children of Israel”, or Shamerim “Observant Ones”

Hebrew: שומרונים‎ Shomronim,

Arabic: السامريون‎


The Samaritan Update

supports the


Société d'Études Samaritaines





Studies and Related Conferences:

The Eighth Congress, Erfurt

July 15, 2012 – July 20, 2012

The Eighth Congress of the Société d'Études Samaritaines will take place in Erfurt, Germany, July 15.-20., 2012.

Eighth Congress



2011 Annual Meeting

San Francisco, CA

Meeting Begins: 11/19/2011
Meeting Ends: 11/22/2011

Call For Papers closed


Call for papers: The 2011 Aramaic Studies section will have an open call for papers in any area relating to the various aspects of Aramaic language, literature, and context. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic.



Book mark the

Samaritan Studies (EABS)



Important Links


Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim.


























Mount Gerizim Snowfall, March 2, 2012.

(Photo by Aabed Cohen)


The Number of the Samaritan Communities


On January 1, 2012, the Community numbered 751 persons [353 in Kiryat Luza-Mount Gerizim, Samaria; 398 in the State of Israel: 396 males [190:206] and 355 females [170: 185].  These included 350 married persons [158:192], 215 unmarried males [104:111], 153 unmarried females [70:83];  7 widowed men [4:3]; 23 widowed women [15:8]; 2 Divorced Men [0:2]; 1 Divorced Woman [0:1].

Source: Benyamim Tsedaka, A.B. - Institute of Samaritan Studies, Holon, Israel



As time goes by the consideration of the Biblical research and the history of the People of Israel is changing to the right consideration in dealing with the Torah Version in the hands of the Israelite Samaritans. There is a growing number of researchers who can no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence of archaeological findings as well as deeper comparative studies between different biblical sources and  different translations.

Until a decade ago even well known Biblical scholars used to claim the next three following claims against the Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah.

1. The Samaritan sages of old made adjustments to the texts in the books of Moses, which explains the lack of double texts in the Massoretic = Traditional version of the Torah [i.e. the Jewish Version].

2. The Samaritan sages added to the text to adjust it to their belief in Mount Gerizim, such as adding the Tenth Commandment about building an altar on Mount Gerizim, which is not in the Jewish Version. They also changed the text in Deuteronomy 27:4-6 from building an altar to the Almighty "On Mount Gerizim" to "On Mount Ebal" as it is written in the Jewish Version.

3. The completeness of the Jewish Version was preserved throughout the many generations until present times, however the Samaritan Version has been corrected by Samaritan sages with additions and changes, and sometimes with no need for a change.

These are the main claims against the Samaritan version of the Torah. These claims were considered valid and accepted naturally in the biblical research. However, as biblical research and biblical criticism began to be exposed to new criteria that were not known to scholars in the near past, like the finding of 510 inscriptions on stone on Mount Gerizim in the last 25 years, thanks to the excavation of Dr. Yitzhaq Magen since 1983; additional discoveries from the Dead Sea Scrolls, deeper comparative studies of Bible sources and its different ancient translations – the picture started to get clearer slowly in regard to the Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah. Now it is easy to reject all these three claims one by one, and there is a new stream of Biblical scholars in a way of thinking ”out of the box“ in which the conclusions of the former Bible researchers are not sufficient for them any more.

The first claim is that the the Samaritans have harmonized the texts by adjusting texts (identical texts between the books of Exodus and Numbers to the Book of Deuteronomy) using the same words but inserted throughout the different books of Moses. It is known that the Book of Deuteronomy repeats events that happened to the Sons of Israel and Greek Translation of the Bible, The Septuagint] that was composed in the third century BCE, in 1900 of 3000 significant differences between the Samaritan and Jewish versions, the LXX is identical to the Samaritan version and contradicts the Jewish Version. It is logical to say that the most ancient manuscripts of the Pentateuch prior to the third century BCE were available to the translators of the LXX, much more ancient than the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran with dates between the second century BCE to the first century CE. Following this logic the Samaritan Version of the Torah preserved the most ancient texts of the Torah.

Therefore it is not logical to make claims against the Samaritans in adjusting texts within the Five Books of Moses when identical versions were found in Qumran and when there was much better suitability between the Samaritan Version and the LXX than the Jewish Version. It is not recommended to understand that the remaining 1100 significant differences of the 3000 are identical between the Jewish version and LXX, maybe only less than half of them, because the other differences of the 1100 show independent variants of the LXX that do not appear in the Samaritan text nor in the Jewish version.

This first claim about harmonization of the Samaritan text is rejected also from the next point of reason: If Samaritan sages harmonized the texts systematically to harmonize them exactly in the same words within the books of Exodus and Numbers to the Book of Deuteronomy, why according to this system didn't they write the Decalogue in Exodus Chap. 20 and the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5 using the same words since both Decalogues are different from one another by many words?

The second claim is that the Samaritans changed the original text of the Torah in many places in order to adjust it to their belief in Mount Gerizim. The main claim in this regard is that the Samaritans added a tenth commandment about building an altar to the Almighty on Mount Gerizim. It claimed that they also changed the word יבחר = Will chose to בחר = Has chosen in 22 different verses in Deuteronomy and also changed the text in the Book of Deuteronomy 27:5 בהר עיבל = In Mount Ebal to בהרגרזים = in Mount Gerizim as the place of the altar to the Almighty built by Joshua right after the entrance into the promised land.

The question remains of why the Samaritans added a tenth commandment to the Decalogue if it is so clear from the Torah that the place of the Altar on Mount Gerizim was the sole chosen place? Only what should be done is to read together the end of Chap. 11 in Deuteronomy with the beginning of Chapter 12 to find out that offering the blessings on Mount Gerizim is the title of the words of Chap. 12 about destroying all places of worship in favor of one chosen place of worship [we must remember that the division of the text into chapters was done by a Christian monk in the thirteenth century CE].

Moreover, the opposite could be claimed against the Jewish sages of the Second Temple Period in reducing the Tenth Commandment from the original text about building the Altar on Mount Gerizim, because it didn't fit their belief in the Jerusalem Temple, that was consecrated many hundreds of years after the Torah; therefore, in order to complete the number of the Commandments to 10 they made the introductory words of the Decalogue as a commandment although it is clear that it is not a commandment and it does not contain any commandment but only words of introduction of the Almighty before starting the Ten Commandments. Hence the Ten Commandments in the Jewish version have one  commandment missing.

This claim of the Samaritan sages was reinforced recently in the identical words of the building of the Altar to the Almighty "on Mount Gerizim" as it is in Deuteronomy 27:5 in a fragment from Qumran exposed by Prof. James Charlesworth of Princeton University, USA. The fragment was written in Aramaic by a Jewish scribe, since there were not Samaritans in Qumran. This text about building the Altar "on Mount Gerizim" בהרגרזים is similar to the text in some translations of the Bible.

Before Qumran discoveries the Samaritans and some scholars did claim against the lack of logic to the text of the Jewish Version in Duet. 27:5 "On Mount Ebal"  בהר עיבל instead of "On Mount Gerizim" בהרגרזים. First, because it is not logical that an Altar of the Almighty would be built on the Mountain of Cursing, and secondly, on Mount Gerizim where the blessing was offered stood the 6-7 main tribes of Israel, Simon and Levi, Judah and Yissaschar, Joseph [Menashe and Ephraim] and Benyamim, while on the Mountain of Cursing=Mount Ebal stood the less important tribes of the second and third positions: The tribes of Reuben and Zebulan and the four tribes the sons of the concubines, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. This fact shows exactly the priority of Mount Gerizim over Mount Ebal as the place of the first Altar of the Almighty built by Joshua. Yes, many scholars think today that the variant "In Mount Ebal" בהר עיבל was installed by the Jewish sages against the sole sacred place of the Samaritans.

Also in the matter of ""Has chosen" בחר in the Samaritan version against the variant "Will chose" יבחר in the Jewish version it is all clear with the newly discovered fact that in some manuscripts of the LXX the variant "Has chosen" בחר like in the Samaritan Version appears, which proves that not only the variant "Has chosen" בחר reflects the fact of the sole holiness of Mount Gerizim as the places where the Almighty chose to dwell His Name there [as demonstrated above by putting together the end of Duet. 11 and the beginning of Duet. 12], but also it proves that the variant "Will choose" יבחר is a Jewish correction in order to adjust the text of the Pentateuch to a future choice of the chosen place to a period much later than the period of the Torah.

The frustration of the ancient Jews to accept the fact that Jerusalem was never mentioned in the Torah has effected some scholars from old generations. [The place Shalem שלם mentioned in Genesis is today the Arabic village Salem east of the city of Nablus, that is called in Samaritan sources "Shalem Rabta" = the big Shalem = שלם רבתה].

The fact that the Torah never meant Jerusalem as the chosen place appears in Duet. chapter 31 when the People of Israel were ordered to read the Torah in the chosen place at the Festival of Tabernacles at the end of the seventh year to the entrance of the People of Israel to The Promised Land. In this seventh year Jerusalem was a tiny city and waited hundreds of years for David and Solomon the kings to make it an Israelite cult center.

Concerning the third claim of the Jews, and many past scholars, there were few decades that the Jewish Version was completely preserved through all generations as an authentic text while the Samaritan sages have corrected the original text sometimes with no need.

After all that was written above it is now clear that the Jewish sages of the Second Temple period have disqualified the Samaritan sages with their own defect, when they themselves indeed corrected the text in order to adjust it to their belief in Jerusalem, by reducing one commandment, by changing every "Has chosen" in regard to the chosen place of the Almighty to "Will chose", by changing in Duet. 27:5 "On Mount Gerizim" to "On Mount Ebal" and by omitting what they considered as double texts on the books of Exodus and Numbers vis a vis the Book of Deuteronomy.

The question is when were those Jewish corrections of the original text of the Torah made? Many scholars have confirmed the corrections but they don't agree about its time.  There are those who think that the changes were done at the time of Josiah king of Judea in the Seventh Century BCE, following the "discovery" of the Book of Deuteronomy in the Jerusalem Temple, when writers of the destroyed Kingdom of Israel escaped from the Assyrian invaders to Judea. Than changes were done in the text of the Torah as part of reformation, king Josiah did so to reinforce the holiness of the Temple of Jerusalem. It is hard to accept such a determination since the Assyrians never stopped in borders of Judea but put Judea also under their jurisdiction.

There are scholars who delay the changes that the Jews made in the original text of the Torah to the time of the Hasmoneans in the second century BCE in the framework of the reformations that they did to reinforce the holiness of Jerusalem. It is hard to accept this determination since the fragment from Qumran of the second century shows that the variant "On Mount Gerizim" is still kept at this time also in the Jewish text.

It should be suggested that all changes the Jews have done to the original text of the Torah were made until the end of the first century CE when they completed the process of changing the script from ancient Hebrew to Aramaic. At that time they completed all changes including the reduction of text to the edition of the Jewish Traditional Version [MT].
Benyamim Tsedaka
A.B. - The Samaritan News. issue no. 1103-1104, February 15, 2012


The principles of the Israelite Samaritan faith are four: All of them are unique: One Almighty. One Prophet, One Holy Book and One Chosen Holy Place.

One Almighty - The Almighty of Israel

One Prophet - Moses b. Amram - Never appeared a Prophet like him, before him' during his time and after him.Moses himself has encouraged prophecy  by others but none of the prophets that are known never achieved his unique state and level/ No wonder he was called in both traditions, the Jewish and the Samaritan - The master of all Prophets.

One Holy and True Scripture - The Torah. From "Bereshit" to "Before the Eyes of Israel. Writing the first Character of the Torah ב  together with the last character of the Torah ל giving the words בל [don't] and לב [heart]  - Don't believe in any book except the Torah and this is the book that we ace to learn and keep in out hearts.

One Holy Chosen Place - Mount Gerizim or Aargaareezem  - RThe Chosen Place of the Almighty to dwell His Name there, as a result of reading non stop the end of chapter 11 and chapter 12 in Duet, that leading to the conclusion clearly that Aargaareezem is the Place of the Dwelling.

The name of the Mountain written in 7 characters הרגרזים  in the group of "Seven's" related to the Mountain: It is the seventh name of 13 names the greatest commentator Marqeh of the 4Th century CE found in the Torah related to the Mountain. The Torah mentions in Duet. 11:29-30 seven locations of the Mountain and it is appears twice in the Tenth Commandment that missing in the Jewish version about building an Altar on Mount Gerizim. During the pilgrimage three times a year to the top of Mount Gerizim the worshipers stay in 7 different stations on the summit of the Mountain. To the central site, where formerly was the Tabernacle of Moses there are two sets of seven stony stairs leading exactly to it in the Ancient City of Luza that was built there.On Mount Gerizim stood the more important seven tribes to offer seven blessings Semion. Levi, Judah, Yissaschar, Joseph [Menashe and Ephraim] and Benyamim. At the end of every pilgrimage the High Priest blesses the pilgrims with seven blesses.

There are many ancient Samaritan manuscripts that giving the name in 8 characters -  הרגריזים but these are as a result that in ancient times the Samaritans used the characters אהו‫"‬י as vowels. The original form that appears in some Samaritan manuscripts written in 7 characters הרגרזים as it was found recently in a Jewish fragment from Qumran of Duet. 27:4-6, but this form undoubtedly is not Samaritan or Jewish but the ancient Israelite Hebrew form of writing the name in seven characters to mark its holiness.

In later periods the Samaritan sages added to the opening words of each prayer a fifth principle  - the belief in the Day of Vengeance and Recompense as it mention in Duet. 32:35, but in the ancient  hymns till the 14Th century CE appear only the first four ones. Probably the addition of a fifth one was as a result of the desire to let this day of salvation to the People of Israel much earlier.

It is clear that that Day is one of the Samaritan fundamental believes like observing the Shabbat' the festivals, Paschal Sacrifice, Purity and Impurity, not eating the eaten animals with milk products etc. But non of these rites declared as a principle of the faith.

Some of my experience - I have followed always the dignified cantor the late Phinhas b. Abraham  the priest in the central Samaritan Synagogue in Holon in the years 1967-1992. He always insisted to mention only the first four principles at the end of the second Shabbat of the month noon prayer without mentioning the Fifth one. Only today I have found the reason because his genius grandfather Phinhas b. Isaac [1840-1898] that composed hundreds of hymns and many compositions about the Samaritan teaching of the Law, including a guide book of questions and answers for beginners. But I fund the secret of his grandson the priest Phinhas b. Abraham in a short hymn called Yishtabach [Praise] in the Book of Praises published by the sage Israel b. Gamliel Tsedaka [1932-2010] Holon 1963, p. 124. There the Priest Phinhas b. Issac wrote the next two lines:

One El, One Prophet, One Torah: And One place of worship the Mountain of Settling and Dwelling;

This are the principles of the Samaritan Congregation Faith: the Community of Jacob that called in the Torah Yisrael.

Words of Truth are so clear.

Benyamim Tsedaka
A.B. - The Samaritan News. issue no. 1103-1104, February 15, 2012


The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah:

First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version

Update: Publication date now: 7/31/2012



Each family reacts up to their general behavior usually reacts in silence, others react louder.

Women actually sitting together. Crying in silence, singing songs of farewell to the dead but all together in respect, not pulling their hair not tearing their cloths not cutting the edge of the shirt. After Sinai Assembly it is forbidden.

These are the expression of the Israelite Samaritans men and women [each group in separate rooms] in case of mourning right after death. Men repeat the habit to speak memories about the late positive activities. This the opportunity to hear about her/him things you never heard. Pure folklore. Some poets sing songs of burial that composed by them special to the memory of the late. The men singing the repeated words between the parts of the song. When a High Priest died the mourning is heavier but not longer.

After returning from the funeral one of the households welcoming the comers to a special mourning lunch. In the menu: Cooked rise with chicken meat, beans soup cooked with chicken meat and pieces of roasted lamb, light drinks mostly mineral water.

During the seven days of mourning the relatives of the dead are welcoming visitors that paying their condolences. Tea and cookies are served and bitter coffee.

There are kind of complaints to the dead why he/she left suddenly but these "complaints" are limited to the time between his/her death and putting him/her in the grave. During the seven days of mourning there are special gatherings to pray for forgiveness to the soul of the late. But all agree that this is the will of the Almighty and we have no other choice, all in His hands.

30 days after the death there is a special gathering of all the community at the evening. Relatives and friends of the dead visit his tomb at the same day. Tea and cookies are served.

Benyamim Tsedaka
A.B. - The Samaritan News. issue no. 1103-1104, February 15, 2012



"A survey among 70% percent of the Mount Gerizim shows that up to the community to build a new synagogue but not far from the center of the neighborhood and two separate prayers."

Aabed Cohen, Feb 20, 2012



The History of the Roman Emperors: from Augustus to Constantine, Volume 6. By Jean Baptiste Louis Crevier.

Translated From the French by John Mill, Esq.

In 10 Volumes, London 1814. published by F.C. & J. Rivington, etc.


This work was written corresponding for the year 67 CE


(p. 152)

During the siege of Jotapata, Vespasian took another city of Galilee, and dispersed a very numerous body of Samaritans who had got together.

Japha, a city not far from Jotapata, elated by Romans, the resistance of her neighbours against the Roman arms, behaved with an audaciousness unbecoming her small strength. Trajan, who commanded the tenth legion, was sent to chastise her with two thousand foot and a thousand horse. He soon made himself master of the first enclosure, for Japha had two walls, one within the other; and those who had retreated within the second, having shut the gates of it for fear the enemy should enter pell-mell with their fellow-citizens, such as had the misfortune to be enclosed within the two walls, were cut to pieces, to the number of twelve thousand. Trajan, desirous to let his general's son have the honour of taking the place, sent Vespasian an account of the situation of things; and he, in consequence thereof, gave Titus a thousand foot and five hundred horse to put an end to that affair. The inner wall of Japha was scaled and the town taken; all that were able to bear arms were put to the sword, and the women and children made prisoners.

The Samaritans had assembled on mount Garizim; and though they committed no hostilities, their numerous meeting gave room for suspicion. Vespasian ordered Cerialis, who commanded the fifth legion, to march against them with three thousand foot and six hundred horse. Cerialis arriving at the foot of the mountain, did not think proper to attack directly enemies who had the advantage of ground over him, but surrounded them, and threw up trenches all around. This was towards the end of the month of December, which in that country is the end of spring; and the heat beginning already to be very great, was extremely troublesome to the (p. 153) Samaritans, who were forced to remain on the top of a dry barren mountain, having but few provisions, and, above all, suffering from want of water. Numbers died of thirst, and others went over and submitted to the Romans. Cerialis, learning from them how great the distress of the rest was, thought it time to march up to them. He offered them their lives if they would lay down their arms; and, on their refusal, he attacked them, and killed eleven thousand six hundred.

The two exploits I have been speaking of happened a few days before the taking of Jotapata. Vespasian having at last made himself master of that city, thought it was but just to give his troops some rest after so obstinate a siege; and accordingly he sent them into quarters, some at Caesarea, and others at Scythopolis.


Call for Papers:

"The Other Temples"
25-27 May 2012, Dublin, Ireland Hekhal: The Irish Society for the Study of the Ancient Near East

The role of the temple cult is extremely important for Judaism despite Deuteronomic centralisation never being fully realised. As such, other Jewish temples may offer a fruitful area for discussing the development of Judaism in the Ancient Near East. We are therefore calling for papers dealing with temple ideology and its material culture in the context of temples other than the one in Jerusalem, whether those be real ones such as Elephantine, Leontopolis or Gerizim, or conceptual ones like the Qumran Yahad or the new Jerusalem in Revelation. The committee would hope to receive submissions on topics as diverse as diaspora Judaism, early Christianity, Qumran, early Samaritan studies, and any other historiographic and/or archaeological fields of research referencing these paradigms.
We invite abstracts of under 500 words to reach us by email no later than 27 January 2012 Late submissions will not be considered. Abstracts for presentation shall be selected by peer review. The committee intends to publish the proceedings within a peer-reviewed and edited volume. Contributors should therefore only submit abstracts for publishable, original work.
The presentation of papers at this symposium will be 40 minutes long within a one-hour slot, allowing time for ample discussion after each paper.
Cost: Euro 60 on the day. Euro 50 if paid before 1 May 2012.
Abstracts must be submitted to hekhal.dublinia@gmail.com by January 27th 2012
Hekhal: The Irish Society for the Study of the Ancient Near East First Annual Conference
Hekhal is an academic association established by four graduates and postgraduates of Trinity College Dublin. The society’s primary aim is to facilitate rigorous research in Ireland in the fields of Biblical Studies, Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Archaeology and Historiography, towards a more comprehensive understanding of the Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern worlds and their texts.





Société d'Études Samaritaines

The 8th Congress of the Société d’Etudes Samaritaines will take place in Erfurt (Germany), 15th-20th July 2012, jointly organized by the SÉS and the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Faculty of Theology. The Congress of the SÉS meets every four years and is the most important meeting of experts working in the field of Samaritan studies worldwide.



143rd Annual Meeting Paper Abstracts

The Multi-lingual Synagogue Inscriptions in Syria and Iudaea/Palaestina by Jonathan Price

.....For example, in the entire region we find, alongside thousands of Greek inscriptions, ca. 5500 Nabataean texts, nearly 2900 in Palmyrene, 800-900 in Jewish Aramaic (not counting ostraca), 450 Hatran, many hundreds more in Samaritan, not to mention the over 20,000 Safaitic “graffiti....

see http://apaclassics.org/index.php/annual_meeting/143rd_annual_meeting_abstracts/7.3.price/

The American Philological Association



The Wonders of the Samaritan Kitchen

4000 Years of the Israelite-Samaritan Kitchen

Edited by Benyamim Tsedaka

Publishing House: A.B.- Institute of Samaritan Studies, Holon, Israel, 2011

In Hebrew. For Sale: In Europe - Euro50 In England - GBP40 In USA - $70 In Canada - $80 + mailing Contact email information:


Benyamim Tsedaka - The Collection of Samaritan Manuscripts in Klau Library in Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati [In English and Hebrew], Illustration from each manuscript - 180 pages.

Contact email information:



Publication Update

Aramaic and Hebrew Inscriptions from Mt. Gerizim and Samaria ... by Jan Dušek

Publisher: Brill

ISBN13: 9789004183858

Publication Date: February 2012

I. Scripts of the inscriptions from Mt. Gerizim 1. Temple-city on Mt. Gerizim

2. Scripts used on Mt. Gerizim 3. Aramaic cursive script 4. Aramaic monumental script ...




Online Publication

Genesis elucidated: a new translation, from the Hebrew compared ... by Sir John Jervis White Jervis - 1852 - 603 pg.



Palestine: The Land of My Adoption by Clapham, J W

Published 1946 by Pickering & Inglis ltd. in London. Hardback. Near Fine/Very Good. 206pp, HC in Good- blue boards with spine discoloured and marks at end, DW pictorial full colour of camels and Palestine scene small area missing to each end of spine, creasing to extremities, interior very nice with four full colour illustrations and 20 plates in photo brown, two colour maps . A vivid travelogue to the area of Palestine, Galilee, Nazareth, the Mount of Olives, Calvary. Chapters include "Towards the Dead Sea", "Old Jerusalem", "Bethlehem", "Passover on Mount Gerizim", etc.


THE TITTLED BIBLE A Model Codex of the Pentateuch reproduced in facsimile from Ms No. 85 of the Gaster Collection now in the British Museum. With a dissertation on the history of the tittles, their origin, date and significance by Moses Gaster. GASTER, MOSES.

Book Description: London,., 1929. FIRST EDITION, London, Maggs Bros., 1929. folio, 355 x 250 mm, 14 x 9¾ inches, title page printed red and black, pages 55 Dissertation and 439 pages of facsimile illustrations of the manuscript, bound in half leather over cloth sides, black dividing rules, raised bands and black rules to spine, gilt lettered red morocco label, top edges gilt, in the original plain card slipcase. One or two small pale marks to cloth, very slightly rubbed at head and tail of spine otherwise contents clean and bright. Slip case slightly marked and slightly worn, starting to split at opening on one end. A very good copy of a scarce book. Dr Moses Gaster (1856 -1939) was a Romanian-born Jewish-British scholar and Hebrew linguist. He settled in England in 1885 where he held a lectureship, 1886 and 1891, in Slavonic literature at the University of Oxford and in 1893 he became a naturalised British citizen. He became the Hakam of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation in London. He was a member of the councils of the Folklore, Biblical, Archeological, and Royal Asiatic societies, and wrote many papers in the interest of these bodies. He was a great collector of manuscripts, having over two thousand, mainly Hebrew, Samaritan and Slavonic. The manuscript published in The Tittled Bible "in all probability the only manuscript of its kind in existence. . The manuscript is written in an Oriental hand, probably by the middle of the fourteenth century. .The special value of this unique manuscript lies . in the fact that it is profusely marked with Tittles." Dissertation pages 41-43".


Alphabeta et characteres, iam inde a creato mundo ad nostra usq. tempora; apud omnes omnino nationes usurpati; ex variis autoribus accurate depromptj. artificiosè et eleganter in aere efficti et recèns forâs dati.


Book Description: Francfordij (Io. Theodorum et Io. Israelem de Bry), 1596., 1596. 6ff. including fully engraved dec. title, and letterpress text (including dedication with large engraved design), and 51 engraved plates (including a repeat of the dedication engraving with no surrounding letterpress, and a decorated alphabet arranged two letters to the plate on 12 plates; lacking plate N1). Fine modern marbled boards, 3/4 brown morocco gilt. Slipcase case (cloth, edged in morocco). First edition, published simultaneously with a German-language issue ("Alphabeten, und aller art Characteren."). The alphabet plates include representations of Chaldaean, Syriac, Hebrew, Coptic, Arabic, Samaritan, Greek, Illyrian, etc. etc.


Biblia sacra polyglotta, complectentia textus originales, Hebraicum, cum Pentateucho Samaritano, Chaldaicum, Graecum, versionumque antiquarum . cum textuum & versionum Orientalium . Edidit Brianus Waltonus.

Book Description: Thomas Roycroft [1653]-57, London, 1653. 6 volumes, folio, engraved frontis portrait of Walton by Lombart, additional engraved title by Hollar after Webb, ruled title printed in red and black, preliminary matter in double column, the text proper alternating quadruple and double column on each page, without leaf D2 (blank), 1 (of 2) correction slips is not present, leaves C1-2 of the preface are present in 1 state only (indicative of early copies), and without the 2 leaves of dedication to Charles II found in some copies; this copy with the so-called "Loyal" form of Walton's preface (not acknowledging Cromwell's assistance in importing the paper); a few early ink corrections; preliminary matter includes woodcuts in the text of alphabets and coins, tables, double-p. engraved plan of Jerusalem, 3 engraved maps of the Holy Land on one double-p. spread, 4 architectural plates (3 double-p., 1 folding), all by Hollar. Compelling copy in full red morocco by John Leighton, bound circa 1830, with triple gilt rules enclosing a central panel of triple gilt rules, fleurons in the corners, gilt decorated spines in 6 compartments, gilt-lettered in 2, a.e.g.; occasional minor rubbing, but overall generally fine throughout. The fourth and last of the great polyglot Bibles, in the tradition of the Complutensian edition of 1514-17, Plantin's edition of 1569-72, and the Paris edition of 1629-45, but this edition of Walton's, according to Darlow & Moule, is "the most accurate and best equipped," containing extensive revisions, and with the addition of the Aethiopic and Persian languages. Wing B2797; Darlow & Moule 1445. Accompanied by Castell's Lexicon Heptaglotton, London, 1669, 2 vols., folio, with an engraved portrait frontispiece by Faithorn, the rarer of the two known title-pp. (Roycroft's name only is present in the imprint), text primarily in triple column. This Lexicon was compiled in connection with Walton's Bible, and in his Preface Walton cites Castell as being especially responsible for the Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic, and Aethiopic versions. Lowndes I, p. 386: "The work, embracing all the oriental languages in Walton's Polyglot, and designed to complete it, is, says Dr. Clarke, probably the greatest and most perfect work of the kind ever performed by human industry and learning."


Collection of 12 exotic alphabets.  TYPOGRAPHY.

Book Description: Congregation de Propaganda Fide,, Rome, Vatican, 1636. Oblong 8vo (110x170mm). Contemporary plain vellum. All pages within double woodcut border lines. 12 lvs. (Collation: A-C4). Extremely rare original and complete set, published without a title-page, of a collection of 12 very interesting type specimens, printed at the Printing Office of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide at the Vatican. The collection drew on earlier Roman publications of a similar vein: it reprised for example material from Angelo Rocca's Variarum linguarum alphabeta et inventores (Rome 1595), Giacomo Bonaventure Scozese's Virga aurea (Rome 1616), and Athenasius Kircher' Prodromus Copticus sive Aegyptiacus (1636). The famous Jesuit Athenasius Kircher devoted half of his eighth chapter of his Prodromus - ostensibly concerned with the usefulness of Coptic - to an enigmatic inscription that had been discovered by Thomaso Obicini at the foot of Mt. Horeb in the Sinai. Although it did not pertain to Coptic or anything Egyptian, Kircher announced that he would be remiss not to discuss it. Kircher described how he brought to bear his philological expertise by trying to match the inscription's characters with three oriental languages, Hebrew, Samaritan, and Syriac. According to Kircher the inscription was written in a form of ancient Chaldean. It concerns our nr. 8.In the collection are three alphabets of Adam, the first from the Vatican Library, the second by Giacomo Bonaventura Scozese, the third by Lorenzo Schrader; 4 Hebrew alphabets, the first 'detto soprasilvio', the second 'detto testo', the third designed by Garamond and the fourth Rabbinic by Garamond, the above mentioned script discovered by Tomaso da Novara at the foot of Mont Horeb, an analysis of the same by Athanasius Kircher, Samaritan and Estrangelo alphabets, and a Chaldean alphabet. Established in 1626 for the propaganda of the Catholic faith among the Eastern peoples, the 'Propaganda fide', has published many texts in exotic, oriental alphabets. This publication shows the different types the printing office could use:(1) Alfabeto del protoparente Adamo I. delineato nella libraria Vaticana.(2) Alfabeto II. di Adamo secondo che riferisce il P. Giacomo Bonavent. Scozese dell'Ordine di S. Francesco di Paolo nel suo alfabetario intitolato Virga Aurea.(3) Alfabeto III. di Adamo cavato dal libro di Lorenzo Schradero stampato in Helmstatt l'anno 1592.(4) Alfabeto Hebreo detto soprasilvio.(5) Alfabeto Hebreo detto testo.(6) Alfabeto Hebreo detto Garamone.(7) Alfabeto Hebreo Rabbinico detto Garamone.(8) Lettere cavata dal P. Tomaso da Navara che si trovano sculpite in una pietra piccola posta à piedi del monte Oreb, dove Dio N.S. diede la legge.(9) Analysi dell'antecedente carattere, conforme alla dispositione del P. Atanasio Kircher nel prodromo Copto, approvata da'molti.(10) Alfabeto Samaritano, detto testo.(11) Alfabeto estranghelo, overo Chaldeo antico, detto testo.(12) Alfabeto Chaldeo, overo Siro detto, di due righe di Silvio. Good copy of this very rare publication- (Several lvs. shaved at the bottom, not effecting the text). G. Amaduzzi, Catalogus librorum qui ex typographio Sacrae Congreg de Propaganda Fide variis lainguis prodierunt (Rome 1773), p. 7; Birrell & Garnett, Cat. of I Typefounders' specimens .(1928, repr. 1972), p. 4, nr. 4; R. Smitskamp, Philologia orientalis: a description of books illustratingthe study and printing of oriental languages (3 vols., Leiden 1976-91), pp. 74-7 (Smithkamp calls the work by the first title of the first of its alphabets: Alphabetum Adamiticum, and suggests ca. 1636 for the publication date) ; D. Stolzenberg, Egyptian Oedipus. Antiquarianism, oriental studies . in the work of Athanasius Kircher (Thesis Stanford Univ., 2004), pp. 118 and 121; the copy at the Harvard's Houghton Library, which is catalogued as a 'Collection of Twelve Exotic Alphabets', with the date ca. 1650.



Book Description: Printed by and sold for H. Overton, 1743]., London:, 1743. 406 x 260 mm (16 x 10 1/4"). Pleasing contemporary polished calf, neatly rebacked and recornered in the 20th century, covers bordered with double gilt fillets, raised bands flanked by double gilt rules, panels with blindstamped floral lozenge, red morocco title label. ENGRAVED THROUGHOUT, WITH 213 LARGE FOLIO PLATES DISPLAYING VARIOUS SCRIPTS AND FEATURING SEVERAL ORNAMENTS AND LARGE, FULLY-REALIZED VIGNETTE HEADPIECES. Front flyleaf with elaborately flourished ink calligraphic ownership inscription of "Thomas Pemberton, Junior, 1746"; front free endpaper with ink ownership inscription (also calligraphic) of Edwin Hubert Rutter, dated July, 1833. Ekstrom, pp. 78-81; Bonacini 208; Heal, p. 171, #7; Wiles, p. 288. Covers a little marked and crackled, but the binding expertly restored, entirely solid, and certainly appealing. Three-inch closed tear to top of dedication leaf (touching engraving), three other small marginal tears, first dozen and final half dozen leaves with a bit of soiling and slightly frayed edges, isolated faint dampstaining of no consequence, occasional small ink spots, thumbing, and other trivial imperfections, but the thick leaves mostly clean and still quite fresh, and generally a very pleasing copy internally of a book usually found in poor condition. This large and impressive book explores "the art of writing," which is here "made useful to the gentleman and scholar as well as the man of business [and which is] exemplified in all the useful and ornamental branches of modern penmanship." It is generally considered to be not only the most beautiful, but also the most important calligraphic book of the century; Bonacini praises it in an even larger context, calling it "one of the most interesting writing books of all time." The monumental work, which was begun in 1733, comprises a compendium of all the scripts then in use in England--including a page of exotic alphabets with Hebrew, "Rabinical," Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic, and Armenian characters.......


An historical essay endeavoring a probability that the language of the empire of China is the primitive language.  Webb, John

Book Description: London,?printed for Nath,Brook, at the Angel in Gresham Colledge? 1669., 1669. First edition of this remarkable publication by John Webb (1611-1672), Inigo Jones?s pupil, architectural assistant and professional successor. In his independent architectural career since the 1650s Webb had had both successes and disappointments, but his executed buildings show that he was an adept handler of the Palladian style of architecture introduced into England by Inigo Jones, and his inheritance from Jones both of Jones?s drawings and of Jones?s library of printed books provided him with the best reference archive of any English architect of his generation. By 1669 Webb?s career as an architect was drawing to a close and this evidently gave him the leisure to write the present book, in which he argues that the Chinese language was essentially the same language that was spoken throughout the world before Noah?s flood, and also provides an extensive discussion of Chinese culture and of the remote origins of the Chinese empire. Webb?s text is entirely based on existing printed sources, but his is nonetheless the earliest extensive discussion of the Chinese language by an European author, and it is possible to reconstruct from his remarks exactly which books he possessed on China (some no doubt inherited from Inigo Jones). Speculation on the peoples and culture of the distant past both by Jones and by Webb himself had been a feature of their successive books on Stonehenge, respectively published in 1655 and 1665, and a lingering memory at Wilton House of Inigo Jones?s interest in comparative languages no doubt accounts for the remarkable statement in Nicola Haym?s original preface to his early eighteenth century engraved catalogue of Lord Pembroke?s coin collection that ?I desir?d my Lord [Pembroke] to let me print what he has writ of Mr.Jones?s explanations not only of the Samaritan & Arabick but also Phoenician the which he spoke from a boy being educated in Mount Atlas? (sic !).....



Raphelengius, Franciscus ; Erpenius, Thomas (1584-1624).

Book Description: Ex Officina Auctoris, Leidae (Leiden): 1613., 1613. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. pp. [12], 648, LXVIII, [4]. The famous Plantin printer's device of the Golden Compasses, with motto "Labore et constantia", on title page recto. Wonderful engraved portrait of the author/printer on the title page verso. Printed and paged from right to left. Text in Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek. 4to. 195 x 265 mm. Occasional manuscript notes and corrections. Small repaired paper fault on title. Some browning, age stain, and soiling - but no brittleness. No endpapers. Early full vellum binding. A complete copy of a rare and important Arabic dictionary. Franciscus Raphelengius (1539-1597) was the son-in-law of the great scholar/printer Christopher Plantin, and a collaborator on the famous Antwerp Polyglot Bible. He managed the Leiden Plantin printing office, and became printer to the University in 1586; a year later he was also appointed Professor of Hebrew. His scholarly printing qualities were one of the attractions by which Scaliger was persuaded to come to Leiden in 1593, and this event may have induced Raphelengius to acquire types for the printing of Ethiopic, Samaritan, and Arabic. This Arabic dictionary was published by his sons after his death in 1597, and was composed with the Arabic types specially cut for him in 1595 by Hondius. Thomas Erpenius added an important section: Observationes in Lexicon Arabicum, his first philological publication on Arabic. In the Introduction, dated 1 January 1613, the main sources for the Lexicon are listed: 14 are manuscripts or groups of manuscripts, and only six are printed works (Pedro de Alcala's Vocabulista; Giustiniani's Psalter of 1516; Saadia Gaon's version in the Istanbul polyglot of 1546; and the Medicean publications of the Gospels, Avicenna, and al-Idrisi). Erpenius was probably responsible for a short introduction to a supplementary list offering a selection of Arabic words and word forms in the original manuscript which were omitted by the author in the final printer's copy. To render the dictionary accessible, indexes for Hebrew, Greek and Latin were provided. The Hebrew index is set in an extremely small 5 point type. Though there were earlier printed dictionaries of the Arabic language, this is really the first to employ Arabic type. A landmark book marking, the start of scholarly Arabic studies in Europe. Scarce. OCLC locates only four copies in the U.S. and just as few abroad.


Principios elementares da arte diplomatica: offerecidos ao Illmo. e Exmo. Senhor José de Seabra da Silva ?.  SÁ, José Anastasio da Costa e.

Book Description: Lisbon, Na Officina de Simão Thaddeo Ferreira, 1797., 1797. Small typographical vignette on title page. Typographical headpiece. xix, 68 pp. 8°, contemporary mottled calf (single tiny round wormhole in spine; very slight wear), plain flat spine, gilt bands, text block edges sprinkled red. Clean and crisp, printed on high quality paper. This rare introduction to paleography and diplomatics. Included are sections on semiotics and Latin monuments, as well as abbreviations, tachygraphy, and "grammatophylaquica" (the preservation of documents in archives). There are also descriptions and classifications of different kinds of handwriting and scripts throughout the ages, from the Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Samaritan, Hebrew, Phoenician, Arabic,........


Bosporus, Maeotis, Iberia, Albania, Et Sarmatia Asiatica  Samuel Wheatley

Book Description: Geographia Antiqua, 1771. Map. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. 9 x 14-1/2 inches. Hand colored copper plate engraving of the region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea circa 300 BC, during early Samaritan times. Composed by Samuel Wheatley for the Geographia Antiqua Delineata, an atlas consisting of 31 engravings of historical maps, including various depictions of the Roman empire. Decorative title cartouche in top right corner. Waterways and mountain ranges are embellished with hand coloring.

The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments; and also the Apocrypha: Translated out of the Original Tongues, with Annotations. BIRMINGHAM : 1788 [ Baskerville ] Pearson and Rollason, MDCCLXXXVIII. [ Bible. English Authorised ]


Baskerville - Kennicott, Rossi and Bishop Louth

Book Description: Pearson and Rollason, MDCCLXXXVIII., Birmingham, 1788. Hard Cover (leather binding). Book Condition: Good. Engraved Plates (illustrator). Re-issue. Large Quarto. BIRMINGHAM : 1788 [ Baskerville ] Large quarto; approx 23 x26 cm. 11cm thick. The notes are those of Baskerville's edition, with additional ones from the collation of Kennicott and Rossi and Bishop Louth's translation, and also additions from the Samaritan Pentateuch. The N.T. has a separate title-page. Double column text. [No pagination provided]. Text complete. Final leaf ends 9H2 (subscribers). With 34 engravings many with the imprint: Published by Pearson & Rollason, and bearing dates between December 1787 and June 1789. Originally issued in 48 parts. With an 8-page list of subscribers {from Wales, Midlands, Lancashire, Yorkshire mainly}.


Proofs of the interpolation of the vowel-letters in the text of the Hebrew Bible, and grounds thence derived for a revision of

Wall, Charles William, c.1783-1862.

Book Description: London; Dublin (printed) Whittaker and Co. [etc.] 1857., 1857. Good orig. navy cloth. Backstrip detached, pieces laid in. [3], xxx, 634 p.; front. (of author), 2 pl. ancient characters from inscriptions; 25.5 cm. Errata slip tipped in at Contents. [balance of title] its Authorized English Version. -- Contents -- Introduction -- I. Preliminary philological observations. -- II. Proofs of the spuriousness of the matres lectionis in the sacred text derived from the uses made of them in its nomenclature. -- III. Proofs of the spuriousness of the matres lectionis in the sacred text, derived from the uses made of them in the structure of its language. -- IV. Continuation of the argument derived from the structure of the Hebrew language. -- V. Final part of the argument derived from the structure of the language [Hebrew text formerly not divided into words nor distributed into verses] -- VI. Corroboration of foregoing argument derived from a foreign source [Gesenius's study of Phoenician vowel-letters] -- Appendix. Supplementary materials. 1. Indications of unfair design which the first vocalization of the sacred text betrays. - 2. The Christians utterly ignorant of Hebrew during by far the greater part of the second century. - 3. Investigation of the date of the first vocalization of the Hebrew text. - 4. Of the spurious Greek versions of the Old Testament that were written, most of them, in the second century. - 5. A brief review of the conduct of the Jewish rulers during the second century, and a few of those next ensuing. - 6. Of the Peshitah, or first Syriac version. - 7. Of the Samaritan text and version. - 8. Of the Chaldee versions, strictly so called, that is, the order targums. - 9. Value of the present discovery illustrated by one more example [Kennicott's argument on Joshua xxiv, 19].


Alphabetum Hebraicum addito Samaritano et Rabbinico cum Oratione dominicali, Salutatione angelica, & Symbolo apostolico  ALPHABETUM

Book Description: Propaganda Press, Rome, 1771. Modern marbled wrappers. Small 8vo. 16 pp. Birrell & Garnett 14, PO 204. The Hebrew types are a fine sefardi 18pt (soprasilvio) fount, the Rabbinical a 10pt garamone, and together with the Samaritan types they already figure in the undated alphabet specimen of c. 1636 (see PO 199). The alphabet was published by J. C. Amadutius, superintendent of the Propaganda Press for nearly 20 years.


Kerk-zeeden en de gewoonten, die huiden in gebruik zijn onder de Jooden. Uit het Italiaans van Leo de Modene, Venetiaansch Rabbi. Met een vervulling, nopen de gesindheid der hedendaagsche Caraiten en Samaritanen waar bij nog een tweede deel is gevoegt, welkers opschrift is: vergelijking der Joodse Kerk-Zeeden met de leere der kerke. door Simonville. En in 't Nederduits vertaalt door A. Godart. Met schoone Kopere Platen verciert.


Book Description: Amsterdam, Daniel van den Dalen, 1700, Cont.vellum, (64, incl. engr. frontispiece), 198, (8), 203, (4) pp. and 4 fold. engravings. 8vo. Simonville is the pseudonyme of Richard Simon (1638-1712). He explains in his introduction, that the authors of the N.T. were Jews and could only be understood in the light of Judaism. He added a chapter on the Karaites and the Samaritans. A second supplement on the comparison of Judaism and Christianity was published in 1681. In this Dutch translation, 4 engravings by Jan Luyken have been added representing Wedding, Divorce, Halitza, and Circumcision.



From the Editor

We have added more New Articles in our Samaritan Archives Section. Check them all out!

Samaritan Resources

As recommended by one of our Subscribers, I shall attempt to add a full Bibliography of Articles placed in our Archives section of the Samaritan Update



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