The Samaritan Update

“Mount Gerizim,

All the Days of Our Lives”

May/ June 2014                                                                                                            Vol.  XIII - No 5


In This Issue


·         President visit

·         Cothem Torah

·         Auction

·         Haseeb articles

·         New Publications


·         Conferences

·         Gaster Collection

·         Samaritan Museum

·         From the Editor

·         Shelabi Seal

·         Ebay

·         Opera from academia

·         Biblio

·         Old News


Your link to the Update Index


Future Events

The Fifth Month 3652 Sat. Evening, July 26, 2014

Rosh Chodesh- The New Moon of the Sixth Month Tues. Sept, 26, 2014

Feast of the First Day of the Seventh Month Sept. 24, 2014

The Sabbath of the Selichot (The Ten days of Pardons) Wed. Sept. 27, 2014

Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) Fri. Oct. 3, 2014

Sabbath of the Feast of Succoth, Oct. 11, 2014

The Feast pf Shemini Atseret (the Day of Assembly) Wed. Oct. 15, 2014



by Benyamin Tsedaka

The newly elected 10th President of Israel, formerly Parliament speaker and Minister of Telecommunication of Israel,
Mr. Reuven Rivlin made a special visit last week to the Samaritan Community Center in Holon, Israel to attend a recent Samaritan wedding. The Samaritan High Priest Abedel b. High Priest Asher welcomed Mr. Rivlin and blessed him for his newly elected position as the next President of Israel.

(Photo right: The elected President Rivlin with High Priest Abedel)

 As a member of the Israeli Parliament, Mr. Rivlin has assisted the Samaritans in some past projects of development and that established a warm mutual relationship with the Samaritans. In the ceremony he stated that after starting in office as the 10th President of Israel, for the next seven years he intends to devote most of his attention to achieving peace in the region and to be active of interior matters in the Israeli society especially of diverse feelings between different religious groups in Israel to be opened and attempt to make them closer to one another.

In a comment to this positive statement, Mr. Rivlin said that he will go in these directions. The Israelite Samaritans would be happy to compare between him and the Second President of Israel, Yitzhaq Ben-Zvi, who was like a father and patron to them and helped them to establish their center and the first Samaritan synagogue in Holon.

 Mr. Rivlin said that he has a warm corner in his heart for the Israelite Samaritans, since his private host the Israelite Samaritan Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka, an active personality in the Likud Party and him had become close friends.  "This fact made me attracted to this noble community," said Mr. Rivlin.
The Israelite Samaritans have no illusion that the new
President will open the House of the Presidents of Israel in Jerusalem a special office to help them solve their problems as President Ben-Zvi did, but they are very convinced that they will be most welcomed as guests there. A special Israelite Samaritan delegation will soon meet the new President in the House of Presidents in Jerusalem.

 Above- The Elected President with Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka)


(Photo Left- The Elected President with Ronit Tsedaka the Bride's mother)


A New ‘Cothem Torah’ (a boy or a girl who has finished reading the first five book s of the Torah) in Holon.


By Osher Sassoni


Hariel Tsedaka, son of Doron and Hila Tsedaka, celebrated his completion of the reading the Torah before the Samaritan community on May 14th 2014.

 Samaritan boys and girls, begin to learn the Torah, at age of 5-6 years old. Every day, right after they come back, from their regular school, they visit their instructors – a man or woman from the community who instructs them in the proper reading of the five books of Moses (the Torah). Their studies begin, by first learning the 22 letters of the ancient Hebrew Aleph- Bet. Then all the combinations between the letters, then the punctuations of the letters, as it was first invented by the Samaritan Scholar Tabya son of Darta who lived in the 11th C.E , and finally, they learn to read whole sentences  and verses. In Each day, they learn between 4-5 verses, according with the progress till the next lesson.

At the end of the reading of the whole five books of the Torah, they must memorize the twelve verses, from the end of Deuteronomy, concerning the Birkat (blessings) that Moshe gave to the tribes of Israel, and then read it in front of the community.

Unlike the Jews, there is no term called ‘Bar Mitza,’ for the Samaritans and the end of reading the Torah is not related to the age of the child. Usually child finishes the Torah after two years, at the age of 7-8 years old.

Boys, usually continue to learn poems and prayers from the ‘Daftar’ – (The Siddur), while girls keep reading only the portion of the week.


[Additional information from the Editor: From the about the age of four, the young Samaritan children are taught the Samaritan script that will begin their education of the Torah. The children, boy or girl will at the age of six to ten complete the ceremony with memorized portions of Deuteronomy 33-34 and end with Deut. 34:10.]



39 - Objects: Judaica, Israeliana, Numismatics & Medals

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

July 16, 2014, 5:00 PM EET

Jerusalem, Israel

Live Auction


Lot 22: Form of the Tabernacle - Samaritan Tradition

Description: The form of the Tabernacle and its vessels, drawn on paper, according to Samaritan rite. [Early 20th century]. Single leaf, with colorful illustrations of the Tabernacle and its vessels. Some of the illustrations appear with descriptions, written in Samaritan script, others are decorated with gold ink. Samaritan inscriptions on verso. 50X32.5 cm. Good condition. Folding marks. Stains. Minor tears (restored). Samaritan illustrations on the Torah are rare. Starting bid $6,000.



The Tabernacle Drawing - Mss. 55
Scribe: Yaaqob b. Aaron (1840-1916 CE) Made in Nablus Dimensions: 415x568 mm
Materials: Drawing of Tabernacle and its utensils on paper. Multicolored. Each utensil with its name in Hebrew characters.
Collection: Klau Library





5 New articles by Haseeb Shehadeh (Photo Right), Helsinki University


Biography of the Prophet Aaron by E. Tsedaka (Review) In Arabic.



Read here: Link of Kutim Tactate, Hebrew Origin and Arabic Translation.


Arabic & English Translations of Ahad

ha-‘Am’s Article on the Samaritans


Organum and the Samaritans by M. Ravina (review)




שתי תשבחוח ללמע‘רבי אל-בהלול?

תולדות השומרונים׃ שתי תשבחוח ללמעירב אל-בהלול?  

By Haseeb Shehadeh, Helsinki University



New Publications

The Comfort of Kin, Samaritan Community, Kinship, and Marriage

By Monika Schreiber (Photo left), University of Vienna

In The Comfort of Kin Monika Schreiber presents a study of the social and religious life of the Samaritans, a minority in modern Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Utilizing approaches ranging from anthropological theory and method to comparative history and religion, she approaches this community from diverse empirical and epistemic angles. Her account of the Samaritans, usually studied for their Bible and their role in ancient history, is enriched by a thorough treatment of the Samaritan family, a powerful institution rooted in notions of patrilineal descent and perpetuated in part by consanguineous marriage (which differs from incest in degree rather than in kind). Schreiber also discusses how the tiny community is affected by its demographic predicament, intermarriage, and identity issues.


Google book Preview

Monika Schreiber, Ph.D. (2009), University of Vienna, is librarian at the Jewish Studies Library at that university. She has done extensive anthropological research among the Samaritan community.


All interested in Samaritans, Jewish sectarianism, and religious minorities. Anyone concerned with questions of the Middle Eastern family, kin marriage and incestuous marriage.

Table of contents

Introduction: Who Are the Samaritans?

Part I: Samaritan Ethnicity and Community

Chapter 1: A Community of Faith

Chapter 2: An Accidental People: A Survey of Samaritan History

Chapter 3: A Community of Practice

Chapter 4: No Exit, No Entrance? The Bounds of Community

Part II: Samaritan Family and Marriage

Chapter 5: It’s All in the Family: From Ethnic Identity to Practical Kinship

Chapter 6: Bintī li-ibn ʿammhā—My Daughter Is for Her Cousin: Samaritan Marital Preferences

Chapter 7: Too Close for Comfort? A Critical View of an Ancient Legacy

Chapter 8: Single, Samaritan, Male: A Local Discourse on Minority and Choice

Chapter 9: The Family Politic 

Epilogue: Will the Samaritans Endure?


[From the Editor of the Samaritan Update: This book, The Comfort of Kin, Samaritan Community, Kinship, and Marriage is an advancement into the personal lives of the Samaritans that has till now been undocumented. Not only does Monika bring original experiences from her personal contacts, she digs deeper into the Samaritan life conveying forth fresh new information. It is a publication that every Samaritan scholar or researcher will desire to have in their library. Excellence Book Monika!]



The Targums in the Light of Traditions of the Second Temple Period

Edited by Thierry Legrand and Jan Joosten both of University of Strasbourg

Brill: June 2014



Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity  By Pieter W. van der Horst March 2014 Brill publication

[Includes Samaritan origins according to the Paralipomena Jeremiae]



Hebrew in the Second Temple Period; The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and of Other Contemporary Sources. Edited by Steven E. Fassberg, Moshe Bar-Asher and Ruth A. Clements August 2013 Brill publication



Evidence of Editing, Growth and Change of Texts in the Hebrew Bible by Reinhard Müller, Juha Pakkala, and Bas ter Haar Romeny, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta 2014 @ Amazon

~~~~~~~~~~~ is happy to be online once again after a lengthy period of having our web site unavailable to our audience.

  The site was active between the years 1997-2008, and have been hacked several times, then deleted, and most of the material from the backup files were lost. It was a very hard job to reconstruct the original contents and due to my own situation it was postponed time and time again. 

  During this period of seven years, some other nice web sites have been publicized dedicated to the issue of the Samaritan community. The whole web with computers technology and social networks have made a huge revolution to material. That is why this site has been adapted to support the new Smartphone and tablets.

  So we are here again, with a new design, new sections and especially with a lot of good will to be helpful again to all those scholars and people interested in our unique community. We hope you will appreciate and come back to visit again.

Best Regards, Osher Sassoni





The Xth Congress of the EAJS 2014, Paris, July 20-24, 2014




Meeting Begins: 7/6/2014 Meeting Ends: 7/10/2014


2014 ANNUAL MEETING, San Diego, CA

Meeting Begins: 11/22/2014 Meeting Ends: 11/25/2014



Moses Gaster (1856-1939): Eclectic Collector

Maria Haralambakis


Maria’s current research project focuses on the scholarship and collection of Moses Gaster (1856-1939). As a scholar, Gaster was engaged in diverse fields of study, including Romanian language and literature, folklore, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, magic and mysticism, and Samaritan studies. As a bibliophile he assembled a very large collection of manuscripts and printed books, which has now been divided over various institutions. The Rylands Library is in the possession of the most varied Gaster collection. It includes three categories of manuscripts: Manuscripts in Hebrew, Samaritan, and other languages; Genizah fragments; Gaster’s own annotated copies of his publications; and the Gaster Archive. The Archive contains Gaster’s working papers in all stages of progress, from notes to unpublished proofs; Gaster’s correspondence with Samaritan priests in Nablus (c. 500 letters); and various typed and handwritten lists of books in his possession.

The aim of the project is to evaluate Gaster’s identity as a collector, and to assess his contribution to scholarship, focussing particularly on his work on Romanian folklore and medieval Hebrew and Slavonic Apocryphal narratives.



The title of the Finnish article in English can be: The Samaritans are Dying or Becoming Extinct. The date of the Christian Finnish paper, “Sana” = Word, is May, 15, 2014. The article was written by Arja-Leena Paavola.


Thank you Haseeb Shehadeh for submitting the article and the paper photo!





Books from the HMML Basement is dedicated to the special collections at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. The collections hold over 10,000 rare printed books, along with several European, Ethiopian and other manuscripts.

(Leaf in Samaritan with later inscription on recto. Ms. Frag. 36, Samaritan).


Samaritans Museum Visits

(Photo Left from the Samaritans Museum Facebook page: Logsdon Seminary students visit the Samaritans Museum, May 22, 2014. The Samaritan Museum schedules individual and group visits.)

(Photos below from the Museum’s Facebook Page: These pictures were taken at excavations of Tel Balata, where Samaritan writing were found. Samaritan homes where the picture shows a pattern of one of the houses at the site of Shechem and shows how built hastily and layers of dirt.)



















Samaritan Mezuzah

23.12.2012: Samaritan mezuzah bearing excerpts from the Ten Commandments, Kefar Bilu, 6th-7th century AD, stone. Museum of Israel, Jerusalem.

Inscription: In the beginning God created; I the Lord am your God; You shall have no other gods; You shall not make for yourself; You shall not take in vain; You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear; You shall not covet. Link to image


From the Editor

This map below displays the last three years of visitors from around the world to our site. I would like to thank all the visitors that have been to the




I was reading again The Exiled and the Redeemed, by Itzhak Ben-Zvi, which states that in 1922 there were 147 Samaritans in Nablus and 16 Samaritans in other towns. Where were these other towns? And that year there were 83 males and 80 females, a good proportion for growth of the Samaritans.


Here is a chart of the Patriarch Lineage from the Samaritan-Israelite Torah



From My Notes:

“Mount Gerizim Excavations / 1: the Aramaic, Hebrew and Samaritan inscriptions.” (Jerusalem: Staff Officer of Archaeology, Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, Israel  Antiquities Authority, 2004, page 6) informs us of the first construction phase; ‘the precinct and the temple were first built in the fifth century BCE, during the Persian period, and survived until the end of the Ptolemaic rule,’ and describes the area; ‘the precinct was a square structure was built of hewn fieldstones extracted from the mountain’s exposed upper strata of rock,’ and ‘the rooms around the inside of the precinct wall are reminiscent of the open-roofed chambers and courtyards mentioned in Ezekiel, in whose vision of the Temple in Jerusalem they used by the temple officiaries for cooking the sacrifices brought by the people.

(Photo left, Mount Gerizim Excavation; photo to the left are the remains of a sacred precinct.)

How did this sacrificial precinct come to be and who exactly were these people that built it? There is enough information to determine this question.

After the Babylonian Exile, there was in Jerusalem a high-priest named Joiada, son of Eliashib, (ca. 433-410 BC) he had two sons, Jaddus and his brother Manasseh, who married Nicaso, the daughter of the governor (satrap) of Samaria, named Sanballat. He was a foreigner according to Josephus, ‘a Cuthæan by race.’ Yet, there is something to this story that offers us the foundation of a long standing argument of the claim by the Judeans that the Samaritans intermarried with foreigners, mainly the Cuthæans. But the real evidence appears to be focused on priest Manasseh. When Manasseh left Jerusalem, he had a large following that left the Jerusalem precinct splitting it into two divisions, a schism. This is the so-called Samaritan schism. For those that do not understand, a schism is a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief. But is it fair to call it a Samaritan schism, since it was the Judeans that spilt? Evidently, it has been so! Oh, and yes there were people from Samaria and even further north that supported Manasseh.

It is an interesting fact now that there were three main sects, the Jews and Manasseh sect and the Shomronim (Samaritans as referred to today). But, we also have another interesting fact, we have three different Torahs, the Jewish Masoretic text, the Samaritan text and the Septuagint (LXX).

Samaritan Chronicles mention the sectarian division of the Jews in an interesting section from Abu’l Fath is found in John Bowman’s work, Samaritan Documents Relating to their History and Life, (The Pickwick Press 1977) on page 123-124:

After this Simeon, the King of the Jews, died -may God have no mercy upon him- and there reigned after him ‘Arkiya, his son. In his reign there arose a quarrel between the house of Ithamar and the house of Manasseh. The latter said to the family of Ithamar: “Let us have a portion of the Meadow of al-Baha (Splendor).” An adjudicator then arose who thought that he could satisfy them, but he did not succeed at all, for he said: “Mount Gerizim belongs to you, and to them, and to all Israel; Nablus belongs to the house of Ephraim alone; the Meadow of al-Baha belongs to all the tribes; and the Roll of the Law belongs to all Israel.

The remark of the house of Ithamar is a representation of the Jewish priesthood that came through Eli, of the house of Ithamar, a son of Aaron. Then is the reference of the house of Manasseh, this is clearly a testimonial to Manasseh, son-in-law of Sanballat.

The fate of the Jewish priest Manasseh and those like him is shown fully in Ezra, chapter 9: 1-2 as a prescription of their separation from the Jewish worshipers in Jerusalem.

Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

Ezra, chapter 10 gives a long list of those that had taken strange wives, wives that were not of Israel. Yet, justification, nor a dispute is mentioned against the mixed blood of King Solomon is seen, or even King David that married a Hittite woman (as described in Ezra), Solomon’s mother. For the Jerusalem Temple was built my Solomon, who himself was a sinner. Then in Nehemiah 13: 26-28

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.

Intermarriages from the period of Sanballat between Jewish men and non-Jewish women may have been the origin of Jewish matrilineality mentioned in Jewish Talmud (Kiddushin 68b) and Mishnah (Kiddushin 3:12).

Why was Manasseh’s father killed by his brother (Manasseh’s uncle), was it because of proposed intermarriage of Manasseh? Did an issue of King David and foreign wives come up? Or was the issue really concerning Jerusalem verses Gerizim or did he really create an injustice in the Jerusalem temple? 

(Photos right: Locations of the former Roman temple and meeting hall on Mount Gerizim)

The questions that raise concern of the two sects that worshipped on Mount Gerizim, the followers of Manasseh and the Shomronim are numerable. First, how did they get along, since the Shomronim had the High Priesthood which one would think that they would have opposed the sacrifices, especially since the tabernacle was not there? Second, what exactly happened to the sect of Manasseh, were they killed, relocated, or had the later merged with the Shomronim? How does this affect the studies of the Samaritan Diaspora, could possibly some of these places be people of the Manasseh sect? Third, what are the impacts of the MSS that have been discovered that have Argarazim as one word that is being defined as Samaritan?

The Samaritans (Shomronim) book written by Abu’l Fath found in the English translation by John Bowman, Samaritan Documents Relating to their History and Life, (The Pickwick Press 1977, pages 121-122: describes an incident of a Samaritan (Shomronim) priest of the line a Eleazar (who had nothing to do with the Jewish (Manasseh) cult or any reformers that built the precinct on Gerizim). It happened in the time of the high priest Amram, after the rule of Hezekiah. Amram’s son took the daughter of King Darius for his wife. This marriage was not allowed by the laws that Moses had given the Israelites, so the people killed Amram’s son, Darius’ daughter, their children and those that were with them when they came back to the land of Israel. This is a very explicit section as recorded in Samaritan history testifying that marrying foreign women was forbidden and therefore these righteous people would not have been directly involved with the Jewish reformers under Manasseh.

References connected the Jewish Simon and his Jerusalem temple are anti towards the people that left Jerusalem, meaning to the Manasseh cult. Jerusalem must have lost many people (possibly eight tribes) to Manasseh and was a threat to the status of the Jerusalem temple, therefore attacks were made in many ways and we have the evidence of this before us in many different books.


Books with Anti- Samaritan polemic:

Ben Sira 50:25-26, Testament of Levi, Kings 17; Chronicles; Ezra; Nehemiah; Psalms (especially 78); 2 Maccabees; the Elephantine Papyri; the Mishnah; the Babylonian Talmud (Masseket Kutim); Maryrium Isaiae; Paralipomena; Martyrdom of Isaiah; Jubilees; Liber Antiquitatum biblicarum; 2 Baruch (also see Paralipomena Jeremiae); 1 Esdras; etc, etc.


The Jewish Talmudic tractate, Kutim, says, ‘When shall we receive the Samaritans? When they renounce Mount Gerizim and acknowledge Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead.’ Then there is the question also from the Kutim, ‘Why are the Samaritans forbidden to marry into Israel? Because they mingled with the priests of the high places.’ I believe King David married a woman that was not of Israel origin, after he had her husband killed. And should not David have married a virgin at that?

The Manasseh cult continued to grow, even drawing in the outcast Jews of Jerusalem. Not only was Mount Gerizim a central, original location, it had/has the history. This was opposing and threatening the Jewish existence in Jerusalem. Therefore we see the real reason for the anti-Samaritan polemics we find in so many sources. This Samaritan Precinct on Mount Gerizim was finally destroyed by Jerusalem’s High Priest John Hyrcanus around 110 B.C.E. apparently that had lasted close to 200 years. The leaders, priests were killed, their books, their Chronicles were all burnt; therefore we have no further evidence of the Manasseh sect history. And after this the sectarians still must have had even stronger feelings against Jerusalem and their priesthood. With the destruction of Manasseh’s cult, this ended one of the major conflicts for the Jerusalem priesthood.

Among the finds of Magen’s excavation was a small bell from what maybe from a priestly garment of a High Priest. The Shomronim did not offer sacrifices and also all that was holy, including the priestly garments and breast plate were buried in the cave that was hidden to this day. They, themselves would not have recreated what was holy, so the bell had to be from Manasseh’s cult.

Further evidence is recorded in Samaritan Chronicles of a story about Abed-El (fifth or sixth century B.C.E) who started to build a Temple on the top of Mt. Gerizim for sacrifices, and was stopped by God, who appeared to him in his dream.

But an interesting note should be addressed from Bowman’s book (mentioned above) on pages 133-5. The Samaritan Abu’l Fath tells us after Hyrcanus destroyed the Gerizim precinct all pilgrimages to the mount was stopped and therefore three sects branched off, namely Pharisees (Jews), Sadducees and Hasidim. These were not any sect of the Shomronim. It appears at different times Hyrcanus killed Sadducees and then Pharisees and then sided with the Sadducees again. He then wanted to offer on Gerizim but was refused from going up. I would have liked to read more but my sources are limited, I wonder if Stenhouse’s work on Abu’l Fath has more information to offer, but I do not have his work, yet.  

So what became of the people of the cult of Manasseh? It would appear if they were not killed, then they were dispersed but I believe that there were still people that believed in the Sanctuary of Gerizim and those that did in fact remain, followed under the Shomronim priests whereas their priesthood continued despite Hyrcanus’ ruthlessness. Remember, there is no name of a High Priest called Manasseh in the Samaritan chain of High Priests. I have to believe that Hyrcanus knew of the Shomronim and most likely at the time they were small in numbers and they only sacrificed the Passover and the red heifer which discontinued in the 17th century. 

The big drawing card for Jerusalem was their temple and sacrifices as well as the Manasseh cult whether a sin offering or other. Most likely the people wanted to sacrifice either from guilt or pride or maybe just because they were told they had to. Be that as it may, the original tabernacle and altar was removed in the time of Eli and according to the Shomronim, these types of sacrifices would not have been accepted. Now with Hyrcanus handy work, the people would have had to go to Jerusalem to sacrifice. 

Figure 1 Greek inscription found on Gerizim see

This brings me to another question. At the time the Manasseh’s cult members were murdered and others fled, did some of these people go to Delos? Hence, the Delos Samaritan inscription could be compared to the Gerizim inscriptions from Manasseh’s cult. See ‘Unravelling the Myth of the Synagogue on Delos’ by Lidia Matassa. 

Since there were 80 Greek inscriptions found during the Magen’s excavations, it is very possible that the people of Delos were in fact were part of Manasseh’s cult. The Delos inscription has been dated to before the destruction of the Gerizim precinct. And if these Israelite people spoke Greek, then of course they must have had a Greek translation of the Torah. And considering that Delos was a trade route, then obviously these people were most likely merchants who interacted with foreign traders from shipping routes of the sea. Most likely these Israelites were originally from the Mediterranean Sea coast of Israel, a bountiful land good for trading with the Caesarea port before Herod the Great enlarged it in 22-10 BC or at the bay in Acre.

It is also possible that reassessment should be made concerning the fragments from Masada, Qumran (An Unknown Dead Sea Scrolls Fragment of Deuteronomy by James H. Charlesworth) and the Egyptian fragment.

The Qumran manuscripts are said to be part of the Hasmonean dynasty (between c. 140 BC and c. 116 BC) as was John Hyrcanus, the person responsible for the destruction of the temple on Gerizim. Some of the Qumran fragments resemble the Septuagint (as well as the Masoretic) with a 5% connection. There were also so-called Pre-Samaritan texts discovered at Qumran.

I also located a book that is new to me, Qumran Self-Identity: "Israel" or "Judah"? by John S. Bergsma, Brill 2008. The abstract reads:

A careful analysis of the Qumran "sectarian" texts reveals a consistent preference for self-identification as "Israel" rather than "Judah." In fact, they contain no unambiguous identifications of the community as "Judah" or its members as "Judeans". Like most biblical texts and unlike Josephus and the authors of 1–2 Maccabees, the Qumran community does not equate Israelite with Judean. They regard themselves as the vanguard of the eschatological restoration of the twelve tribes; for them, the Judean state is not the sole heir of biblical Israel.’

Another book that should also be read in relation to Qumran, is Qumran and the Samaritans by Thord and Maria Thordson, Ingarö T. Thordson, 1996. I was lucky to be walking in Jerusalem passed a book story and seen the book in the window. Anyway, the references concerning the people of Qumran and the kingdom of Israel and the Samaritans is there. But I wonder, were any of these people from Qumran part of the remnant of the Manasseh sect that fled after their temple was destroyed by the Jewish High Priest John Hyrcanus in c. 110 B.C.E.

Other texts concerning a Messiah ben Joseph may attest to the Manasseh cult as well as the Shomronim. Most Jewish texts praise a Messiah ben David while speaking of a suffering Messiah ben Joseph. Also Jewish texts give a Messiah ben Ephraim a lower status under Messiah ben David.

There are so many issues that have been brought up over the years between Samaritans and Jews. The force of the problems appear to have been the cause of the split between the people of Jerusalem, who had or may not have had the majority of the children of Israel at the time.

What Torah version did the Manasseh sect have? If they had a version like or exactly like the Samaritan where Gerizim is chosen, that would appear to be a major threat to Jerusalem. If the people recognized this they of course would have went to Gerizim where the Manasseh cult performed sacrifices. This would reduce the pilgrimages to Jerusalem and would therefore be the danger to an end. Even the Jews of Jerusalem would have questioned this unless the Jewish Torah was changed at this time. Or maybe it was changed and the people knew from their fathers that it was written wrong and questioned it.

There still remained those as the Shomronim that adhered to their father’s faith. In later years, when the people in the land became disoriented of the knowledge of Torah and many forced to worship idols during the Roman occupation, a Shomronim priest named Baba Rabbah began building synagogues around the country, drawing the people to learning Torah once again. Among the people had to be also descendants of the cult of Manasseh, while there were still Jews in the northern lands.

I think today, more than ever scholars are realizing the importance of the Manasseh cult influence of anti-Samaritan polemics of the past. Evidence has to be there, plainly obtained (which I am sure I have not even come close) to conclude there were three different Torah observant sects, The Jewish sect of Jerusalem, the Manasseh sect on Gerizim and the Shomronim sect of Ephraim and Manasseh. 





Coins with a Gerizim Structure

I googled coins of Samaria that featured the Hardian’s Roman Temple on mount Gerizim. I could not positively locate any coins that displayed a temple from the period of Hadrian. I am not saying that there are no coins, just that I was unable located any, there may be.


Coin to the left: The earliest coin that I found was from Antoninus Pius (Latin: Titus Fulvius Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius; born 19 September, 86 C.E. – died 7 March, 161 C.E), was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161 C.E. This was the time period of Justin the Martyr.


If you look closely to this coin medallion from the period of Antonius Pius to the left you will notice a steps leading up to the temple. To the right is a building with a forked paved foot path below leading down to the colonnaded area or even an open rock-cut trench for water drainage for the rock-cut bottle-shaped cisterns that have been located at the bottom near the colonnaded street. There does appear to be 2 sharped images on each side to the steps, Are these buildings, platforms, tombs or maybe craved in rock-cut rooms with smaller Petra styled facades. Later coins appear as if the area on each side of the steps as either trees or vegetation. Perhaps over years the earth above covered these up or they were destroyed. Yet I do not recall reading anything concerning this area of the mount.

The building located right of the temple is hard to recognize. There is a story concerning Baba Rabba found in John Bowman’s work, Samaritan Documents Relating to their History and Life, (The Pickwick Press 1977) on page 151: “ ..and he will go up to Mount Gerizim and cross to the synagogue, and by using guile break the bird Talisman;” The synagogue English translation could mean knesset, a gathering or meeting place, most likely for the Romans.

But it may have been just a watchtower. There is an interesting reference in to the Samaritan Book of Joshua by O.T. Crane, (New York; Alden 1890) page 131; “..and I will purify Mount Gerizim of them but not a thing can be accomplished for us, except by the destruction of this [brazen] bird which is stationed over the temple..”

Just a note that the building is Roman, the Israelites would never have built a gabled roof on a holy structure.


This medal image definitely shows buildings on either side of the steps, found opposite page 88 of James Montgomery’s The Samaritans. The medal is from Pius period. The structure to the right of the temple appears to be a tower, with a dome.


The coin image to the right: Antonius August Pius coin found in Numismatic Illustrations of the Narrative Portions of the New Testament by John Yonge Akerman, London: J. R. Smith, 1846 and also in The People’s Dictionary of the Bible by J.R. Beard, Vol. I, Third edition, London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1850, p. 29.


Right: Neapolis, Marcus Aurelius (161-180 C.E), dated civic year 89 (161 C.E). Mount Gerizim, with staircase leading to temple).


There appears to be a brief gap of c. 56 years after Aurelius between coinage productions that bears the temple on Gerizim.

Left: A coin that resembles a similar design from the period of Macrinus (Latin: Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus Augustus; ca. 165 – June 218), was Roman Emperor from 217 to 218. 



Elagabalus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; c. 203 – 11 March 222), also known as Heliogabalus, was Roman Emperor from 218 to 222 C.E. 


Coin left: 36 Elagabalus. NEAPOLIS.

Roman Empire. Elagabalus. Struck in Neapolis.

Reverse: Mt. Gerizim


(Coin left: NEAPOLIS, Samaria. Severus Alexander with Mt. Gerizim, 222-235 C.E. Struck at Neapolis, Samaria.

Reverse:  Mt. Gerizim with Temple and shrines. Reverse legend:  F. NEA(SPOL).  Flavia Neapolis.



(Coin to the right: Philip Sr.. 244-249 C.E. Radiate bust right/ Marayas on left, stg right, eagle, wings spread, supporting Mt. Gerizim.)


What was really surprising was the good number of coins from the period of Philip the Arab (Latin: Marcus Julius Philippus Augustus; c. 204 – 249 C.E), also known as Philip or Philippus Arabs, was Roman Emperor from 244 - 249 C.E. and his son Marcus Julius Philippus Severus, also known as Philippus II, Philip II or Philip the Younger (238–249 C.E). Apparently there were a few years when the father and son ruled together and were both called Emperor or thereof. The number of Samarian coins differed in their stamping. This period of basically five year seen an extra ordinary minting of coins of various designs. A Roman eagle appears on most of the coins with the Gerizim structure above. The Gerizim structure appears to get smaller in some coins apparently every year since the minting of the larger and earlier advertisement on Philip’s coins. So, I believe that the dating of the coins can be determined using a later coin of Gallus as a focal point of the type of coins that were minted in his time. So therefore the small the structure the new mint set took place.


Coin left: SAMARIA, Neapolis. Philip II.   247-249 AD.

Laureate bust right / Founder plowing right with team of oxen; above, Mt. Gerizim with temple and shrine, to right of   which, standard. Rosenberger 105; BMC Palestine


Philip’s coins display a variety of image under the Gerizim structure, an eagle, a man with oxen, a ram, people or an his wife and son.  


(Coin to the right: Brass coin in the British Museum, Dominis Nostris Philippis Augustis)


Trajan Decius (Latin: Gaius Messius Quintus Decius Augustus; c. 201 – June 251 C.E.), was Roman Emperor from 249 - 251 C.E. Decius does not appear to have any coins minted with a structure on Gerizim.


Gallus’ coin (see below for coin from 251-253 C.E.) displays a small sized Gerizim temple above other images.  If Baba Raba before the rule of Gallus, then either the Gerizim structure was either undisturbed or rebuilt as the images still display the structure after Baba’s death.

(Coin above: Trebonianus Gallus (Latin: Gaius Vibius Afinius Trebonianus Gallus Augustus; 206 – August 253), also known as Gallus, was Roman Emperor, 251 – 253 C.E. , in a joint rule with his son Volusianus. Volusianus (Latin: Gaius Vibius Volusianus Augustus; died August 253), also known as Volusian, was a Roman Emperor from 251 - 253 seceding Decius.)

(The Volusian coin to the below also displays buildings on either side of the steps, found opposite page 88 of James Montgomery’s The Samaritans.)


One of these coins struck me as odd, so I pulled out my book A Samaritan Chronicle, by Jeffrey M. Cohen, published by E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1981. I read on page 99, ‘The Roman kings were enraged against the righteous king, the Priest Baba Rabbah, and page 102, ‘All the battles between Baba Rabbah and the Roman kings..” This could have meant Roman kings in succession or more than one ruler, but it is said on page 103, ‘The name of the king of Costantina at that time was Philip.’


There is a special coin that had my curiosity. The back side of this Philip I Neapolis coin displays 4 people. It appears from right to left, is Roman Emperor Philip the Arab and his wife Roman Empress Marcia Otacilia Severa and their young son Marcus Julius Philippus Severus, also known as Philippus II, Philip II and Philip the Younger (238–249 C.E). But who is the far person to the left? The description of the coin questions whether the figure is Zeus’s virgin daughter Athena which is most likely. Above them is the Gerizim temple complex, small yet noticeable. But what is it is not? What if it is actually Baba Rabbah appearing before the Roman emperor. If Philip wanted to appease the Samaritans, why not add Baba Rabbah to a coin honoring him?

If Philip the Arab was emperor reigned from 244-249 C.E the encounter must have happened early in Philip’s reign, about 244-246, giving 3 or more years to strike the coins. So Baba Rabbah’s death would have been before 248-9 C.E, since it is said that Philip mourned him.

Now on page 88, King Gordianus (Gordian III (Latin: Marcus Antonius Gordianus Pius Augustus; was Roman Emperor from 238 to 244 C.E.) is mentioned telling the Judeans to rebuild their temple (which was never rebuilt). Then the Samaritan priest Levi, left for the cities of the Roman’s (pg. 89-90) and returned 13 years later (p. 91). If we suppose that Gordian died the same year that Levi left and add 13 years, we have 251-257 (238 C.E +13 = 251 C.E to 244 +13 years = 257), the years do not add up to the time period of the Philip kings (244-249). So there is a problem here. But since we have Gordian and then both rulers, father and son (Philip emperors) with a date to their end at 257 C.E. So Levi’s story has to be moved back a few years into the reign of Severus Alexander.

But this is just speculation on my part, but it would settle any misconceptions of when Baba Rabbah lived!

Photo below: A clay oil lamp with the stairs to the Roman temple, see full description. There is a gabled building about half way up shown on the right which must represent the Roman meeting hall.

Coins spanning roughly 117 years (c. 136-253C.E.) display a variety of images of and under the Gerizim structure, an eagle, a man with oxen, a wolf with cubs, a horse, a ram, people or an inscription.

The Palmyrene Empire (260–273) a splinter empire from the Roman Empire controlling Syria Palaestina may have been helpful to the people in the land compared to the persecution of past Romans. 

The coins with the Gerizim structure appears to have stopped after Gallus. Thus it may be concluded that the Roman temple that stood on Gerizim was destroyed some years after Gallus. A church was later built in 475 CE on the site formerly of the Roman temple and the Manasseh cult’s site.

This was the beginning of my search but there are sights that you can search on your own like and  and   

Also see Neokoroi: Greek Cities and Roman Emperors By Barbara Burrell section XIV. Syria Palaestina, Chapter 36. Neapolis: in Samaria, Syria Palaestina, Brill Academic Pub. 2004. Pp 260-5.


From Mountain to Icon: Mount Gerizim on Roman Provincial Coins from Neapolis, Samaria

By Jane DeRose Evans Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 74, No. 3 (September 2011), pp. 170-182



In the News


PHOTOS: Ancient Rituals in the Land of the Bible

by Aviram Valdman Photographer at The Tower Magazine


Jewish or Not, the Samaritans Celebrate Passover—But a Month Later

May 19, 2014 by Asya Pereltsvaig


Jacob Esh Shelabi Seal

A hard covered book for sale, Notices of the Modern Samaritans, Illustrated by Incidents in the Life of Jacob Esh Shelabi Gathered from Him and Translated by Mr. E.T. Rogers, Published by Sampson Low and Sons, London, 1855. But the real interesting issue is that there is the signature of the Jacob al-Shelaby and his seal impressed in red sealing wax in the book. “Pencil ownership inscription on ffep of Mrs Cowper [not shown here] 21/9/55” That would be 1855. See the link. This is the first hard covered book of this title that I have ever seen, but I would think there were a good many of them.

Fishburn Books Catalogue 1, Judaica, March 2002 also describes on page 3, the Shelaby book, also of red cloth with an Arabic signature of Jacob Shelaby, but does not mention a seal.


Recently on Ebay a photograph by Frank Horvat sold for $350.00 (Left). Horvat took photographs for the article in Life Magazine May 24, 1954 entitled, The Last of the Samaritans. Be sure to see the article and photographs in the Life link. There is also a response in The Canadian Jewish Chronicle- May 28, 1954 to the Life magazine article, called, Yet Another Lost Tribe.

Right: And a color Glass lantern slide of the Samaritan encampment during Passover photographed by the American Colony sold on for GBP 26.78 (US $45.57).

Samaritans icon/sonic opera by Yuval Avital

"A Sky Classica documentary film in Italian & English (with Italian sub-titles)  of Avital's opera "Samsaritani" (Samaritans), produced by MiTo SettembreMusica festival 2010, in Co-production of Magà Global Arts Around The World, and In collaboration with LEAV - Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology Laboratory, University of Milan. 

The aim of the multimedia composition Samaritans is to create a bridge between the musical and ritual tradition of one of the most ancient peoples of the Mediterranean and contemporary music. Thus, it tells us a story of great antiquity and modernity, of hope and fear, of fantasy and everyday-life of the Samaritan people.  Yuval Avital, following his personal creative journey, explores emotions, archetypes and universal structures by revisiting an ancient culture. Combining in this opera a Samaritan choir of selected soloists from within the Samaritan community , an ensemble of contemporary music soloists, live electronics, video, stage design and theater, he shares with us the collective past of the Samaritans; their individual present, and the sacred and mystical dimension of this unique culture.  Publication Date: Sep 2010



The Bialik Institute Publications of Samaritan


Sale prices

The Morphosyntax of Samaritan Aramaic by Christian Stadel

Samaritan Elegies, A Collection of Lamentations, Admonitions, and Poems of praising God

by Moshe Florentin

Samaritan, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies Presented To Professor Abraham Tal

Moshe Bar-Asher and Moshe Florentin Editors





Samaritan Self-Consciousness in the First Half of the Second Century B.C.E. in Light of the Inscriptions from Mount Gerizim and Delos by Magnar Kartveit in Journal for the Study of Judaism, June 2014

Samaritan Origins according to the Paralipomena Jeremiae by Pieter W. van der Horst in Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, pp. 161-172, 2014

Abu’l-Husan al—Suri’s Discourse on the Rules of Leprosy in the Kitab al-Tabbakh, Rylands Samaritan Codex IX, by P.R. Weis. From the "Bulletin of the John Rylands Library," Vol. 33, No. 1, September, 1950. See pages 131-137


The Secret of the Samaritan Calendar by Akaviah, A A 1950 In Hebrew


The Astronomical Tables and Calendar of the Samaritans by Robertson, E 1950 In Hebrew


The Foolish Nation That Dwells in Shechem”: Ben Sira on Shechem and the Other Peoples in Palestine by Matthew Goff.


Samaritans Caste: A History of Thousands of Years by Bassam Yousef Ibrahim Banat 2014


Which Bible, Whose Text? Biblical Theologies in Light of the Textual History of the Hebrew Bible

By Stefan Schorch  [Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg]


“Bi-Directional Forced Deportations in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and the Origins of the Samaritans: Colonialism and Hybridity” by Yigal Levin, Bar-Ilan University, Jewish History, Faculty Member Archaeological review from Cambridge, v. 28, no. 1 (2013), p. 217-240


Vocal Harmony in Samaritan Hebrew (in Hebrew) by Alexey (Eliyahu) Yuditsky Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Historical Dictionary Project, Faculty Member

Die Samaritaner und die Judäer: Die biblische Diskussion um ihr Verhältnis in Josua 24 by Konrad Schmid 2012


Regev, D., Greenfeld U., 2013. New Finds From the Samaria-Sebaste Necroplis by Dalit Regev 2013


Eine Kultstätte auf dem Ebal? Josua 8,30-35 und der Streit mit Samaria um die Auslegung der Tora, ZDPV 129/1, 2013, 79-98. by Raik Heckl

Dating the Recension of the Samaritan Pentateuch as it Relates to4QpaleoExod: A Brief Overview by David Quinn Daniels

Abraham’s Path by Christian Runkel. Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


Tannaitic Israel and the Kutim by Rocco Bernasconi 2009

A Josephite Messiah in 4Q372 by David C. Mitchell 2005


Hagarism, The Making of the Islamic World by Patricia Crone & Michael Cook 1977


Edward Robertson, “Law and religion amongst the Samaritans” in Judaism and Christianity. Volume 3: Law and religion / essays by J. Murphy. [et al.]; edited by Erwin I. J. Rosenthal. Rosenthal, E. I. J. (Erwin Isak Jacob), (b. 1904, ed.) Published by London: Sheldon Press, 1938


“Archaeological Aspects of Samaritan Research in Israel.” By Shimon Dar in Religious Diversity in late Antiquity, Edited by by David M. Gwynn and Susanne Bangert, Brill, 2010, pp. 189- 198.


Ancient Synagogue Seating Capacities: Methodology, Analysis & Limits by Chad S Spigel, Mohr Siebeck, Publication date: 9/19/2012, Series: Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism Series, #149


The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years, by Professor Lee I. Levine, Yale University Press (February 9, 2000)


Samarytanie W Cesarstwie Rzymskim w Drugiej Polowie v Wieku by Rafal Kosinski 2011

“Problems of Biblical Chronology and Historicity in the Light of the Samaritan Chronicles,” Dr. Paul Stenhouse, University of Sydney [Reference seen in The Michigan Daily- Oct. 4, 1991, page 2.]

Literary Development of the Book of Joshua as Reflected in the MT, the LXX, and 4QJOSHA by Emanuel Tov 2012

Images of Joshua: The Construction of memory in Cultural Identities by Zev I. Farber, Dissertation 2013

A Silver-Plated Samaritan Coin from Tel Dor by Yoav Farhi 2010

“A Note on a Samarian Coin-Type”, Israel Numismatic Research 3, 2008, pp. 3-12 by Jarosław Artur Bodzek

“Tiarate Heads on Samarian Coins”, INR 6/2011, pp. 3-19 by Jarosław Artur Bodzek

Samaritan Communities on Mt. Carmel and Ramot Menashe by Shimon Dar in Knowledge and Wisdom, Archaeological and Historical Essays in Honour of Leah Di Segni 2014


The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library


Finally at Your Fingertips

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library offers an exceptional encounter with antiquity. Using the world's most advanced imaging technology, the Digital Library preserves thousands of scroll fragments, including the oldest known copies of biblical texts, now accessible to the public for the first time. Start browsing now


Old News

On the Horizon: Passover on the Mountain 04.01.1953 - 12:00 AM | M. K. Wankowicz

Twenty-Five hundred years ago the Samaritans embraced Judaism and at the same time cut themselves off from the Jews. Today the surviving remnant of this people, numbering only a few hundred, still maintain the religion and the rites which for them have remained unchanged, and which justify to them their right to consider themselves the true chosen of God. M. K. WANKOWICZ tells here of a visit to the Samaritans in 1943, when Palestine was still under the British Mandate, and of the impressive ancient ritual with which these men of antiquity annually celebrate the Passover.

.. It is always windy on top of the mountain, and it was rather cold when I got there. I found Ben Zvi in the tent of the Samaritan high priest who presided over this miniature community.

.. Now the high priest of the Samaritans, Ab-Chisda-ben-Yakov-Hakohen-la-adat-ha-Shomrim, arrived. He had been called to this office on the death of his predecessor some weeks before my visit. He was a man of perhaps fifty, of a fine build, and dressed in Arab fashion. After exchanging greetings we went out of the tent. The karban, the blood sacrifice, was about to begin.

Continue reading


Samaritans Cling To Valued Scroll, by George W. Cornell, The Victoria Advocate, Ja. 13, 1962


Temple Ruins Found in Jordan May Be Samaritans' Sanctuary

OCT. 28, 1964

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 27—Under the recently discovered ruins of a Roman temple in Jordan, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of another temple, which may turn out Ito be the ancient sanctuary of the Samaritans.

The twin finds were made in a mound, known as Tell elRas, on Mount Gerizim. The Samari­tans, a dissident Jewish sect, held to the belief that God had chosen Mount Gerizim for Israel's central shrine.

Accordingly, the Samaritans built their shrine on the mount, and to the present, the Samari­tans Passover rites are observed there.

The mount is part of the com­plex of ancient Shechem—now Jordanian Nablus—that has been under archaeological in­vestigation by UnitedStates institutions since 1956.

The expeditions, under the direction of Prof. G. Ernest Wright of Harvard University Divinity School, are sponsored by Drew University in Madi­son, N. J., the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chi­cago and, since 1960, Harvard University.

The new chapter in an ac­count of Biblical times being pieced together in the field by them may settle the long­ debated question of the location of the Samaritan temple.

It has been supposed that another peak of Mount Gerizim held the sanctuary, one visited each Spring for ritual observ­ance by modern Samaritans.

Schechem, one of the first cities mentioned in the Bible, became the first capital of the tribes of Israel, which, under Jeraboam I, revolted against Rehoboam, King Solomon's son, and formed the Northern King­dom of lsrael.

In the fourth century B.C., Shechem became headquarters for the Samaritans. Permission to build a temple on Mount Gerizim was secured from the reigning Persian King, Darius III, and later reaffirmed by his successor, Alexander the Great.

The temple and Shechem were destroyed in 128 B.C. by John Hyrcanus, high priest and prince of the Jews, on the refusal of the Samaritans to be converted to Judaism.

The Roman building on the site, built in Emperor Hadrian's reign, utilized some of the fine masonry of the demolished tem­ple. Greek in style, with columns about three feet in diameter, the Roman temple rose from a foundation that, somewhat smaller than its pred­ecessor, measures about 45 by 72 feet.

Shechem had become Nea­polis, and coins minted there picture the temple—about 1,000 feet above—with a series of steps leading up to it, and shrines flanking the steps.

Hadrian dedicated the tem­ple to Zeus Hypsistos, and had installed in it the bronze doors of the temple at Jerusalem, which Titus had destroyed in the first century.


Digging the Bible; Strife Not New to West Bank

Fifth of Six Parts

By Virginia Bortin, The Times-News. Hendersonville, N.C. De. 22, 1978


Archaeologist unearths copy of ancient temple

Beaver County Times, Apr. 14, 1995


Should you wish to do your own Newspaper research, try the Google link to hundreds of Newspapers


Asiatische Studien : Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Asiengesellschaft

= Études asiatiques : revue de la Société Suisse- Asie

(page 70) Art News1949 January to June

Excavations: Jerusalem. Dr. B. Maisler of the Hebrew University has excavated the remains of the encampment of the 10th Roman Legion occupying forces after the destruction of the temple. He has also discovered the remains of a Samaritan synagogue of the fourth century A.D. containing a large mosaic pavement with a Samaritan and two Greek inscriptions, and is now excavating an Iron Age site at El Mirbeh.


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