The Samaritan Update

“Mount Gerizim,

All the Days of Our Lives”


November/ December 2014                                                                                              Vol. XIV - No 2


In This Issue


·         Future Events

·         1940 film

·         Commentary

·         Papers

·         Letter Beth

·         TRUST & Women

·         Auctions Results

·         Lectures

·         Schwartz’s Collection

·         Keyboard

·         Repository

·         Joseph Cycle

·         Gerizim Key

·         SBL

·         Call for papers

·         Images

·         From the Editor

·         Past Publications

·         Future Publications

·         Recent Publications

·         Links

·         Old News

·         Biblio


Your link to the Update Index


Future Events

It has been 3653 years since the entrance into the Holy Land

This counting began on the Sixth Month of the Year of Creation (Samaritan’s typical calendar)  

It has been 6442 years since Creation

1st day of the 10th Month 3653- December 21, 2014

1st day of the 11th Month 3653- January 20 2015

1st day of the 12th Month 3653- February 18, 2015

1st day of the 13th Month 3653- March 19, 2015

1st day of the 1st Month 3654 – April 18, 2015

 Passover Sacrifice Saturday evening- May 2, 2015

Conclusion of the Festival of Unleavened Bread- May 9, 2015

Shavuot- June 28 2015

Festival of the First Day of 7th Month 3654- Oct. 13, 2015

Day of Atonement- Oct. 22, 2015

Festival of Succot- Oct. 27, 2015

Festival of the 8th day of Succot 3654- Nov. 3, 2015

[Calculated by: Priest Yakkiir ['Aziz] b. High Priest Jacob b. 'Azzi – Kiriat Luza, Mount Gerizim]


1940 Samaritan Passover under the British Mandate Film.

This is a Black and White film with a British commentary of the events of Passover including the Sacrifice. The film is just over 7 minutes long. From Bridgeman Images

Footage number BOF739708 Medium HD

Title: Jewish prayer, sacrifice, and other Passover preparations. CU of Torah.

Description When the Jews under Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem they found the walls of the city torn down. Under the leadership of Nehemiah they set about the task of rebuilding. Shows stone mason at work with hammer and chisel. History of the Samaritan Israelites. The Samaritans from Shechem (Sichem) asked to help and the Jews refused. The Samaritans went back to Shechem and carried on the religion of Moses in their own way. Shows ancient city of Shechem (Sichem). Shows Samaritan camp on top of mount Gerizim the week before Passover. Shows Samaritans preparing scaffolding for sacrifice. Shows pits to burn the parts of the sheep not permitted to eat and pit to cook the sacrificed sheep parts. Shows Passover preparations under British Police protection. Image of Samaritan High Priest. Shows sheep carcasses being cleaned and prepared to cook. Passover feast being prepared by the Samaritan Israelites. As Samaritan High Priest prays the Passover feast is eaten in a hurry as demanded in the book of Exodus. The day after the feast people gather on the mountain top to pray. Close-up of the Pentateuch, one of the world's oldest books.

[Matzliach b. Phinhas b. Yitzhaq b. Shalma was High Priest during 1933-1943.]



Ṣadaqah al-Ḥakīm’s Commentary on Genesis. Part Two Chapters VII-XX

Preliminary edition by Haseeb Shehadeh

The first part of the commentary of the first six chapters was published in and can be seen here:

Now see Part Two:

This thirteenth-century Arabic commentary by the physician Ṣadaqah b. abū al-Farağ Munağğā b. Ṣadaqah b. Ġarūb al-Sāmiriyy al-Dimashqiyy (d. 1223) is the oldest commentary to have come down to us. It has survived in two manuscripts: R. Huntington 301 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (203 fols., Genesis 1: 2 — 50: 5) and Cam III 14 (114 fols., Genesis 1: 4—49: 16) in the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg. The portion of the commentary that appears below reflects Sadaqah’s broad knowledge of medicine, as well as of Rabbinic, Karaite and Arabic sources of philosophy, grammar and exegesis. This portion, including the first six chapters of Genesis, has been ready in my computer for almost two decades. Unfortunately, I did not find the time to continue with this project, and I therefore decided to make this portion available to Samaritans as well as to all who are interested and able to read and understand this kind of Arabic. This edition is based on R. Huntington 301 with some readings taken from Cam III 14. Based on my preliminary research into the latter manuscript (as well as Cam III 5 and 6), I can say that this source does not present substantially different readings from R. Huntington 301. The character آ stands for the Oxford manuscript and the character س stands for the manuscript in Saint Petersburg. The slash indicates the end of one page and the beginning of the next. It should be mentioned that almost 11% of the Oxford manuscript, 22 first folios, was rendered into Modern Hebrew by A. Loewenstamm in the early 1980s. A facsimile of the text and the translation were published in Jerusalem in 2008.  

Now see Part Two:



On: Karaite and Samaritan Studies, Collected and Posthumous Papers by Ayala Loewenstamm

By Haseeb Shehadeh (University of Helsinki)  [2014] Arabic


Why Did God Start the Torah with the Letter Beth? By Ab Sikkōwwā el-Sirrāwē

By Haseeb Shehadeh (University of Helsinki) [2014] Arabic/Hebrew



Photos of the Nablus Synagogue

Śâmî Čøhéñ recently posted a number of photos on his Facebook page of work being done on the Nablus Synagogue on Dec. 29, 2014. The synagogue has been sitting empty for a good number of years. The Samaritans have decided it was time for the historic Synagogue to be brought back to original appearance with some modifications to the roof structure.





TRUST joins Women of Action (Seeds of Peace) visit to Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim

By TRUST-Emun .Oct. 17, 2014


A group of Palestinian and Israeli women from the Women of Action (Seeds of Peace) visited Mt. Gerizim – Har Bracha (Mount of Blessing) the home of the Samaritans near Nablus/Schem in on October 17, 2014. The arriving women all embraced and kissed and expressed delight to see each other after many months and such a hard summer of war and violence.


The Samaritan community reveres Mt. Gerizim as their holy site and trace their ancestry back for thousands of years. We were hosted by a lovely Samaritan woman who shared with us their practices and customs. The Christian women shared the story of the Good Samaritan from their Bible. The Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women discussed the differences between the Samaritan marriage practices with the different religions. We visited their synagogue where everyone sits on the floor, and heard about their Shabbat rituals from a Cohen/Priest. Later we went to the Samaritan Museum where the brother of their High Priest explained their history and practices. It was fascinating to learn about this ancient sect. We went up to the top of Mt. Gerizim where you can look out over a panoramic view of the area, and visit the ancient ruins there.


At this spot we had listening circles where all of the Israeli and Palestinian women shared about the difficulties we have suffered over the summer during the war, and the ongoing struggles now. Women expressed anger, hurt, shame, despondence, frustration, and much pain. As one woman reported “everyone on every side said that they had the worst summer of their lives and had sunk into depths of despair”. And when discussing our feelings about being together, one said “I didn’t come here to visit the Samaritans, I came here to be with my sisters.” Everyone expressed relief and happiness to feel the support of each other and to experience our sisterhood of suffering together. I carry the smiles and embraces in my heart.



Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

November 25, 2014, 7:00 PM EET Jerusalem, Israel Live Auction

Lot 57: A Large Collection of Samaritan Leaves and Manuscripts

Description: A large collection comprised of single leaves and parts of Samaritan compositions, all written by hand. The 18th century – 20th century.
A rich and varied collection, which includes Piyutim for special events, poems for different occasions, eulogies, parts of prayers, and more.
One of the most remarkable items, is an authorization-certificate written on behalf of the Samaritan dignitaries in Nablus (1868 – signed by hand and with ink stamps), authorizing that Ya'akov ben Aharon is the High Priest and spiritual leader of the Samaritan people [At the same time the priest Amram ben Shlomo was also serving as High Priest of the Samaritans, until his death in 1874, however due to internal criticism - following his marriage to a woman, who her husband was forcefully made to convert to Islam, in order to save her from converting also - the priest Amram was forced to hand over his position to his nephew, Ya'akov ben Aharon].
Other details in the collection:
• Supplication, hand-written on paper.writing: Ab-Sakuwah ben Abraham Haddanafi [ 18th century]. On the outer part of the page a decorated writing is inscribed, with Samaritan writing in especially large letters. At the front of the page some fine illustrations were added, depicting branches with leaves and fruit, painted with purple ink. Ab-Sakuwah ben Abraham Haddanafi – head of the "Danafies", lived in the end of the 17th century, and the beginning of the 18th. [4] pages.
• A single leaf (paper), with an illustration featuring the image of the temple and its vessels, according to the Samaritan tradition [beginning of 20th century].
• Two pages in Samaritan writing, Piyutim for Yom Kippur and in honor of the book "Molad Moshe", by the High Priest Shlomo ben Tabiah, and by Shlomo ben Ab-Sakuwah Haddanafi [18th /19th century].
• A poem for the festival of Shavuot, by Ab-Sakuwah ben Abraham Haddanafi (unknown copier) [the 18th century].
• A wedding poem by Tabiah ben Yitzhak – High Priest, in his own handwriting.
• A handwritten pamphlet, prayers for the Shabat before Shavuot. Writing: Marchiv ben Yehoshua Hamarchivi [end of the 18th century (?); 19th century]. Manuscript of [15] pages.
• A segment of text describing the Samaritan customs, written by the High Priest Ya’akov ben Aharon.
• A single page featuring the 12th chapter of the Book of Exodus, written in large letters (the paragraph recited by the High Priest at the beginning of the ceremonial sacrifice of Passover) hand-written by Ab-Chisda Ben Ya’akov Hacohen.
• A poem of warning and reproof by Ya’akov ben Aharon Hacohen.
A full list can be sent on request.
Additional documents.
A total of 43 documents, some including a few pages. Varying size and condition: Poor-fair to good. Some of the documents are described in Hebrew; some are incomplete.

Estimate $10,000-15,000 Sold for $9,000.00


Lot 1413: Samaritan prayer Siddur, with owner's signet Priest Amran Ishak - President of the Samaritan Community, Nablus-Jordan

Description: Samaritan prayer Siddur, with owner's signet Priest Amran Ishak - President of the Samaritan Community, Nablus-Jordan Notes: Eretz-Israel Books in Hebrew

This sold for $170.00.


Auction Result: Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts, Ceremonial Objects & Art by Kestenbaum & Company November 13, 2014, 3:00 PM EST New York, NY, USA Lot 309, the Samaritan Scroll valued to sell between $8-12,000 DID NOT SALE See description in previous issue of the Update


Pittsburgh gets glimpse of modern Israelite Samaritans

By Toby Tabaqchnick The Jewish Chronicle 12/3/2014



Israelite Samaritan Benyamim Tsedaka in conversation with Dale Lazar
Monday, November 24, 7 pm

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Levinson Hall, Kaufmann building.
This event is free and open to the public

Join us for a conversation with noted historian, author and elder of the Israelite Samaritan community, Benyamim Tsedaka, facilitated by photographer Dale Lazar. Mr. Tsedaka’s visit, his first to Pittsburgh, introduces the upcoming exhibition.

The Israelite Samaritans and the Festival of Unleavened Bread: Photographs by Dale Lazar
Fine Perlow Weis Gallery
May 4–July 24, 2015


Dale Lazar’s striking photographs of the Israelite Samaritans during the festival of Unleavened Bread convey the small, yet persistent community during one of their most important annual events. Each of the photographs in the exhibition depicts moments captured by Lazar during a single day; the festival of Unleavened Bread, which began at 1:00 am. The community, known as Israelite Samaritans, is similar to but distinct from Judaism. Samaritans believe they are the inheritors of the covenant between God and Moses’s Israelites and that their Torah is the oldest bible in existence. They believe they are the remnants of the Israelites that remained in the Northern Kingdom after the Assyrian (Babylonian) conquest around 722 B.C.E. Accepting the Five Books of Moses and their account of the Book of Joshua, they consider their version of the Torah as authentic. 

The Samaritans are unique, traditional and deeply religious. There are approximately 750 Samaritans in the world today. Being among, if not the smallest, religious groups in the world, the Samaritans are confronted by an incredible number of challenges, including extinction. Source: also see

Lectures and Photos in Pittsburgh 2014

Dale Lazar Photography

The Israelite Samaritans: photography & Lecture Series



Trudy and Miko Schwartz's collection from the British Mandate period


By Nadav Man. Published 02.27.10

Trudy and Miko Schwartz's collection of photographs has been presented in this section on several occasions. Most of the collection is documented in the Haifa University database and can be viewed here.

The Schwartz couple arrived in Israel from Czechoslovakia in 1939. Miko was a certified photographer employed by the mandatory radio authority. He also took photographs for Keren Hayesod (Foundation Fund) and the Jewish National Fund. Thanks to his photojournalist mandatory license, he visited many places: Jewish settlements, Arab villages, cities and agricultural and industrial areas.

Continue reading at,7340,L-3852090,00.html

Photos in part 2:,7340,L-3878149,00.html



Samaritan Keyboard

Visit Jim Ridolfo’s web site for Samaritan Font.

The Samaritan keyboard for OS X 10.* and Windows 2000, 7, and 8 is a resource I produced for my own research using the excellent free software package Ukelele for OS X, and Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator for Windows.

Download for Windows 2000 and higher: 
Download for OS X 10.5 and higher




Larry Rynearson, editor of The Samaritan Update, has made the following digitized manuscript available from his personal collection.

(Manuscript LR2), Samaritan Book of Joshua in Samaritan Hebrew, 1908 CE. Available: [15mb]


The Samaritan Book of Joshua by Samaritan High Priest Abisha b. Phinas b. Yitzhaq (1880-1961) [Naji b. Khidr] b. Isaac b. Salama b. Ghazal/Tabiah. He copied the manuscript in the year 1326 Hijra [Muslim Calendar] 1908 C.E. The copyists would normally write the short work in less than 24 hours to sell quickly to make money to support his family in Nablus. Attached are photos of the hand-written book. The book is a red cloth hardcover measuring 7 3/8” x 5 3/4” x 3/8” thick. The typical Samaritan cover end wrap is missing. The original purchaser dedicated the book to his family, presumed in 1912 C.E., three years after his visit to Nablus.


Abisha b. Phinhas is also the scribe of other works: Sassoon 387, 723, 510; LC Sam. MS 4, 6, 13, 16; Rylands Sam. 162; Columbia 71 and Columbia K 64 (Asatir); BL Or. 7925, 10200, (1910), 10746, 10778 (1905), Or. 10862 (1908), 10863, 12250.

Congratulations Jim Ridolfo and Janice Fernheimer for your new born son, De. 22, 2014 (photo Right)


And Congratulations Jim Ridolfo and William Hart-Davidson on your new book Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities out Jan. 19, 2015.


The Joseph Cycle (Genesis 37-45) in the Samaritan-Arabic Commentary of Meshalma ibn Murjan


By Gladys Levine Rosen is now available online in the archives of the Samaritan Update.





Tomer Altef posted a wonderful photo of the morning sun rise over the main street of the Samaritan community on Mount Gerizim on 11.20.2014




Samaritans Honor Bank of Palestine Chairman and Confer ‘Gerizim Key’ Medal upon Him

The Samaritan sect in Nablus Governorate has honored BOP Chairman and General Manager Hashim Shawa for his continuous efforts and liberality, conferring upon him for the first time the ‘Mount Gerizim Key’ medal in appreciation for his services and contribution to corporate social development in Palestine and support he provided to the Samaritans.


The honoring ceremony took place in the guest house in the Samaritan Quarter in Nablus and was attended by Nablus Governor Akram Rjoub, Nablus Mayor Ghassan Shakaa, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and departments and organizations operating in Nablus, as well as BOP officials, eminent Samaritans and legal personalities. The Samaritan High Priest Abdallah Wasef handed Shawa ‘Mount Gerizim Key’ medal in the first honoring ceremony of a Palestinian economist from the Samaritan sect.


For his part, the Secretary of the Samaritan sect Ishaq Radwan said BOP has left an indelible mark in supporting the Samaritan sect with the view of preserving it as an integral part of the Palestinian people. He also extended gratitude to all organizations and institutions that support the Samaritans.


Director of the Samaritan Legend Association Ya’coub Al-Kahen stated the association is seeking to accomplish several activities aiming to introduce the public to the Samaritan sect. The activities will include public displays, panel sessions and meetings for young people. Al-Kahen added the conference of the medal upon BOP Chairman and General Manager demonstrates “our appreciation for his efforts and unlimited contribution in support of the Samaritans.”


Director of the Samaritan Youth Club Ismail Alteif said that Mount Gerizim has always embraced lovers of peace from the three monotheistic religions. He also thanked BOP for its continuous support to the Samaritan basketball team, adding that BOP has been always in the forefront in supporting the Samaritans.


For his part, Shawa valued the generous gesture of the Samaritan sect, stressing the fact that the Samaritans are an inseparable part of the Palestinian community. At the same time, Shawa confirmed BOP’s commitment to economic development and to supporting local institutions and associations. “This is our national duty,” he emphasized, “until our aspiration to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital has been realized.”


‘Gerizim Key’ is a medal of honor conferred by the Samaritans to a person or institution supporting the Samaritans, who represent the smallest and oldest sect in the world that is trying to keep alive its doctrinal theology, rites, culture, language, customs and norms.


The decision-making committee for the conference of the medal comprises the High Priest, Samaritan Sect Committee, Samaritan Legend Association, and Samaritan Youth Club. The Samaritans, numbering 780 people, live on top of Mount Gerizim south of Nablus.



Presented Nov. 23, 2014 in San Diego at the Society of Biblical Literature seminar on Johannine Literature.


Samaritan and Jewish Meals in Late Antiquity: Between Archaeology and Literature 
Program Unit: Meals in the Greco-Roman World 
Steven Fine, Yeshiva University

Recent scholarship has shown considerable interest in the history of Jewish dining habits as discussed by the rabbis in late antique Palestine. These have resulted in significant monographs in both English and Hebrew. This talk will widen this conversation in three ways: by exploring archaeological evidence for Jewish practice in Israel, in diaspora communities, and among Samaritans. I will focus upon drawing connections between material culture and rabbinic and Samaritan literary sources from late antiquity.


Biblical Inerrancy and Textual Criticism: A Curious History 
Program Unit: Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship 
Ron Hendel, University of California-Berkeley

The modern doctrine of biblical inerrancy that emerged in the late 16th and 17th centuries was, in part, a response to text-critical controversies. The problem of textual variants in the MT, the LXX, and the Samaritan Pentateuch became incendiary in Protestant-Catholic controversy, particularly after the Council of Trent elevated the status of the Vulgate. The orthodox Protestant position on textual variants crystallized into the doctrine of inerrancy in creeds of the late 17th century. This little-known chapter of textual-theological dispute has implications for contemporary biblical scholarship.


The Yahwistic Psalms in Papyrus Amherst 63 
Program Unit: Israelite Religion in Its West Asian Environment 
Tawny Holm, Pennsylvania State University

The unique Papyrus Amherst 63 from Upper Egypt contains three Yahwistic psalms in columns xii-xiii. The papyrus as a whole was written in Aramaic but using a Demotic script that paleographically dates to the Early Hellenistic period. These Yahwistic psalms were placed at a pivotal point in the liturgical portion of the 23-column text. However, only one of them has received much attention (xii 11-19), because it closely resembles the biblical Psalm 20. P. Amherst 63 is likely the product of a single, yet quite diverse, Aramean or Aramaic-speaking community that included a number of Judeans and Samaritans, amongst other groups who came to Egypt from the Syro-Mesopotamian region and farther east. Thus, these three Yahwistic psalms will be studied within the religious and social context of the production of P. Amherst 63. This paper stems from the author's work on a forthcoming volume on Early Aramaic Literature for the SBL series "Writings from the Ancient World."


The Place That the Lord Your God Will Choose 
Program Unit: Book of Deuteronomy 
Magnar Kartveit, School of Mission & Theology (Misjonshogskolen i Stavanger) (Norway)

The phrase "The place that the Lord your God will choose" is the standard text in the masoretic text of Deut 12: etc., while the Samaritan Pentateuch reads "The place that the Lord your God has chosen." This phrase is almost exclusively found in Deut 12-26, which is supposed to be the oldest part of Deuteronomy. If parts of Deuteronomy has a Northern origin, do chapters 12-26 also come from the north? And if so, does the masoretic text reflect the original reading of the phrase mentioned? This presentation will discuss this question and present possible answers.


Samaritans, Galileans, and Judeans in Josephus and the Gospels 
Program Unit: John, Jesus, and History 
Reinhard Pummer, Université d'Ottawa - University of Ottawa

The paper will explore the relationship between Samaritans, Galileans and Judeans in Josephus and the Gospel of John as well as other New Testament writings. Among the subjects to be discussed will be that of the Samaritan idea of the eschatological prophet, the Taheb, and its distinction from Jewish concepts of messianism.


Deuteronomy in the Samaritan Tradion and the Northern Origins of Deuteronomy 
Program Unit: Book of Deuteronomy 
Stefan Schorch, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

The suggestion that Deuteronomy is of northern origin or at least very strongly influenced by traditions from Northern Israel has been advanced over a long period and by numerous important scholars, e.g. Adam C. Welch, Albrecht Alt, Gerhard von Rad, and Moshe Weinfeld. The paper will give this problem a fresh look, from the perspective of the Samaritan Pentateuch and its textual history. It will be shown that the Samaritan text, as against the Masoretic text of Deuteronomy, preserves a number of textual variants, which shed new light on the origin and the history of the Book of Deuteronomy and provide additional support for its origin in the North.


Confession and Deception in Josephus' Samaritan Ethno-Geography 
Program Unit: Josephus 
Chris Seeman, Walsh University

Josephus deploys an array of conflicting ethno-geographical descriptors in his portrayal of the Samaritans in the Antiquities: Chuthaeans, Medo-Persian colonists, expatriate Jerusalemites, Shechemites, Sidonians at Shechem. While some of this shifting nomenclature may reflect divergence among Josephus’ sources, the polemical intent of their conflation has long been recognized. By generating inconsistent testimony concerning their ethno-geographical origin, Josephus develops the theme of Samaritan duplicity. By imputing deception to Samaritan self-identification, Josephus seeks to discredit the claim that they descend from Ephraim and Manasseh. They are geographically “out of place” (unlike Judeans, whose ethnonym corresponds to their place of residence and authenticates their possession of the only legitimate cult center). Thus, geographical markers contribute to Josephus’ project of reinforcing the coherence of Judean identity at Samaritan expense. This paper examines Josephus’ use of ethno-geographical confession and deception in his account of Macedonian rule. Specifically, it considers the role of the ruler (Alexander the Great, Antiochus IV, Ptolemy VI) as witness and umpire in Judean-Samaritan “identity politics.” 



Call for Papers

2015 INTERNATIONAL MEETING of SBL (Society of Biblical Literature)

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Meeting Begins: 7/20/2015 Meeting Ends: 7/24/2015

Call For Papers Opens: 10/29/2014 Call For Papers Closes: 2/12/2015



John Tracy Greene

Description: This seminar approaches biblical literature through its most famous and pivotal characters, for it is around them that the subsequent biblical story is organized and arranged. Moreover, these characters have come to enjoy a life and fame that extends well beyond the basic Old Testament, Miqra, and New Testament, and even into the Qur’an and Islamic oral and written texts. As was demonstrated at the recent Tartu seminar, Samaritan texts and traditions (unfamiliar to many) have a contribution to make to the seminar as well. Our work seeks, among other goals, to facilitate a meaningful and informed dialogue between Jews, Christians, Muslims and Samaritans by providing both an open forum at annual conferences, and by providing through our publications a written reference library to consult. A further goal is to encourage and provide a forum in which new scholarly talent in biblical and related studies may be presented.


Call for papers: Moses, the biblical figure, has long been researched from different theological, historical, archaeological, literary, egyptological, apocryphal, and linguistic perspectives. These approaches only scratch the surface of how scholars have responded to this figure. Recent approaches to Moses in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and literary investigations are invited. No more than 20 abstracts will be accepted for this seminar in Buenos Aires. Abstracts mirroring most recent approaches will be considered first. We seek discussion concerning a Moses to be understood in the 21st Century.




Images from


Beth Shean, Samaritan Synagogue Mosaic floor 6th century C.E.

See all their Samaritan related images at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem website



The Ancient Samaritans of Israel: From Mount Gerizim to the Ukraine

By Paul Sorene on 5 November 2014



See his article and the wonderful past and present photos at



'The Samaritan Passover - When the guard of Turkish soldiers is sufficiently strong to maintain order, and permit the Samaritans to meet in the open air, the law is read as they stand inside a circle of stones. At sunset they assemble in this enclosure for the Passover, and the men, facing the high priest, recite exodus XII, 6. The lambs are seized by the Shochetim, examined by the high priest, and slain: then hastily prepared for roasting in the pit of fire'


DATE PRINTED: 1900    

IMAGE SIZE: Approx. 20.0 x 15.0cm, 7.75 x 5.75 inches (Medium) Artist/Cartographer/Engraver: Norman H. Hardy from the publication of "Customs of the World"; Edited by Walter Hutchinson, with an introduction by A.C. Haddon, Published by Hutchinson & Co., London. It is posted on Ebay for sale.

Norman H. Hardy (b. 1864- d. January 10, 1914.). [Not sure when or even if he visited the Samaritans.]



From the Editor


As the Editor of the Samaritan Update, I wish to establish that the purpose of these issues is to help inform people and assistant scholars with unknown and renewed sources of material that was not at their disposal, to help accomplish their work and writings concerning the Samaritan Israelites. The Samaritan Update was encouraged from the beginning back in 2000 by Samaritan Osher Sassoni, just for this propose and has since been the main focal point ever since. I offer my thanks and respect to Benyamim Tsedaka, Juanita Berguson, Paul Gordon Collier and Ralph Benko for their encouragement and support! I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and wish you blessings that you have not known!

All information that has basically been displayed in the Samaritan Updates has been from the hard work of scholars and authors that have endeavored to write and record their thoughts and experiences in the past. These have formed the basics of the education of what we know today of the Israelites Samaritans! Today’s records shall be tomorrow’s history! I want to thank all these scholars and people that have brought their work to my attention in the past and in the future! As someone once said, ‘there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers.’ We learn from our environment, this simple information that has been instilled in our simple minds shall change with education. It is up to us all, to do what is right, to educate those that know little of the existence of the Samaritan Israelites. 

View this wonderful image of a Samaritan Pentateuch, Damascus, Syria, 1339. Exodus 20 BL Or. MS 6461, ff. 69v–70 
One of the Oldest Samaritan Texts that has survived to this day.

A high-quality version of this image can be purchased from British Library Images Online. For more information email

I recently located the following information from a wonderful source compiled by Willem Smelik, Sources for Manuscripts of Targumic Literature in Public Collections Selective Bibliography: Catalogues (1992). see:

Also see Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts by John MacDonald

M. Schwab, ``Les MSS. hébreux de Zürich,'' REJ 24 (1892) 155-159.
Or. 148, 151, 152, 154, 156, 158, 159, 160, C. 205, Car. C. 185 (10 MSS). In addition to these MSS the Zentralbibliothek has acquired: Or. 31, 32, 66 (Samaritan pentateuch scrolls), 143-161, 163, 170-175

Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham UK: 3 Hebrew and 2 Samaritan MSS, 40 Genizah fragments (Pearson).

The Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society, London UK: 7 scrolls and 2 Samaritan Pentateuchs (given by Gaster).

H.D. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae. Pars secunda: Codices Latinos et Miscellaneos Laudianos complectens. Oxford, 1858-85.
Vol. 2 is interesting. Coxe noted the possession of the Colleges at Oxford, later additions have been recorded in the Bodleian copy. Among these are 6 Samaritan MSS at Keble.

Berkeley (California) University of California General Library: 5 MSS, among which Yemenite MSS of Midrash Aziri and Saadiah on the Pentateuch. Leaf of a Samaritan MS 

Oriental Institute, University of Chicago: 2 Hebrew MSS. There are also 4 Samaritan MSS.

Haverford College: R.W. Rogers, ``A Catalogue of Manuscripts (Chiefly Oriental) in the Library of Haverford College,'' Haverford College Studies 4 (1890) 28-50. 21 hebrew, 1 samaritan MSS in the J. Rendel Harris Collection

Ithaca (New York) Cornell University: I. Rabinowitz, ``Semitic MSS in the Library,'' Cornell Alumni News 60 (1957) 281-282. 8 Arabic MSS in Hebrew characters, scroll of Esther, 2 copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and other Samaritan items

New Haven, Connecticut. [L. Nemoy, Catalogue of Hebrew and Yiddish manuscripts and Books from the Library of Sholem Asch Presented to Yale University by Louis M. Rabinowitz. With an introductory essay by Sholem Asch. [Yale University Library Miscellanies, 5]. New Haven, 1945.
40 MSS. Nemoy has described 2 (of the 3) Samaritan MSS in his Arabic catalogue (nos. 1663-1664)]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning:
B. Halper,
 Descriptive Catalogue of Genizah Fragments in Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1924. 
 45 (1924?) 332ff; Shaked, A Tentative Bibliography, pp. 231-233.
The Library contains 256 Oriental MSS (in 1966) in many languages, the bulk of which once belonged to judge Mayer Sulzberger. The catalogue preopared by J. Reider in 1933 is ready, but has never been published; descriptions of Hebrew MSS (nos. 1-66), Judeo-Arabic (nos. 67-74), Samaritan (75-120).]

“During a sojourn of the librarian in the Near East, in 1927, an opportunity presented itself to purchase a representative collection of Samaritan manuscripts, including an ancient codex of the Pentateuch. With their acquisition, the Library became at once the largest repository of Samaritanica in the country.” Page 81, ‘Jewish Book Collection in the United States, In Commemoration of the Centenary of Mayer Sulzberger.’ By Adolph S. Oko in American Jewish Year Book

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania Library: 1 Samaritan MSS.

Princeton, New Jersey. [Princeton University Library: 9 Samaritan MSS. Cf. De Ricci, Census, p. 869 and Suppl. p. 312 (with correction).

Also an interesting website by The National Library of Israel. They have launched a new Merhav library catalog that searches in all the library databases.

Also in the book

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto: 3 Samaritan MSS. (OC 16-18) and two loose vellum leaves (OC 49-50).


U. of Toronto: roll containing the Samaritan Pentateuch, obtained in 1912 at Nablous.


Strasbourg. B. nationale et universitaire: Cat. gen. 47(1923) pp. 681-724, nos. 39274122. 186 MSS. p. 725, nos. 41 13-41 15: 3 MSS. in Samaritan


In Milan the Ambrosiana collection of 121 Hebrew MSS. (and one Samaritan Pentateuch)


Sweden: Uppsala Zettersteen in Le Monde oriental 22 (1928), Anhang, nos. 606-612, describes the O. F. Tullberg collection of Hebrew and Aramaic MSS; See also report in Monde oriental 2 (1907-8), pp. 66-83. Nos. 618-620 in the Zettersteen catalogue represent Samaritan MSS. collected by Sven Under in Palestine. Fraenkel (p 30) notes the existence of 10 MSS. at Skara (catalogue by L. Jacobowsky).


Also, of interest is the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books from the notable library of Swiss collector René Braginsky, which includes objects ranging from a 6th-7th century Shema Yisrael (Hear O Israel) amulet to a rare early 20th century Samaritan Ketubbah (marriage contract) from Shechem. View the marriage contract (ketubbah) from Shechem (Nablus) for the Samaritan Abraham b. Joseph Denufta (ha-Dinfi) and Temima, daughter of Isaac b. ha-Levi Amram from 1905 shown left #79 of the catalogue.

Also see #68 of the same Ketubbah at


Also an interesting discovery is a Samaritan scroll, possibly in the old St. Mark’s Library as the Keller Library News, September 14, 2012 informs us. The Keller Library is at The General Theological Seminary, New York, NY.



Cairo to Constantinople- The Prince of Wale’s Journal: 6 February- 14 June 1862


From the Royal Collection Trust:

The following is the Prince’s journal that mentions the Samaritan in his own handwriting.


(Page 45) April 12th

We remained in our encampment during the forenoon, & soon after 12 rode to see “Jacob’s Well” wh. is on the side of the town wh. we entered. It is said to have been dug by Jacob, & supposed to have [been] the well where Our Saviour had the conversation with the woman of Samaria. We rode back thro’ the town to our encampment; the streets are very narrow, & very slippery. We dined at 2 o’clock, & the Pasha dined with us; he had formerly served in the Turkish Navy in the Crimean War, & has got our medal. At a little before 6 in the afternoon we rode up Mount Gherizin [sic] (wh. is just (page 46) above our camp) & Buc[??]stone Buckstone & his wife accompanied us.

We had a beautiful view fr. the top, & saw the sea in the distance, & the snow clad Mount Hermon. The spot was shown us, wh. the Samaritans suppose to have been where Abraham intended to sacrifice his son Isaac.

The Samaritans, had pitched their tents near the top of the mountain for the Feast of the Passover, wh. we witnessed. About 20 in number said prayers first (about 20 [illegible word crossed through] minutes before sunset) Then at sunset 6 sheep were killed; after some more prayers, hot water was poured on them, & the wool was taken off, they were then cut open & trussed with sticks, like [illegible word crossed through] spatchcocks. A large pit had been dug before, & a fire lit in it, in wh. the sheep were afterwards to be roasted, preparatory to eating them, wh. was not to take place till about midnight. It was late, so we did not remain to see them roasted, but Dr. Stanley remained behind to [illegible word crossed through] see the end of the ceremony. It was very interesting, as it is supposed to be nearly like what the old Jewish ceremony of the Passover used to be. The Samaritans were very civil to us, & gave us seats to see the ceremony (wh. was performed in open air). We did not get back to our camp till past 9 o’clock, & the descent of the mountain was very difficult, though the moon was shining brightly.

(page 47) Sunday April 13th

Soon after 9 A.M. we went into the town, Dr. Rosen (who had arrived the evening before fr. Jerusalem) accompanied us.

We first saw an old picturesque tower, about 6000 years old & an old Mosque & the remains of S a Synagogue. We then went into the Samaritan Synagogue & some of the same [men] we saw yesterday showed us 3 very old copies of the Pentateuch on parchment. We then saw two Mosques, wh. had formerly been Xtian Churches. No Europeans had ever been in these Mosques before us, as the people of Nabulus are very fanatical, & no traveller dared to venture inside them; we had however no difficulty in going in. At about 11.30. Dr. Stanley read Divine Service in one of our tents, & the Buckstones came to it. In the afternoon we went to see some caves, up part of a hill near our camp, & afterwards had a capital view of the town.



Francis Bedford (1815-94) took a photo of the 16th Century Curtain in the Samaritan Synagogue on April 12, 1862.


Bedford was on the tour with the Prince of Wales.

At the link below, you can download an expandable image to get a closer look.


This is the same curtain that we featured in our August 2005 issue of the Samaritan Update.






Past Publications


Israel in the Books of Chronicles, by H.G.M. Williamson. Cambridge University Press, UK. 2007

This book analyses a much neglected writer s contribution to the debate within Judaism in the post-exilic period about who might legitimately be included within the reconstituted Jerusalem community, and notably the Chronicler s attitude to the status of the Samaritan sect. It has been almost universally accepted that Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah are all parts of a single work, and so the rather exclusive attitude of Ezra-Nehemiah has been read back into Chronicles. Many believe that the Chronicles intended to reject the Samaritan claim to inclusion. Dr Williamson challenges both the assumption of unity of authorship and the attribution of an exclusive attitude to the Chronicler, providing evidence to support the case for separate authorship, and examining Chronicles in its own right. A study of the use of the word Israel and an analysis of the narrative structure jointly lead to the conclusion that the Chronicler reacted against the over-exclusive attitudes of some of his contemporaries, and looked for the reunion of all Israel around Jerusalem and its temple. This study will interest both Old Testament scholars and students of Jewish history and culture.


McClure’s Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 1, May 1900, from the article “The Life of the Master’, by John Watson. P. 10.

The sketch was completed by Corwin K. Linson (1864-1959) a painter and illustrator from the New York area. He shared a studio with Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage.

Linson prepared numerous illustrations for McClure’s and The Century magazines, and his subjects ranged from social commentary, to travel images, to biblical subjects. He received his formal training in Paris, at the Academie Julien and the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Many of the top institutions exhibited Linson’s work, including the Paris Salon in 1890; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1892-93, 1904, 1925; the Art Institute of Chicago and National Academy of Design, 1892-95; and the Corcoran Gallery Biennial, 1923. Examples of his work can be found in the collections of Williams College, Williamstown, MA; the Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and the Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA, among others.

So who is the Samaritan in Linson’s sketch?

He is Ab Hisda (Hasda) (1883-1959) teacher, scholar, copyist, restorer of manuscripts. He is the son of Jacob b. Aaron b. Shalmah b. Tabya b. Ishak shown on page 14.

There is a wonderful photo of Ab Hisda on page 15 in the National Geographic Magazine vol. 37, No.1, January 1920.

Ab Hisda’s son was High Priest Yoseph ben Ab-Hisda ben Yaacov ben Aaharon (1987–1998) 



THE MOUNTAIN OF BLESSING. From Pictorial Journey through the Holy Land; or, Scenes in Palestine. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1867. Page 173







Journeying in the Land where Jesus Lived by Gerard Benjamin Fleet Hallock, American Tract Society, New York: 1903

(p. 100) The present city contains about twenty-four thousand inhabitants including one hundred and seventy Samaritans—the Only remaining remnant of that people—a few Jews, about seven hundred Christians, mostly members of the orthodox Greek Church, a few Roman Catholics and about one hundred and fifty Protestants. The place is the (p. 101) seat of a subordinate Turkish governorship and has a garrison accommodating a regiment of infantry. It is the seat also of a bishopric of the orthodox Greek Church. It has eight large Mohammedan Mosques, two so-called colleges, one for girls and one for boys, and a number of lower grade schools called Koran Schools. It is also a station of the English Church Missionary Society, which maintains here a church, a school and a hospital. There is also a Roman Catholic Church with mission house attached and the United and Orthodox Greeks each have a church. One of the Mohammedan Mosques, called the Great Mosque, bears quite a remarkable resemblance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is believed to have been originally a church built by the Christian Emperor Justinian. Another interesting mosque is called The Mosque of Victory, or more popularly “The Green Mosque.” It also was probably a Crusaders’ church. We are told it is on the spot where Jacob stood when his guilty sons brought Joseph’s blood-stained coat, and showed it to him. By the side of the church rises a peculiar sort of clock-tower and on it is a Samaritan inscription. The Samaritans Say that they once possessed a synagogue here. In the northeast corner of the town is a mosque called “The Mosque of the Lepers,” being attended exclusively by the lepers who have a home in the buildings about it. (p. 102) It is believed that this Mosque too was erected by the Crusaders as a hospital for the Templars. A little further to the north we were shown what Muslim tradition declares to be the Tomb of Jacob’s sons, with a nearly new mosque beside it.

But, as we have already intimated, the main interest of the present city clusters about the small remnant of the ancient Samaritans who reside here. There are many small religious communities in the world, but we hardly think there can be another so small which is at the same time so old. As we have said, all told there are but one hundred and seventy souls, all of whom live in Nablous; but their history goes back to the time of Christ and even beyond, to the captivity of the ten tribes. After the northern kingdom had been carried to the east by the Assyrians, foreign colonists were imported by the king of Assyria, from Babylon and many other places in the empire. By intermarriage with these and the remnant of the Jews the population acquired a mixed character. The Jews, as we know, have always been jealous of the purity of their racial blood. The captivity in Babylon, among the strange and heathen people, had, if possible, intensified this feeling of exclusiveness. On their return from Babylon they were much scandalized at finding that their brethren had yielded to the seduction of the foreigners, and had married among them indiscrimi- (p. 103) nately. It was this, born of the spirit of jealous reserve, which prompted the Jews to refuse the proffered aid of the Samaritans in building the walls of Jerusalem and of the temple. Finding that the Jews had excluded them from all participation in their worship they founded a holy city of their own, and a sanctuary of their own. Shechem was the holy city and the temple was built on Mount Gerizim. There was a standing quarrel between the Jews and the Samaritans, sometimes even breaking out in warfare and bloodshed, from that time on. Even in the time of Christ, as we know, “the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans,” even regarding their name as a term of reproach. Because they adhered so firmly to their religion they later came into conflict with Christianity, under the Roman Empire, and because of repeated insurrec— tions many of them were martyred. Some embraced Christianity, and others were scattered into distant regions. In the twelfth century over one thousand of them were living at Shechem, and there were also colonies of them at Ashkelon, Caesarea and Damascus. Later there were small communities of them also at Cairo and Gaza. Their number is steadily diminishing and for some years past they have been found only at Shechem. The small remnant numbers less than two hundred. Here they live, in a distinct quarter of the city, a peculiar people, and preserving (p. 104) to a marked degree the venerable type of Jewish physiognomy.

The streets of Shechem, especially in the Samaritan quarter, are so narrow that the houses usually are joined above and then the streets become a tunnel with an occasional shaft overhead to- admit a ray of light and a little air. Through these crooked streets we made our way to their synagogue. On our way, in a bare room, we saw a school, where the boys were studying the Samaritan dialect of the Hebrew. They must have been studying very hard, for they were all doing it almost at the top of their voices. Reaching the synagogue the rabbi, who is a very venerable and fine appearing man, received us cordially. Putting slippers on our feet, to show due reverence, we entered the main room of the synagogue, which, small as it is, is too small to contain all the people of the congregation. The thick-walled building has a small dome, a kind of altar or holy place, and is so constructed that during worship the congregation faces Mount Gerizim. The rabbi claims to be a high priest of the tribe of Levi, and signed himself on photographs of himself holding the Samaritan Pentateuch, which he sold us, as “Jacob, son of Aaron, Chief Priest.”

As is well known, the Samaritans accept only the five books of Moses as their Bible, but the teaching of the Law they observe with scrupulous care, and (p. 105) their own priceless treasure is a copy of the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch, which they claim was written by Abishua, the son of Phineas, the son of Eleazer, the son Aaron. It is astonishing to find that it is written in the “round” Hebrew character, which was in use before the days of Ezra. Scholars believe that 'it is a copy of older manuscripts which was made about the fourth century after Christ. They hold it in high reverence. When we offered to touch it the rabbi gently forbade us; but small imitations of it were offered us in tin cases at prices varying from twenty-five cents to one dollar. The copy they show is in a remarkable silver case, the outside of which is figured with a representation of the tabernacle of Moses, the ark, the cherubim, the rods of Moses and Aaron, the altars for burnt offerings and for incense, the seven-branched candle— stick, and, in short, all the tabernacle furniture. They observe seven feasts in the year; though only one, the passover, is observed with its former ' solemnities. The Sabbath is kept by them with great strictness. The years of jubilee and release are also observed. The high priest may consecrate any of his family to the priesthood provided he is over twenty-five years old and has never had his hair cut. They wear white turbans, or, for the sake of keeping peace with the Mohammedans, more often of pale-red color. The women must let their hair (p. 106) grow, and wear no ear-rings, because of them the golden calf was made. When a boy is born there is great rejoicing, and his circumcision always takes place on the eighth day after his birth. Boys marry as early as fifteen or sixteen years of age and girls at twelve, and Samaritans may marry Christian or Jewish girls provided they will become Samaritans.

As we said, their most important annual observance is the feast of the Passover, which they keep more nearly according to the directions in Exodus than do the Jews themselves. For this they are encamped in booths or tents on Mount Gerizim. Lambs one year old are selected, and, as the sun goes down, are slain and placed over the fire. The blood is caught and sprinkled over the sides and tops of the doors. About midnight, when the lambs are roasted, they are eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, and in great haste. Any parts remaining are burned with fire.

The Samaritan population is a strong corroborative argument for the truth of the Bible. Their copy of the Pentateuch agrees in all essential respects with the Hebrew Bibles from which our English versions are translated. In some particulars it closely agrees with the Septuagint, the Greek translation made in Egypt in the third century before Christ. The course of their history, too, is quite clear back as far as the building of the second temple, (p. 107) about 536 B. C. One cannot but pity this vanishing remnant of an historic people. Their reverence for their fragment of Scripture is touching, pathetic, inspiring. It points them to the Star which should arise out of Jacob; but when the Star arose, when Christ came among them in person, most of them failed to recognize who he was. Their day seems nearly done, their entire disappearance as a community only a matter of a comparatively short time.


The Emperor Zeno, Religion and Politics by Rafal Kosinski. Cracow, Jagiellonian University

Item Description: Jagiellonian University, Cracow, 2010. ISBN: 978-83-62261-18-5 Description: softcover, 289 pp. (24x17cm) Condition: very good Weight: 505g. I. Introduction 1. The Significance of Emperor Zeno's Religious Policy 2. Sources Pseudo-Zacharias and Euagrios Scholastikos The Tradition Associated with Theodore Lector The Roman Tradition Other Sources Epistolographical Sources II. Decisions of the Council of Chalcedon: Acceptance and Opposition (451-471) 1. The Council of Chalcedon 2. The Anti-Chalcedonian Reaction in the First Years after the Conclusion of the Council 3. The Consolidation of the Chalcedonian Movement during the Reign of Leo I 4. Recapitulation III.Zeno 1. Tarasikodissa 2. Zeno's Relations with Peter the Fuller 3. First Year of Zeno's Reign 4. Akakios IV. Basiliskos'Usurpation 1. The Usurpation 2. Timothy Ailouros and the Publication of the Encyclical 3. The Revolt at Constantinople and the Fall of Basiliskos V. The Chalcedonian Reaction 1. The Political Situation in the Empire after Zeno's Return to Power Armatos Theoderic Strabo and Theoderic the Amal Marcian 2. Zeno's Constitution of 17 December 476 3. Bishops of Asia 4. Antioch 5.Egypt 6. Rome and Constantinople 7. Vandals 8. Recapitulation VI.Henotikon 1. Growing animosity between Zeno and Illos 2. John Talaia's Delegation 3. Talks with Peter Mongos, Delegates 4. Palestinian henosis 5. The Henotikon 6. Reactions of Adherents and Opponents of Chalcedon to the Henotikon and the Recognition of Peter Mongos 7. Recapitulation VII. The Revolt of Illos 1. The Course of the Revolt 2. Kalandion and Peter the Fuller 3. The Revolt of Illos and the Followers of Hellenic Religion Pamprepios Pagans in Aphrodisias Alexandria, Activity of Peter Mongos and Persecutions of Pagan Philosophers Athens, the Closing of the Parthenon and Asklepieion Gaza and Berytos Severianos Trombley's Hypothesis on Quasi-Justinian Laws 4. Samaritans Dating of the Events The Course of the Events The Church of Mary Theotokos The Causes of the Samaritan Disturbances 5. Anti-Jewish Riots at Antioch VIII. Acacian Schism 1. The Question of Italy 2. Schism with Rome 3. Peter Mongos' Conflict with the Radical Anti-Chalcedonian Opposition 4. The Last Years of Zeno's Reign 5. Palestine and Syria towards the End of Zeno's Reign 6. Zeno's Policy towards Clergy and Monks Monasticism Clergy and Church Structure Appendix. The Emperor Zeno's Church Foundations 1. Churches Founded by Zeno A. Isauria-Cilicia 1) Seleukeia in Isauria (Meriamhk, Ayatekla) 2) Alahan 3) Koropissos/Dalisandos - Dag Pazan 4) Korykos 5) Alaklise 6) Anemourion 7) Karhk 8) Kanlidivane 9) Okttzlu B.Egypt 10) Abu Mina VI. Henotikon 1. Growing Animosity between Zeno and Illos 2. John Talaia's Delegation 3. Talks with Peter Mongos' Delegates 4. Palestinian henosis C. Syria D. Cyprus 12) Kampanopetra E. Palestine 13) Gerizim F.Caria 14?) Aphrodisias G. Hellespont 15?) Kyzikos H. Greece 16?) Thessalonica 2. The Characteristics of the Emperor Zeno's Founding Activity. Conclusions Bibliography Primary Sources Secondary Sources Index of People Index of Places.


II. Conservative Editorial Processes in the Samaritan Pentateuch

In: God's Word Omitted

Göttingen (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) 2013

pp. 93-102


Recent Publications


By June Ashton and Alan D. Crown “The Continuity of scribal practices and the Samaritan tradition” in Manuscrits hébreux et arabes : mélanges en l'honneur de Colette Sirat Turnhout : Brepols, 2014


By Walter Houston

Between Salem and Mount Gerizim: The Context of the Formation of the Torah Reconsidered (2014). Between Salem and Mount Gerizim: The Context of the Formation of the Torah Reconsidered. Journal of Ancient Judaism: Volume 5, Issue 3, pp. 311-334.

DOI: 10.13109/jaju.2014.5.3.311


Building on recent suggestions, I argue that the final composition of the Pentateuch in the Persian period was the result of common enterprise or compromise between the province of Samaria and Jerusalem. This is based on an examination of the historical circumstances as well as on the contents and text of the Pentateuch. Contrary to the picture painted in Ezra-Nehemiah, there were good relationships and contacts between the upper classes of the two provinces throughout the period, and it is probable that the priestly staff of the temple of Argarizim, which recent evidence shows was established in the mid fifth century, was closely related to that of Jerusalem. The identities of both holy places are hinted at in the text. The likely original text of Deut 27:2-8 ordains sacrifice to be made and the Torah to be inscribed on Mount Gerizim (v. 4), not on Mount Ebal as in the MT. This either suggested the establishment of the sanctuary there (Kartveit), or was suggested by it (Nihan). On the other hand, Gen 14:18 refers to Jerusalem under the name of Salem. The Torah contains material of northern origin, and some of it, especially the story of Joseph, originated relatively late. The Tabernacle and ritual texts in P do not, as often thought, represent the Jerusalem temple, but an ideal sanctuary, and they are available to reform the practice of both temples. The MT, like the Samaritan Pentateuch, contains revisions away from the common inheritance.


By Stephen Shore From Galilee to the Negev. An intimate portrait of Israel and the West Bank. Phaidon Press (May 12, 2014) 223 pages

See a review:


Ed. by Ameling, Walter / Cotton, Hannah M. / Eck, Werner / Isaac, Benjamin / Kushnir-Stein, Alla / Misgav, Haggai / Price, Jonathan / Yardeni, Ada

Volume 3, South Coast: 2161-2648

A multi-lingual corpus of the inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad

[South Coast: A Multi-Lingual Corpus of the Inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad]

De Gruyter, Germany, 2014

This third volume of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae includes inscriptions from the South Coast from the time of Alexander through the end of Byzantine rule in the 7th century. It includes all the languages used in the inscriptions of this period – Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Samaritan, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, and Nabataean. The 488 texts are classified according to city, from Tel Aviv in the north to Raphia in the South.



Future Publications


Zewi, Tamar. (forth coming). The Samaritan Version of Saadya Gaon’s Translation of the Pentateuch. (Biblia Arabica: Texts and Studies). Leiden: Brill.


The progressive spread of Arabic as the dominant spoken and written language in the lands conquered by Islam led the Jewish, Christian and Samaritan communities under its rule to translate their sacred scriptures: the Hebrew Bible, the Old and New Testaments and the Samaritan Pentateuch respectively, into Arabic from languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Latin and Coptic. This resulted in a large number of partial and integral translations revealing a great variety in stylistic approaches, vocabulary, script, and dogmatic concerns. Many of the surviving manuscripts and fragments are nowadays kept in libraries all over the world and still await edition and closer study. This series addresses this lacuna in research by publishing critical (including synoptic) editions of Arabic versions of individual biblical books produced in the Middle Ages and beyond, as well as studies that examine the different schools and persons that took part in this scriptural translation enterprise, analyzing their aims and methodologies, as well as the social and cultural implications of their endeavor. In addition, the reception of and reactions to these Bible translations by Muslim authors fall within the scope of the series.





A yearly visit from the holy land to North Potomac

By Samantha Schmieder


Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum

The Samaritans are a small group, distinct from the Jews, who claim descent from the Israelites from the Northern Kingdom in Samaria. The Tabernacle plays a central role within Samaritan tradition. The diagram pictured left is labeled in the ancient

Paleo-Hebrew script still used by the Samaritans. Multihued metallic paints are used to depict a plan of the Tabernacle with representations of the furnishings of the sanctuary, including birds as the cherubim atop the Ark of the Covenant.

See page 9 in Temple Emanu-El Bulletin, Vol. 83, No. 9, May 2011

The Museum link is -


The Ancient Samaritans of Israel: From Mount Gerizim to The Ukraine

By Paul Sorene. 5 November 2014


Besuch bei den Samaritanern. Von Richard C. Schneider, ARD Tel Aviv


Mount Gerizim Museum (Arabic)


Nablus Museum


Reading the Samaritan ketubah at the wedding of Barry Tsedaka and Reoot Sassoni


Belying current tensions, army foresees Israeli-Palestinian clinic in West Bank

By Mitch Ginsburg Nov. 21, 2014 The Times of Israel


Leiba, in fact, had just returned from a unique nephrology conference that he had organized, hosted by the Samaritan community on a mountaintop up above the Palestinian city of Nablus, where 30 Israeli and 13 Palestinian colleagues met to discuss kidney diseases and, perhaps, to lay a thin bridge over a tumble of increasingly troubled water.

His vision is to found a joint Israeli-Palestinian medical clinic on Mount Gerizim, where Israeli and Palestinian doctors will work in tandem treating patients suffering from kidney diseases and other ailments.
Read the full article

From the Editor of the Samaritan Update: This is the best news I have read all year! Everyone needs to support this wonderful idea and every one of those involved whether Israeli or Palestinian!

It would also be nice to have visiting doctors and nurses visit from around the world.

Thank you Mitch Ginsburg for writing the article and thank you Times of Israel for publishing this!!



"Zwischen Mittelmeer und Jordan" Besuch bei den Samaritanern Stand: 06.10.2014

Die Samaritaner sind eine aussterbende Religionsgruppe in Israel und den Palästinensergebieten, Es gibt nur noch etwa 900 von ihnen. "Schomronim" - "Bewahrer" - nennen sie sich. Nahe Nablus im Westjordanland liegt ihr Heiligtum: der Berg Garizim.

Von Richard C. Schneider, ARD Tel Aviv


Meet the Samaritans-Israel’s Tiniest Minority by Judy lash Balint Nov. 23, 2014


Samaritan’ Customs & Traditions by Abdallah Bayyari Nov. 14, 2014


Samaří II. Část by rabin Daniel Mayer 31.8.2014


Das Volk der Samariter gibt es noch heute by Daniel Gerber



Old News


San Francisco Call, Volume 101, Number 121,

31 March 1907, Page 16

Where the Feast of the Passover is Still Celebrated Exactly as in Biblical Times

[The drawing has the artist signature of R.T. The four photographs are from Underwood & Underwood] See the page in pdf

In the town of Nablus (the ancient Shechem), which lies on the neck of land between the mountain of Curding and the mountain of Blessing, that is to say between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, lives at the present day a sect of people absolutely unique in the world. Originally many in number, there remain now but a few score of them. One of them it was who talked with the man of Nazareth as he sat on the well of their forefather, Jacob, that hot day close on 2,000 years ago. The sect of the Samaritans has retained the old forms of ceremonies of religion unchanged from the time of Moses and Aaron; and from the latter the present high priest, by name of Jacob Aaron, claims lineal descent. Among the ancient religious ceremonies still observed among them is that of the feast of the Passover, which they keep in strict accordance with the law of Moses, unlike their brethren, the Jews, who have in many ways modernized that solemn occasion.

The first feast of the Passover was ordered to be slain at sunset and eaten at midnight and this is the rule observed by the Samaritans year by year, with the exception of this year, when it was slain at noon and eaten at sunset. The reason was this: In accordance with their reckoning the feast fell this year on a Friday (our Good Friday), and in order to obey both command, namely, to burn anything that might be left over with fire, and to extinguish all fires before Saturday (the Sabbath) it was necessary to eat the Passover, burn the remains, and extinguish the fire before midnight.

So after attending an Arabic service in the Protestant church we hurried up Mount Gerizim, near the top of which the tents of the Samaritans were pitched, and arrived just in time to be present at the first ceremony of the day, namely, the prayers conducted by the high priest before the slaughter of the lambs.

The Open Air Ceremony

The service began at 12 o’clock, and was held in the open air on a flat, circular plat of ground surrounded by loose pile of stones a few feet high; inside the inclosure none but the Samaritan were allowed to stand, and round the circle were stationed Turkish soldiers to insure the absence of outsiders. In the front of the circle stood the high priest, clothed in a long, loose, green silk robe, and wearing on his breast a gold medal presented to him by the community on his completion of forty years’ service in that capacity. On his head he wore the ordinary tarboosh of the country with a white cloth bound round turban fashion. Behind him stood the male Samaritans, each wearing a long white garment over his ordinary clothes, put on expressly for the prayer hour. The postures during prayer are varied, sometimes standing, sometimes kneeling, and sometimes entire prostration with the forehead touching the ground. The language used is rabbinical Hebrew, and all the prayers are chanted in a monotone, at first softly, but at times swelling out into a perfect roar of sound. Part of the service is in the form of responses by the high priest and the community. Among the praying figures browsed the seven lambs appointed for the slaughter. The last prayer was said in Arabic, and was for the Sultan Abdul Hamid Kahn; and a very beautiful prayer it was.

Behind the prayer circle there was a long, deep, square trench dug in the ground. In this a fire was burning, and over it at one end of the trench were two huge caldrons containing boiling water. Beside the trench and distant from it about three or four yards another deep pit had been dug; it was perhaps eight to ten feet in circumference and six feet deep, and was lined with stones. In it a fierce fire had been kept burning for some five or six hours.

Prayers over, the sheep were caught and hustled and bustled about till they were brought to the edge of the trench in which was the fire. They were held there by young men while several more prayers were chanted, and then amid much shouting the two butchers went round and killed the lambs over the fire in order that the blood might run into it and be burned. In a few seconds all was over, and the lambs, with their throats cut, lay in a row. It seemed to be part of the ceremony to dabble in the blood, and some fathers whom I saw had put their babies’ fingers in the warm blood and then dabbed their faces with it. The act of slaughter is exceedingly quick, being done at one gash, as the knife must not be brought back; the larynx is severed, in order that the animal may not make any sound, for if it did it would be disqualified. When all are killed an examination takes place to insure their having been properly slain in accordance with the law and if, as in this case, it as satisfactory, boiling water from the caldrons is poured over the carcasses to enable the hair to be pulled off, as they are not skinned. The carcasses are then slung on poles held on two men’s shoulders and opened up and cleaned. The right shoulder, together with liver, heart and all entrails, are burned on a grating placed over the fire in the trench. As there were only two butchers among the Samaritans this year, the process took some little time; each lamb when finished had a pole thrust straight through it and was then laid on a grating made of branches of trees and well salted.

When all the lambs were finished and laid there further prayers were said over them. The oven or pit was now heated again and flames belched from its mouth. Seven stalwart young men seized the seven spits and stood round the edge till the flames subsided somewhat, and at a given signal from the high priest they simultaneously plunged the lambs into the furnace; the grating was then placed on the top of the oven and finished the first of the ceremonies of the day.

We were then invited into the tent of the high priest and were offered Passover bread and cheese and coffee and lemonade were handed round. As we sat talking to him and his brother and sons, he brought out at our request the old copy of the Pentateuch, which is said to be in the handwriting of Abiathar, the son of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, and there is little doubt that it is actually so. I believe the photograph I am able to send is, if not unique, at any rate one of the very few which exist of this wonderful old roll of manuscript.

We asked the high priest from whom the Samaritans are descended, and he told us the following interesting facts about them:

What Happened to the Samaritans?

After the Assyrians had carried away into captivity part of the population of the kingdom of Israel, the country they left was gradually colonized by foreigners, who intermingled with the people of Samaria. The population thus acquired a mixed character, and when the original inhabitants returned after the captivity there was a marked difference between them and the Samaritans. The Jews refused to hold any intercourse with them, and refused their aid in building the walls and temples of Jerusalem. They even refused to let them participate in their worship. Eventually under the leadership of a certain Sanballat, the Samaritans built a city and sanctuary of their own on the top of Mount Gerizim, the ruins of which we could see from the tent where we sat. From that time the town of Shechem (Nablus) rose in importance, as it lay at the foot of the mountain, and Samaria declined. Conflicts between the Samaritans and the Jews were many, and during the time of the Romans many of the former were killed. Their numbers are steadily decreasing; at the present time they do not number more than 200. Thus at the Passover seven lambs were sufficient for all who could partake of it.

As sunset draws near a crowd again collects round the closed oven, waiting for it to be opened. Half an hour before the sun actually set this done, and the roasted scraps were fetched from the floor of the oven by men who jumped down and picked up a few scraps at a time. The morsels were placed in six large rush baskets; these were then placed in the center of the prayer ground. The high priest took his place as before, but this time he laid beside him on the ground a pair of shoes, and ebony walking stick inlaid with silver and a towel or handkerchief and his shoes. A long form of prayer was again gone through which ended just after sunset. As they rose after the final prostration each man girded his lions with a towel, grasped the staff in his hand, slipped his feet into the shoes and stood round the baskets, from which he seized morsels and ate them, together with small sandwiches of unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

After the first few mouthfuls had been eaten in the open the baskets were carried away to the tents where the women joined in finishing the meal.

We saluted the high priest once more and took our departure down the mountain, having witnessed on of the most ancient and unique ceremonies in the world, which carried us back in thought many thousands of years to the days of Moses and the flight from Egypt.


Pittsburg Dispatch. August 23, 1889, Page 4

The Smallest and Oldest Religion Sect in the World A Community of Samaritan in the Heart of the Mohammedan Country- Singular Religions Views.

There is to be found in the heart of the small city of Nablus, in North Palestine, a little religious community now numbering about 150 souls which has defied the ravages of war and poverty and oppression nearly 3,000 years. Unlike the Vaudois, these Samaritans have had no friendly system of mountainbuttresses to defend them through the centuries; and still more unlike the long-lived Savoyard Protestants, they have been right in the pathway along which the devastating armies have marched back and forth from the time of Sargon to Napoleon. But they have lived on, and their unity has never been broken. They have clung to little Nablus and their sacred Mount Gerizim, says Rev. John F. Hurst, D. D., in an article in Harper's for September, as the very cactus roots to the granite sides of the somber Ebal that confronts them across their little enchanted valley.

  The feeling with which the present Samaritans regard the Mohammedans is of that intense bitterness which they have always manifested toward the Jews. And why not? Does not the Samaritan date his faith from Abraham, or rather from Adam? and has he not a right to call that an infant religion which has been in existence for only the trifle of 12 centuries? Is not the Koran one of your new catch penny romances, while that mysterious copy of the Pentateuch, made of sacred lamb skins, which the Samaritans have been reading and kissing through these many ages. Is the oldest copy in existence, written down by Aaron's own grandson, and the veritable original of all the Pentateuchs in the world?

The Samaritan Synagogue.

   As the population of Nablus is just about 12,000, the little Samaritan community is almost absorbed by the surrounding Mohammedan mass. Save to a careful observer, the very existence and presence of the. Samaritans as a distinct element of citizenship in Nablus would not be noticed. The Samaritans wear a turban, much like that of their true Moslem neighbors, but between the history and theology of the two classes there is not a single point of positive resemblance.

  The Samaritan synagogue is a small building in the center of Nablus, half obscured by the surrounding dwelling. I passed through arched and littered streets to a little court, in the middle of which was a little plot of grass, relieved by three trees, two of which were lemon. I here found a little Samaritan school, and at the sight of a stranger the children sprang from the floor where they were sitting. Kissed my hand, and begged for backsheesh. The teacher was a youth of about 14, the son of Amram the high priest. I was greatly disappointed at failing to find Amram himself, but in the end this circumstance aided me in my chief object, for the young man was willing, for a good fee, to show me the ancient Pentateuch. His father might have been deaf to all entreaties.

A Very Ancient Volume.

 The claim of the Samaritans to have a copy of the Pentateuch older than the Jewish is supported by their own unbroken tradition, and by the opinion of some learned men of the present time in Christian countries. But the weight of internal evidence is against it among which may he mentioned grammatical emendations, late glosses in the text, insertions of foreign passages, alterations, Samaritanisms, and changes in support of Samaritan doctrine.

  There are three codices kept in the little synagogue in Nablus, two being generally shown to strangers. It is very rarely that the veritable one can be seen. My good fortune in getting a hasty look at it was due to the venturous and avaricious spirit of Amram's son, rather than to any management of my own. Having first exhibited the two imitations, the young man, upon the offer of an additional fee, then brought out the original scroll from a chest. After the removal of the red satin cover I saw that the codex was inclosed in a silver cylindrical case, which had two doors opening on two sets of hinges. When these doors were thrown back the whole column was exposed to the vision. This cylinder is of rich workmanship. It is about 2 1/2 feet long and nearly a foot in diameter, and presents in exquisitely raised work, a good plan of the Tabernacle, with every part given with the utmost minuteness and rarest skill. The roll consists of dingy skins prepared be Tore the Invention of parchment sewed together with neat stitches, and worn and patched, and here and there entirely illegible. The skins are of equal size, and measure each 25 inches long and 15 wide.

An Evening at Amram's House.

Before leaving Nablus I had the opportunity of spending an evening with Amram at his own house. He lived in the greatest simplicity, though In Palestine that is the rule rather than the exception. Mrs. El Karey, the wife of the missionary in Nablus in the employment of the Church Missionary Society of London, was good enough to accompany me and serve as interpreter. The venerable high priest, who was barefooted, and clad In a great turban and loose flowing robe, received us with calm and dignified cordiality in his room at once his parlor, dining room and bedroom. His very aged mother was lying on the floor, covered with bedclothing, and asleep. There were several children, half asleep, lying about the room. Amram's son-in-law was slowly copying a Pentateuch for the Samaritans have no printing press. It requires a year to make a copy, which is never sold, and is only used by the community. The aged mother of Amram arose after we had been present a few minutes, the many ornaments on her neck and in her ears making a harsh, tinkling sound as she moved. I was invited to a seat on the floor, and to take coffee and cigarettes. The mother, on seeing guests in her presence, took a rude bellows and blew up the dull coals under the copper kettle. Coffee, the Oriental's unfailing proof of hospitality, was handed us in little cups.

The Samaritan Theology.

The peculiar views of Amram may be said to represent very fairly the theology of his dying community. The world, be claimed, is about 7,000 years old. For 55 years men will go on increasing in wickedness, after which there will come a time of great peace and purity. Then there will come on a new period of consummate wickedness, which will last 300 years. This time will be consummated by the total destruction of the world. After this the general judgment will take place, when the righteous will go to lire with God and the wicked with Satan. There are some people who hare clean hearts, or at least are accepted as clean, though none are absolutely pure. Just here Amram looked off, as if in the distance, and said. "God is one!" Here he intended a slight thrust at all Christians, because of their emphasis of Christ and His divine character.

Amram' Prediction.

He spoke with interest of the ruins on Mt. Gerizim, and of the increase of his community within the last 30 years. He closed by expressing his firm belief that the time would come when the Samaritans would be the most numerous body in the world.

Amram has since died, and the sedate son-in-law, being the eldest male relative, has succeeded him in the high-priesthood.


Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 57, Number 59, 30 April 1887 Page 1

Gerizim’s Passover.

The Only Hebraic Sacrifice Now Reverently Observed

[Pittsburg Dispatch]

With t5he setting of the sun Friday evening commenced the Hebrew Passover. It is interesting to learn how, even to this day, the beginning of the week is observed in the East by the Samaritans who still live near the Mount Gerizim.

The whole community, amounting to about one hundred and fifty-two, from which hardly any variation has taken place within the memory of man, are encamped on the day of the full moon of the moth of Nisan, in tents on a level space, a few hundred yards below the actual summit of the mountain. This place is selected on account of its comparative shelter and seclusion, for few are they who can be present at this celebration if they are of other denominations, and allowed to observe part of the ceremony they are rigidly excluded from the other. While the men assemble in sacred costume on the rocky terrace the women are shut up in tents.

About half an hour before sunset the whole male community, attired in long white robes, gather round a long trough that has been previously dug in the ground, and the priest, ascending a large rough stone in front of the congregation, recites in a loud chant, in which others join, prayers or praises, chiefly turning on the glories of Abraham and Isaac. Their attitude is like that of all the Orientals in prayer, standing, occasionally diversified by stretching out their hands, and more rarely kneeling or crouching, with faces wrapped in their clothes and bent to the ground, toward the Holy Place on the summit of Gerizim. The priest recites his prayers by heart, the others have books in Hebrew or Arabic.

Suddenly there appear among the worshippers six sheep, driven up by the side of six youths dressed in white shirts and white drawers. The sun, which has been burnishing up the Mediterranean in the distance, now sinks to the furthest western ridge overhanging the plain of Sharon. The recitation becomes more vehement. The priest turns about, facing his brethren, and the whole history of the exodus, from the beginning of the plagues of Egypt, is rapidly, almost furiously, chanted. The sheep, which are innocently playing among the congregation, are now driven more closely together. The sun is touching the western ridge, when the youths burst into a wild murmur of their own, draw forth their long bright knives and brandish them aloft. In a moment the seep are thrown on their backs, and the flashing knives rapidly drawn across their throats. Then a few convulsive but silent struggles, and the blood streaming from them; the one only Hebraic sacrifice lingering in the world. In the blood the young men dip their fingers, and a small spot is marked on the foreheads and noses of the children. The sheep are then fleeced and roasted in an oven, a deep circular pit sunk in the earth, with a fire kindled at the bottom. It is now midnight. The paschal moon is still bright and high in the heavens. The whole male community are gathered around the mouth of the oven. Suddenly the covering of the hole is torn off and up rises into the still moonlight sky a vast column of smoke and steam. Out of the pit are dragged the six sheep, black from the oven. They are hoisted aloft and then thrown on large brown mats. The bodies thus wrapped in the mats are hurried down to the trenches where the sacrifice has taken place and laid out upon them in a line between two piles of the Samaritans. In addition now to the white robes shoes are on the feet of the men and staves in their hands and ropes around their waists. This is to represent the preparation of the Israelites on the night of the exodus. The meal is eaten with merriment. In ten minutes all is gone but a few remnants. These are gathered and thrown on the fires, which again blaze on high, and then sinking away the dying embers proclaim the end of the ceremony. Quietly each turns and seek him home in the town at the foot of the mountain.



Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 15, Number 11, 10 July 1882 page 3

MODERN SAMARITANS. At the Congregational Church yesterday Rev. H. E. Jewitt, of Redwood City, officiated in the absence of Rev. Dr. Dwinell, the pastor. In the evening a missionary conceit was held, the evening a missionary concert was held, and on that occasion Mr. Jewitt, who has the advantage of extended personal observation in Palestine, spoke of "The Modern Samaritans, as Seen by an Eye-witness." He said that Shechem is the only place in the world where the sect known as Samaritans is to be found. Politically, they became independent of Judea when the ten tribes revolted, under Jeroboam. Ecclesiastically, they are found claiming substantial agreement with the Jews as late as the return from the captivity. But from that time onward their hostility to the Jews increased rapidly. In the fourth century, B. C, they obtained permission from the Pep King to build a temple on Mt. Gerizim, which should hi to them what the temple at Jerusalem was to the Jews. This temple was destroyed in the year (IS. C.) 129. Its ruins now constitute one of the attractions of a visit to the mountain. This Samaritan race was so powerful that even in the fourth century of the Christian era they were regarded as the "chief and most dangerous adversaries of Christianity." In the fifth century they began to sink rapidly into obscurity. At the present day there is a mere remnant of the race extant. Less than 140 men, women and children comprise all that remnant of this once strong nation, and these few are gathered together in Shechem, where they have a synagogue. Soon after our arrival in the city we were met by Youhannah El Karey, an Arab missionary educated in England and laboring in Shechem. He took us to the Samaritan quarters. Arriving at the house of the high priest, we were conducted to the flat roof, where half a dozen prominent Samaritans were assembled. < As the sun was setting we all descended to the little synagogue, where about fifty men and boys were gathered for worship. The floor was covered with mats, upon which no shoes or boots may be worn, according to Oriental custom. The side of the room toward Mt. Gerizim was hung with satin drapery. Here, in a recess, the high priest took his position; both he and the people kneeling with faces toward the holy mountain. The service lasted half an hour, and consisted of the chanting of prayers. Sitting upon the flat roof outside, looking through the grated windows of a small dome into the room below, were a number of vailed women, who, like all oriental women, were denied entrance into the assembly of mem. This Samaritan place of worship is famous, not only as the last remaining synagogue of the sect to be found in the world, but also as the depository of the famous copy of the books of Moses known as the Samaritan Pentateuch. This parchment is guarded by the high priest with jealous care. On the day following the service, accompanied by an interpreter, we followed the priest into the synagogue, and saw the precious parchment. The roll is about fifteen inches wide, and is said to be nearly sixty feet long. It contains the five books of Moses, written in the Samaritan text. This comprises the whole of the Samaritan Bible, and only about sixteen copies of this, is whole or in part, exist at the present time. The Samaritans claim that this version is about thirty-five hundred years old, and that this copy is older than the Christian era by twenty years. The version is traced by critical investigators, however, no farther back than the time of the second temple, and this copy to the sixth or seventh century of the Christian era. But even this makes this manuscript over twelve hundred years old— a rare old document. In the Samaritan language there are but three or four works written in the Samaritan text.

Shechem lies at the base of Mount Gerizim. We made the ascent of the mountain, along a narrow trail. A little to the east of the summit, we came upon a small inclosure, within which was a trench. In this we found ashes and the charred bones of lambs. Not far away was another pit, in which the Passover lambs had been roasted a week before our arrival. The Jews at Jerusalem and elsewhere no longer sacrifice a lamb at the Passover, the reason assigned being that | the temple site is in the hands of the Moslems. We attended a Passover service in Jerusalem where, in place of the limb, there was the shank bone of a lamb. The Samaritans, however, retain possession of their sacred mountain, and so assemble annually near the ruin of their old temple. After a religious service — which lasts till nearly sunset—several young men lead in five or six lambs; just as the sun goes down the high priest recites rapidly Exodus xii., 6. While he is speaking the lambs are seized and their throats are cut, the young men strip off the skins of the animals and thrust wooden spits through the carcasses, and hang them in one of the trenches, which has been heated sufficiently to roast them. About midnight, in the clear light of the full moon, the lambs are removed from the pit ; the meat is eaten in haste and the ground is searched for mislaid pieces, and the bones and all remnants of flesh are thrown into the shallow trench and burnt d, according to the Mosaic command.

The little remnant of the once powerful Samaritan nation is fast dying out. Their customs, their worship and their sacred book are, therefore, of striking interest. Apparently not many years will pass before it will be written of them, as a race, that they are extinct.



Legal Bibliography No. 6, Vol. 3, April, 1908, Boston, Mass. p. 6.

    The Mosiac Law.

Here is a clipping from a recent newspaper:-

“London, Nov. 17.- A deputation of four Samaritans, headed by Isaac, son of Amram, second high priest at Nablus, the Shochem of the Bible, is now in London trying to sell a manuscript of the Pentateuch dating from 1050 A.D. It is said that dire poverty alone induced the Samaritan community to dispose of the treasured manuscript, for which $25,000 is asked. It is a long roll pf parchment, mounted on stout paper. It is written in a small, but clear Samaritan hand. The lower part has been damaged by water, but the rest of it is perfect. It has been offered unsuccessfully to the British Museum and will be offered to Oxford University.”

We have in our safe, and could be persuaded to sell for less than $25,000, a similar parchment manuscript of the Pentateuch, written in Hebrew, rolled on an olive-wood rod, and wrapped in silk. We can trace this legal and ecclesiastical treasure back to Russia, but cannot prove its age or scholarly authority.


A search indicated the following reference, which I do not know if it is concerning the Samaritans or not, since I cannot locate it at this time.


‘Poor Jews Passover’ in the Morning Leader [British Newspaper (London)] April 7, 1898 [1892 - May 23Morning Leader founded: later amalgamated with Daily News.]



For Sale on Ebay

Zur Sprache, Literatur und Dogmatik der Samaritaner. Drei Abhandlungen, nebst zwei bisher unedirten samaritanischen Texten, by Samuel Kohn


Der hebräische Pentateuch der Samaritaner by August von Gall





Abel, Felix- Marie

“Quelques Monuments Megalithiques de Palestine.” Revue Biblique Vol. 31, 1922, pp.  590-602


A., J.

Nabulus, the Ancient Shechem” The Cottager’s Monthly Visitor. Vol. 22, Dec.1842. London pp. 421-426


Assis, Moshe (Tel-Aviv University)

Samaritan, Hebrew and Aramaic Studies: Presented to Professor Abraham Tal, Lešonénu 68 (2006), pp. 353-363


Basileiades, L.

‘The Differences of Jews and Samaritans as to “the clean” and “the unclean” in the Pentateuchal Regulations.’ Nea Sion, April 1921. Jerusalem: Patriarchal Press


Borisov, A. Ya.

“Sobranie samaritanskikh rukopisey A. Firkovicha,'' Palestinsky sbornik 15 (78) (1966), 60-73


Bowman, John

#691 “An Arabic Hijab manuscript and Jewish and Samaritan phylacteriesAbr-Nahrain Vol. 32, 1994 Louvain: Peeters Press 1995 pp. 47-58


Braun, Stephan

Das Heilige Land nach natur und Geschichte Freiburg im Breisgau: J. Dilger, 1867.


Cameron, George G.

‘Requests and RepliesThe Expository Times, Vol. 5, No. 12, September 1894 p. 539


Créten, J.

“La Pâque des Samaritains.” Revue Biblique Vol. 31, 1922, pp.  434-442 (see figs 1-4 below that are in the article)





Da Sylveira, João

Joannis da Sylveira ... Opuscula varia. Lugduni: Anisson & Posuel, 1725


Derenboug, J.

Reviewer. J. Bargés “Les Samaritans de Naplouse” Archives Israélites, Vol. 16 pp. 531-535


Ewing, William

“The Samaritans and Their Sacred Law, the Antiquity of the Five Books of Moses.” Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 79, No. 316, October, 1922, pp. 418- 451


Felix R, Amit M, Bar-Yoseph H, Wintner I.

‘A psychological comparative study of the Samaritan community: Schem (Nablus) and Holon. II. Population, living and social organisation.’ Isr Ann Psychiatr Relat Discip. 1971 Aug; 9 (2):117-31.

PMID: 5291473 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Gallagher, Edmon L.

“Cult Centralization in the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Origins of Deuteronomy.” Vetus Testamentum, v64 n4 (20140822): 561-572 (Brill Journals)


Garbini, Giovanni

“I luoghi di culto: Har-garin E Sion” in Dio della Terra, Dio del cielo: dalle religioni semitiche al giudaismo e al cristianesimo. Brescia: Paideia, 2011, pp 180- 203


G.W.G. (Reviewer)

Review of J.E.H. Thomson: ‘The Samaritans: Their Testimony to the Religion of Israel’ The Homiletic Review, vol. 80, No. 6, December, 1920 pp.472-474


Hensel, Benedikt

Von »Israeliten« zu »Ausländern«: Zur Entwicklung anti-samaritanischer Polemik ab der hasmonäischen Zeit.” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft. Volume 126, Issue 4, Pages 475–493, ISSN (Online) 1613-0103, ISSN (Print) 0044-2526, DOI: 10.1515/zaw-2014-0029, December 2014


Joosten, Jan

The Samaritikon and the Samaritan Tradition


Kartveit, Magnar

“Samaritansk sjølvforståing i innskriftene frå Garisim og Delos.” Teologisk Tidsskrift, n03 (2014-09-17): 271-285 LINK TO SOURCE

Summary: Samandrag; Opphavet til samaritanane er omdiskutert. Denne artikkelen gir eit oversyn over nyare forsking, og lanserer ein teori. Tidlegare rekna ein med at samaritanane var eit blandingsfolk med ein blandingsreligion. Nyare forsking reknar dei for ei jødisk gruppe som oppstod i perioden 112-63 f.Kr. Samaritanane visste at dei var eit eige «Israel» lenge før det. Det er ikkje urimeleg å rekna sjølve bygginga av altar og tempel på Garisim som eit viktig punkt i utviklinga. Josefus tidfestar denne bygginga til omlag 330 f.Kr.; arkeologane viser til persisk tid, tidleg 400-tal, og frå då av kan ein rekna med -sama-ritanar. Innskriftene frå Garisim og Delos viser ein samaritansk identitet i første halvdel av det andre hundreåret f.Kr. Då stod det ein stor by på Garisim, med ein felles kultstad, æra av folk i lokalområdet og så langt borte som på ei øy i Egearhavet, Delos.Nøkkelord: samaritanar, Garisim, innskrifter, identitet

Abstract: For many, the Samaritans are a mixed race with syncretism. Half a century ago, a new theory emerged, launched by Frank Moore Cross Jr.: that the Samaritans became a distinct group in the period 112-63 B.C. His theory is the subject of this article. By studying the Samaritan inscriptions from Mount Gerizim and Delos, one finds a common identity in the first half of the second century B.C. In that period, there was a large city on Mount Gerizim, with a common place of worship, honoured by people living in the area and as far as on an island in the Aegean Sea, Delos. An important point in the development of the Samaritans as a distinct group was the erection of an altar and a temple on Mount Gerizim, dated by Josephus to around 330 B.C., but by modern archaeologists to the early 400s. From then on we may count the history of the Samaritans.


Kennedy, A.R.S. Reviewer

‘The Samaritans’ [Thomson] The Expository Times, Vol. 31, No. 8, May 1920 pp. 374-375


Levin, Yigal

“Bi-directional forced deportations in the neo-Assyrian empire and the origins of the Samaritans: colonialism and hybridity.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge, v. 28, no. 1 (2013), p. 217-240


Loewenstamm, Ayala

Hebrew Title…. In English: Karaite and Samaritan Studies Collected and Posthumous Papers ed. by Joshua Blau, the Academy of the Hebrew Language 2008, , 239 pp + 31 in Hebrew


Loftus, Jane (Hope-Vere)

Mafeesh, or, Nothing New; The Journal of a Tour in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the Sinai-Desert, Petra, Palestine, Syria, and Russia. Vol. 1, London: William Clowes and sons 1870


Lortet, Louis-Charles

La Syrie d'aujourd'hui: voyages dans la Phénicie, le Liban et la Judée: 1875 – 1880. Paris: Libr. Hachetter, 1884


מצליעה פתיל (Pettel, Matsliah)

Motsaʼam shel ha-Shomronim: ʻal-pi ha-meḳorot ha-Yehudiyim, ha-nokhriyim ṿeha-Shomroniyim. Thesis (M.A.) --Universiṭat Tel-Aviv, 1972. 182 pages


Mawer, John

Roma meretrix: or, an enquiry whether the predicted apostacy of the Roman Church have not the nature of a divorce from Christ; and Whether, upon its Final Excision, we may not expect the Restoration of the Jews with the Fulness of the Gentiles. With a prefatory discourse, address'd to His Grace, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Wherein is occasionally asserted The Usefulness and Antiquity of the Samaritan Pentateuch, which with the Samaritan Version is intended to accompany the Hebrew Text, with the Greek and Ethiopic Versions, &c. in a New Edition of the Original Scriptures, whereof a large Specimen is prepared for the Press. Newcastle upon Tyne: printed by John White; and sold by Mess. Innys and Manby in London; Mr. Bryson in Newcastle; and Mr. Hildyard and Mr. Staples in York, M.DCC.XXXVII. [1737]


Metsma, Kadri. (University of Tartu, Faculty of Theology)

Kalle Kasemaa, Samaarlased. Rühmituse tekkimise ajaloolised põhjused. Samaarlaste religioon (The Samaritans. Historical context to the establishing of the group. Samaritan religion), Master's Degree, 2002, (sup)

“Samaritans” Akadeemia No. 6- 2003 pp. 1209-1228


Peritz, Ismar J.

“How Samaria Keeps the Passover Today” The Christian Advocate Vol. 89, No. 14, April 2, 1914. New York pp. 465- 466. Below is a photo from the article:

Rosen, Gladys Levine

The Joseph Cycle (Genesis 37-45) in the Samaritan-Arabic Commentary of Meshalma ibn Murjan [Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1951]


Schattner-Rieser, Ursula

Jesus in den Samaritanischen Chroniken [2012]


Schorch, Stefan

Euphemismen in der Hebräischen Bibel. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2000


Shehadeh, Haseeb

On a manuscript of ‘Kirāb al-Ḫulf’ by Ḫaḍr (Finḥāas) b. Isḥāq al-Ḥiftāwī 2011


Stadel, Christian שטאדל, כריסטיאן. כריסטיאן שטאדל. ; 

תחביר הצורות של הארמית השומרונית = The morphosyntax of Samaritan Aramaic /

Taḥbir ha-tsurot shel ha-Aramit ha-Shomronit = The morphosyntax of Samaritan Aramaic מוסד ביאליק, Yerushalayim: Mosad Byaliḳ, [2013]


Strelcyna, Stefana

Catalogue des manuscrits orientaux des collections polonaises.
8 volumes are intended, of which in 1971. 5 had appeared. The 6th is to cover the Hebrew, Aramaic and Samaritan MSS. This volume might have been published now!


Tal, Abraham

Samaritan Aramaic. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2013. Lehrbücher orientalischer Sprachen., Section III,, Aramaic; v. 2


Tal, Oren with Itmar Taxel and Ruth E. Jackson-Tal

Khirbet al-Hadra: More on Refuse Disposal Practices in Early Islamic Palestine and Their Socio-Economic ImplicationsBulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 31: 117-148


Tisserant, Eugene (reviewer)

“Der Hebräische Pentateuch der Samaritaner… von Gall..” Revue Biblique Vol. 30, 1921, p. 616-617


Zewi, Tamar (Department of Hebrew Language, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)

“The Aramaic Component and Aramaisms in the Arabic Column of Ms. BL OR7562” Aramaic Studies, Vol. 12, Is 2, Brill, 2014

The article analyzes the Aramaic component and Aramaisms embedded in the first hand’s stage of the Arabic column of Ms. BL OR7562 (c. 1300),1 which mainly conveys a Samaritan version of Saadya Gaon’s translation of the Pentateuch. While Aramaic words are known to feature in all versions of Saadya’s Tafsīr, Ms. BL OR7562 evinces examples of Aramaic loan words and various kinds of Aramaisms that are found neither in other versions of Saadya’s Tafsīr, nor in the other two main Samaritan Arabic versions, namely the early Samaritan Arabic translation and its later revision.

Robert Lachmann
; Ruth Frances Davis; Nimr Ibn ʻAdwān; Judah, ha-Levi; Shalem Shabazi; Tanbûrı̂ Cemil Bey

The oriental music broadcasts, 1936-1937: a musical ethnography of Mandatory Palestine

Middleton, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, [2013]

Contents: "On first hearing a genuine piece of Oriental music" (18 November 1936) --
Liturgical songs of the Yemenite Jews (2 December 1936) --
Coptic liturgical chant and hymns (16 December 1936) --
Liturgical songs of the Kurdish Jews (6 January 1937) --
Bedouin sung poetry accompanied by rabāba (20 January 1937) --
Liturgical cantillation and songs of the Samaritans (3 February 1937) --
Men's songs for a Yemenite Jewish wedding (17 February 1937) --
Women's songs for a Yemenite Jewish wedding (3 march 1937) --
Arab urban music : Maqām (16 March 1937) --
Music from the western Arab world (31 March 1937) --
Music from the eastern Arab world (14 April 1937) --
Men's songs for an Arab village wedding in central Palestine (28 April 1937). CD contents, disc one. Shirat ha-yam = Songs of the sea : excerpt, Exod. 15:1-4 (Sa'adiya Nahum) (1:46 ; 1:48) --
Proverbs 1:1-7 (Sa'adiya Nahum) (1:03 ; 1:07) --
Laḥn (hymn) : from the Liturgy of St. Cyril (3:00 ; 3:22) --
Peklaos gar : from the Liturgy of St. Gregory (1:39 ; 1:57) --
Aseret ha-dibberot = Ten Commandments : excerpt, Exod. 20:2-7) (Eliahu Yahye Mizrahi) (1:39 ; 1:47) --
Aw lamīn / Qaṣīdit Nimr Ibn 'Adwān (Bājis Afandī Imʹaddī, voice and rabāba) (3:10 ; 3:40) --
Shirat ha-yam = Song of the sea : excerpt, Exod. 15:1 (Ibrahim Kohen) (2:42 ; 2:55) --
Sukkāni dhāk al-wādī (Ibrahim Kohen) (2:48 ; 2:49) --
'At ben 'aṣe 'eden / Judah Halevi (Sa'adiya Nahum, solo voice ; Yahya Nahari, Hayyim Mahbub, chorus) (2:08 ; 2:09) --
'Ayelet ḥen / Shalem Shabazi (Sa'adiya Nahum, solo voice ; Yahya Nahari, Hayyim Mahbub, chorus) (1:33 ; 1:34) --
Sā'at r-raḥmān dalḥīn (1:37 ; 1:37) --
Allāh yā Allāh, yā 'ālen bi-ḥālī (1:14 ; 1:14) --
Yā Allāh hal-yōm (2:05 ; 2:08) --
Yā-llāh 'na salak (1:33 ; 1:39). CD contents, disc two. Taqsīm ḥijāz (Ezra Aharon, ʻūd) (3:15 ; 3:18) --
Taqsīm ṣabā (Ezra Aharon, ʻūd) (2:01 ; 2:51) --
Moroccan song : Ṣaḥbi l-awwal (Al-Touhami bin Omar) (3:05 ; 3:07) --
Egyptian song : Qad ḥarrakat aydī n-nasīmi (Shaykh Sayyid al-Ṣafṭī) (3:30 ; 3:33) --
Shet araban saz semaisi / Tanburî Cemil Bey (Tanburî Cemil Bey, tanbur) (3:23 ; 3:28) --
Zaffa hamasiyya (Mḥammed 'Abd ar-Raḥūn Abu Msellem and group) (3:10 ; 3:10) --
'Ala dal'ūnā dabke ('Abd al-Fattaḥ as-Sahāda, voice ; Aḥmed Smīr, shabbāba) (2:45 ; 2:44)--
'A-l-hāma, 'a-l-hāma ('Abd al-Fattaḥ as-Sahāda, voice ; Aḥmed Smīr, shabbāba, zaghrūda ululation)) (1:23 ; 1:23).




Barberini Library Manuscript 


Plate V: Samaritan Pentateuch- A.D. 1227. (Original size of paper, 13 1/2" in. x 10 ½ in; of part reproduced, 6 ½ in. x 9 in.) From Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts: Being a History of the Text and its Translations By Sir Frederic George Kenyon.

The MS. of which we give a reproduction in Plate V. is at Rome, and is said to have been written in the year 1227. It will be seen that the three columns are all in the same style of writing, but each contains a different dialect. The right-hand column contains the Hebrew text of Gen. 47. 1-6, as preserved among the Samaritans; it is, in fact, what is commonly called the Samaritan Version, and what we have been describing above. The left-hand column contains a Samaritan Targum, or paraphrase of the text in the current Samaritan dialect; and in the centre is an Arabic translation of the Samaritan version, originally made in the year 1070. All three columns are written in the Samaritan or old Hebrew characters, and represent the form of writing in which the books of the Old Testament were originally written down. All the existing manuscripts of the Samaritan version are written on either vellum or paper (in this instance vellum is used), in the shape of books (not rolls, with the exception of three rolls at Nablous), without any vowel points or accents, but with punctuation to divide words and sentences. The whole of the Pentateuch is divided into 964 paragraphs.” pp. 47-8.


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