The Samaritan Update

“Mount Gerizim,

All the Days of Our Lives”


November / December 2018                                                                                                                              Vol. XVIII - No 2

In This Issue


·         Anderson

·         Knoppers

·         Samaritan Medal

·         Film

·         5 Shehadeh articles

·         Rediscovery of Fragments

·         More on the Collection

·         Auction

·         Scroll lost in fire

·         Samaritans Project

·         Youth Program

·         Misc.

·         New Publications

·         Scroll

·         Biblio

Your link to the Samaritan Update Index

2018, the Samaritan Community number 810.


 Future Events

It has been 3657 years since the entrance into the Holy Land which happened on the Sixth Month of the Hebrew Year.

 (Samaritan’s typical calendar) 



The Tenth Month 3657 - January 5, 2019

The Eleventh Month 3657 - February 4, 2019

The Twelfth Month 3657 - March 6, 2019

The First Month 3657 - April 4, 2019

Passover Sacrifice - April 18, 2019


Professor Robert T. Anderson of Michigan State University Has Passed

Professor emeritus Robert Theodore Anderson (1928-2018), from the Michigan State University, passed away on December 20, 2018, in East Lansing, Michigan, at 90 years old. Anderson was married to Elizabeth Lathrop Anderson for 67 years. Robert was the father of David and Rondi Anderson, and the brother of Paul Anderson. He was the grandfather of Shakti, Austin, and Ally Anderson.


(Image left from the Lansing State Journal, 30 Jan. 1960, page 12)

(Image below right from Lansing State Journal, 21 March, 1970 page 8.)

Anderson received his bachelor's degree at Syracuse University and his doctoral and seminary degrees at Boston University. He joined the MSU faculty in 1957 and in 1965 was an assistant professor of religion. He served as Professor and Chairman of the Religious Studies Department at Michigan State University beginning in 1970. From 1957 until 1998, he taught courses on Biblical literature. His research focused on Samaritan texts, and his books include Studies in Samaritan Manuscripts and Artifacts and The Samaritan Pentateuch (with Terry Giles). 

 When boxes full of Samaritan articles and manuscripts from the Chamberlian-Warren collection were discovered during renovations of the storage area under the football stadium bleachers, they called on Robert Anderson, then an associate professor of religion at Michigan State University, for assistance in 1968. There were ‘three fifteenth-century Samaritan manuscripts, “a piece of bluish-streaked, white marble bearing an inscription (Exodus 15:13, 11) dating between the third and sixth centuries” and more than two dozen other materials dating to a later time but “not without interest and even intrigue” (Anderson, “The Museum Trail”). After identifying the contents of the collection as significant, the materials were moved to University Archives and Historical Collections’ [From Digital Samaritans: Rhetorical Delivery and Engagement in the Digital Humanities by Jim Ridolfo]


In 2008, a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities was given for the MSU’s Writing in Digital Environments Research Center to digitize 20 pages from two of MSU Libraries’ three Israelite Samaritan Pentateuchs.’ Robert Anderson was on the advisory Committee.

Anderson wrote many research articles, but the highlight of his studies were his books on the Samaritans and studies. Anderson wrote Studies in Samaritan Manuscripts and Artifacts--The Chamberlain-Warren Collection  and he co-wrote with Terry Giles, The Keepers, Tradition Kept and The Samaritan Pentateuch. He wrote the well-known articles, The Museum Trail: Michigan State University Samaritan Collection in The Biblical Archaeologist, March, 1984 and The Elusive Samaritan Temple in The Biblical Archaeologist June, 1991, pp. 104-107.

From 2003 to 2010, Prof. Anderson worked with Samaritan Benyamim Tsedaka on the Samaritan Collection. Professor Anderson for his contribution to the world on Samaritan research received the Samaritan Medal for Academic Achievement in 2010, in a special ceremony, given from the hands of Benyamim Tsedaka.

Sign the guest book and leave your message: Obituary

Also here


Rest in peace. We thank you and will remember you, for what we have learnt from you!!!
Photo right: Professor Anderson and Benyamim Tsedaka in Michigan in 2004.



Gary Knoppers of Notre Dame has Passed Away

 Gerald Neil Knoppers 62, (1956-2018) passed away on Saturday, December 22, 2018 from pancreatic cancer.

Gary Knoppers was the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Previously, he was the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Jewish Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. Born in Canada, Knoppers received a B.A. in Philosophy from Calvin College College (1979), a M.Div from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (1982), and a M.A. (1986) and Ph.D from Harvard University in Near Eastern Studies (1988). He was a past president of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (2003–2004) and President of the Biblical Colloquium (2009–2011). He serves on the editorial boards of a number of journals, professional societies, and institutes, including Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel, the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Studia Samaritana, Vetus Testamentum, the Internationaler Exegetischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament, and the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research. His scholarly specializations include Hebrew scriptures, ancient historiography, ancient Near Eastern and biblical law, inner-scriptural exegesis, textual criticism, and the history of early Jewish and Samaritan relations. Professor Knoppers has lectured widely in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Israel, and South Africa. He is under contract to produce a commentary on II Chronicles for the Yale Anchor Bible and a commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah for the Hermeneia series.

He wrote a number of books and articles, yet he will be remembered for his Samaritan studies, including his book, Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations (Oxford University Press, 2013)


Gary is survived by his wife and partner, Laura; his children, Theresa “Teres” and David; brothers and sisters, Jake (Jocelyne), Annelies, Bastian (Joan), Bartha (Daniel), and Nick (Joanne); sisters- and brothers-in-law, Marilee, Tim (Melinda), Naomi (Brad), Joel, Sara (Dan), and Marcia (Kevin); and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Nicolaas and Barthie Knoppers.

Obituary at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research


Samaritan Medal given to Minister Ze'ev Elkin


The Samaritan High Priest Aabed-El ben Asher ben Matzliach awarded the Samaritan Medal to Minister Ze'ev Elkin, of Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, December 11 2018, an impressive ceremony was held in the presence of guests and the body of the Samaritan community.

The Samaritan Medal Foundation was founded in Washington, D.C. in 2005. Every year, the foundation awards a medal for prominent activists in the Middle East and in the world concerning peace, humanity and Samaritan studies.


Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival 2018

Monday 03.12.18 20:30 at the Cinematheque 2 Samaritan

France 2018 | 52 minutes | Arabic, Hebrew, English | Hebrew, Arabic subtitles

Samaritans are a unique minority in the Middle East. With stand-alone religious status in Israel, the Samaritans are the world’s only holders of Israeli-Palestinian dual nationality. Located in the in the West Bank’s Mount Gerezim and in close proximity to the city of Nablus, today’s Samaritan community has only 780 members left, and is currently on the verge of extinction. Julien Menanteau’s gentle and perceptive camera succeeds in capturing a unique people and culture, a minority torn apart by its paradoxical identity, seeking to form a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians. 

Dir.: Julienne Menanteau Prod.: Maud Huynh Source: Gloria Films, Paris


5 Articles from Heseeb Shehadeh

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The Rediscovery of Donated Samaritan Fragments to the Congregational Library in Boston

Researched by the Editor of the Samaritan Update

I n September, I had sent an email to Robert Anderson of Michigan State University concerning the Samaritan Chamberlian-Warren collection. His wife of 67 years, Elizabeth Anderson (image left) wrote back and informed me, ‘This summer the local United Church of Christ Conference Minister, Campbell Lovett, wrote us that a library has several single pages from unidentifiable Samaritan Scrolls.’

It was a while before my request for information email was responded by Campbell Lovett (image right), who sent an email to this Editor with an image of Samaritan writing that he obtained from Congregational Library on 14 Beacon Street, Boston. Lovett said, ‘The following fragment is one of four (4) (from the S. Brainard Pratt Collection) in their collection. Tom Clark ( is the Library Director and can assist anyone that might be interested.’  

Thank you Elizabeth Anderson and Campbell Lovett for sharing this interesting information.


Tom Clark (image left) replied with an email with a contact of Sara Trotta.

Sara Trotta (image right), Librarian at the Congregational Library & Archives. Sara responded with:


‘During our inventory of the Pratt collection earlier this year, my assistant Brittnee discovered the two fragments taped into the back of Pratt's personally illuminated Old and New Testaments. We knew these fragments had been part of Pratt's collection. 

The 2 leaves of the Samaritan Pentateuch were taped into the back of the old testament with this caption: "Fragment of Samaritan Pentateuch Numbers 28:16, 32:23 to 42. It is supposedly be 800 or 900 years old [13th or 14th c.]". This is the fragments discussed in the article by Isaac Hall in one of Pratt's scrapbooks. The second fragment is significantly smaller, found taped in the New Testament, yet not Samaritan.”

The Samaritan fragments are identified with the number library reference Pratt- MS4353.S1, and are currently displayed in the collection in the Pratt Room, named for him in 1899.


There are a total of 4 pages (bifolio) on parchment. On the first folio is Numbers 27:23a- 28:8 and 28:8-15. The second folio is Numbers 32:23-31 and 32:32 -42.

The folios are approximately 3.5” (88.9 mm) wide x 4.5” (114.3 mm) tall with the written area of 3” (78 mm) high x 2.5” (65 mm) wide. The dimensions correspond with the written record in the following book by Sereno Brainard Pratt in the description of the fragments on page 5 of Catalogue of Ancient & Modern Editions of the Scriptures with Other Sacred Books and Manuscripts [from the library of S. Brainard Pratt, Boston]. 1882. Also see the 1890 edition (online)


The image to the left is the Samaritan fragment with the section of Numbers 32:23-31.


Samaritan Benyamim Tsedaka informs us that ‘Since it is written on parchment it could not be later than the 16th century.’


Prof. Dr. Stefan Schorch
of Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg says: ‘It is clear that the leaves once belonged to one of the small scale Torah codexes (an exemplar of the same type from the Valmadonna collection [
Samaritan Pentateuch (Arhuta Kadishta] was sold by Sotheby's in New York 2015). Manuscripts of this type were mostly written in the 14th century.’


The main information on the subject is in On a Manuscript Fragment of the Samaritan Pentateuch, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 11 Number 1. New Haven: For the American Oriental Society, Printed by Tuttle, Morkhouse & Taylor 1882 Committee of Publication of the American Oriental Society For the Years 1880-82, by Prof. Isaac H. Hall, of Philadelphia; presented by Prof. Toy.


Image to the right is the card found in the book identifying the Samaritan fragments.

William Hayes Ward is said to have obtained the fragments from a Jew who purchased it in Jerusalem, fifty or so years before the article was written. No evidence has been found yet as to who the Jewish man was that sold the fragments.


If you wish to study the fragments, in the S. Brainard Pratt Collection, please contact Tom Clark (


More on the Collection


There is mention of the gift to the library by Pratt in the Amherst Graduates‘ Quarterly on page 274, No. 45, Nov. 1922.


Pratt was a prolific collector of Bibles and religious artifacts. We have a scroll in Hebrew of the Book of Ecclesiastes. This scroll is primarily made of wood and parchment. The scroll was procured for Pratt through the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.


Dr. Selah Merrill (1837-1909) (image left), was an American Congregationalist clergyman. He served as the American consul in Jerusalem in 1882–1885, 1891–1893, and 1898–1907. In 1874–1877, he traveled to Palestine where he worked as an archeologist for the American Palestine Exploration Society. Dr. Selah Merrill in listed in the Provence of a different Samaritan manuscript sold at Sotheby’s which said he purchased this auctioned ms from Nasser Ishaq al-Halaq on March 6, 1900. So we know that he had contact with Samaritan manuscripts and he could have easily obtained a Pratt’s fragment. Merrill was also there at the World’s Sunday-school Convention in 1904.


It also says that Turnbull purchased a roll of Genesis (most likely Jewish) from M.W. Shapiri’s Jerusalem shop.  Shapiri was a business friend of Jacob Shellaby, known for selling manuscripts and at least one known fake. This is likely the source of the fragments in the Pratt collection.

But there is a problem with the name Rev. H.C. Turnbull, It is believed that the name was transcribed incorrectly and the name should have read Rev. H.C. Trumbull. Trumbull was Rev. Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903), author and editor of the Sunday School Times. Trumbull had visited Palestine in 1881 and wrote Studies in Oriental Life And Gleans from the East on the Sacred Page (Phil. 1894). While there is watched and recorded the Samaritan Passover while meeting the Samaritan High Priest Jacob. There is no written evidence that he obtained a Samaritan fragment at that time, but it is possible.


Rev. Dr. Selah Merrill and Rev. H.C. Turnbull appears to have made purchases for Pratt, according to a newspaper article in The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Cook, Illinois) 1 March 1890 (Saturday) with the title ‘Bibles of All Ages.’


Sereno Brainard Pratt (1826-1903) was born in Westmoreland, New York. He was the son of Rufus Pratt (1827-1903) and Bethiah (Loring) Pratt. Rufus’ brother was Parsons Stewart Pratt.   Sereno married Ellen, of Ipswich on Jan. 16, 1866.

Pratt was a local businessman, owner of S. Brainard Pratt & Co., knit goods manufacturers, and Pratt, Porter & Co. He was founder and president of the Bible Illuminators’ Guild, library director of the American Congregational Association (1881-1899) and avid collector of 300 Bibles and biblical literature. He was also a member of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society, member of the General Association of the Congregational Churches of Massachusetts (served on committees).


Pratt receives fragments from Ward

William Hayes Ward (June 25, 1835 - August 29, 1916) was an American clergyman, editor, and Orientalist, born at Abington, Mass.

He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1852, Amherst College in 1856, and the Andover Theological Seminary in 1859. He served as pastor of a church at Oskaloosa, Kans. in 1859-60, and as professor of Latin at Ripon College in Wisconsin(1865–68). He joined the editorial staff of the New York Independent in 1868 and remained with the Independent thereafter, rising by degrees to editor in chief (1896–1913), and then honorary editor. He directed the Wolfe Expedition to Babylonia (1884–85) and was twice president of the American Oriental Society (1890–94 and 1909–10). 

See a fuller bio here. Link


Ward let Hall examine and write on the fragments

Isaac Hollister Hall (December 12, 1837 – July 2, 1896) was an American Orientalist.

He was born in Norwalk, Connecticut. He graduated at Hamilton College in 1859, was a tutor there in 1859–1863, graduated from Columbia Law School in 1865, practiced law in New York City until 1875, and, during 1875–1877, taught in the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut (there in 1876-77), where he discovered a valuable Syriac manuscript of the Philoxenian version of a large part of the New Testament, which he published in part in facsimile in 1884.

He worked with Diplomat / General Luigi Palma di Cesnola (1832-1904) in classifying the famous Cypriote collection in the Metropolitan Museum of New York City, and was a curator of that museum from 1885 until his death in Mount Vernon, New York, on 2 July 1896. Hall was vice-President and Director of the American Oriental Society.


Hall, Isaac H. #2078 On a Manuscript Fragment of the Samaritan Pentateuch, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 11 Number 1. New Haven: For the American Oriental Society, Printed by Tuttle, Morkhouse & Taylor 1882 Committee of Publication Of the American Oriental Society For the Years 1880-82. by Prof. Isaac H. Hall, of Philadelphia; presented by Prof. Toy.


An interesting notice: Isaac H. Hall, William H. Ward and H.C. Trumbull were all members of the American Oriental Association. Also, H.C. Trumbull and Selah Merrill (also connected with Samaritan MMS) were both army chaplains during the US Civil War.


In the article ‘On a Manuscript Fragment of the Samaritan Pentateuch, by Prof. Isaac H. Hall, of Philadelphia; presented by Prof. Toy.’


‘Some days ago, through the kind offices of Rev. Dr. W. Hayes Ward, I came into possession of a parchment folio, or pair of leaves, written in the Samaritan character, quite old, and somewhat obscure. It was obtained from a Jew, who stated that he brought it from Jerusalem fifty years ago.’

See the article for The Congregationalist and Christian World, Saturday, 29 August 1908, Vol. 88, no. 35, p. 294




Lot 39 Dreweatts Auctions


ESTIMATE £8000 - £12000 + FEES [did not sell]


Leaf from a Bible (Pentateuch), in Samaritan, from a manuscript codex on parchment [Israel (perhaps Mount Nablus), probably thirteenth or fourteenth century]


Single large square leaf, with double column of 31 lines of main text (27 on reverse with a further 3 lines in the bas-de-page), prick marks from ruling frame visible, one large tear across base, tears to edges with loss to text in upper and lower corners on one side, a small hole in middle of second column, some folds and small scuffs, else in good and presentable condition, 285 by 263 mm.


Samaritan is one of the very rarest of Biblical scripts. The Samaritans themselves broke away from the religious practices that would later crystallise into Judaism, some two and a half millennia ago. The historical writings of the Samaritans claim that they are descended from the Northern Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who after the twelve tribes of Israel conquered the land of Canaan, split from this group to follow a priest named Eli who established a tabernacle on Mount Gerizim separate from that erected by Moses in the desert. Archaeological excavations at Mount Gerizim indicate that a Samaritan temple was built there c. 330 BC. as a rival to that in Jerusalem, and the schism was certainly complete by the end of that century. The mountain of Gerizim in Israel is still home to the surviving adherents of the sect, now less than a thousand in number, and the mountain continues to be central to their worship and beliefs.

Like the Jews, the Samaritans venerate the Torah, but with a text with many textual variants from the Masoretic one. The Dead Sea Scrolls bear witness to the existence of at least three textual Pentateuch traditions in these centuries, and that now seen in the Samaritan Pentateuch broke away from the other traditions in the Hasmonean period (second century BC). This recension differs on numerous occasions from the Masoretic text, and interestingly, in approximately two thousand of these instances the Septuagint agrees with the Samaritan text, not the Masoretic one. Samaritan script itself is directly derived from the paleo-Hebrew alphabet used in the days of the First Temple, and the decisive break between it and modern Hebrew happened by the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 AD.

As is suggested by the lowliness of the Good Samaritan in Christ’s parable, the subsequent history of the Samaritans is mainly one of persecution. They suffered under Roman rule as Samaria fell under Judean control, endured massacres and mass enslavements under the Byzantines, and Mamluk invasion of some of their sacred lands. By 1300 the numbers of the Samaritan community appear to have dwindled to about a thousand people in the city of Nablus at the foot of Mount Gezarim. Paradoxically, it was this period when they faced near-extinction that saw intense religious and literary activity.


They are of great rarity on the market, with recent examples in Sothebys, 29 June 2007, lot 31 (parallel Hebrew-Arabic Pentateuch codex in Samaritan script, dated 1504; sold for £81,600), the Schøyen sale, 10 July 2012, lot 13 (two bifolio with Leviticus, probably of late twelfth century; est. £15,000-20,000), Sothebys, New York Judaica sale, 19 December 2007, lot 124 (fourteenth-century codex of Homilies and Sermons, with some written in Paleo-Hebrew/Samaritan; sold $25,000); and most recently the Valmadonna Sale, 22 December 2015, lot 1 (mid-twelfth-century Torah Scroll in Samaritan script; sold $162,500), and lot 2 (fifteenth-century Pentateuch codex; sold $87,500); and only a tiny handful remain in private hands.


A Note Concerning this Fragment:

‘This is a quite important piece, a folio with the Hebrew text of "Moses' song" (Deut. 32), and its importance is increased by the fact that many codices lack especially the first and the last pages, and Deut. 32 is therefore not so well attested.’ Prof. Dr. Stefan Schorch, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


BL Hebrew Project


Published #HebrewProject Phase 2: Dec. 17

Or 10245, 19th century Samaritan Targum of Genesis

Image right



Samaritan Scroll lost in Fire in 1930


A Samaritan scroll was said to have been in the Oriental Library of St. Bonaventure College when it was destroyed by fire on May 5th, 1930. The fire started apparently from defective electrical wiring.

Rev. Thomas Plassmann, president of the College told the reporter of The Olean Evening Times, Friday, August 22, 1930, on page eleven;

‘Next in value, perhaps, was a manuscript scroll containing the entire book of Genesis, in Samaritan script. Father Thomas obtained this scroll from the high priest of the Samaritans in their holy city of Nablus, which is the ancient Schechem. The manuscript was copied from the original the famous Codex Samaritanus, by the son of the high priest, especially for Father Thomas. The Codex Samaritanus is preserved with great care and regarded with deep religious devotion by the Samaritans, and the scroll lost in the fire was probably the only one of its kind in America.’


The College is now ST. BONAVENTURE UNIVERSITY, 3261 West State Road, St. Bonaventure, NY 14778


To confirm that this was a Samaritan scroll, a search of old newspaper articles find the following;

‘Interspersing the general thread of discourse were enjoyable personal incidents related by Father Plassmann, as when he described his visit to the village of descendants of the ancient Samaria, kin to the woman with whom ….. to hold converse at the well.’ In the article ‘Father Plassmann’s Third Lecture’ from Catholic Union and Times (Buffalo, New York) 03 Feb 1916 Thu page 1.


This is the only evidence that I was able to locate or confirm, but it appears that when Thomas Plassmann (1879-1959) was young, he may well have visited the Samaritans before 1915. After reading a brief bio, it is hard to believe he had time to visit the Holy Land.



[Photographic reproduction of a roll of the Samaritan Pentateuch].

Uniform title   Bible. Pentateuch. Samaritan. Ms. 1000.



Description: 1 online resource (127 columns on 43 leaves)

Series: University of Chicago Digital Preservation Collection.


Subject: Manuscripts, Samaritan.

Format E-Resource, Book

URL for this record

According to F. v. Gall, Der hebräische Pentateuch der Samaritaner, p. xcii, the ms. is hardly older than the fifteenth century.
Open access Unrestricted online access
Electronic reproduction. Chicago : University of Chicago Library, [2018] (University of Chicago Digital Preservation Collection)
Master and use copy. Digital Master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials. Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002
digitized 2018 University of Chicago Library committed to preserve

See the scroll here.

Download available at link



Center for Israel Studies--Israelite Samaritans Project

The YU Israelite Samaritans Project Has Begun!

The Israelite Samaritans Project of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies will culminate in a major Hebrew language documentary, a travelling exhibition developed with Yeshiva University Museum (opening Spring, 2021), conferences, commentaries, courses and student field work with the Samaritans.

The first two events of this international collaboration took place at the University in November, 2018.  On Tuesday, November 13, Benyamim Tsedeka, director of A-B Center for Samaritan Studies in Holon, Israel, spoke on the history and traditions of the Samaritans in Gottesman Library, where he spoke about the traditions of these descendants of the northern tribes of Israel and their connection to manuscripts housed in the library’s Special Collections. 

Continue reading


See more details at



Youth Program in Jericho: The Youth of a Nation are the Trustees of Prosperity


Wednesday, 26 September 2018
Written by Mohamad Jamous, Palestinian Director


Our meeting today was one of the most beautiful meetings in the West Bank because of the very important presence of the youth groups that came from many different cities in the West Bank.


Among the guests who came to the meeting were:

Ehab Tal and Yakob al-Kahen from the Samaritan community in Nablus

Jeries Awwad, the patron of the Latin Church in Bethlehem

Makram Rubel, Director of the Christian denomination Association (Love Does Not Fall) in Egypt

Ziad Sabatin, Director of Youth Groups for Peace in Bethlehem

Sheikh Abdul Salam al-Manasra, the Sheikh of the Qadiri order in the Holy Land


Read the full article:







Image from Jac Samri (Facebook) Nov. 21, 2018


1920-2018, we return after almost a hundred years to the remains of the oldest Samaritan synagogue in the city of Nablus, and the question is why it is in neglect and why leave such a place without any rehabilitation and maintenance?





New Articles:


Greek Loanwords in Samaritan Aramaic

in Aramaic Studies

Authors: Christian Stadel 1 and Mor Shemesh 1

Online Publication Date: 19 Nov 2018

Volume/Issue: Volume 16: Issue 2

Abstract: For the first time, we provide a comprehensive and annotated list of 74 certain, likely, and possible Greek loanwords in Samaritan Aramaic, paying due attention to the variegated distribution of the loans in the different textual genres and chronological stages of the dialect. Greek loanwords in Jewish and Christian Palestinian Aramaic as well as Rabbinic Hebrew are compared throughout. The study provides insights into the contact situation of Greek and Samaritan Aramaic in Late Antique Palestine. An appendix contains short discussions of 22 additional lexical items for which a Greek etymon has been proposed erroneously.


Legal Innovation in the Samaritan Pentateuch’s Covenant Code

in The Authority of Law in the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism 11 Sep 2018 Vol: 187

Author: Jonathan Vroom


[PDF] Mas1o Papyrus Paleo Fragment (" Mount Gerizim")

EJ Wilson, DK Geilman -


Das jhwh -Heiligtum am Garizim: ein archäologischer Befund und seine literar- und theologiegeschichtliche Einordnung

Author: Benedikt Hensel Affiliation: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz


Edition/Format: Article

Publication: Vetus Testamentum, v68 n1 (2018112): 73-93

Summary: No later than the midst of the 5th century the recently discovered sanctuary on Mt.Gerizim was the cultic center of the Samarian Yhwh -worshippers, later known as the Samaritans. The sanctuary was in every way comparable to its counterpart in Jerusalem. The author investigates the question why there is so little mentioning of the sanctuary in the Bible at all; only the location “Mount Gerizim” is mentioned a few times in the Tora. Albeit its obvious absence in the texts, there seem to be several, enciphered mentions of the Samaria sanctuary in the later part of the (Judean) canon (Ketubim and Nebi’im). Altogether they criticize the cult on Mt.Gerizim in this very indirect way. The author explores the texts 2 Kön 17,24-41 and 2 Chr 13 as examples for this enciphering and outlines the character of these polemics and the ideological-theological interest of the Judean authors.


La Samarie, la Diaspora et l'achèvement de la Torah: Territorialités et internationalités dans l'Hexateuque

Author: Nocquet, Dany R

Publisher: Academic Press / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2017

Edition/Format:  Downloadable archival material : French

Summary: L’ouvrage propose une enquête sur les représentations de la territorialité en dehors de la Judée et sur les relations avec les peuples entourant Israël. Les mentions de Sichem, Béthel, des territoires de la Transjordanie, d’Edom, de la Philistie et d’Égypte y sont étudiées attentivement. Cette recherche conduit au constat d’une représentation largement positive de ces territoires et de ces peuples depuis la Genèse jusqu’à Josué. Ces présentations xénophiles et reconnaissantes des autres populations et pays voisins proviennent de milieux producteurs liés aux communautés yahwistes de Samarie ainsi que de la Diaspora de la fin de l’époque perse et du début de la période hellénistique. Prenant en compte les données archéologiques, et en particulier la présence sur le mont Garizim d’un temple yahwiste de la fin du 5ème siècle av. J.-C., l’étude mesure les conséquences littéraires et historiques qu’impliquent de telles représentations pour les notions de pays promis, d’élection, et pour l’achèvement de la Torah.



Holy Land Digital Image Collections at Penn Libraries


“Palestine Exploration Fund No. 222" ; also "P.E.F. No. 222 Catalogue p.[60]



New Publications:

Samaritan Pentateuch Manuscripts, Two First-Hand Accounts

Series: Analecta Gorgiana

By Scott W. Watson

Aims and Scope: The three essays in this volume address the physical, historical and literary features of what were at the time two of the very earliest clearly datable manuscripts of the Pentateuch known to exist.

Gorgias Press

To be published: January 2019

ISBN 978-1-4632-1480-7

Details: 59 pages

Language: English



Routledge Handbook of Minorities in the Middle East

Edited by Paul S. Rowe

London: Routledge July 1, 2018

Chapter 17, by Monika Schreiber, p. 225-239

Abstract: The Samaritans, an ethno-religious group with roots in antiquity, represent the smallest religious minority in the modern Middle East, with overall population numbers ranging below 800 at the time of this writing. At present, they dwell exclusively in two demarcated residential centers: on their sanctuary Mount Gerizim right above the Palestinian town of Nablus, which has been their traditional hometown until the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987, and in Holon, a former “development town” on the southern edge of the Tel Aviv area in Israel, where a separate Samaritan neighborhood was founded in the early 1950s. Regarding language and a wide array of social values, food preferences, and other everyday habits, the Nablus Samaritans are clearly an Arab society. The Holon Samaritans, on the other hand, speak Modern Israeli Hebrew and have absorbed much of the daily culture of Israel. Generally though, the linguistic-cultural distinction between the two halves of the community is not easy to draw. The Holonites have preserved a great deal of their Arab cultural legacy, while most Samaritans of Nablus, owing to the community’s close political ties with Israel, are well familiar with modern Israeli culture (Figure 17.1).


The Samaritans in Historical, Cultural and Linguistic Perspectives

Ed. By Jan Dusek

Series: Studia Samaritana 11 Studia Judaica 110

Oct. 2018

xiv, 341 pages

20 Fig.

Language: English

Aims and Scope

The volume contributes to the knowledge of the Samaritan history, culture and linguistics. Specialists of various fields of research bring a new look on the topics related to the Samaritans and the Hebrew and Arabic written sources, to the Samaritan history in the Roman-Byzantine period as well as to the contemporary issues of the Samaritan community.


Leviticus: Volume III

by Stefan Schorch (Editor)

A critical edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch is one of the most urgent desiderata of Hebrew Bible research. The present volume on Leviticus is the first out of a series of five meant to fill this gap. The text from the oldest manuscripts of the SP is continuously accompanied by comparative readings, gathered from the Samaritan Targum and the oral reading, as well as MT, the DSS, and the LXX, creating an indispensable resource for Biblical research.

Print Length: 251 pages

Publisher: De Gruyter

Publication Date: July 2018

Language: English, Hebrew


The Bible, Qumran, and the Samaritans

Series: Studia Samaritana 10 Ed.

by Kartveit, Magnar / Knoppers, Gary N.

Aims and Scope: Discoveries on Mount Gerizim and in Qumran demonstrate that the final editing of the Hebrew Bible coincides with the emergence of the Samaritans as one of the different types of Judaisms from the last centuries BCE. This book discusses this new scholarly situation. Scholars working with the Bible, especially the Pentateuch, and experts on the Samaritans approach the topic from the vantage point of their respective fields of expertise. Earlier, scholars who worked with Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies mostly could May / June 2018 16 leave the Samaritan material to experts in that area of research, and scholars studying the Samaritan material needed only sporadically to engage in Biblical studies. This is no longer the case: the pre-Samaritan texts from Qumran and the results from the excavations on Mount Gerizim have created an area of study common to the previously separated fields of research. Scholars coming from different directions meet in this new area, and realize that they work on the same questions and with much common material. This volume presents the current state of scholarship in this area and the effects these recent discoveries have for an understanding of this important epoch in the development of the Bible.

Publisher: De Gruyter

Publication Date: July 2018, 214 pages English


Books by Benyamim Tsedaka

A Complete Commentary on the Torah

We are pleased to announce that A.B. Institute of Samaritan Studies is completing preparations for the publication of my fourth major life project, A Complete Commentary On The Torah, based on the Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah as it has been delivered for the past 125 generations, since it was originally written by Mooshee Ban ’Aamraam [Moses ben ‘Amram] the Prophet of all prophets.

Understanding the Israelite-Samaritans

The first publication in English - concentrated information on the Israelite Samaritans - From Ancient to Modern by Benyamim Tsedaka


See his selection of Samaritan writings


Also Subscribe to the A.B. The Samaritan News

See details at


Samaritan Torah Scroll at the Museum of the Bible


Collection ID SCR.004821

Type Scroll

Date ca. 1160

Geography Nablus

Language Samaritan Hebrew

Medium Parchment, ink

Dimensions 14 × 220 in. (35.6 × 558.8 cm)


Description: For over 2,500 years the Samaritans, a Jewish sect that emerged in the Second Temple Period, have revered the Torah. In fact, the Torah (or Pentateuch) is the only part of the Jewish scriptures that Samaritans use for worship. This scroll was likely written by the scribe Shalmah Ben Abraham around 1160 in Nablus, where many Samaritans still live. It contains Genesis 1:1–Exodus 9:35 in the Samaritan script and is one of the oldest surviving Torah scrolls from the Samaritan religious tradition.


Provenance: Created in Israel ca. 1160 by Shalmah Ben Abraham.[1] Acquired between ca. 1918 and ca. 1932 by David Solomon Sassoon;[2] By descent in 1942 to his son Solomon David Sassoon; Purchased at auction in 1984 by the Valmadonna Trust Library (Jack V. Lunzer);[3] Purchased at auction in 2015 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;[4] Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible.

Notes: [1] While there is no surviving scribal colophon for this scroll, Samaritan scholar Stefan Schorch has matched this script with another surviving Samaritan scroll containing an embedded colophon with the name of the scribe Shalmah Ben Abraham (The Valmadonna Trust Library sale, Sotheby’s New York, 22 December 2015, Lot 1). [2] Though the exact date of acquisition is unknown, we can determine an approximate date of purchase between 1918 and 1932. In the preface of his catalog “Ohel Dawid,” David Sassoon mentions that he acquired a majority of his manuscripts after World War I. Also, since it is present in the catalog, we know he acquired the scroll before it was published in 1932 (“Ohel Dawid” 1:xii and “Ohel Dawid,” no. 734, 2:603). [3] The David Solomon Sassoon sale, Sotheby's New York, 4 December 1984, Lot 94. [4] The Valmadonna Trust Library sale, Sotheby’s New York, 22 December 2015, Lot 1.


Selected References: 
David Stern, "The Jewish Bible: A Material History" (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017). 

David Solomon Sassoon, "Ohel Dawid, Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts," vol. 2 (London: Oxford University Press, 1932).


Call For Papers 2019 International Meeting Rome Italy



Zohar Hadromi-Allouche

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—foregrounded in the academic study of the treatment of characters across texts and traditions—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: Animals have been part of the religious landscape of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions since the very beginning. However, the humanimal relationship can take a variety of forms. For example, Genesis 1 has humans govern over animals; In Genesis 2 God creates animals as help mates for the human, hence equal?; and in Genesis 3 one animal, the snake, proves superior to humans, at least in terms of knowledge. Throughout the three traditions, the enduring tension between humans and animals endures, as the divine, animal, and human realms encroach onto one another: Whereas in the Torah God makes Balaam’s she-ass speaks in a human tongue, in the gospels pigs are possessed by demons; and in the Quran humans become apes and pigs. The place of animals in the three traditions, their status, functions, and relationship with humans on the one hand and God on the other, will be discussed in the seminar this year.


ARAMAIC STUDIES 2019 Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA

Tawny L. Holm

Ute Possekel

Description: The Aramaic studies section is intended to provide a forum for scholars interested in various aspects of Aramaic language. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic. 

Call for papers: The Aramaic Studies Section invites papers on any aspect of Aramaic language, texts, and culture. We welcome presentations on Targumim, Qumran Aramaic texts, Syriac language and literature, Samaritan papyri, Elephantine Aramaic, magical texts, and other topics. For the 2019 meeting we are also planning a joint session with SBL's International Syriac Language Project, as well as an independent thematic session on women, gender, and family in Aramaic.





Akhiezer, Golda

“Between Samaritans and Karaites: Abraham Firkovich and His Perception of Samaritanism”, Jan Dusek (ed.) The Samaritans in Historical, Cultural and Linguistic Perspectives, Studia Samaritana 11, Studia Judaica 110 (2018):235–244.


Blyth, Estelle

‘The Samaritans’ in The Near East, No. 571 Vol XXI, April 20, 1922 p. 531-533; No. 572 Vol XXI, April 27, 1922.


Bourgel, Jonathan

"The Samaritans in the Eyes of the Romans: The Discovery of an Identity", Cathedra 144 (2012), 7-20 יונתן בורגל השומרונים בראי הרומאים והשפעת השלטון הרומי על היחסים בין יהודים לשומרונים (Hebrew)


Knoppers, Gary

How It Began and Did Not End: The History of Samari(t)an and Judean Relations in Antiquity  Conversations–PEGLMBS 35 (2015) 181–88.


The Northern Context of the Law-Code in Deuteronomy Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 4 (2015) 162–83


No # Parallel Torahs and Inner-Scriptual Interpretation: The jewish and Samaritan Pentateuchs in Historical Perspective


Samaritan Conceptions of jewish Origins and Jewish Conceptions of Samaritan Origins: Any Common Ground? Die Samaritaner und die Bibel: Die Samaritaner in der biblischen Tradition—die jüdische und frühchristliche Geschichte in samaritanischen Quellen, ed. Jörg Frey, Ursula Schattner-Rieser, and Konrad Schmid; Studia Samaritana 7; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012) 81–118


What has Mt. Zion to do with Mt. Gerizim? A Study in Early Relations between the Jews and the Samaritans in the Persian Period. In Bulletin of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies/Le société canadienne des études bibliques 64 (2004–5) 5–32; Manu secunda, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 34/3-4 (2005) 307–36.


Pummer, Reinhard

Was There an Altar or a Temple in the Sacred Precinct on Mt. Gerizim?

Abstract: After the recent excavations by Itzhak Magen on the main summit of Mount Gerizim it has become clear that the Samari(t)an sanctuary stood within a sacred precinct in the Persian and Hellenistic times. So far, no direct evidence of the nature of the sanctuary has been unearthed. The excavator and many contemporary scholars assume it was a temple building. However, some scholars question the accuracy of this assumption and believe that the sanctuary more likely was an altar. This paper reviews both the arguments that speak for an altar and those that speak for a walled and roofed temple. Keywords Samaritans – Mount Gerizim – sanctuary – temple – altar In the 1970s it appeared that the Samaritan sanctuary had been discovered on Tell er-Ras, the lower summit (831 m above sea level) of Mt. Gerizim. According to Robert Bull, the large cube of stones excavated by him and called "Building B" was the Samaritan altar of sacrifice1 or the Samaritan temple.2

Volume: 47, Page Numbers: 1-21, Publication Date: 2016

Publication Name: Journal for the Study of Judaism


Vasilyeva, Olga (National Library of Russia)

Documents in the Firkovich Collection: Valuable Sources on the History of the Jewish Communities in Europe and the Middle East from the 12th to the 19th century. Karaite Archives 2 (2014), pp. 201–220


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