The Samaritan Update

December 7th 2001

Osher has been busy upgrading our web site,

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A Review of the Dec. 2001 Issue of the

National Geographic Magazine

Concerning the Samaritans.

   There has not been an article on the Samaritans in the National Geographic magazine since the January 1920. This month’s issue of Tad Szulc’s article entitled, “Abraham, Journey of Faith,” displays a full two-page (pages 112-113) photo. The photo is the tannurin, a ground oven with its red-hot ashes. A round the top perimeter stands a few of the Samaritans preparing to place the meat offering into the oven. None of the Samaritan’s faces are shown, just the heads of the three sheep. The photo appears to have been taken with a type of red lens filter enhancing the appearance. This will most likely be repulsive to the readers of the magazine when they view the photo.  I have seen the reaction myself. Of all the photos taken at the Passover sacrificed by the magazine’s photographer, this particular photo does no honor to the Samaritans. The author Tad Szulc was gracious enough to write three full sentences as a caption for the photo. Other than that, there is no mention of the Samaritans or the Passover on Gerizim in the entire article.

    Our website,, however can be found as a related link to the article on the National Geographic website. It would have been wonderful to find an article like the January 1920 issue but this current issue does give the readers some knowledge of the Samaritans. Only inquiring minds will venture into researching the Samaritans and we hope they find our website on the net.  We would love to hear your comments on the article.                                      Shomron.  

The Society of Samaritan Studies will be soon adding three new members to the council.

Council members have the right to elect new members. The status of the three new members are yet undetermined. A great number of the applicants are beyond the interest of Samaritan studies. Fourteen of the founder members are still included in the council today.  The society was fashioned in 1985 to research Samaritan history, writings and life style. Yet today there are still no apparent guiding principles concerning the hosts of the future congresses. Five international congresses have been held previously. Disagreements continue over the societies finances, which may result in new financial regulations to appear in the near future for the society and members benefit. The whole conception of the Society still remains but with its trails.

Samaritan Weekday Morning Prayer:

   When you arise in the morning and see the light has come up and is illuminating all the world, cry out all of you and say: Praised be the Light who for the world kindled a lamp which never grows dim. It passes through the firmament and lightens the entire world at the order of the Lord of all. He kindled for the world, a lamp that never grows dim. In the beginning a storehouse was made for the lights, heaven and earth, the structure of which not being the sons of the great light is like the foundation. Light proclaims to the children of men; Rise from your sleep, see the light and praise it’s Maker; Let God be praised. There is no God but One.


New at


The Book of Enlightenment

For the Instruction of the Inquirer

By Jacob, Son of Aaron,

You’ll enjoy reading the Samaritan High Priest’s answers to questions that have been frequently asked over the years!


And also read the recent addition to the achives:

The Samaritan Chronicle Or

The Book of Joshua, the son of Nun.


Translated from the Arabic, with notes by Oliver Turnbull Crane, M.A.

Read the Samaritan History of the Israelites!

Mount Gerizim, The One True Sanctuary

By Jacob, son of Aaron, High Priest of the Samaritans



   The Samaritan people, in the first place, declare that, as a matter of fact and viewed from a rational standpoint, the best knowledge is to know the Creator (who is exalted above all); and the best action is to worship him (who is exalted); for by both of these every being is ennobled. And, as the result of the diligent inquiry of thinking people, they have been led to the conviction that the maker of the world is the Ancient One, whose worship shall be binding, and whose unity should be made evident. The spiritual angels left their abode on high and descended earthward upon that sacred spot wherein appeared his worship (who is exalted), and the belief in his oneness. The spot became, on that account, highly exalted, and quite distinct from every other on the whole earth. This distinction and explanation are satisfactory to thinking minds.

Read all of Jacob’s writings found in our archive section at our website:

The Samaritan Hebrew Sources of The Arabic Book of Joshua

By Moses Gaster

[Reprinted from the JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY, July, 1930, pp. 567-99.]


   In 1848 Juynboll published the Arabic text with a Latin translation and elaborate introduction of a Samaritan work, which he called the Samaritan Chronicle. He printed it from a MS. in the Leyden library deposited there by Scaliger; this MS. belonged to the fourteenth century. It was written by two hands, the second part being of a somewhat later date. Juynboll was quite justified in calling it a chronicle, although the largest part of the MS. consists of the book of Joshua. It is a paraphrase of the book of Joshua of the Jewish Bible, containing chiefly the first chapters to which various legendary stories had been added. It starts with the appointment of Joshua as successor to Moses, in the latter’s lifetime, then the history of Baleam, slightly differing from the record in the Bible, then also two different recensions of the death of Moses are given, after which, with a special heading, the book of Joshua begins. At the end of it the history is continued; it is very fragmentary. Within a very brief space of the Exile, under Bokht Nasar- the Arabic form for Nebuchadnezzer- is told, and then it is continued in the same brief form down to the time of Baba Rabba- second or third century- the great hero of Samaritan history. The Samaritans considered him as the one who had been able to throw off the yoke of the foreign rulers and to obtain for them a certain amount of political liberty.

   Judging the book by this chapter, Juynboll rightly calls it a chronicle and this description agrees with that given by the Samaritans themselves to their history. To the Samaritans the Pentateuch stands by itself. It is their only Holy Book. With the death of Moses begins, as it were, the secular history. Whatever happens hereafter and has been confined to writing is no more treated as sacred scripture. Their own history begins thus with the entry of Joshua into Canaan, and is continued by their chronicles by adding the record of contemporary events to those recorded before. It is quite in the style of all the oriental and medieval chronicles. The old remains intact. Every subsequent chronicle is thus more or less a continuation, sometimes more elaborate, sometimes more limited, but the old material remains unchanged, and, therefore, this Arabic book of Joshua could also be called a chronicle.

   Juynboll, who has written a very important introduction examining the book from every point of view, especially the philological, has never as much as touched upon the sources of this compilation. It may not have struck him that the book may have been a translation from an older Samaritan one. At his time very little was known of the Samaritan literature; with the exception of a few MSS. in Leyden and in London no sources were then available, and, therefore, the question was not even raised. Matters have changed very considerably since. I have been able to obtain a very large number of MSS.- most of them now in my collection in the British Museum- and also much information from the Samaritans which was unavailable then. The problem, therefore, can now be raised with the hope of reaching some satisfactory solution; it would also throw light on the Samaritan Hebrew book of Joshua, but of this I will refrain for the time being, and keep strictly to the question of the sources of the Arabic story.


This article will soon appear in its complete form in our archives section

at our website:

The Names of Har Gerizim According to the book of Memar Marguah II.

  1. Mountain of the East (Gen. 10:30)
  2. Bethel (Gen. 12:8)
  3. House of God (Gen. 28:17)
  4. Gate of Heaven (Gen. 28:17)
  5. Luzah (Gen. 28:19)
  6. A Sanctuary (Exod. 15:17)
  7. Mount Gerizim (Deut. 11:29)
  8. House of the Lord (Exod. 23:19, 34:26)
  9. The Goodly Mount (Deut. 3:25)
  10. The Chosen Place (Deut. 12:11)
  11. The Everlasting Hill (Deut. 33:15 SP)
  12. One of the Mountains (Gen. 22:2)
  13. The Lord will Provide (gen. 22:14)

The Head of the Tenth month begins on of the Fifteenth of December

as prescribed in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible)

Questions concerning the Samaritans

What is the Samaritan Calendar like?

  The Samaritan Calendar has been handed down from the beginning of time. Samaritan sources reveal that the calendar was given to Adam and passed on through Shem, Eber, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and finally Moses whom informed Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson who informed his sons, where as it still exists today in its proper form. The Calendar is based on a lunisolar system composing 354 days. Each month is still designated by numbers as the Torah shows them, “in the first month,” “in the second month,” etc. The Samaritans still keep also the Jubilee year as prescribed in the Torah. The days of the week are also described in the same manner, first day, second day, etc. Each day begins from evening and ends the next evening. For further reading see The Samaritans, edited by Alan D. Crown, Tubingen: Mohr, 1989, chapter XI. The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology by Sylvia Powels. The ISBN number for this book is 3-16-145237-2.


Written material from 1907-1908 by Jacob ben Aaron, the Samaritan High Priest. I cannot locate “Circumcision Among the Samaritans,” “The Messianic Hope of the Samaritans,” and “The Samaritan Sabbath.” Any help would be appreciated to finish my collection of his works. Please contact Shomron at .

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SIDDUR HATFILOT, Prayers for all year round according to the Samaritan customs. The prayers are written in Samaritan script (old Hebrew script). The title pages are in Hebrew. The book was copied and translated by Israel Tsedaka. This book was printed in Israel in 1961. In very good condition. Binding is in very good condition too. 17x24.5 cm. price: $80.00 US dollars, large and thick book, so S&H will cost another $15.00. Contact Chani Kaarlinsky:

PRAYERS FOR THE FESTIVALS, written in Hebrew by Israel Tsedaka, $50.00 US dollars, plus shipping, Contact Chani Kaarlinsky:


Thank you!

   Osher and Larry would like to thank you for visiting the website, in the past and hope you visit us again real soon. We ask you to forward this Update to your friends. The purpose at our website is the education of the existence and history of the Samaritan-Israelites, descendants of the ancient Kingdom of Israel.  Answering questions from surfers will always be our top priority of our site. We try to maintain articles and websites related to the Samaritan-Israelites on the web. Many gracious scholars have permitted us to exhibit their related articles. We try to continue our archives of articles to be the best location on the net for the advancement of Samaritan-Israelite studies in Hebrew as well as English. Recently we have been working on expanding our website. We do hope you enjoy visiting our site and recommend it to your friends. Again we thank you for visiting us at Take care and may you be blessed from the Holy One from above.

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