HOME

TheInfoList




Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an
ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who are unified by a common Religion, religious and ethnic group, ethnic background. Furthermore, the term ethno-religious group, along wi ...
originating from the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
of historical
Israel and Judah The Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were two related Israelites, Israelite kingdoms from the Archaeology of Israel#Iron Age/Israelite period, Iron Age period of the ancient Southern History of the ancient ...
. They are native to the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
and adhere to
Samaritanism The Samaritan religion, also known as Samaritanism, is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a so ...
, an
Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship o ...

Abrahamic
,
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
and
ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...
in the
Holy Land The Holy Land (: , la, Terra Sancta; : or ) is an area roughly located between the and the Eastern Bank of the . Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical and with the . The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory ro ...

Holy Land
. Some Samaritan groups exist elsewhere: in Brazil, Cuba, Spain, Catania, Sicily, Thailand, the United States, Canada, and other places. They call themselves "Shomrey HaTorah" or "Keepers of the Torah", and they observe most Samaritan practices and rituals such as the Sabbath, ritual purity, and keeping of the festivals of
Samaritanism The Samaritan religion, also known as Samaritanism, is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a so ...
outside the
Holy Land The Holy Land (: , la, Terra Sancta; : or ) is an area roughly located between the and the Eastern Bank of the . Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical and with the . The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory ro ...

Holy Land
with some exceptions in regards to the Passover sacrificial lamb which can only be observed at Mount Gerizim with members being of
Abrahamic faiths The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship of ...

Abrahamic faiths
, Bnei Anusim,
Lost Tribes of Israel The ten lost tribes were the ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel that were said to have been deported from the Kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire ( Assyrian cuneiform: ''mat Aš-šur KI' ...
and ethnically Jewish in origin. Samaritans believe that their religion is based exclusively on
the five books of Moses
the five books of Moses
given to the Israelites on
Mount Sinai Mount Sinai ( he , הר סיני ''Har Sinai''; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its ...

Mount Sinai
. The Samaritan Torah is different from the Jewish Torah or the
Masoretic Text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נוסח המסורה, Nusakh Ham'mas'sora) is the authoritative Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic languag ...
; according to the account of a High Priest of the Samaritans, the Jewish text was fabricated by
Ezra and Nehemiah Ezra (; he, עֶזְרָא, '; fl. 480–440 BCE), also called Ezra the Scribe (, ') and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra, was a Jewish scribe (''sofer'') and priest (''kohen''). In Ancient Greek, Greco-Latin Ezra is called Esdras ( grc-gre, ...
. There exists a Samaritan book of Joshua which accounts for the entrance of
Joshua Bin Nun Joshua () or Jehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhôšuaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ ''Joshua#In Islam, Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Ios ...

Joshua Bin Nun
and the Israelites into the
Land of Caanan
Land of Caanan
; the Israelite Samaritan version of Joshua's book is not considered to be part of the biblical canon which consists solely of the
five books of Moses
five books of Moses
. The Samaritan version of the book of Joshua is not the same as the
Jewish Scripture The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, ...
's version of Joshua, due to the
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages o ...

Tanakh
version's focus on Shiloh and not Mount Gerizim, which is viewed by Samaritans as the Sacred Place where Moses's
Tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclus ...

Tabernacle
was placed and remained for 260 years until the time of Divine Disfavor. Samaritans believe that
Samaritanism The Samaritan religion, also known as Samaritanism, is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a so ...
is the true religion of the ancient Israelites, preserved by those who remained in the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
during the
Babylonian captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
; this belief is held in opposition to
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
, the ethnic religion of the
Jewish people Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew characters into Latin alphabet, La ...

Jewish people
, which Samaritans see as a closely-related but altered and amended religion brought back by those returning from captivity in
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
under the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
. The Samaritan people believe that
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
is the original holiest place for the Israelites since the time of
Creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came t ...
, the
Patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, ...
,
Mosaic Covenant The Mosaic covenant (named after Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, Hebrew romanization, romanized: ''Mōshé'', ISO 259#ISO 259-3, ISO 259-3: '; syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, '. (), also known as Moshe Rabbenu ...
and
Joshua's conquest
Joshua's conquest
before the establishment of Jerusalem's Temple under the Davidic and Solomonic rule, and it is commonly taught in Samaritan tradition that there are 13 names of Mount Gerizim in the Torah (Pentateuch) to prove their claim, in contrast to Judaism which relies solely on the later Jewish prophets and writings to back their claims. Consequently, their views differ from Jewish belief regarding the holiest site on
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
to worship
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...
: designated by Judaism as the
Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in Jerusalem), known to Muslims as the (Arabic: , , "the Noble Sanctuary", or , , "the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem") and the Compound, is a hill i ...

Temple Mount
in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, but by Samaritanism as Mount Gerizim near
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
which is Biblical
Shechem Shechem (), also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם, , , ; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, i ...

Shechem
. Initially a large community, the Samaritan population shrunk significantly in the wake of the bloody suppression of the Samaritan Revolts (mainly in 525 CE and 555 CE) against the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
; conversions to
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
under the Byzantines and later to
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
following the
Muslim conquest of the Levant The Muslim conquest of the Levant ( ar, اَلْـفَـتْـحُ الْإٍسْـلَامِيُّ لِـلـشَّـامِ, ''Al-Fatḥ ul-Islāmiyyu lish-Shām''), also known as the Arab conquest of the Levant ( ar, اَلْـفَـتْـحُ ...
also reduced their numbers.M. Levy-Rubin, "New evidence relating to the process of Islamization in Palestine in the Early Muslim Period - The Case of Samaria", in: ''Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient'', 43 (3), pp. 257–276, 2000,
Springer Springer or springers may refer to: Places ;United States * Springer, New Mexico Springer is a town A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a fi ...
Fattal, A. (1958). ''Le statut légal des non-Musulman en pays d'Islam'', Beyrouth: Imprimerie Catholique, pp. 72–73. By the mid-
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, the Jewish writer and explorer
Benjamin of Tudela Benjamin of Tudela ( he, בִּנְיָמִין מִטּוּדֶלָה, ; ar, بنيامين التطيلي ''Binyamin al-Tutayli'';‎ TudelaTudela may refer to: *Tudela, Navarre, a town and municipality in northern Spain ** Benjamin of Tudel ...

Benjamin of Tudela
estimated that only around 1,900 Samaritans remained in
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
. Presently, the total population of the Samaritans stands at less than 1,000 people, divided into two communities: one in
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
in the Samaritan village of
Kiryat Luza Kiryat Luza ( ar, قرية لوزة, he, קרית לוזה) is a Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating ...
on the ridge of Mount Gerizim, (not to be confused with the Jewish settlement being
Har Bracha Har Brakha ( he, הַר בְּרָכָה, ''lit.'' Mount Blessing) is an Israeli settlement located on the southern ridge of Mount Gerizim at an elevation of above sea level, in the West Bank's Samarian mountains near Nablus. Har Brakha is ...
) and one in
Holon Holon ( he, חוֹלוֹן ) is a city on the central coastal strip of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִ ...

Holon
in the Samaritan quarter of 15a Ben Amram Street. The Samaritans residing in Kiryat Luza hold both
Israeli citizenship Israeli citizenship law ( he, חוק האזרחות הישראלית) regulates who are and can become citizens Citizenship is the Status (law), status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belon ...
and Palestinian citizenship .Samaritan , Jerusalem Cinematheque
/ref> Samaritans in Holon primarily speak
Israeli Hebrew Israeli may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the State of Israel * Israelis, citizens or permanent residents of the State of Israel * Modern Hebrew, a language * ''Israeli'' (newspaper), published from 2006 to 2008 See also * Isr ...
, while those in Kiryat Luza speak
Levantine Arabic Levantine Arabic, also called Shami (autonym Autonym may refer to: * Autonym, the name used by a person to refer to themselves or their language; see Exonym and endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is ...
; for
liturgical Liturgy is the customary public worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually directed towards a deity. For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a god. An act of worship ma ...
purposes,
Samaritan Hebrew Samaritan Hebrew () is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating ...
and
Samaritan Aramaic Samaritan Aramaic, or ''Samaritan'', was the dialect of Aramaic language, Aramaic used by the Samaritans in their sacred and scholarly literature. This should not be confused with the Samaritan Hebrew language of the Scriptures. Samaritan Aram ...
are used, written in the
Samaritan script The Samaritan script is used by the Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an ethnoreligious group originating from the Is ...
. Samaritans have a standalone religious status in Israel, and there are occasional conversions from Judaism to Samaritanism and vice-versa, largely due to
interfaith marriage Interfaith marriage, sometimes called a "mixed marriage", is marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A sp ...
s. While Israel's rabbinic authorities consider Samaritanism to be a sect of Judaism, the
Chief Rabbinate of Israel The Chief Rabbinate of Israel ( he, הָרַבָּנוּת הָרָאשִׁית לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, ''Ha-Rabanut Ha-Rashit Li-Yisra'el'') is recognized by law as the supreme rabbinic authority for Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ...
requires Samaritans to undergo a formal
conversion to Judaism Conversion to Judaism ( he, גיור, ''giyur'') is the process by which non-Jews adopt the Jewish religion Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ...
in order to be officially recognized as Halakhic Jews. A notable example of a Samaritan convert to Judaism is Sofi Tsedaka, an Israeli actress/singer/television presenter who formally adopted the Jewish faith at the age of 18. Samaritans possessing only Israeli citizenship are drafted into the
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; he, צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל ; ), commonly referred to by the Hebrew-language acronym ''Tzahal'' (), are the combined military forces of the Israel, State of Israel, consisting of t ...
, while those holding dual Israeli and Palestinian citizenship in Kiryat Luza are exempted from mandatory military service. According to Rabbinic literature in the polemical book o
Tractate Kutim
Samaritans are rejected amongst them unless they renounce Mount Gerizim as their Holy Site as it is stated: "When may they be received into the Jewish community? When they have renounced Mount Gerizim and acknowledged Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead." Samaritans do accept the
resurrection of the dead General resurrection or universal resurrection is the belief in a resurrection of the dead, or resurrection from the dead (Koine Greek, Koine: , ''anastasis nekron''; literally: "standing up again of the dead") by which most or all people ...
on the basis of Deuteronomy 32 also known as the
Song of Moses The Song of Moses is the name sometimes given to the poem Poetry (derived from the Greek '' poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly f ...
and have the tradition by their sage
MarqahThe ''Memar Marqah'', or ''The teaching of Marqah'', is a Samaritan homiletic tractate.A. D. A. Moses Matthew's Transfiguration Story and Jewish-Christian Controversy 1850755760- 1996 "His departure is very much like an assumption or ascension story ...
.


Etymology

There is conflict over the etymology of the name for the Samaritans in Hebrew, stemming from the fact that they are referred to differently in different dialects of Hebrew. This has accompanied controversy over whether the Samaritans are named after the geographic area of
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
(the northern part of what is now globally known as the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
), or whether the area received its name from the group. This distinction is controversial in part because different interpretations can be used to justify or deny claims of ancestry over this region, which has been deeply contested in modern times. In
Samaritan Hebrew Samaritan Hebrew () is a reading tradition used liturgically by the Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating ...
, the Samaritans call themselves ''Shamerim'' (שַמֶרִים), which according to the Anchor Bible Dictionary, is derived from the Ancient Hebrew term meaning 'Guardians/Keepers/Watchers f_the_Torah/Law.html"_;"title="Torah.html"_;"title="f_the_Torah">f_the_Torah/Law">Torah.html"_;"title="f_the_Torah">f_the_ f_the_Torah/Law.html"_;"title="Torah.html"_;"title="f_the_Torah">f_the_Torah/Law">Torah.html"_;"title="f_the_Torah">f_the_Torah/Law. Biblical_Hebrew">Torah">f_the_Torah/Law.html"_;"title="Torah.html"_;"title="f_the_Torah">f_the_Torah/Law">Torah.html"_;"title="f_the_Torah">f_the_Torah/Law. Biblical_Hebrew_''Šomerim''_(_ar.html" ;"title="Torah/Law. Biblical_Hebrew.html" ;"title="Torah">f_the_Torah/Law.html" ;"title="Torah.html" ;"title="f the Torah">f the Torah/Law">Torah.html" ;"title="f the Torah">f the Torah/Law. Biblical Hebrew">Torah">f_the_Torah/Law.html" ;"title="Torah.html" ;"title="f the Torah">f the Torah/Law">Torah.html" ;"title="f the Torah">f the Torah/Law. Biblical Hebrew ''Šomerim'' ( ar">السامريون, al-Sāmiriyyūn) 'Guardians' (singular ''Šomer'') comes from the Hebrew Semitic root שמר, which means 'to watch, guard'. Historically, Samaria was the key geographical concentration of the Samaritan community. Thus, it may suggest the region of Samaria is named after the Samaritans, rather than the Samaritans being named after the region. In Jewish tradition, however, it is sometimes claimed that Mount Samaria, meaning 'Watch Mountain', is actually named so because watchers used to watch from those mountains for approaching armies from Egypt in ancient times. In Modern Hebrew, the Samaritans are called he, , Shomronim, which would appear to simply mean 'inhabitants of Samaria'. This is a politically sensitive distinction. That the etymology of the Samaritans' ethnonym in Samaritan Hebrew is derived from ''Guardians/Keepers/Watchers f the Law/Torah', as opposed to Samaritans being named after the region of Samaria, has in history been supported by a number of Christian Church fathers, including
Epiphanius of Salamis Epiphanius of Salamis ( grc-gre, Ἐπιφάνιος; c. 310–320 – 403) was the bishop of Salamis, Cyprus Salamis ( grc, Σαλαμίς, el, Σαλαμίνα, tr, Salamis) is an ancient Greek city-state A city-state is an independe ...
in the ''
Panarion In early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christianity, Christian religion, Christendom, Christian countries, and the Christian Church, Church with its various Christian denomination, denominations, from the Christianity in ...
'',
Jerome Jerome (; la, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Christian priest A priest is a religious leader authoriz ...

Jerome
and
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου) ...

Eusebius
in the ''
ChroniconIn historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers ho ...

Chronicon
'' and
Origen Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Coptic language, Coptic: Ϩⲱⲣⲓⲕⲉⲛ Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 184 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an ...

Origen
in ''The Commentary on Saint John's Gospel'', and in some
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
ic commentary of
Tanhuma Midrash Tanhuma ( he, מִדְרָשׁ תַּנְחוּמָא) is the name given to three different collections of Pentateuch The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebr ...
on Genesis 31, and
Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer, Aramaic Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Imperial Aramaic: ; square script ) is a language that originated among the Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic language, ...
38, p. 21.


Origins

Ancestrally, Samaritans claim descent from the
tribe of Ephraim According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a ...

tribe of Ephraim
and
tribe of Manasseh According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusiv ...
(two sons of
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in th ...
) as well as from the
Levite A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish male who claims Patrilineality, patrilineal descent from the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob (Bible), Jacob and Leah. The surname ''Halevi'', which consists of the ...
s, who have links to ancient
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
(now constituting the majority of the territory known as the West Bank) from the period of their entry into
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, while some Orthodox Jews suggest that it was from the beginning of the Babylonian captivity up to the Samaritan polity under the rule of
Baba Rabba Baba Rabba (Samaritan Aramaic: ࠁࠢࠁࠢࠀ ࠓࠠࠁࠠࠄ ''bābāʾ råbbå'', Samaritan Hebrew: ࠁࠢࠁࠢࠀ ࠄࠣࠂࠟࠃࠅࠫࠋ ''bābāʾ ʾagā̊dōl''; literally "Great Father"), was among the greatest of the Samaritan High Pri ...
. There were Samaritans from the
tribe of Benjamin According to the Torah, the Tribe of Benjamin () was one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The tribe was descended from Benjamin, the youngest son of the patriarch Jacob (later given the name Israel) and his wife Rachel. In the Samaritan Pentateuch ...

tribe of Benjamin
until 1968. According to Samaritan tradition, the split between them and the
Judean Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
-led Southern Israelites began during the biblical time of the priest
Eli Eli most commonly refers to: * Eli (name) Eli as a name can have two different meanings, both originating in the Hebrew Bible. Eli can be a masculine given name of Hebrew language, Hebrew origin, from Biblical "ascent", spelled with the Hebrew ...
when the Southern Israelites split off from the central Israelite tradition. In the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
, a central post-exilic religious text of
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century Common era, CE, after the codification of ...
, the Samaritans are called ''
Cuthites The Cuthites is a name describing a people said by the Old Testament and Josephus to be living in Samaria Samaria (; he, שֹׁמְרוֹן, Standard ', Tiberian ''Šōmərôn''; ar, السامرة, ' – also known as ', "Nablus Mountain ...
'' or Cutheans ( he, כּוּתִים, ''Kutim''), referring to the ancient city of
Kutha Kutha, Cuthah, Cuth or Cutha ( ar, كُوثَا, Sumerian: Gudua), modern Tell Ibrahim ( ar, تَلّ إِبْرَاهِيم), formerly known as Kutha Rabba ( ar, كُوثَىٰ رَبَّا), is an archaeological site An archaeological site is ...
, geographically located in what is today
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
.
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
's ''
Wars of the Jews ''The Jewish War'' or ''Judean War'' (in full ''Flavius Josephus's Books of the History of the Jewish War against the Romans'', el, Φλαυίου Ἰωσήπου ἱστορία Ἰουδαϊκοῦ πολέμου πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ...
'' also refers to the Samaritans as the Cuthites. In the biblical account, however, Kuthah was one of several cities from which people were brought to Samaria, and they worshiped
Nergal Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali (Sumerian: d''KIŠ.UNU'' or ; ; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its lite ...

Nergal
. Modern genetics partially support both the claims of the Samaritans and the account in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
(and Talmud), suggesting that the genealogy of the Samaritans lies in some combination of these two accounts. This suggests that the Samaritans remained a genetically isolated population.Genetics and the Jewish identity
By DIANA MUIR APPELBAUM, PAUL S. APPELBAUM, MD \ 02/11/2008, Jerusalem Post


Samaritan sources

According to Samaritan tradition, Mount Gerizim was the original Holy Place of the Israelites from the time that Joshua conquered Canaan and the tribes of Israel settled the land. The reference to Mount Gerizim derives from the biblical story of Moses ordering Joshua to take the
Twelve Tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religious texts, the descendants of the biblical Patriarchs (Bible), patriarch Jacob, also kno ...
to the mountains by Shechem (
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
) and place half of the tribes, six in number, on Mount Gerizim, the Mount of the Blessing, and the other half on
Mount Ebal Mount Ebal ( ar, جبل عيبال ''Jabal ‘Aybāl''; he, הר עיבל ''Har ‘Eival'') is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the city of Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ...
, the Mount of the Curse. The two mountains were used to symbolize the significance of the commandments and serve as a warning to whoever disobeyed them (Deut. 11:29; 27:12; Josh. 8:33). Samaritans claim they are Israelite descendants of the Northern Israelite tribes of
Ephraim Ephraim (; he, אֶפְרָיִם/, ''ʾEfrayim'') was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), i ...

Ephraim
and
Manasseh Manasses or Manasseh (;churchofjesuschrist ...
, who survived the destruction of the
Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) The Kingdom of Israel () or the Kingdom of Samaria was a kingdom of the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), huma ...
by the
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
ns in 722 BCE. Samaritan historiography places the basic schism from the remaining part of Israel after the tribes of Israel conquered and returned to the land of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, led by Joshua. In its account, after Joshua's death, Eli the priest left the Tabernacle which Moses erected in the desert and established on Mount Gerizim and built another one under his own rule in the hills of Shiloh.
Abu l-Fath Abu'l-Fath ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Samiri al-Danafi, ( ar, أبو الفتح إبن أبي الحسن السامري) was a 14th-century Samaritan chronicler. His major work is ''Kitab al-Ta'rikh'' ( ar, كتاب التاريخ). The work was commissi ...
, who in the 14th century wrote a major work of Samaritan history, comments on Samaritan origins as follows: Further, the ''Samaritan Chronicle Adler'', or New Chronicle, believed to have been composed in the 18th century using earlier chronicles as sources states:


Jewish sources

The emergence of the Samaritans as an ethnic and religious community distinct from other
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
peoples appears to have occurred at some point after the Assyrian conquest of the Israelite Kingdom of Israel in approximately 721 BCE. The records of
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_.ht ...
of
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
indicate that he deported 27,290 inhabitants of the former kingdom. Jewish tradition affirms the Assyrian deportations and replacement of the previous inhabitants by forced resettlement by other peoples but claims a different ethnic origin for the Samaritans. The Talmud accounts for a people called "Cuthim" on a number of occasions, mentioning their arrival by the hands of the Assyrians. According to 2 Kings and
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
, the people of Israel were removed by the king of the Assyrians (
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_.ht ...
) to
Halah Halah (; la, Hala) is a city that is mentioned in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari a ...
, to Gozan on the Khabur River and to the towns of the
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
. The king of the Assyrians then brought people from
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
, Cuthah, Avah, Emath, and
SepharvaimSepharvaim - taken by a king of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ...
to place in Samaria. Because God sent lions among them to kill them, the king of the Assyrians sent one of the priests from Bethel to teach the new settlers about God's ordinances. The eventual result was that the new settlers worshipped both the God of the land and their own gods from the countries from which they came. In the
Chronicles Chronicles may refer to: * ''Books of Chronicles The Book of Chronicles ( he, דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים ) is a Hebrew language, Hebrew prose work constituting part of Judaism, Jewish and Christian scripture. It contains a genealogy s ...
, following Samaria's destruction, King
Hezekiah Hezekiah (; he, חִזְקִיָּהוּ ''H̱īzəqīyyahū''), or Ezekias, ''Ḥazaqia'ú'' 'ḫa-za-qi-a-ú'' el, Ἐζεκίας Septuagint">/nowiki>Septuagint:_Εζεζία.html" ;"title="Septuagint.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Septuagint"> ...

Hezekiah
is depicted as endeavouring to draw the Ephraimites and Manassites closer to
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
. Temple repairs at the time of
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah The Kings of Judah were the monarchs who ruled over the ancient Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 '' ...

Josiah
were financed by money from all "the remnant of Israel" in Samaria, including from Manasseh, Ephraim, and Benjamin. Jeremiah likewise speaks of people from Shekhem, Shiloh, and Samaria who brought offerings of frankincense and grain to the House of YHWH. Chronicles makes no mention of an Assyrian resettlement. Yitzakh Magen argues that the version of Chronicles is perhaps closer to the historical truth and that the Assyrian settlement was unsuccessful, a notable Israelite population remained in Samaria, part of which, following the conquest of Judah, fled south and settled there as refugees. A Midrash (
Genesis Rabbah Genesis Rabbah (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites ...
Sect. 94) relates about an encounter between
Rabbi Meir Rabbi Meir ( he, רַבִּי מֵאִיר) or Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes (Rabbi Meir the miracle maker) was a Jewish sage who lived in the time of the Mishna. He was considered one of the greatest of the Tannaim of the fourth generation (139-163). He ...
and a Samaritan. The story that developed includes the following dialogue:
Rabbi Meir: What tribe are you from? The Samaritan: From Joseph. Rabbi Meir: No! The Samaritan: From which one then? Rabbi Meir: From Issachar. The Samaritan: How do you figure? Rabbi Meir: For it is written (Gen 46:13): The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Iob, and Shimron. These are the Samaritans (shamray).
dates the Assyrian onslaught at 721 BCE to 647 BCE and discusses three waves of imported settlers. He shows that Mesopotamian pottery in Samaritan territory cluster around the lands of Menasheh and that the type of pottery found was produced around 689 BCE. Some date their split with the Jews to the time of
Nehemiah Nehemiah is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work in rebuilding Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. He was governor of Yehud Medinata, Persian Judea under Artaxerxes I of Persia (465–424 BC). The name i ...

Nehemiah
,
Ezra Ezra (; he, עֶזְרָא, '; fl. 480–440 BCE), also called Ezra the Scribe (, ') and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scripture ...

Ezra
, and the building of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
in Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Returning exiles considered the Samaritans to be non-Israelites and, thus, not fit for this religious work. The ''
Encyclopaedia Judaica The ''Encyclopaedia Judaica'' is a 22-volume English-language encyclopedia An encyclopedia (American English), encyclopædia (archaic spelling), or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries ...
'' (under "Samaritans") summarizes both past and present views on the Samaritans' origins. It says: Furthermore, to this day the Samaritans claim descent from the tribe of Joseph:


Dead Sea scrolls

The
Dead Sea scroll The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are ancient Jewish Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religion ...

Dead Sea scroll
4Q372 records hopes that the northern tribes will return to the land of Joseph. The current dwellers in the north are referred to as fools, an enemy people. However, they are not referred to as foreigners. It goes on to say that the Samaritans mocked Jerusalem and built a temple on a high place to provoke Israel.


History


Iron Age

The narratives in Genesis about the rivalries among the twelve sons of Jacob are viewed by some as describing tensions between north and south. They were temporarily united in the
United Monarchy The United Monarchy () is the name given to the united Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near Ea ...
, but after the death of Solomon, the kingdom split in two, the Kingdom of Israel with its last capital city
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...
and the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
with its capital
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
. The
Deuteronomistic history The Deuteronomist, abbreviated as either Dtr or simply D, may refer either to the source document underlying the core chapters (12–26) of the Book of Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos ...
, written in Judah, portrayed Israel as a sinful kingdom, divinely punished for its idolatry and iniquity by being destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 BCE. The tensions continued in the postexilic period. The
Books of Kings A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...
are more inclusive than
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra–Nehemiah ( he, עזרא נחמיה , ') is a book in the Hebrew Bible found in the Ketuvim section, originally with the Hebrew title of Ezra ( he, עזרא, '). The book covers the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 BC to the seco ...
since the ideal is of one Israel with twelve tribes, whereas the
Books of Chronicles The Book of Chronicles ( he, דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים ) is a Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...
concentrate on the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Le ...
and ignore the
Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) The Kingdom of Israel () or the Kingdom of Samaria was a kingdom of the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), huma ...
. The Samaritans claimed that they were the true Israel who were descendants of the "
Ten Lost Tribes The ten lost tribes were the ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel that were said to have been Resettlement policy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, exiled from the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Emp ...
" taken into Assyrian captivity. They had their own sacred precinct on
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
and claimed that it was the original sanctuary. Moreover, they claimed that their version of the Pentateuch was the original and that the Jews had a falsified text produced by
Ezra Ezra (; he, עֶזְרָא, '; fl. 480–440 BCE), also called Ezra the Scribe (, ') and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scripture ...

Ezra
during the Babylonian exile. Both Jewish and Samaritan religious leaders taught that it was wrong to have any contact with the opposite group, and neither was to enter the other's territories or even to speak to the other. During the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
period, the tensions were exploited by Roman authorities as they likewise had done between rival tribal factions elsewhere, and
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
reports numerous violent confrontations between Jews and Samaritans throughout the first half of the first century.


Persian period

According to historian
Lawrence Schiffman Lawrence Harvey Schiffman (born 1948) is a professor at New York University (as of 2014); he was formerly Vice-Provost of Undergraduate Education at Yeshiva University and Professor of Jewish Studies (from early 2011 to 2014). He had previously be ...

Lawrence Schiffman
, throughout the Persian Period, Judeans and Samaritans fought periodically with one another. The Samaritans were a blend of all kinds of people—made up of Israelites who were not exiled when the Northern Kingdom was destroyed in 722 BCE—of various different nationalities whom the Assyrians had resettled in the area. The Assyrians did this as an attempt to ensure that Israel's national dream could not come true. According to the Jewish version of events, when the Judean exile ended in 539 BCE and the exiles began returning home from Babylon, Samaritans found their former homeland of the north populated by other people who claimed the land as their own and Jerusalem, their former glorious capital, in ruins. The inhabitants worshiped the Pagan gods, but when the then-sparsely populated areas became infested with dangerous wild beasts, they appealed to the king of Assyria for Israelite priests to instruct them on how to worship the "God of that country." The result was a syncretistic religion, in which national groups worshiped the Israelite God, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. According to Chronicles 36:22–23, the Persian emperor,
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
(reigned 559–530 BCE), permitted the return of the exiles to their homeland and ordered the (
Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as a whole (see ). The name is found in (5:7), one of the books of the ...

Zion
). The prophet Isaiah identified Cyrus as "the Lord's
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...
". The word "Messiah" refers to an anointed individual, such as a king or priest. During the First Temple, it was possible for foreigners to help the Jewish people in an informal way until tension grew between the Samaritans and Judeans. This meant that foreigners could physically move into Judean land and abide by its laws and religion. Ezra 4 says that the local inhabitants of the land offered to assist with the building of the new Temple during the time of
Zerubbabel According to the biblical narrative, Zerubbabel, ''Zorobabel''; la, Zorobabel; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Wo ...

Zerubbabel
, but their offer was rejected. According to Ezra, this rejection precipitated a further interference not only with the rebuilding of the Temple but also with the reconstruction of Jerusalem. The issue surrounding the Samaritans offer to help rebuild the temple was a complicated one that took a while for the Judeans to think over. There had always been a division between the north and the south and this instance perfectly illustrates that. Following Solomon's death, sectionalism formed and inevitably led to the division of the kingdom. This division led to the Judeans rejecting the offer made by the Samaritans to centralise worship at the Temple. The text is not clear on this matter, but one possibility is that these "people of the land" were thought of as Samaritans. We do know that Samaritan and Jewish alienation increased and that the Samaritans eventually built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, near
Shechem Shechem (), also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם, , , ; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, i ...

Shechem
. The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem took several decades. The project was first led by
Sheshbazzar According to the biblical narrative, Zerubbabel, ''Zorobabel''; la, Zorobabel; Akkadian: 𒆰𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 ''Zērubābili'' was a governor of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translatio ...
(ca. 538 BCE), later by Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and later still encouraged by
Haggai Haggai (; he, חַגַּי – ''Ḥaggay''; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common su ...

Haggai
and Zechariah (520–515 BCE). The work was completed in 515 BCE. The term "Kuthim" applied by Jews to the Samaritans had clear
pejorative A pejorative or slur is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning ...
connotations, implying that they were interlopers brought in from
Kutha Kutha, Cuthah, Cuth or Cutha ( ar, كُوثَا, Sumerian: Gudua), modern Tell Ibrahim ( ar, تَلّ إِبْرَاهِيم), formerly known as Kutha Rabba ( ar, كُوثَىٰ رَبَّا), is an archaeological site An archaeological site is ...
in Mesopotamia and rejecting their claim of descent from the ancient Tribes of Israel. According to many scholars, archaeological excavations at Mount Gerizim indicate that a Samaritan temple was built there in the first half of the 5th century BCE. The date of the schism between Samaritans and Jews is unknown, but by the early 4th century BCE the communities seem to have had distinctive practices and communal separation. According to most modern scholars, the split between the Jews and Samaritans was gradual historical process extending over several centuries rather than a single schism at a given point in time. Until the arrival of Alexander the Great in the near east in 332 B.C.E., there is little information about the Samaritans. At this point they built a temple on Mt. Gerizim which resulted in the Samaritans and Jews growing further apart. Much of the anti-Samaritan polemic in the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical texts (such as Josephus) originate from this point and on. As quoted b
Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
an
Encyclopedia.com
/ref> Not much is known about the Samaritans after the death of Alexander the Great, until the rise of the Seleucid empire c. 200 BC.


Hellenic era


Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Hellenization

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean histo ...

Antiochus IV Epiphanes
was on the throne of the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
from 175 to 163 BCE. His policy was to Hellenize his entire kingdom and standardize religious observance. According to 1 Maccabees 1:41-50 he proclaimed himself the incarnation of the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
god
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
and mandated death to anyone who refused to worship him. In the 2nd century BCE, a series of events led to a revolution by a faction of Judeans against Antiochus IV. The universal peril led the Samaritans, eager for safety, to repudiate all connection and kinship with the Jews. The request was granted. This was put forth as the final breach between the two groups. The breach was described at a much later date in the Christian Bible (John 4:9), "For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." Anderson notes that during the reign of Antiochus IV (175–164 BCE): Josephus Book 12, Chapter 5 quotes the Samaritans as saying:


Hasmonean influence

During the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
, Samaria was largely divided between a Hellenizing faction based in Samaria (Sebastaea) and a pious faction in Shekhem and surrounding rural areas, led by the High Priest. Samaria was a largely autonomous state nominally dependent on the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
until around 113 BCE, when the Jewish John Hyrcanus destroyed the Samaritan temple and devastated Samaria. The Hellinized Samaritan Temple at Mount Gerizim was destroyed by
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a Hasmonean ( Maccabean) leader and Jewish High Priest of Israel, high priest of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BC ...

John Hyrcanus
in 113 BCE, having existed about 200 years. Only a few stone remnants of it exist today.


Roman period


Early Roman era

Under the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, Samaria became a part of the
Herodian Kingdom The Herodian Kingdom of Judea was a client state A client state, in international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), intern ...
,
Herodian Tetrarchy The Herodian Tetrarchy was formed following the death of Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Empire, Roman client state, client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian K ...
and with deposition of the Herodian
ethnarch Ethnarch, pronounced , the anglicized form of ethnarches ( el, ), refers generally to political leadership over a common ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (p ...
Herod Achelaus in early 1st century CE, Samaria became a part of the province of
Judaea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
. Samaritans appear briefly in the Christian gospels, most notably in the account of the
Samaritan woman at the well The Samaritan woman at the well is a figure from the Gospel of John The Gospel according to John ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit=Euangélion katà Iōánnēn, also known as the Gospel of John, or simply John) ...
and the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the latter, it is only the Samaritan who helped the man stripped of clothing, beaten, and left on the road half dead, his Abrahamic covenantal circumcision implicitly evident. The priest and Levite walked past. But the Samaritan helped the naked man regardless of his nakedness (itself religiously offensive to the priest and Levite), his self-evident poverty, or to which Hebrew sect he belonged. The Temple of Gerizim was rebuilt after the
Bar Kokhba revolt The Bar Kokhba revolt ( he, מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא, links=no; ''Mered Bar Kokhba'') was a rebellion of the Jews of the , led by , against the . Fought circa 132–136 CE, it was the last of three major , so it is also known as T ...
against the Romans, around 136 CE. A building dated to the second century BCE, the Delos Synagogue, is commonly identified as a Samaritan synagogue, which would make it the oldest known Jewish or Samaritan synagogue. On the other hand, Matassa argues that, although there is evidence of Samaritans on Delos, there is no evidence the building was a synagogue. Much of Samaritan liturgy was set by the high priest
Baba Rabba Baba Rabba (Samaritan Aramaic: ࠁࠢࠁࠢࠀ ࠓࠠࠁࠠࠄ ''bābāʾ råbbå'', Samaritan Hebrew: ࠁࠢࠁࠢࠀ ࠄࠣࠂࠟࠃࠅࠫࠋ ''bābāʾ ʾagā̊dōl''; literally "Great Father"), was among the greatest of the Samaritan High Pri ...
in the 4th century. There were some Samaritans in the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...

Sasanian Empire
, where they served in the army.


Byzantine times

This period is considered as something of a golden age for the Samaritan community, the population thought to number up to a million. According to Samaritan sources, Eastern Roman emperor
Zeno Zeno or Zenon ( grc, Ζήνων) may refer to: People * Zeno (name), including a list of people and characters with the name Philosophers * Zeno of Elea (), philosopher, follower of Parmenides, known for his paradoxes * Zeno of Citium (333 – 2 ...
(who ruled 474–491 and whom the sources call "Zait the King of Edom") persecuted the Samaritans. The Emperor went to Neapolis (
Shechem Shechem (), also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם, , , ; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, i ...

Shechem
), gathered the elders and asked them to convert; when they refused, Zeno had many Samaritans killed, and re-built the synagogue as a church. Zeno then took for himself
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
, where the Samaritans worshiped God, and built several edifices, among them a tomb for his recently deceased son, on which he put a cross, so that the Samaritans, worshiping God, would prostrate in front of the tomb. Later, in 484, the Samaritans revolted. The rebels attacked Sichem, burned five churches built on Samaritan holy places and cut the finger of bishop Terebinthus, who was officiating the ceremony of
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
. They elected a Justa (or Justasa/Justasus) as their king and moved to
Caesarea Caesarea () (, he, קֵיסָרְיָה), ''Keysariya'' or ''Qesarya'', often simplified to Keisarya, and Qaysaria, is a town in north-central Israel, which inherits its name and much of its territory from the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima ...

Caesarea
, where a noteworthy Samaritan community lived. Here several Christians were killed and the church of St. Sebastian was destroyed. Justa celebrated the victory with games in the circus. According to
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
, the ''dux Palaestinae'' Asclepiades, whose troops were reinforced by the Caesarea-based Arcadiani of Rheges, defeated Justa, killed him and sent his head to Zeno. According to
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
, Terebinthus went to Zeno to ask for revenge; the Emperor personally went to Samaria to quell the rebellion. Some modern historians believe that the order of the facts preserved by Samaritan sources should be inverted, as the persecution of Zeno was a consequence of the rebellion rather than its cause, and should have happened after 484, around 489. Zeno rebuilt the church of St. Procopius in Neapolis (Sichem) and the Samaritans were banned from Mount Gerizim, on whose top a signalling tower was built to alert in case of civil unrest. Under a
charismatic Charisma () is compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. Scholars in sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that s ...
, messianic figure named Julianus ben Sabar (or ben Sahir), the Samaritans launched a war to create their own independent state in 529. With the help of the
Ghassanids The Ghassanids ( ar, الغساسنة, al-Ghasāsinah, also ''Banū Ghassān'' "Sons of Ghassān"), also called the Jafnids, were an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, ...
, Emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
crushed the revolt; tens of thousands of Samaritans died or were
enslaved Enslaved may refer to: * Slavery, the socio-economic condition of being owned and worked by and for someone else * Enslaved (band), a progressive black metal band from Haugesund, Norway * "Enslaved", a song by Mötley Crüe on their ''Greatest Hits ...
. The Samaritan faith, which had previously enjoyed the status of '' religio licita'', was virtually outlawed thereafter by the Christian
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
; from a population once at least in the hundreds of thousands, the Samaritan community dwindled to tens of thousands.


Middle Ages

Though initially guaranteed religious freedom after the Muslim conquest of Palestine, Samaritan numbers dropped further as a result of massacres and conversions. By the time of the
Arab conquests The early Muslim conquests ( ar, الفتوحات الإسلامية, ''al-Futūḥāt al-Islāmiyya''), also referred to as the Arab conquests and the early Islamic conquests began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad ) , birth_date ...
, apart from
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, small dispersed communities of Samaritans were living also in Arab Egypt,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
, and
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...
. Like other non-Muslims in the empire, such as Jews, Samaritans were often considered to be
People of the Book People of the Book ( ar, أهل الكتاب , ''ahl al-kitāb'') is an Islamic term which refers to Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international s ...
. Their minority status was protected by the Muslim rulers, and they had the right to practice their religion, but, as
dhimmi ' ( ar, ذمي ', , collectively ''/'' "the people of the covenant") or Mu'ahid is a historical term for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al ...
, adult males had to pay the
jizya Jizya or jizyah ( ar, جِزْيَة; ) is a per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin phrase literally meaning "by heads" or "for each head", and idiomatically used to mean "per person". The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences and sta ...
or "protection tax". This however changed during late Abbasid period, with increasing persecution targeting the Samaritan community and considering them infidels which must convert to Islam. The tradition of men wearing a red may go back to an order by the
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There ar ...
Caliph
al-Mutawakkil Abu al-Faḍl Jaʽfar ibn Muḥammad al-Muʽtaṣim billāh ( ar, جعفر بن محمد المعتصم بالله; March 822 – 11 December 861), better known by his laqab, regnal name al-Mutawakkil ʽalà Allāh (, "He who relies on God") was ...

al-Mutawakkil
(847-861 CE) that required non-Muslims to be distinguished from Muslims.Reinhard Pummer
''The Samaritans,''
BRILL, 1987 p.17.
During the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

Crusades
, Samaritans, like the non-Latin Christian inhabitants of the
Kingdom of Jerusalem The Kingdom of Jerusalem ( la, Regnum Hierosolymitanum; fro, Roiaume de Jherusalem; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middl ...
, were second-class citizens, but they were tolerated and perhaps favored because they were docile and had been mentioned positively in the Christian New Testament.


Ottoman rule

While the majority of the Samaritan population in
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
was massacred or converted during the reign of the Ottoman Pasha Mardam Beq in the early 17th century, the remainder of the Samaritan community there, in particular, the Danafi family, which is still influential today, moved back to Nablus in the 17th century. The Nablus community endured because most of the surviving diaspora returned, and they have maintained a tiny presence there to this day. In 1624, the last
Samaritan High Priest The Samaritan High Priest is the high priest (''kohen gadol High priest ( he, כהן גדול ''kohen gadol''; with definite article ''ha'kohen ha'gadol'', ''the'' high priest; Aramaic ''kahana rabba'') was the title of the chief religious offici ...

Samaritan High Priest
of the line of
Eleazar Eleazar (; ) or Elʽazar was a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the au ...

Eleazar
son of
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...

Aaron
died without issue, but according to Samaritan tradition, descendants of Aaron's other son,
Ithamar In the Torah, Ithamar () was the fourth (and the youngest) son of Aaron the High Priest."Ithamar", ''Encyclopaedia Biblica'' Following the construction of the Tabernacle, he was responsible for recording an inventory to ensure that the constructed ...
, remained and took over the office. By the late Ottoman period, the Samaritan community dwindled to its lowest. In 19th century, with pressure of conversion and persecution from the local rulers and occasional natural disasters, the community fell to just over 100 persons.


British Mandate

The situation of the Samaritan community improved significantly during the British Mandate of Palestine. At that time, they began to work in the public sector, like many other groups. The censuses of
1922 Events January * January – The year begins with the British Empire at its largest extent, covering a quarter of the world and ruling over one in four people on Earth. * January 2 – The Chilean Communist Party is founded. * January 7 ...
and
1931 Events January * January 2 – South Dakota native Ernest Lawrence invents the cyclotron, used to accelerate particles to study nuclear physics. * January 3 – Albert Einstein begins doing research at the California Institute of Technolog ...
recorded 163 and 182 Samaritans in Palestine, respectively. The majority of them lived in Nablus.


Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian rule

After the end of the British Mandate of Palestine and the subsequent establishment of the State of Israel, some of the Samaritans who were living in
Jaffa Jaffa, in Hebrew Yafo ( he, יָפוֹ, ) and in Arabic Yafa ( ar, يَافَا) and also called Japho or Joppa, the southern and oldest part of Tel Aviv-Yafo Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ – ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ...

Jaffa
emigrated to Samaria and lived in Nablus. By the late 1950s, around 100 Samaritans left the West Bank for Israel under an agreement with the Jordanian authorities in the West Bank. In 1954,
Israeli President The President of the State of Israel ( he, נְשִׂיא מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, ''Nesi Medinat Yisra'el'', or he, נְשִׂיא הַמְדִינָה, ''Nesi HaMedina''; literally, ''President of the State'') is the head of st ...
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Yitzhak Ben-Zvi ( he, יִצְחָק בֶּן־צְבִי‎ ''Yitshak Ben-Tsvi''; 24 November 188423 April 1963) was a historian, Labor Zionist Labor Zionism or socialist Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת סוֹצְיָאלִיסְטִית, ...

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
fostered a Samaritan enclave in Holon, Israel. During Jordanian rule in the West Bank, Samaritans from Holon were permitted to visit Mount Gerizim only once a year, on Passover. In 1967, Israel conquered the West Bank during the
Six-Day War The Six-Day War (; ar, النكسة, translit=an-Naksah, lit=The Setback or ), also known as the June War, the 1967 Arab–Israeli War or the Third Arab–Israeli War, was an armed conflict fought from 5 to 10 June 1967 between Israel and a ...
, and the Samaritans there came under Israeli rule. Until the 1990s, most of the Samaritans in the West Bank resided in the West Bank city of
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
below
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
. They relocated to the mountain itself near the
Israeli settlement Israeli settlements, or Israeli colonies, are civilian communities inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity, built International law and Israeli settlements, in violation of international law on Israeli-occupied te ...
of
Har Brakha Har Brakha ( he, הַר בְּרָכָה, ''lit.'' Mount fBlessing) is an Israeli settlement Israeli settlements, or Israeli colonies, are civilian communities inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity, built In ...
as a result of violence during the
First Intifada The First Intifada, or First Palestinian Intifada (also known simply as the intifada or intifadah),The word ''intifada An intifada ( ar, انتفاضة ') is a rebellion or uprising, or a resistance movement A resistance movement is an org ...
(1987–1990). Consequently, all that is left of the Samaritan community in Nablus itself is an abandoned synagogue. The
Israeli army The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; he, צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל ; ), commonly referred to by the Hebrew-language acronym ''Tzahal'' (), are the combined military forces of the State of Israel Israel (; he ...
maintains a presence in the area. The Samaritans of Nablus relocated to the village of
Kiryat Luza Kiryat Luza ( ar, قرية لوزة, he, קרית לוזה) is a Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating ...
. In the mid-1990s, the Samaritans of Kiryat Luza were granted Israeli citizenship. They also became citizens of the
Palestinian Authority The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; ar, السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية ') is the interim self-government body that exercises partial civil control over the Gaza Strip and West Bank bantustans, 167 islands in the Wes ...
following the
Oslo Accords The Oslo Accords are a pair of agreements between the Government of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִי ...
. As a result, they are the only people to possess dual Israeli-Palestinian citizenship.Good Samaritans
/ref> Today, Samaritans in Israel are fully integrated into society and serve in the
Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; he, צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל ; ), commonly referred to by the Hebrew-language acronym ''Tzahal'' (), are the combined military forces of the Israel, State of Israel, consisting of t ...
. The Samaritans of the West Bank seek good relations with their Palestinian neighbors while maintaining their Israeli citizenship, tend to be fluent in Hebrew and Arabic, and use both a Jewish and Arab name.


Genetic studies


Demographic investigation

Demographic investigations of the Samaritan community were carried out in the 1960s. Detailed pedigrees of the last 13 generations show that the Samaritans comprise four lineages: * The priestly Cohen lineage from the tribe of Levi. * The Tsedakah lineage, claiming descent from the tribe of Manasseh * The Joshua-Marhiv lineage, claiming descent from the tribe of Ephraim * The Danafi lineage, claiming descent from the tribe of Ephraim


Y-DNA and mtDNA comparisons

Recently several genetic studies on the Samaritan population were made using haplogroup comparisons as well as wide-genome genetic studies. Of the 12 Samaritan males used in the analysis, 10 (83%) had Y chromosomes belonging to , which includes three of the four Samaritan families. The Joshua-Marhiv family belongs to Haplogroup J-M267 (formerly "J1"), while the Danafi and Tsedakah families belong to
haplogroup J-M172 In human genetics Human genetics is the study of inheritance as it occurs in human beings. Human genetics encompasses a variety of overlapping fields including: classical genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, genom ...
(formerly "J2"), and can be further distinguished by the M67 SNP—the derived allele of which has been found in the Danafi family—and the PF5169 SNP found in the Tsedakah family. However the biggest and most important Samaritan family, the Cohen family (Tradition: Tribe of Levi), was found to belong to . This article predated the change of the classification of haplogroup E3b1-M78 to E3b1a-M78 and the further subdivision of E3b1a-M78 into 6 subclades based on the research of Cruciani, et al. A 2004 article on the genetic ancestry of the Samaritans by Shen ''et al.'' concluded from a sample comparing Samaritans to several
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
populations, all currently living in Israel—representing the
Beta Israel Beta Israel ( he, בֵּיתֶא יִשְׂרָאֵל, ''Beta Yisra'el''; gez, ቤተ እስራኤል, , modern ''Bēte 'Isrā'ēl'', EAE: "Betä Ǝsraʾel", "House of Israel" or "Community of Israel"), also known as Ethiopian Jews ( he, יְ ...
,
Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in ...
,
Iraqi Jews The history of the Jews in Iraq ( he, יְהוּדִים בָּבְלִים, ', ; ar, اليهود العراقيون, ) is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BC. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and mos ...
,
Libyan Jews The location of Libya in Africa ">Africa.html" ;"title="Libya in Africa">Libya in Africa The history of the Jews in Libya stretches back to the 3rd century BCE, when Cyrenaica was under Greek rule. The Jewish population of Libya, a part of the ...
,
Moroccan Jews Moroccan Jews ( ar, اليهود المغاربة, al-Yahūd al-Maghāriba he, יהודים מרוקאים ''Yehudim Maroka'im'') are Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardizati ...
, and
Yemenite Jews Yemenite Jews or Yemeni Jews or Teimanim (from ''Yehudei Teman''; ar, اليهود اليمنيون) are those Jews who live, or once lived, in Yemen. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish populati ...
, as well as Israeli
Druze Druze (; ar, درزي ' or ', plural ') are members of an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Mi ...
and
Palestinians The Palestinian people ( ar, الشعب الفلسطيني, ''ash-sha‘b al-Filasṭīnī''), also referred to as Palestinians ( ar, الفلسطينيون, links=no, ''al-Filasṭīniyyūn''; he, פָלַסְטִינִים) or Palestinian ...
—that "the principal components analysis suggested a common ancestry of Samaritan and Jewish patrilineages. Most of the former may be traced back to a common ancestor in what is today identified as the paternally inherited Israelite high priesthood (Cohanim) with a common ancestor projected to the time of the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel." , Hum Mutat 24:248–260, 2004. Archaeologists Aharoni, et al., estimated that this "exile of peoples to and from Israel under the Assyrians" took place during ca. 734–712 BCE. The authors speculated that when the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel, resulting in the exile of many of the Israelites, a subgroup of the Israelites that remained in the Land of Israel "married Assyrian and female exiles relocated from other conquered lands, which was a typical Assyrian policy to obliterate national identities." The study goes on to say that "Such a scenario could explain why Samaritan Y chromosome lineages cluster tightly with Jewish Y lineages, while their mitochondrial lineages are closest to Iraqi Jewish and Israeli Arab mtDNA sequences." Non-Jewish Iraqis were not sampled in this study; however, mitochondrial lineages of Jewish communities tend to correlate with their non-Jewish host populations, unlike paternal lineages which almost always correspond to Israelite lineages.


Demographics


Figures

There were 1 million Samaritans in biblical times, but in recent times the numbers are smaller. There were 100 in 1786 and 141 in 1919, then 150 in 1967. This grew to 745 in 2011, 751 in 2012, 756 in 2013, 760 in 2014, 777 in 2015, 785 in 2016, 796 in 2017, 810 in 2018 and 820 in 2019. Half reside in modern homes at
Kiryat Luza Kiryat Luza ( ar, قرية لوزة, he, קרית לוזה) is a Samaritan Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating ...
on
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
, which is sacred to them, and the rest in the city of
Holon Holon ( he, חוֹלוֹן ) is a city on the central coastal strip of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִ ...

Holon
, just outside
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ; ar, تَلّ أَبِيب - يَافَا, ''Tall ʾAbīb-Yāfā''), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the metropolitan area of . Locate ...

Tel Aviv
. There are also four Samaritan families residing in
Binyamina-Giv'at Ada Binyamina-Giv'at Ada ( he, בִּנְיָמִינָה-גִּבְעַת עָדָה) is a local council (Israel), town in the Haifa District of Israel. It is the result of the 2003 merger between the two local councils of Binyamina and Giv'at Ada. I ...
, Matan, and
Ashdod Ashdod ( he, ; ar, أشدود) is the sixth-largest city and the largest port A port is a maritime law, maritime facility comprising one or more Wharf, wharves or loading areas, where ships load and discharge Affreightment, ...

Ashdod
. As a small community physically divided between neighbors in a hostile region, Samaritans have been hesitant to overtly take sides in the
Arab–Israeli conflict The Arab–Israeli conflict includes the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between Arab League, Arab countries and Israel, which escalated during the 20th century, but had mostly faded out in the early 21st century. The roots o ...
, fearing that doing so could lead to negative repercussions. While the Samaritan communities in both the West Bank's Nablus and Israeli Holon have assimilated to the surrounding respective cultures, Hebrew has become the primary domestic language for Samaritans. Samaritans who are Israeli citizens are drafted into the military, along with the Jewish citizens of Israel. Relations of Samaritans with Jewish Israelis and Muslim and Christian Palestinians in neighboring areas have been mixed. Samaritans living in both Israel and in the West Bank enjoy Israeli
citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...

citizenship
. Samaritans in the
Palestinian Authority The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; ar, السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية ') is the interim self-government body that exercises partial civil control over the Gaza Strip and West Bank bantustans, 167 islands in the Wes ...
-ruled territories are a minority in the midst of a Muslim majority. They had a reserved seat in the
Palestinian Legislative Council The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is the Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian Authority, elected by the Palestinians, Palestinian residents of the Palestinian territories of the West ...
in the election of 1996, but they no longer have one. Samaritans living in the West Bank have been granted
passport A passport is an official travel document A travel document is an identity document issued by a government or international entity pursuant to international agreements to enable individuals to clear border control measures. Travel documents ...

passport
s by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


Community survival

One of the biggest problems facing the community today is the issue of continuity. With such a small population, divided into only four families ( Cohen, Tsedakah, Danafi, and Marhiv, with the Matar family dying out in 1968) and a general refusal to accept converts, it is common for Samaritans to marry within their extended families, even first cousins. There has been a history of
genetic disorder A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and li ...
s within the group due to the small
gene pool The gene pool is the set of all gene In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular inte ...
. To counter this, the Holon Samaritan community has allowed men from the community to marry non-Samaritan (primarily, Israeli Jewish) women, provided that the women agree to follow Samaritan religious practices. There is a six-month trial period before officially joining the Samaritan community to see whether this is a commitment that the woman would like to take. This often poses a problem for the women, who are typically less than eager to adopt the strict interpretation of biblical (Levitical) laws regarding
menstruation Menstruation (also known as a period and many other Colloquialism, colloquial terms) is the regular discharge of blood and Mucous membrane, mucosal tissue from the endometrium, inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. The menstrual cycl ...

menstruation
, by which they must live in a separate dwelling during their periods and after
childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produc ...

childbirth
. There have been a few instances of intermarriage. In addition, all marriages within the Samaritan community are first approved by a
geneticist A geneticist is a biologist who studies genetics, the science of genes, heredity, and genetic variation, variation of organisms. A geneticist can be employed as a scientist or a lecturer. Geneticists may perform general research on genetic proce ...
at
Tel HaShomer Hospital Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer ( he, המרכז הרפואי ע"ש חיים שיבא – תל השומר), also Tel HaShomer Hospital, is the largest hospital in Israel, located in the Tel HaShomer neighborhood of Ramat Gan, in the Tel ...
, in order to prevent the spread of genetic disorders. In meetings arranged by " international marriage agencies", a small number of women from
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
and
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
who agree to observe Samaritan religious practices have been allowed to marry into the Qiryat Luza Samaritan community in an effort to expand the gene pool. The Samaritan community in Israel also faces demographic challenges as some young people leave the community and convert to Judaism. A notable example is Israeli television presenter Sofi Tsedaka, who has made a documentary about her leaving the community at age 18. The head of the community is the Samaritan High Priest who is the 133rd generation since the
Ithamar In the Torah, Ithamar () was the fourth (and the youngest) son of Aaron the High Priest."Ithamar", ''Encyclopaedia Biblica'' Following the construction of the Tabernacle, he was responsible for recording an inventory to ensure that the constructed ...
son of Aaron the priest's line from 1624 C.E onward, before then the line of priesthood went through
Elazar Eleazar (pronounced ; ) or Elʽazar was a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the ...

Elazar
son of
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...
the priest. The current high priest is Aabed-El ben Asher ben Matzliach who assumed the office in April 19, 2013. the High Priest's of every generation is selected by the eldest in age from the priestly family and resides on
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
.


Samaritan origins of Palestinian Muslims in Nablus

Much of the local Palestinian population of
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
is believed to be descended from Samaritans who converted to Islam. According to the historian Fayyad Altif, large numbers of Samaritans converted due to persecution under various Muslim rulers, and because the monotheistic nature of Islam made it easy for them to accept it. The Samaritans themselves describe the
Ottoman period The Ottoman Empire (; ota, دولت عليه عثمانيه ', literally "The Sublime Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: ' or '; french: Empire ottoman) (''Osmanean Têrut´iwn'', meaning "Ottoman Authority/Governance/Rule"), Օսմանյան ...
as the worst period in their modern history, as many Samaritan families were forced to convert to Islam during that time.The Political History of the Samaritans
- zajel / An-Najah National University, January 24, 2005
Even today, certain Nabulsi family names such as Al-Amad, Al-Samri, Maslamani, Yaish, and Shaksheer among others, are associated with Samaritan ancestry. For the Samaritans in particular, the passing of the
al-Hakim Hakim or Al-Hakim may refer to: * Names of God in Islam#Lists of names, Al-Ḥakīm (Arabic: الحكيم), one of the names of God in Islam, meaning "The All-Wise". * Hakim (name), an Arabic masculine name, including a list of people bearing this ...

al-Hakim
Edict by the
Fatimid Caliphate The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Ismaili Shia Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''E ...

Fatimid Caliphate
in 1021, under which all Jews and Christians in the Fatimid ruled southern
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
were ordered to either convert to Islam or leave, along with another notable forced conversion to Islam imposed at the hands of the rebel ibn Firāsa, would contribute to their rapid unprecedented decrease, and ultimately almost complete extinction as a separate religious community. As a result, they had decreased from nearly a million and a half in late Roman (Byzantine) times to 146 people by the end of the Ottoman Era. In 1940, the future Israeli president and historian
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Yitzhak Ben-Zvi ( he, יִצְחָק בֶּן־צְבִי‎ ''Yitshak Ben-Tsvi''; 24 November 188423 April 1963) was a historian, Labor Zionist Labor Zionism or socialist Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת סוֹצְיָאלִיסְטִית, ...

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
wrote an article in which he stated that two thirds of the residents of Nablus and the surrounding neighboring villages were of Samaritan origin. He mentioned the name of several Palestinian Muslim families as having Samaritan origins, including the Al-Amad, Al-Samri, Buwarda and Kasem families, who protected Samaritans from Muslim persecution in the 1850s. He further claimed that these families had written records testifying to their Samaritan ancestry, which were maintained by their priests and elders. According to ''
The Economist ''The Economist'' is an international weekly newspaper A weekly newspaper is a general-news or current affairsCurrent affairs may refer to: Media * Current Affairs (magazine), ''Current Affairs'' (magazine), a bimonthly magazine of cult ...
'', "most ethnic Samaritans are now pious Muslims."


Samaritanism

The Samaritan religion is based on the Torah, and Samaritan tradition books include the Samaritan version of the Torah, the Memar Marqah (The teachings of Marqah), the Samaritan liturgy known as "the Defter", and Samaritan law codes and biblical commentaries.


Samaritan Temple

According to Samaritans, it was on
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
that Abraham was commanded by God to offer Isaac, his son, as a sacrifice. In both narratives, God then causes the sacrifice to be interrupted, explaining that this was the ultimate test of Abraham's obedience, as a result of which all the world would receive blessing. The Torah mentions the place where God chooses to establish His name (Deut 12:5), and Judaism takes this to refer to Jerusalem. However, the Samaritan text speaks of the place where God ''has chosen'' to establish His name, and Samaritans identify it as Mount Gerizim, making it the focus of their spiritual values. The legitimacy of the Samaritan temple was attacked by Jewish scholars including
Andronicus ben MeshullamAndronicus ben Meshullam, a Jewish scholar of the 2nd century BCE. According to Josephus (wikisource:The_Antiquities of the Jews/Book XIII, ''Ant.'' xiii. 3, § 4), he was the representative of the Jews in their religious dispute with the Samaritans, ...
. In the Christian Bible, the
Gospel of John The Gospel according to John ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit=Euangélion katà Iōánnēn, also known as the Gospel of John, or simply John) is the fourth of the four canonical gospels. It contains a highly sc ...
relates an
encounter Encounter or Encounters may refer to: Film *Encounters (film), ''Encounters'' (film), a 1993 Australian thriller *''Encounter'', a 1997 Indian film by Nimmala Shankar *Encounter (2013 film), ''Encounter'' (2013 film), a Bengali film *Encounter (201 ...
between a Samaritan woman and
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
in which she says that the mountain was the center of their worship. She poses the question to Jesus when she realizes that he is the Messiah. Jesus affirms the Jewish position, saying "You hat is, the Samaritansworship what you do not know," although he also says, "a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem."


Religious beliefs

* There is one
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...

God
,
YHWH The Tetragrammaton (; ), or Tetragram, is the four-letter Hebrew language, Hebrew word (transliterated as YHWH), the name of the national god of Israel. The four letters, read from right to left, are ''yodh'', ''he (letter), he'', ''waw (let ...

YHWH
or in Samaritan language "Shehmaa", the same God recognized by the
Hebrew prophets Nevi'im (; he, נְבִיאִים ''Nəḇīʾīm'', "Prophets", literally "spokespersons") is the second major division of the Hebrew Bible (the ''Tanakh''), between the Torah (instruction) and Ketuvim (writings). The Nevi'im are divided in ...
. * The
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
was given by God to
Moses Moses he, מֹשֶׁה, ''Mōše''; also known as Moshe Rabbenu ( he, מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ "Moshe our Teacher"); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, ''Mūše''; ar, موسى '; el, Mωϋσῆς, ' () is considered the most important prophet in Judais ...

Moses
. *
Mount Gerizim Mount Gerizim (; Samaritan Hebrew: ࠄࠟࠓࠂࠟࠓࠩࠆࠝࠉࠌ ''ʾĀ̊rgā̊rīzēm''; Hebrew: ''Har Gərīzīm''; ar, جَبَل جَرِزِيم ''Jabal Jarizīm'' or جبل الطور ''Jabal al-Ṭūr'') is one of two mountains in t ...
, not Jerusalem, is the one true sanctuary chosen by Israel's God. * Many Samaritans believe that at the end of days, the dead will be by the Taheb, a restorer (possibly a prophet, some say Moses). * Resurrection and Paradise. * The priests are the interpreters of the law and the keepers of tradition; scholars are secondary to the priesthood. * The authority of post-Torah sections of the Tanakh, and classical Jewish
Rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

Rabbi
nical works (the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
, comprising the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. ...
and the
Gemara The Gemara (also transliteration, transliterated Gemarah, or in Ashkenazi pronunciation Gemore; from Aramaic , from the Aramaic language, Hebrew verb ''gamar'', to finish or complete) is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analys ...
) is rejected. * They have a of the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. " ...

Ten Commandments
(for example, their 10th commandment is about the sanctity of Mount Gerizim). The Samaritans have retained an offshoot of the Ancient Hebrew script, a High Priesthood, the slaughtering and eating of lambs on
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; he, פֶּסַח '), is a major Jewish holiday Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Translitera ...
eve, and the celebration of the first month's beginning around springtime as the New Year. Yom Teru`ah (the biblical name for "
Rosh Hashanah Rosh HaShanah ( he, רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, ), literally meaning "head fthe year", is the Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international stan ...
"), at the beginning of
Tishrei Tishrei () or Tishri (; he, ''tīšrē'' or ''tīšrī''; from Akkadian language, Akkadian ''tašrītu'' "beginning", from ''šurrû'' "to begin") is the first month of the civil year (which starts on 1 Tishrei) and the seventh month of the e ...
, is not considered a
New Year New Year is the time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, to compare the duration of events or the interva ...

New Year
as it is in Rabbinic Judaism. The
Samaritan Pentateuch The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah ( he, תורה שומרונית ''torah shomronit''), is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Nor ...
differs from the Jewish
Masoretic Text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נוסח המסורה, Nusakh Ham'mas'sora) is the authoritative Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic languag ...
as well. Some differences are doctrinal: for example, the Samaritan Torah explicitly states that Mount Gerizim is "the place that God ''has chosen''" to establish His name, as opposed to the Jewish Torah that refers to "the place that God ''chooses''". Other differences are minor and seem more or less accidental. File:Samaritans.jpg, Samaritans, from a photo c. 1900 by the
Palestine Exploration Fund The Palestine Exploration Fund is a British society based in London. It was founded in 1865, shortly after the completion of the Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem, and is the oldest known organization in the world created specifically for the study ...
. File:Lilien The Samaritan.jpg, ''The Samaritan'', engraving, ''c'', by Ephraim Moses Lilien. 1920 File:2106 WLM - OVEDC - Mount Gerizim - SUKUT 15.jpg, Sukkot on Mount Gerizim File:Bitknest2.jpg, Entrance to a modern Samaritan synagogue in the city of
Holon Holon ( he, חוֹלוֹן ) is a city on the central coastal strip of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִ ...

Holon
, Israel


Relationship to Rabbinic Judaism

Samaritans refer to themselves as ''Benai Yisrael'' ("
Children of Israel The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was p ...
") which is a term used by all Jewish denominations as a name for the Jewish people as a whole. They, however, do not refer to themselves as ''Yehudim'' (Jews), the standard Hebrew name for Jews. The Talmudic attitude expressed in tractate Kutim is that they are to be treated as Jews in matters where their practice coincides with Rabbinic Judaism but as non-Jews where their practice differs. Some claim that since the 19th century, Rabbinic Judaism has regarded the Samaritans as a Jewish sect and the term "Samaritan Jews" has been used for them.


Religious texts

Samaritan law is not the same as
Halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific ...
(Rabbinic Jewish law). The Samaritans have several groups of religious texts, which correspond to Jewish Halakha. A few examples of such texts are: *
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
** ''
Samaritan Pentateuch The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah ( he, תורה שומרונית ''torah shomronit''), is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Nor ...
'': There are some 6,000 differences between the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Masoretic Jewish Pentateuch text; and, according to one estimate, 1,900 points of agreement between it and the Greek LXX version. Several passages in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
would also appear to echo a Torah textual tradition not dissimilar to that conserved in the Samaritan text. There are several theories regarding the similarities. The variations, some corroborated by readings in the Old Latin, Syriac and Ethiopian translations, attest to the antiquity of the Samaritan text. * Historical writings ** '' Samaritan Chronicle, The Tolidah'' (Creation to the time of Abishah) ** ''Samaritan Chronicle'', The Chronicle of Joshua (Israel during the time of divine favor) (4th century, in Arabic and Aramaic) ** ''Samaritan Chronicle, Adler'' (Israel from the time of divine disfavor until the exile) *
Hagiographical A hagiography (; ) or vita (from Latin ''vita'', life, which begins the title of most medieval biographies) is a biography of a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holines ...
texts ** ''Samaritan Halakhic Text'', The Hillukh (Code of Halakha, marriage, circumcision, etc.) ** ''Samaritan Halakhic Text'', the Kitab at-Tabbah (Halakha and interpretation of some verses and chapters from the Torah, written by Abu Al Hassan 12th century CE) ** ''Samaritan Halakhic Text'', the Kitab al-Kafi (Book of Halakha, written by Yosef Al Ascar 14th century CE) ** ''Al-Asatir''—legendary Aramaic texts from the 11th and 12th centuries, containing: *** ''Haggadic Midrash'', Abu'l Hasan al-Suri *** ''Haggadic Midrash'', Memar Markah—3rd or 4th century theological treatises attributed to ''Hakkam'' Markha *** ''Haggadic Midrash'', Pinkhas on the Taheb *** ''Haggadic Midrash'', Molad Maseh (On the birth of Moses) * ''Defter'', prayer book of psalms and hymns. * ''Samaritan Haggadah''


Christian sources: New Testament

Samaria or Samaritans are mentioned in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
books of Matthew, Luke,
John John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) * John (surname), including a list of people who have the name John John may also refer to: New Testament Works ...
and
Acts The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament The New Te ...
. The
Gospel of Mark The Gospel according to Mark ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον , translit=Euangélion katà Mârkon), also called the Gospel of Mark, or simply Mark, is the second of the four Gospel#Canonical_gospels, canonical gospels and of ...
contains no mention of Samaritans or Samaria. The best known reference to the Samaritans is the Parable of the Good Samaritan, found in the Gospel of Luke. The following references are found: * When instructing his disciples as to how they should spread the word, Jesus tells them not to visit any Gentile or Samaritan city, but instead, go to the "lost sheep of Israel". * A Samaritan village rejected a request from messengers travelling ahead of Jesus for hospitality, because the villagers did not want to facilitate a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, a practice which they saw as a violation of the
Law of Moses The Law of Moses ( he, תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה ), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible ...

Law of Moses
. Two of his disciples want to 'call down fire from heaven and destroy them,' but Jesus forbids them. * The Parable of the Good Samaritan. *
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
healed ten
leper Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a long-term infection by the bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a type of Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain ...

leper
s, of whom only one returned to praise God, and he was a Samaritan. * Jesus asks a Samaritan woman of for water from
Jacob's Well Jacob's Well ( ar, بئر يعقوب, ''Bir Ya'qub'', gr, Φρέαρ του Ιακώβ, ''Fréar tou Iakóv'', he, באר יעקב, ''Be'er Yaaqov''; also known as Jacob's fountain and Well of Sychar) is a deep well constructed from rock that ha ...

Jacob's Well
, and after spending two days telling her townsfolk "all things" as the woman expected the Messiah to do, and presumably repeating the Good News that he is the Messiah, many Samaritans become followers of Jesus. He accepts without comment the woman's assertion that she and her people are Israelites, descendants of Jacob. * Jesus is accused of being a Samaritan and being demon-possessed. He denies the latter accusation, but does not deny the former that seems to be meant to accuse him of not having Jewish beliefs. * Christ tells the apostles that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and that they would be his witnesses in "Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." * The Apostles are being persecuted. Philip preaches the Gospel to a city in Samaria, and the Apostles in Jerusalem hear about it. So they send the Apostles Peter and John to pray for and lay hands on the baptized believers, who then receive the Holy Spirit (vs. 17). They then return to Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel "in many villages of the Samaritans". * Acts 9:31 says that at that time the churches had "rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria". * Acts 15:2–3 says that Paul and Barnabas were "being brought on their way by the church" and that they passed through "Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles". (''Phoenicia'' in several other English versions). The rest of the New Testament makes no specific mention of Samaria or Samaritans.


Notable Samaritans

*
Baba Rabba Baba Rabba (Samaritan Aramaic: ࠁࠢࠁࠢࠀ ࠓࠠࠁࠠࠄ ''bābāʾ råbbå'', Samaritan Hebrew: ࠁࠢࠁࠢࠀ ࠄࠣࠂࠟࠃࠅࠫࠋ ''bābāʾ ʾagā̊dōl''; literally "Great Father"), was among the greatest of the Samaritan High Pri ...
* Justa *
Justin Martyr Justin Martyr ( el, Ἰουστῖνος ὁ μάρτυς, Ioustinos ho martys; c. 100 – c. 165) was an early Christian apologist and philosopher. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue did survive. The ''First Apology ...

Justin Martyr
*
Marinus of Neapolis Marinus ( grc, Μαρῖνος ὁ Νεαπολίτης; born c. 440 AD) was a Neoplatonist Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic Plato's influence on Western culture was so profound that several different concepts are linked by being call ...


See also

*
Crimean Karaites The Crimean Karaites or Krymkaraylar (Crimean Karaim: Кърымкъарайлар, ''Qrımqaraylar'', singular къарай, ''qaray''; Trakai Trakai () (see names section for alternate and historic names) is a historic city and lake resort ...
*
Karaite Jews Karaite Judaism () or Karaism (; ; also spelt Qaraite Judaism or Qaraism) is a Jewish religious movement characterized by the recognition of the written Torah alone as its supreme authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is th ...
*
Mandaeans Mandaeans ( ar, ٱلْمَنْدَائِيُّون, al-Mandāʾiyūn), also known as Sabians ( ar, ٱلصَّابِئَة, aṣ-Ṣābiʾah) or Sabian-Mandaeans ( ar, ٱلصَّابِئَة ٱلْمَنْدَائِيُّون, aṣ-Ṣābiʾah ...


References


Further reading

* * Anderson, Robert T., Giles, Terry
"Tradition kept: the literature of the Samaritans"
(Hendrickson Publishers, 2005) * * * * * Heinsdorff, Cornel (2003). ''Christus, Nikodemus und die Samaritanerin bei Juvencus. Mit einem Anhang zur lateinischen Evangelienvorlage'' (= Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte, Bd. 67), Berlin/New York. . * * * * * * * * Zertal, Adam (1989). "The Wedge-Shaped Decorated Bowl and the Origin of the Samaritans". ''Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research'', No. 276. (November 1989), pp. 77–84.


External links

Samaritan view
Israelite Samaritan Information Institute

The Samaritans

The Samaritan Update

Society for Samaritan Studies
*https://abnerbinyamimmenashe.blogspot.com/ Jewish view
"Samaritans"
in ''
The Jewish Encyclopedia ''The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day'' is an English-language encyclopedia containing over 15,000 articles on the ...
''
"Good Samaritans: Israel's smallest religious minority offers Jews a glimpse of what might have been"
by Benjamin Balint, ''Tablet Magazine'' Independent views

David Steinberg * ttps://www.livius.org/saa-san/samaria/samaritans.htm "Samaritans" (theory on the Samaritan–Jewish tensions), Jona Lendering
"Guards of Mount Gerizim"
Alex Maist Books and other information
The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version
By Mr. Benyamim Tsedaka
Understanding the Israelite Samaritans: From Ancient to Modern
Edited by Mr. Benyamim Tsedaka Co edited by Sharon Sullivan

b

*
''The Samaritans: The Earliest Jewish Sect''
also accessible via
Google Books Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print and by its code-name Project Ocean) is a service from Google Inc. Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet ...

"Bibliography"
James A Montgomery
Samaritan Museum
"Gerizim" (
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
)
"The Messianic Hope of the Samaritans" by Jacob, Son of Aaron, High Priest of the Samaritans, Chicago, 1907

"Josephus' attitude towards the Samaritans"
from ''Studies in Hellenistic Judaism'' by Louis H. Feldman Gallery links *https://orhof.smugmug.com/SamaritanHolidays

Rüdiger Benninghaus Video links
How to Save a Tribe
by Leon McCarron/Tern TV (Belfast)
Who are The Samaritans?
2021-11-09-2021 By Religion for Breakfast {{Authority control Ethnic groups in Israel Ethnic groups in the State of Palestine Ethnoreligious groups Ethnoreligious groups in Asia Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) Hebrew Bible nations Israelites Semitic-speaking peoples Ten Lost Tribes Ethnic groups in the Middle East Ancient peoples Ancient peoples of the Near East Indigenous peoples of Western Asia