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110
SAMARITANS


(Ant. xi. 8), who carried the Pentateuch to Shechem, and for whom the temple of Gerizim was perhaps built. For, though the story in Josephus is put a century too late and is evidently based on a confusion, it agrees with Neh. xiii. in essentials too closely to be altogether rejected# and supplies exactly what is wanted to explain the existence in Shechem of a community bitterly hostile to the Jews, yet constituted in obedience to Ezra's Pentateuch.

It is remarkable that, having got the Pentateuch, they followed it with a fidelity as exact as that of the Jews, except in regard to the sanctuary on Mt Gerizim. The text of the sacred book was transmitted with 'as much conscientiousness as was observed by Jewish scribes? and even from the unwilling witness of the Jews3 we gather that they fulfilled all righteousness with scrupulous punctiliousness so far as the letter of the law was concerned. They did not however, receive the writings even of the prophets of N. Israel (all of which are preserved to us only by the Jews) nor the later oral lawf as developed by the Pharisees. But although these diderences separated the two communities, their internal development and external history ran parallel courses till the Jewish state tookia new departure under the Maccabees. The religious resemblance between the two bodies was increased by the institution of the synagogue, from which there grew up a Samaritan theology and an exegetical tradition. The latter is embodied in the Samaritan Targum, or Aramaic version of the Pentateuch, which in its present form is probably not much earlier than the 4th century A.D., but in general is said to agree with the readings of Origen's ro 22a/.tapevrucéz/. Whether the latter represents a complete translation of the Law into Greek may be doubted, but at any rate the Samaritans began already in the time of Alexander to be influenced by Hellenism. They as well as Jews were carried to Egypt by Ptolemy Lagi, and the rivalry of the two parties was continued in Alexandria (Jos. Ant. xii. 1. 1), where such a translation may have been produced. Of the Samaritan contributions to Hellenistic literature some fragments have been preserved in the remains of Alexander Polyhistor.5

There are, however, many difficulties in the story, which is not rendered clearer by references to Sanballat in the documents from Elephantine (dated in 408/407 B.c.) published by Sachau in the Abhandlungen d. Kgl. preuss. Akad. d. lj!/iss. for 1907. 2 This appears by the frequent agreement of the Samaritan Pentateuch with the Septuagint. The Samaritan character is an independent development of the old Hebrew writing, as it was about the time when they first got the Pentateuch, and this in itself is an indication that from the first their text ran a separate course. Differences between MSS. existed down to the time of the Massoretes (see art. HEBREW), and it was from one of these divergent texts that the Samaritan was derived, the Septuagint from another. But while the Jews constantly revised their text with skill and success, the rigid conservatism of the Samaritans prevented- any changes except the corruptions naturally due to human infirmity. The story that they possess a copy of the Law written by Abisha, the great-grandson of Aaron, seems to have aroused a strangely widespread interest, so that tourists invariably ask to see it and usually claim to have succeeded in doing so. Considering the extreme reverence with which it is regarded, it may safely be said that this manuscript is never shown to them. The origin of the legend is no doubt due to a pious fraud. It is first mentioned by Abu'l-fath in 1355, from which year its “invention” dates. Obviously an old copy would be chosen for the pur ose of such a discovery, but it is unlikely to be earlier than the IOILE or 11th century A.D. 3 Not, indeed, without exceptions, nor at all periods, but such is the general intention of the Massekheth Kuthim; see Montgomery, Samaritans, cap. x.

For details see Nutt, Fragments, p. 37, and more fully, Montgomery, l.c. No doubt, in addition to the legal ordinances, the Samaritans retained some ancient traditional practices (cf. Gaster in Transactions of the 3rd I nternat. Congr. for the History of Religions, i. p. 299, Oxford, 1908), or introduced some new observances. Their Passover, for instance, has some peculiar features, one of which, the application of the sacrificial blood to the faces of the children, has a parallel in the old Arabic 'aqi ah. See the account of an eyewitness (Professor Socin) in Baedekefs Palestine; Mills, Three Months' Residence at Nablus (London, 1864), p. 248; Stanley, The Jewish Church i. app. iii.

Chiefly in quotations by Eusebius (Praep. Ev., ed. Gifford, Oxon., 1903, bk. ix. 17). See Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien, i., ' ii. (Breslau, 1875); Schurer, History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (Eng. ed., 1891), ii. 3. p. 197. The troubles that fell upon the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes were not escaped by the Samaritans (2 Macc. v. 23; vi. 2), for the account in Josephus (Ant. xii. 5. 5), which makes them voluntarily exchange their religion for the worship of the Grecian Zeus, is evidently coloured to suit the author's hostility. Under the Maccabees their relations with Judaea became very bitter. They suffered severely at the hands of Hyrcanus, and the temple on Mt Gerizim, was destroyed. Although this treatment established an unalterable enmity to the Jews, as we see in the New Testament, in Josephus and in Jewish tradition, the two sects had too much in common not to unite occasionally against a common enemy, anduin the struggles of the Jews with Vespasian the Samaritans took part against the Romans. They were not, however, consistent. for under Hadrian they helped the Romans against the Jews and were allowed to rebuild their temple on Mt Gerizim. They seem to have shared in the Jewish dispersion, since in later times we hear of Samaritans and their synagogues in Egypt, in Rome and in other parts of the empire. In the 4th century they enjoyed a certain degree of prosperity, according to their own chronicles, under Baba the Great, who (re-)established their religious and social organization. In 484, in consequence of attacks on the Christians, the Gerizim temple was finally destroyed by the Romans; and an insurrection in 529 was suppressed by Justinian so effectively that, while retaining their distinctive religion, they became henceforth politically merged in the surrounding population, with a merely domestic history. They are mentioned in later times by the Jewish travellers Benjamin of Tudela (1173) and Obadiah Bertinoro (1488 in Egypt), by Sir-John Maundeville and others, but little was known of them in Europe till Scaliger opened communications with them in 1 583.5 In consequence of the interest thus aroused, the traveller Pietro della Valle visited them in 1616 and succeeded in o btaining a copy of their Pentateuch and of their Targum. Towards the end of the same century Robert Huntington (afterwards bishop of Raphoe), who was chaplain to the Turkey merchants at Aleppo, interested himself in them'and acquired some interesting manuscripts now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Since his time there has been intermittently a good deal of correspondence with them, ” and in recent years owing to the increased facilities for travelling they have been much visited by tourists, not altogether for their good, as well as by scholars. At the present day they live only at N ablus (Shechem), about ISO in number, the congregations formerly existing in Gaza, Cairo, Damascus and elsewhere having long since died out. Politically they are under the Turkish governor of Nablus; their ecclesiastical head is the “ Priest-levite ” (in 1909 Jacob b. Aaron), who claims descent from Uzziel the younger son of Kohath (Exod. vi. 18). The line of the high-priests, so called as being descended from Aaron, became extinct in 1623. In religion, since they recognize no sacred book but the Pentateuch, they agree with the Jews in such doctrines and observances only as are enjoined in the law of Moses. They do not therefore observe the feast of Purim, nor the fast of the 9th of Ab, nor any of the later rabbinical extensions or modifications of the law. It is this conservatism which has caused them to be confused with the Sadducees, who likewise rejected the later traditional teachin; but it is not correct to say that they deny the resurrection gas Epiphanius, Haeres. ix., and others) and the existence of angels (Leontius, de Sectis, ii. 8), or that they are entirely free from later religious developments. Briefiy summarized, their creed is as follows: (zz) God is one, and in speaking of Him all anthropomorphic ex ressions are to be avoided: creation was effected by his worcll divine appearances in the Pentateuch are to be explained as vicarious, by means of angels (so as early as the 4th century A.D.); (b) Moses is the only prophet: all who have since claimed to be so are deceivers; (c) the Law, which was created with the world, is the only divine revelation; (d) Mt Gerizim is the house of God, the only centre of worship; (e) there will be a da of judgment. Closely connected with this are the doctrines (also llhund in the 4th century) of a future life and of a messiah (Ta'eb), who shall end the period of God's displeasure (F anuta) under which his people have suffered since the schism of Eli and the disappearance of the Ark, and shall restore Israel to favour (Re'uta, Ridwan).

5 See Eichhorn's Reperlorium, xiii. p. 257.

3 7 See his letters ed. by T. Smith (London, 1704). . 3 See especially de Sacy in Notices et extraits, xii. The later

letters are of less interest.