Samaritan Pentateuch and dating the Hebrew Pentateuch

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Sun Dec 19 11:21:39 EST 1999

again I have to state that Waltk's conclusion may have to be modified in
light of the DSS evidence. 


> After discussing eight ways in which the SP has been altered from the text
> commonly received in its tradition and that of the proto-Masoretic text, 
> Bruce K. Waltke concludes:
> D.  Value of the Samaritan Pentateuch
> The Sam. Pent. is of little value for establishing original readings. Out
> of 
> eighty-five readings where Sanderson thought she could assign preferable 
> readings involving the MT, LXX, Sam. Pent., and Qm, she found no variants 
> where the Sam. Pent. uniquely or even with LXX preserves the preferable 
> reading (1986:85, 88). She found two preferable readings where the Sam.
> Pent. 
> agreed with Qm, "both representing small errors on the part of MT" 
> (1986:58), and four preferable readings where the Sam. Pent., LXX, and Qm 
> agreed, revealing errors or lapses on the part of MT (1986:75). The chief 
> textual value of the Sam. Pent. is its indirect witness that MT is "a
> superb, 
> disciplined text" (Cross 1964:271).
> The Sam. Pent. is of greater interest for literary criticism. First, as
> Tigay 
> (1975) noted, the supplemented proto-Samaritan texts and Sam. Pent. give 
> indirect empirical evidence for the documentary hypothesis. More
> accurately, 
> it validates a documentary hypothesis. The phenomenon of sewing formerly 
> independent documents into a new, unified whole can be observed from the 
> Gilgamesh Epic through Tatian's Diatasseron. Before his very eyes the
> critic 
> can observe the redactor at work splicing texts together. The resulting
> work 
> is not a "crazy patchwork" of sources, as once thought, but a unified
> whole. 
> Second, and this has not been previously noted, the modernized Sam. Pent. 
> along with early Jewish sources suggests that the Pentateuch was begun to
> be 
> modernized before the time of the Chronicler, entailing that the archaic 
> text-type of the Pentateuch preserved in MT must be much older.
> Bruce K. Waltke, "Samaritan Pentateuch," Freedman, David Noel, ed., The 
> Anchor Bible Dictionary, (New York: Doubleday) 1997, 1992.
> There is an interesting section dealing with certain references in the NT
> b.  Sam. Pent. and NT. Speakers in the NT depended on a text-type similar
> to 
> the Sam. Pent. in several passages. Stephen's statement that Abraham went
> to 
> Canaan after the death of Terah (Acts 7:4), comports with the chronology
> in 
> the Sam. Pent. that Terah died at 145 (cf. Gen 11:26; 12:4) and not with
> the 
> statement in the MT that he died at 205 (Gen 11:32), 60 years after
> Abraham 
> left. In 7:5 Stephen quotes Deut 2:5b using the word kleµronomia, whose 
> Hebrew equivalent yrsh appears only in the Sam. Pent., but not in the MT
> or 
> LXX. In that same sermon (7:32) Stephen quotes from the Sam. Pent. of Exod
> 3:6 and not from the LXX or MT. In v 37 he unexpectedly interpolates a 
> passage from Deut 18:15 in a way similar to the Sam. Pent. Finally, the 
> writer of Hebrews (9:3) probably locates with the Sam. Pent. against the
> MT 
> and LXX the golden altar of incense behind the veil of the holy of holies.
> These agreements between the NT and the Sam. Pent. are best explained as
> the 
> use of the proto-Samaritan text-type in some NT literature (Pummer 
> 1976:441-43).
> Bruce K. Waltke, "Samaritan Pentateuch," Freedman, David Noel, ed., The 
> Anchor Bible Dictionary, (New York: Doubleday) 1997, 1992.
> gfsomsel

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