Samaritan Pentateuch

Dan Wagner Dan.Wagner at
Thu Sep 21 13:42:31 EDT 2000

I don't recall some of the exact dates (some are also debated), but the c.
300 BC date you mention is not the date of the oldest extant SP mss., but
rather the presumed time of origination for a distinct text tradition among
the Samaritans. The oldest SP text is c. 1000, but scholarship does not have
access to this text (if my memory serves correctly). We do have access to
European polyglots containing it (c. 1500's). So DSS mss definitely have a
*much* earlier date, some perhaps to 3rd cent. BC through 1st cent. AD. Same
for LXX, translated 250-150 BC, and w/ a few ms. fragments going back to the
BC period w/ full texts in 4th-5th cent. AD mss. 

The SP's value is in the fact that it did exist as a solely distinct textual
tradition from a very early stage. However, this is somewhat weakened in
some passages because of universally acknowledged theological bias reflected
in the SP.

But from the standpoint of age of mss. alone, it is about the same as the MT
tradition (although less well preserved, i think most agree).

Waltke did his dissertation on the topic, so ref. his writings especially.
There is an excellent article by him on it in NIDOTTE, i think.

Dan Wagner

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Costa [mailto:tmcos at]
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2000 13:13
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: Samaritan Pentateuch

Dear Friends,

  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the textual criticism of

the Samaritan Pentateuch. I understand that this text is older than the 
Masoretic Text as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran which scholars 
place between 100 BCE to 100 CE. My understanding of the Samaritan 
Pentateuch is that it was composed sometime in 300 BCE ot thereafter. 
Nevertheless, it is assumed that changes have been evident in this text to 
suit Samaritan theological convictions over Jewish ones. Given the fact that

the Samaritan Pentateuch is older than the MT and presumably the LXX , would

it be true to say that it contributes highly to the textual criticism of the

Hebrew Bible (MT)? Any insights? Many thanks in advance.

                                               Tony Costa
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