SV: [b-hebrew] Samaritan script/proto-hebrew

Thomas L. Thompson tlt at
Sun Mar 20 08:22:10 EST 2005

The following is Ingrid Hjelm's summary of her treatment of the excavations in her Currents article:
She is a research associate from the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen:
"Because of the excavations by Magen et al. in Samaria and on Gerizim since 1985, the question of the Samaritan temple(s) has gained increasing importance as an indicator of the origin of the Samaritans. The finding of temple structures beneath the Byzantine Mary Theodokos church that date to the early Persian and the Hellenistic periods, along with about 450 dedicatory inscriptions and burned bones of year-old animals, indicates the existence of a Yahwistic holy centre on Mount Gerizim for a period of more than 400 years until its destruction around 111 BCE. The impact of these new sources for understanding the early history of the Samaritans certainly will affect the discussions as soon as excavation reports are available to a wider audience. Four more volumes of MOunt Gerizim Excavations are projected to appear in the next decade (subtitles are uncertain): vol. II: Mt Gerizim and the Samaritans (forthcoming, 2005); vol III: The City of Luzah (forthcoming); vol. IV: Coins and Seals (forthcoming`); vol V: The Byzantine Period and the Greek Inscriptions (forthcoming). The existence of such a major holy centre will affect discussions, not only about the Pentateuch, but also about the ancient history of Israel, the Jewish canon, and the Samaritan literary traditions, that are not part of their canon. Although these Samaritan literary traditions date to a later time, they may preserve ancient traditions, as can be inferred from the literature of the centuries around the turn of the common era." cited from Ingrid Hjelm, "What do Samaritans and Jews Have in Common? Recent Trends in Samaritan Studies," Currents in Biblical Research 3.1 (2004), 9-59 [29-30].
From Ingrid Hjelm's larger article on recent Samaritan studies, I would like to cite her abstract from p. 9:
"Apart from the later period of the Hasmonean kingdom, Samaritans and Jews were always separate peoples who had either Gerizim or Jerusalem [respectively] as their main cult place. While Jewish perspectives on Samaritan origin[s] and history still prevail in recent research, future research will have to broaden the perspective and take into consideration Samaritan claims for authenticity in respect to origin, belief and traditions. These claims have been recently substantiated by excavations on Mt. Gerizim, which have unearthed structures of a major Persian period cult place that may date as early as the 6th century BCE. These finds, as well as finds of about 400 inscriptions and 13,000 coins, have just begun to be published. The present article presents the most recent development in research on Samaritan history and literature, in order to offer a base for the necessary rewriting of both Samaritan and Jewish history."
I hope this will help the discussion,
Thomas L. Thompson
University of Copenhagen

	-----Oprindelig meddelelse----- 
	Fra: Thomas L. Thompson 
	Sendt: sø 20-03-2005 12:21 
	Til: Peter Kirk; Yitzhak Sapir 
	Cc: B-Hebrew 
	Emne: SV: [b-hebrew] Samaritan script/proto-hebrew
	Dear forum,
	I had intended to point out that Hjelm argues that there was not a split, but rather never had been a unity between these two distinct peoples: Jews and Samaritans.

		In responding to Yitzhaq Sapir's remarks, 
		>I do not intend to enter a historical discussion with you, unless you intend
		>to be prepared to back up your objections and claims where they differ
		>from the currently established scholarly consensus or a major scholarly

		Peter Kirk had responded:
		Well, on this issue there doesn't exactly seem to be an established
		consensus, from what Thomas Thompson and Kevin Edgecomb have just said
		on this list. (I am surprised to find myself in agreement with Thompson,
		but at least no one can accuse him of biblical fundamentalism!) And I
		don't accept that any one "major scholarly opinion" is sufficiently
		weighty that I have to argue against it in detail. But I have presented
		some of my own evidence for an earlier split, to which can be added the
		evidence from the excavations on Mount Gerizim. Of course such an early
		split was not necessarily complete, final and formalised until much
		later, and there may have been periods of mutual cooperation over a long
		period before that final split.

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