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

Thomas L. Thompson tlt at
Sun Mar 20 13:52:28 EST 2005

Dear Yitzhaq Sapir,
I think Ingrid would be very surprised with the suggestion that she accepts or follows Van Seters. For issues of composition--especially in regard to Pentateuch and Dtr history, I think her Jerusalem's Rise to Sovereignty, p. 30-92 contain some of the most important issues. I don't think she gives much credence to centuries old theories about JEDP or, indeed, Noth's so-called deuteronomistic history. Her own position can be found in Jerusalem's Rise, p. 169-222. ´Her 2000 book discusses the relationship of the "SAmaritan Pentateuch" with the Samaritans of the pre-Christian period. The issues are quite complicated and involve manuscripts and traditions that Wellhausen and Noth never considered. 
I do not want to speak for my wife, as we do not share the same perspectives on the field (I am much more conservative and old fashioned and she has done a great deal more work on manuscript traditions than I have). Perhaps in a week or so, she can address the issues herself. At present, she is recovering from a serious illness and cannot answer you directly.
Thomas L. Thompson
Professor, University of Copenhagen

	-----Oprindelig meddelelse----- 
	Fra: b-hebrew-bounces at på vegne af Yitzhak Sapir 
	Sendt: sø 20-03-2005 18:27 
	Til: B-Hebrew 
	Cc: ihj at 
	Emne: Re: [b-hebrew] Samaritan script/proto-hebrew

	Kevin P. Edgecomb wrote:
	> Reference has been made by several to Yitzhak Magen's
	> excavations on Mount Gerizim, where the remains of the
	> Samaritan Temple have been discovered.  I read somewhere
	> that he was (is?) assembling a book for publication at the
	> end of 2004 dealing with the around 500 discovered Samaritan
	> inscriptions, and around 13,000 coins, which date the precinct
	> from early 6th century (!) to its late 2nd century destruction by
	> the Hasmoneans.
	I think this is misleading.  These 13000 coins etc include coins
	from the Byzantine periods and onwards, it seems.
	> The most comprehensive of the articles so far appears to be
	> Magen, Y. "Mt. Gerizim -A Temple City," Qadmoniot 33.2
	> (2000), 74-119 (in Hebrew).
	This volume has additional articles relating to the finds at Mt.
	Gerizim.  From the article on the inscriptions, it seems that
	the Aramaic ones are in Jewish script, ie, after the Persian
	period.  It's unclear what inscriptions there are from the Persian
	period, and the dating to the Persian period of the Temple
	seems to be based on pottery and coins.
	Prof. Thompson wrote:
	> 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.
	I tried to read in the two books by Hjelm that were available to
	me about her views, but I had limited time to read through
	them.  I don't think of them as ever having been unified to the
	point of a single cult center and a single administration.  Rather,
	it seems more of imposed and voluntary peace treaties and
	occupations between the two, as well as the development of a
	shared heritage due to those "treaties."  In the Persian period,
	I believe they had agree to accept as authoritative a common
	Pentateuch, including all sources, each of which had its
	history in one or the other community.  Based on a
	reconstruction of calendarical elements, I believe that the
	Pentateuch makes reference to a 12x30 day calendar with
	an intercalated 30 day month every 6 years.  This calendar,
	in my opinion, is the first one to employ a spring New Year,
	at least in Judea, and it was accepted with Persian
	influence in the 4th century.  This is based, among other
	things, by references to this calendar in Daniel and
	Henoch, which indicate it must have existed by the 3rd
	century.  This would date the redaction of the Pentateuch
	to the mid-4th century and since both Samaritans and
	Jews accepted the Pentateuch largely as a redacted
	complete document, it seems to me that at this date might
	also be a good date for a "peace treaty" between the two
	to accept common religious motives, while perhaps
	agreeing to disagree on a location for the Sanctuary.  I
	realize it is problematic to rest a theory on a reconstruction
	of a calendar that is extremely speculative, but in the end,
	this date of the redaction does not differ greatly from the
	more common dates of redaction proposed on other
	grounds for the Pentateuch, as far as I know.
	In my view, then, both were separate peoples, both had
	origins in the First Temple period, that due to wars and
	geographical proximity had caused them to develop
	common religious motives.  Perhaps, in light of this, the
	Edomites should be considered a third group as well, but
	one that did not survive conquest in the Second Temple
	period.  In any case, in the 4th century, both accepted
	upon them the Pentateuch as authoritative, and this
	period of 4th - 2nd century may have been the most
	peaceful amongst them.
	It was unclear to me what her view on the Pentateuch is,
	from my skimming of the books.  (Again, I had little time).
	It seems she accepts Van Seters' argument that J is
	post-exilic, as well as various arguments that Qumran is
	not Essene.  She also seemed to mention that the Jews
	borrowed a Samaritan Pentateuch.  This would seem to
	mean that all J, E, P, D, and the redactor were Samaritan
	in origin. I am not sure if her theory of reconstruction
	requires all that, but I generally believe that reconstructions,
	especially where they differ from previous consensus,
	should depend least on other similar "revolutionary"
	reconstructions, because if one "revolutionary" view turns
	out to be misled, it would mean that the whole theory
	falls apart.  Anyway, in all these arguments regarding
	the Deuteronomist vs the Yahwist, I got confused as to
	what is her date for the compilation for the Pentateuch,
	what is her date for the borrowing or mutual acceptance
	by both Jews and Samaritans of the Pentateuch, and
	what is the background for this.  Most of the above is
	based on comments in her "Jerusalem's Rise to
	Sovereignty."  Perhaps you can point me to a specific
	place where she addresses these questions?
	Anyhow, thanks again for the summary of her views, as
	well as for the Magen excavation report that is
	unfortunately not available to me now (the Qadmoniot
	volume was).
	Yitzhak Sapir
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