SV: [b-hebrew] Samaritans

Thomas L. Thompson tlt at
Mon Mar 21 05:50:46 EST 2005


	Dear forum,
	For a very good discussion of the at times, antagonistic relationship between Jews and Samaritans, see I.Hjelm, "Brothers fignting brothers: Jewish and Samaritan Ethnocentrism in Tradition and History," in Th.L: Thompson (ed.), Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition (T&T Clark: London, 2003), 197-222.
	The Samaritans claim continuity with an historical united Israel as Jews do. Their self-understanding is that they derive from the lineage of Joseph, Ephraim and Menasseh and have an unbroken line of high priests with a cultic continuation since the entrance into the promised land. "While Judaism argued for the necessity of a new beginning after the Babylonian exile, Samaritans insisted that the old tradition be maintained. . . . Put very simply, while Jewish tradition maintains the sovereignty of Jerusalem and the Davidic line of kingship, based on the Deuteronomistic and Chronistic histories, Samaritan tradition maintains the sovereignty of Gerizim and its priesthood, on the basis of the authority of Moses and the patriarchs. At the return from the Babylonian exile, neither group would accept a compromise and the split, which, according to Samaritan tradition had begun in the eleventh century, when the priest Eli moved from Shechem to Shiloh to erect a temple and a cult independent of Gerizim, became manifest.".  (Hjelm, 218-220).
	Of course, the traditional view of relationships between these two ethnic and religious groups is to be held quite distinct from an historical perspective. Here perhaps, Edom with its continuities with the Idumeans is a far better parallel than Philistines.
	Thomas L. Thompson
	Professor, University of Copenhagen

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