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The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version

The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah

This landmark volume presents the first-ever English translation of the ancient Israelite Samaritan version of the Pentateuch, or Torah. A text of growing interest and importance in the field of biblical studies, the Samaritan Pentateuch preserves a version of the Hebrew text distinct from the traditional Masoretic Text that underlies modern Bible translations.

Benyamim Tsedaka's expert English translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch is here laid out parallel to the more familiar Masoretic Text, highlighting the more than 6,000 differences between the two versions. In addition to extensive explanatory notes in the margins throughout, the book's detailed appendices show affinities between the Samaritan and Septuagint versions and between the Samaritan and Dead Sea Scroll texts. Concluding the volume is a categorical name index containing a wealth of comparative information.

About the Author

Benyamim Tsedaka is head of the A. B. Institute ofSamaritan Studies in Holon, Israel, and founding editor of abiweekly Samaritan newsmagazine published in four languages.

Hardcover: 558 pages
Publisher: Eerdmans; 1St Edition edition (April 26, 2013)

The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans

The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans

The Keepers describes the remarkable history and survival of the Samaritans and the unique oppression and grace that have shaped their culture and religion. It is a history whose antagonists have included Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and it has contributed to arguments between Roman Catholics and Protestants over the text of the Bible. The threads of the story disappear at times into Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but ultimately succeed in affirming the unique Samaritan identity. Popularly associated with phrases like "The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel" and "The Good Samaritan," many are surprised to learn that the Samaritans have a rich history and culture that includes a contemporary chapter. This history is illuminated by stories in the Hebrew Bible and documents from Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic sources.

About the Author

Robert T. Anderson, author of Samaritan Manuscripts and Artifacts, is professor emeritus of religious studies at Michigan State University.

Terry Giles teaches biblical studies as professor of theology at Gannon University. He has also been active in higher education administration and served as guest teaching faculty in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Baker Academic (December 1, 2001)

Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations

Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations

Winner of the R.B.Y. Scott Award from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies

Even in antiquity, writers were intrigued by the origins of the people called Samaritans, living in the region of ancient Samaria (near modern Nablus). The Samaritans practiced a religion almost identical to Judaism and shared a common set of scriptures. Yet the Samaritans and Jews had little to do with each other. In a famous New Testament passage about an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman, the author writes, "Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans."

The Samaritans claimed to be descendants of the northern tribes of Joseph. Classical Jewish writers said, however, that they were either of foreign origin or the product of intermarriages between the few remaining northern Israelites and polytheistic foreign settlers. Some modern scholars have accepted one or the other of these ancient theories. Others have avidly debated the time and context in which the two groups split apart.

Covering over a thousand years of history, this book makes an important contribution to the fields of Jewish studies, biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern studies, Samaritan studies, and early Christian history by challenging the oppositional paradigm that has traditionally characterized the historical relations between Jews and Samaritans.

About the Author

Gary Knoppers is the O'Brien Professor of Theology at University of Notre Dame. Recent publications include a two-volume commentary on I Chronicles in the Anchor Bible series (2004), a co-edited volume (with Bernard Levinson) on The Pentateuch as Torah (2007), and a co-edited volume (with Oded Lipschits and Manfred Oeming) on Judah and the Judeans in the Achaemenid Period (2011).

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 30, 2013)

The Urantia Book The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book The Urantia Book

Love

Love is truly contagious and eternally creative. (p. 2018) “Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world.” (p. 2047) “Love is the ancestor of all spiritual goodness, the essence of the true and the beautiful.” (p. 2047) The Father’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows. (p. 1289) The secret of a better civilization is bound up in the Master’s teachings of the brotherhood of man, the good will of love and mutual trust. (p. 2065)

Prayer

Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict. (p. 1002) The sincerity of any prayer is the assurance of its being heard. … (p. 1639) God answers man’s prayer by giving him an increased revelation of truth, an enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness. (p. 1002) …Never forget that the sincere prayer of faith is a mighty force for the promotion of personal happiness, individual self-control, social harmony, moral progress, and spiritual attainment. (p. 999)

Suffering

There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes through space. All of your mortal struggling is not in vain. (p. 364) Mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation. (p. 556)

Angels

The angels of all orders are distinct personalities and are highly individualized. (p. 285) Angels....are fully cognizant of your moral struggles and spiritual difficulties. They love human beings, and only good can result from your efforts to understand and love them. (p. 419)

Our Divine Destiny

If you are a willing learner, if you want to attain spirit levels and reach divine heights, if you sincerely desire to reach the eternal goal, then the divine Spirit will gently and lovingly lead you along the pathway of sonship and spiritual progress. (p. 381) …They who know that God is enthroned in the human heart are destined to become like him—immortal. (p. 1449) God is not only the determiner of destiny; he is man’s eternal destination. (p. 67)

Family

Almost everything of lasting value in civilization has its roots in the family. (p. 765) The family is man’s greatest purely human achievement. ... (p. 939)

Faith

…Faith will expand the mind, ennoble the soul, reinforce the personality, augment the happiness, deepen the spirit perception, and enhance the power to love and be loved. (p. 1766) “Now, mistake not, my Father will ever respond to the faintest flicker of faith.” (p. 1733)

History/Science

The story of man’s ascent from seaweed to the lordship of earthly creation is indeed a romance of biologic struggle and mind survival. (p. 731) 2,500,000,000 years ago… Urantia was a well developed sphere about one tenth its present mass. … (p. 658) 1,000,000,000 years ago is the date of the actual beginning of Urantia [Earth] history. (p. 660) 450,000,000 years ago the transition from vegetable to animal life occurred. (p. 669) From the year A.D. 1934 back to the birth of the first two human beings is just 993,419 years. (p. 707) About five hundred thousand years ago…there were almost one-half billion primitive human beings on earth. … (p. 741) Adam and Eve arrived on Urantia, from the year A.D. 1934, 37,848 years ago. (p. 828)

From the Inside Flap

What’s Inside?

Parts I and II

God, the inhabited universes, life after death, angels and other beings, the war in heaven.

Part III

The history of the world, science and evolution, Adam and Eve, development of civilization, marriage and family, personal spiritual growth.

Part IV

The life and teachings of Jesus including the missing years. AND MUCH MORE…

Excerpts

God, …God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true. (p. 1431) If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. (p. 1440) When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen. (p. 1467)

The Origin of Human Life, The universe is not an accident... (p. 53) The universe of universes is the work of God and the dwelling place of his diverse creatures. (p. 21) The evolutionary planets are the spheres of human origin…Urantia [Earth] is your starting point. … (p. 1225) In God, man lives, moves, and has his being. (p. 22)

The Purpose of Life, There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. (p. 365) This new gospel of the kingdom… presents a new and exalted goal of destiny, a supreme life purpose. (p. 1778)

Jesus, The religion of Jesus is the most dynamic influence ever to activate the human race. (p. 1091) What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings! (p. 2083)

Science, Science, guided by wisdom, may become man’s great social liberator. (p. 909) Mortal man is not an evolutionary accident. There is a precise system, a universal law, which determines the unfolding of the planetary life plan on the spheres of space. (p. 560)

Life after Death, God’s love is universal… He is “not willing that any should perish.” (p. 39) Your short sojourn on Urantia [Earth]…is only a single link, the very first in the long chain that is to stretch across universes and through the eternal ages. (p. 435) …Death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery. (p. 159)

About the Author

The text of The Urantia Book was provided by one or more anonymous contributors working with a small staff which provided editorial and administrative support during the book's creation. The book bears no particular credentials (from a human viewpoint), relying instead on the power and beauty of the writing itself to persuade the reader of its authenticity.

Leather Bound: 2097 pages
Publisher: Urantia Foundation; Box Lea edition (August 25, 2015)

Samaritan Exegesis: A Compilation Of Writings From The Samaritans Samaritan Exegesis: A Compilation Of Writings From The Samaritans

Samaritan Exegesis: A Compilation Of Writings From The Samaritans Samaritan Exegesis: A Compilation Of Writings From The Samaritans

This book is a compilation of writings from two Samaritan High Priests of the early 20th century. Both works layout the doctrine of the Samaritans with detailed explanations from the Torah. Mount Gerizim: The One True Sanctuary The Samaritans hold to the belief that Mount Gerizim is the sacred place which their worship and pilgrimage is to be directed to the rejection of the Jebusite mount of Jerusalem. Mount Gerizim plays a prominent role in the lives of the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; is the place described in the Torah as the Mountain of Blessing; and was part of the inheritance of Jacob’s favored son Jospeh. Samaritan High Priest Amram son of Isaac lays out their claim that it is “The One True Sanctuary.” (Originally published in the early 1900’s) The Book Of Enlightenment For The Instruction Of The Inquirer Samaritan High Priest Jacob son of Aaron set out to answer twenty-five questions most frequently asked of him by outsiders as well as of those among his own community. He also set forth two arguments for his opponents - the Jews - which show the distance in doctrine between these two Israelite sects. (Originally published in 1913)

Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 15, 2013)

The Samaritans : Their Testimony to the Religion of Israel The Samaritans: Their Testimony to the Religion of Israel, Being the Alexander Robertson Lectures, Delivered, Before the University of Glasgow in 1916 (Classic Reprint)

The Samaritans: Their Testimony to the Religion of Israel, Being the Alexander Robertson Lectures, Delivered, Before the University of Glasgow in 1916 (Classic Reprint) The Samaritans: Their Testimony to the Religion of Israel, Being the Alexander Robertson Lectures, Delivered, Before the University of Glasgow in 1916 (Classic Reprint)

Excerpt from The Samaritans: Their Testimony to the Religion of Israel, Being the Alexander Robertson Lectures, Delivered, Before the University of Glasgow in 1916

For assistance in correcting proof, the writer would return thanks to the Rev. Dr James Robertson, Professor emeritus of Oriental Languages, Glasgow University; Rev. Dr James Kennedy, Librarian, New College, Edinburgh; Dr John Hutchison, Rector emeritus, Glasgow High School; Rev. Dr Charles Jerdan, Greenock, Senior Clerk, u.b.c. General Assembly. He has further to thank the Rev. W. B. R. Wilson, Dollar, for compiling an index, and E. Russell, Esq, for general suggestions. The writer would also acknowledge the kindness of Professor W. B. Stevenson in bringing to his notice not a few facts and authorities, which might otherwise have escaped him; to Professor A. R. S. Kennedy for assistance in books; and to Dr Cowley, Oxford, for kind answers to inquiries in regard to matters, authoritative information on which was not open to the writer. He would express his gratitude to Dr Rendel Harris and to his friend the Rev. J. C. Nicol, m.a., Eccles, for information as to the Samaritan codices in the Rylands Library, Manchester. The kindness of the librarians of the Universities Of Glasgow and Edinbtirgh, and Of New College, Edinburgh, must not be forgotten. Above all he would tender his thanks to his wife for her assistance in preparing the manuscript for the Press.

In regard to books, the writer would acknowledge his indebtedness to Dr Montgomery's Samaritans, especially to the copious list Of literature appended to various articles of Dr Cowley, and to Dr Mill's Modern Samaritans.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

Paperback: 454 pages
Publisher: Forgotten Books (February 7, 2018)

The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies (Sbl - Resources for Biblical Study) The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies (Sbl - Resources for Biblical Study)

The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies (Sbl - Resources for Biblical Study) The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance

The Samaritan Pentateuch (SP) is the sacred scripture of the Samaritans, a tenacious religious community made famous by Jesus Good Samaritan story that persists to this day. Not so widely known is the impact of the SP outside the Samaritan community. Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in this scripture, as evidenced by several translations of the SP as well as reference in Qumran scroll studies to the SP or an SP-like tradition in an effort to describe some of the textual evidence present in the scrolls. This volume presents a general introduction to and overview of the SP, suitable for a course text and as a reference tool for the professional scholar.

About the Author

Robert T. Anderson is professor emeritus of religious studies at Michigan State University. Terry Giles teaches biblical studies as Professor of Theology at Gannon University. They are co-authors of The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans and Tradition Kept: The Literature of the Samaritans (both from Hendrickson).

Series: Sbl - Resources for Biblical Study (Paper)
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature (October 22, 2012)


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Ancient Struggle Over Holy Land Supremacy

by
Matthias Schulz
-
translated from the German
by Paul Cohen

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Mount Gerizim
The Jews had significant competition in antiquity when it came to worshipping Yahweh. Archeologists have discovered a second great temple not far from Jerusalem that predates its better known cousin. It belonged to the Samaritans, and may have been edited out of the Bible once the rivalry had been decided.

The Jews had significant competition in antiquity when it came to worshipping Yahweh. Archeologists have discovered a second great temple not far from Jerusalem that predates its better known cousin. It belonged to the Samaritans, and may have been edited out of the Bible once the rivalry had been decided.

Clad in gray coat, Aharon ben Ab-Chisda ben Yaacob, 85, is sitting in the dim light of his house. He strikes up a throaty chant, a litany in ancient Hebrew. He has a full beard and is wearing a red kippah on his head.

Samaritan High Priest Aharon ben Ab-Chisda ben Yaacob
Aharon ben Ab-Chisda ben Yaacob

The man is a high priest -- and his family tree goes back 132 generations. He says: "I am a direct descendent of Aaron, the brother of the prophet Moses" -- who lived perhaps over 3,000 years ago.

Ab-Chisda is the spiritual leader of the Samaritans, a sect that is so strict that its members are not even allowed to turn on the heat on the Sabbath. They never eat shrimp and only marry among themselves. Their women are said to be so impure during menstruation that they are secluded in special rooms for seven days.

Outside, on the streets of Kiryat Luza, near Nablus, a cold wind is blowing. The village lies just below the summit of Mount Gerizim. There's a school, two shops and a site for sacrifices. This is home to 367 Samaritans. It's a small community.

Everyone here is required to attend religious services in the synagogue on Saturdays. "Every baby boy has to be circumcised precisely on the eighth day," says the high priest -- not beforehand, and not afterwards.

Most important of all: the sect only believes in the written legacy of Moses, the five books of the Pentateuch, also commonly known as the Torah. They reject all other scripture from the Bible.

Once in the Majority

Israel and Juda in 10th Century

From a historical perspective, the Samaritans and the Jews have a common lineage. The Old Testament recounts that 10 of the 12 tribes in the region of Samaria founded the state of Israel in the year 926 BC. The two other clans lived farther south, in the mountainous region of Judah, with its capital Jerusalem.

In other words, the Samaritans were once in the majority. In ancient times, there were 300,000 of them -- perhaps even over a million. But their strictest law almost led to their downfall. It states: "None of you may settle outside the promised land."

As a result, while the Jews fled across the globe to escape the cruelty of foreign rulers, their relatives persevered in the land of their forefathers and suffered under Byzantine tyrants and merciless sultans. At the end of World War I, there were only 146 of them.

"Today we are doing better," says Ab-Chisda cheerily, as he gazes out the window. Now, together with another group in Holon near Tel Aviv, this religious community consists of 751 individuals.

But this population increase only took place because they broke with age-old traditions and rescinded the ban against mixed marriages. In 2004, five Jewish women from Ukraine and one from Siberia, all of them ready and willing to get married, were accepted into the community.

Nevertheless, due to inbreeding, they have a wide range of genetic defects. Trade journals have published studies on the forgotten children of God. They often suffer from muscle weakness and Usher syndrome, also known as deafblindness.

A Grim Fate

Samaritan raises Torah scroll
Samaritans were forbidden by their strict scripture from settling outside the holy lands, putting them at the mercy of a long line of oppressive rulers. There are only a few hundred of them left today. Here, a Samaritan high priest raises the Torah scroll to mark a Jewish festival.
Samaritans were forbidden by their strict scripture from settling outside the holy lands, putting them at the mercy of a long line of oppressive rulers. There are only a few hundred of them left today. Here, a Samaritan high priest raises the Torah scroll to mark a Jewish festival.

But their religion is alive and well. They all gather for Passover, a holiday where the men wear white robes and perform a great animal sacrifice.

During the ceremony, a priest cuts the throats of 50 lambs. Streams of blood flow through a stone channel into a hole, where they are burnt along with the intestines. The meat, which is cooked in a large earthen oven, must be completely consumed during the night -- otherwise it becomes unkosher.

But where do these archaic people come from?

It is a question that intrigues an increasing number of religious scholars. Recent discoveries show that the Samaritans suffered a grim fate. They were once the guardians of the Ark of the Covenant and the keepers of the Mosaic tradition. But then they became the victims of a smear campaign.

His hair windblown, Stefan Schorch stands in front of the synagogue in Kiryat Luza. An expert on the Old Testament, Schorch hails from the University of Halle-Wittenberg in eastern Germany and comes here often -- usually armed with a tape recorder. He works like an ethnologist would when studying a remote indigenous tribe.

Above all, Schorch is looking for sacred books.

Schorch views old Bible
German theological professor Dr. Stefan Schorch has found evidence that the original temple on Mount Gerizim may have been edited out of the Bible in favor of Jerusalem once areas north of Jerusalem had been raided by invading hordes.
German theological professor Dr. Stefan Schorch has found evidence that the original temple on Mount Gerizim may have been edited out of the Bible in favor of Jerusalem once areas north of Jerusalem had been raided by invading hordes.

It's 7:30 a.m., and a priest unlocks a small house of worship and disappears into a niche behind a heavy red curtain. Inside stands a safe filled with old volumes of the Pentateuch. "Unbelievable," says the researcher, as he leafs through "a completely preserved edition from the 14th century." He photographs each page of the tome. Then the priest locks it away again.

'One Main Difference'

There was a time when nearly every affluent family possessed such a precious handwritten book. Some of them reached Europe. Now, the professor, who comes from the historic birthplace of Martin Luther's Reformation, studies these texts, checking them line by line, and word by word. And he compares the Samaritan Torah with the Jewish version.

"Actually there's only one main difference," he says. Among the Jews, Jerusalem is the world's religious epicenter, whereas for the Samaritans it's Mount Gerizim.

But which Torah is the original? Until recently, the generally accepted school of thought was as follows: In the fourth century BC, the Samaritans split off as a radical sect. In the Bible, they appear as outsiders and idol worshipers; they are evil. The parable of the "good Samaritan" (Luke 10:25-37) offers a rather atypical portrayal of a member of this sect.

The historian Titus Flavius Josephus, himself a Jew, mentions that the apostates erected a shrine "in all haste" in the year 330 BC, as a rather dilettantish attempt to emulate the Temple in Jerusalem.

Increasingly, though, it looks as though the Bible has handed down a distorted picture of history. Papyrus scrolls recovered from Qumran on the Dead Sea, as well as a fragment of the Bible that recently surfaced on the market for antiquities, necessitate a "complete reassessment," says Schorch.


Part 2: The Site of the Original Temple

Yet the most exciting indication of how history actually transpired has now been unearthed by Yitzhak Magen. Working behind security fences, the archaeologist has been digging on the windswept summit of Mount Gerizim.

Mount Gerizim
The archeological site at the top of Mount Gerizim provides testimony to the once flourishing Samaritan community. Ancient sources indicate there were once 300,000, or even up to a million of them. Today, there are 751.
The archeological site at the top of Mount Gerizim provides testimony to the once flourishing Samaritan community. Ancient sources indicate there were once 300,000, or even up to a million of them. Today, there are 751.

His findings, which have only been partially published, are a virtual sensation: As early as 2,500 years ago, the mountain was already crowned with a huge, dazzling shrine, surrounded by a 96 by 98-meter (315 by 321-foot) enclosure. The wall had six-chamber gates with colossal wooden doors.

At the time, the Temple of Jerusalem was, at most, but a simple structure.

Magen has discovered 400,000 bone remains from sacrificial animals. Inscriptions identify the site as the "House of the Lord." A silver ring is adorned with the tetragrammaton YHWH, which stands for Yahweh.

All of this means that a vast, rival place of worship stood only 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Jerusalem.

It is an astonishing discovery. A religious war was raging among the Israelites, and the nation was divided. The Jews had powerful cousins who were competing with them for religious leadership in the Holy Land. The dispute revolved around a central question: Which location deserved the honor of being the hearth and burnt offering site of God Almighty?

Revising Holy Scripture

Researchers have a long way to go before they uncover all the details of this conflict. It's clear, however, that it was extremely acrimonious. Each side reviled the other. There was murder, mayhem and, ultimately, even the Holy Scripture was revised.

At first -- so much is clear -- the Samaritans had the upper hand. Indeed, compared with Jerusalem, Mount Gerizim enjoyed significantly older rights: In the great tale of the history of the chosen people, the mountain plays a key role.

Abraham, the progenitor of the Israelites -- who, according to legend, roamed through the Orient as a shepherd around 1500 BC -- stopped there because God had appeared to him in a wondrous vision. Later, Jacob the patriarch traveled there to build the original shrine.

In the fifth book of Moses, the mountain summit finally earns a prominent place in biblical history: After the flight from Egypt, the Israelites wandered through the Sinai desert for 40 years. At last, they reached the Jordan River from the east. Their old and weary leader gazed across the river to the promised land, where "milk and honey flow."

Shortly before his death, Moses issued an important command: The people must first travel to Mount Gerizim. He said that six tribes should climb it and proclaim blessings, while the other six tribes should proclaim curses from the top of nearby Mount Ebal. It was a kind of ritual taking possession of the promised land.

Finally, the prophet tells the Israelites to build a shrine "made of stones" on Mount Gerizim and coat it with "plaster." Indeed, he said, this is "the place that the Lord has chosen."

No Mention of a 'Chosen Place'

That, in any case, is what stands in the oldest Bible texts. They are brittle papyrus scrolls that were made over 2,000 years ago in Qumran, and have only recently been examined by experts.

In the Hebrew Bible, which Jerusalem's priests probably spent a good deal of time revising, everything suddenly sounds quite different. There is no longer any mention of a "chosen place."

Bible Archaeology Altar of Joshua Amphitheater between Mt. Gerizim Ebal
Bible Archaeology Altar of Joshua Amphitheater between Mt. Gerizim Ebal
Bible Archaeology Altar of Joshua Amphitheater between Mt. Gerizim Ebal

The word "Gerizim" has also been removed from the crucial passage. Instead, the text states that the Yahweh altar was erected on "Ebal." "By naming the mountain of the curses," says Schorch, "they wanted to cast the entire tale in a negative light, and deprive Gerizim of its biblical legitimacy."

Schorch dates the intervention to around 150 BC. The researcher stops short of calling it fraud, though, preferring to label it an "adaptation of the Bible to their own religious view."

But why was this ruse ultimately successful? Why did the minority win out? Didn't the opponent have the more populous country? A palace already stood in their capital city, Samaria, in the year 1000 BC. Ivory has been found there. At the time, Jerusalem was still little more than a village, with barely 1,500 inhabitants.

Researchers have solved this puzzle, and the answer even has a face: It sports a curly beard and wears a bronze helmet. Starting in the year 732 BC, the Assyrians used their chariots to advance to the Mediterranean and subjugate the state of Israel. The inhabitants were either impaled or taken into captivity.

This devastated the country. The land of the Lord had been overrun by violent hordes. Many fled to their cousins in Judah. Jerusalem's population soared to 15,000.

Drinking and Whoring Heathens

Strengthened by this influx, the priests there decided it was time for them to play the leading role in religious matters. Only a few years after the invasion, King Hezekiah persuaded all Israelites -- Jews and Samaritans alike -- to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He said this was the only place that still retained the freedom and purity to worship the Almighty. The neighboring country was, of course, occupied by drinking and whoring heathens.

To underscore their claim, the Jewish people wove an entire biblical tale around their small, southern kingdom. According to this story, around 1000 BC the biblical King David ruled from Jerusalem over a glorious kingdom. His son Solomon allegedly built in the city a temple made of cedar, "completely overlaid with gold." According to the Bible, over 180,000 workers toiled to build it.

Total nonsense: Not a single shred of archaeological evidence has ever been found to confirm the existence of Solomon's Temple.

The goal of the deception was clear, though: Judah's priests sought to magnify the glory of their own city. And they passed up no opportunity to vilify their rivals: In the Bible the Samaritans were nearly always portrayed as unsavory characters. They were also said to be ethnically impure because their blood had supposedly been mixed with that of foreign colonialists.

The book of Ezra even recounts that these "enemies" tried to hinder the reconstruction of the destroyed Temple of Jerusalem -- out of pure envy, because they didn't have one of their own.

In reality, though, at that time, a shining divine fortress had already stood for many years on Mount Gerizim. Magen, the archaeologist, has discovered jewelry, silver, a fine cosmetics set and a small golden bell from the splendid robe of a high priest.

Living in Peace

Around the year 180 BC, the ceremonial building grew to a size of roughly 200 by 200 meters. The Samaritans added a monumental staircase and rooms for "thousands of pilgrims." There were apparently huge crowds of devout visitors. None of this is mentioned in the Bible.

The dispute finally came to a head. In the year 128 BC, John Hyrcanos, a Jewish prince, ascended Mount Gerizim with an army and burned the proud sanctuary to the ground. Archaeologists have found a "burn layer" along with arrow heads, swords, daggers and lead missiles for slings.

The Samaritans never rebuilt their temple. From then on, the victors wrote the (biblical) history books and forced their rivals into oblivion.

And yet the "guardians of the law," as they call themselves, still exist today. When Mark Twain visited the region in 1867, he encountered the "sad, proud remnant of a once mighty community," which he stared at "just as one would stare at a living mastodon."

Today, this astounding religious community is better off. They have a seat in the Palestinian parliament and they maintain contacts with the United Nations. "We want to live in peace with everyone," says the high priest Ab-Chisda.

Despite their tragic history, the spiritual leader has not lost his sense of humor. In response to the question as to what the Samaritan paradise looks like, the old man hesitated briefly. Then, he said mischievously: "It must be a wonderful place. Nobody has ever returned to make a complaint."


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Disclaimer

Disclaimer:
Some material presented will contain links, quotes, ideologies, etc., the contents of which should be understood to first, in their whole, reflect the views or opinions of their editors, and second, are used in my personal research as "fair use" sources only, and not espousement one way or the other. Researching for 'truth' leads one all over the place...a piece here, a piece there. As a researcher, I hunt, gather and disassemble resources, trying to put all the pieces into a coherent and logical whole. I encourage you to do the same. And please remember, these pages are only my effort to collect all the pieces I can find and see if they properly fit into the 'reality aggregate'.

Personal Position

Personal Position:
I've come to realize that 'truth' boils down to what we 'believe' the facts we've gathered point to. We only 'know' what we've 'experienced' firsthand. Everything else - what we read, what we watch, what we hear - is what someone else's gathered facts point to and 'they' 'believe' is 'truth', so that 'truth' seems to change in direct proportion to newly gathered facts divided by applied plausibility. Though I believe there is 'truth', until someone celestial who 'knows' all the facts parts the heavens and throws us a scroll titled "Here Are ALL The Facts And Lies In The Order They Happened," I can't know for sure exactly what "the whole truth' on any given subject is, and what applies to me applies to everyone.
~Gail Bird Allen

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