Archaeological News: Samaritan Pentateuch

by Dr. Scott T. Carroll, Ph.D., Egyptologist

DocCarrollHere’s something you will likely never see again.

The Samaritans are the half-breed descendants of the [Northern] Tribes of Israel. Only a few hundred Samaritans survive today. Soon they will indeed be lost and only remembered through their writings.

Their traditions varied drastically from the Jews as the Samaritan woman at the well pointed out to Jesus. When the Samaritan Torah and the Jewish Torah are compared there are more than 20,000 differences between the two! Surprisingly, the NT authors positively contrasted the sincerity of the Samaritan faith with the stubborn hypocrisy of the Pharisees–take for instance the story of the Good Samaritan.

Recently, I have been working with Samaritan manuscripts which are extremely rare. Note the unique ancient Hebrew script, below. The manuscript on [top] is Exodus 12; read at the start of Passover. The manuscript on [bottom] is a prayer offered by a scribe (called a sofer) at the completion of the writing of the Torah. Faith and the message is alive and well in even the least expected places.

Samaritan Pentateuch (Exodus 12)

Samaritan Pentateuch

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