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Anderson, Robert T., and Terry Giles


The Samaritan Pentateuch. An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies.


Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2012. 236 S. = Resources for Biblical Study, 72. Kart. US$ 27,95. ISBN 978-1-58983-699-5.


József Zsengellér

This is the third book on the Samaritans written by these co-authors in the last decade. They already dealt with the Samaritan Pentateuch (SP) on eleven pages in the first (The Keepers – 2002), and forty-seven pages in the second (Tradition Kept – 2005) monograph. The present, almost two hundred page-volume extends the introductory information on the sacred scripture of the Samaritans. As in the case of the previous books the reader of this book under review is not allowed to know which part of the book was written by one or the other author. R. T. Anderson is a well-known re­searcher of the SP since the 1960’s. T. Giles published several articles on Samaritan inscriptions since 1995. The present book is planned to be »a general introduction to and an overview of the SP, suitable for a course text and as a reference tool for the professional scholar« (back cover).
The book follows »a primarily chronological outline, tracing the history of the SP from its origins to its most recent translations.« (3) The first and the last chapters seem to form a frame of the real chronological outline presenting a preface (the history of the origin of the Samaritans), and an epilogue (the trans-historical sketch of SP translations).
Chapter 1 presents three (hi)stories (Samaritan, Judean, Scholars’) of the Samaritans’ origin summarizing the recent consensus based on the »detailed excavations on Mount Gerizim, better understandings of Second Temple period relationships between Samarian and Judea and examination of the materials recovered at Qumran« that »the SP, with the specific sectarian readings characteristic of the text today, emerged sometime between the late second century B. C. E. and the early first century C. E.« (22)
Chapter 2 introduces the textual situation of the Late Second Temple Period when SP was formed. Problems of canon, exegesis, Urtext, vulgar text, textual plurality, classification of Qumran texts, parallel versions, rewritten Bible, commentary, and author-ity are the notions presented in sixteen pages. Based on these no-tions the pre-Samaritan text type of the Dead Sea Scrolls is intro-duced in some details in chapter 3. 4Q22, 4Q17, 4Q26, 4Q27, 4Q45, 4Q37, 4Q38, 4Q41 and the 4QRP texts are discussed. Though its origin and originality is still highly debated among scholars, the Deut 27:4 fragment published by Charlesworth is considered among the Qumran scrolls. In chapter 4 the ideas of Tov, White-Crawford and Kartveit collected to show how pre-Samaritan text developed by harmonizing additions to be SP. After these intro­-ductory chapters chapter 5 discusses the textual characteristics of SP. After a short display of previous scholarly ideas on classification of the textual differences between the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Masoretic Text, the authors – first time in the book – present their own ideas. These are not really new ideas, since, as they indicated in footnote 1 (71), this chapter is a revised version of a chapter of Tradition Kept (17–48) on the same topic. Unfortunately the authors did not take into consideration the critical remarks of Stefan Schorch on that chapter (Review of Biblical Literature 01/2006 – and »kept their tradition« in this new elaboration as well. The differences between Samaritan and MT Hebrew presented on pages 77–79 are sometimes false but at least misleading. All of the three phenomena of the Samaritan »sectarian edits« are presented with theoretical mistakes. Just to mention the main theological difference between Samari tans and Jews that Mount Gerizim and not Jerusalem is the sanctuary elected by God, the authors did not realize the shift in the majority of scholarly opinions that the Deuteronomic readings of has chosen/will choose is not regarded as a later Samaritan modification. There is also type fault in the Hebrew text (84), and failure in the translation of Deut 34:10 (90).
In discussing the situation of SP in the first century sectarianism the authors in chapter 6 fall into the same trap they fairly criticized earlier scholars: ignoring recent scholarship.
Chapter 7 has the promising title »The Samaritan Pentateuch in the First Millenium,« though the authors conclude that only some inscriptions were produced in this epoch. All the SP manuscripts including the famous Abisha scroll were written already in the second millennium.
Chapter 8 presents the fascinating story of the scholarly discovery and use of the SP in early textual criticism, and how the SP became a tool of confessional controversies after the time of the Reformation.
Chapter 9 deals with different translations of SP. Unfortunately this chapter questions the coherence of the whole book, and the thoroughgoing consciousness of the authors, since in chapters 2 and 3 it is summarized that the formation of the SP ended in the first century CE, here in contrast the authors write: »There is no evidence of any SP translations into other languages as the time of the Assyrian annexation of Samaria following the eighth-century B. C. E. invasion of the northern kingdom of Israel, or during the Babylonian and Persian periods that followed.« (169) Regrettably, not only this inconsistency characterizes chapter 9. Presenting scholarship of Samaritan Pentateuch Targum the authors stop at the beginning of the 20th century. They forget to mention Rudolph Macuch work with his Grammatik des samaritanischen Aramäisch (Berlin: de Gruyter 1982), but also the main contributions of Abraham Tal: the critical edition of the Samaritan Targums – The Samaritan Targum of the Pentateuch, vols. I–III (Tel-Aviv University Press 1980–1983); and his lexicographical work – A Dictionary of Samaritan Aramaic (HO 1/50; Leiden: Brill 2000). Without these comprehensive grammar, dictionary and text edition no scholar can do any up to date research on Samaritan Pentateuch Targums. Similarly the authors are not aware of the officially edited versions of the Arabic translation of Haseeb Shehadeh: The Arabic Translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Volume One: Genesis-Exodus (Jerusalem: IASH 1989) and The Arabic Translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Volume Two: Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Jerusalem: IASH 2002). The subtitle »Latin and Arabic Versions« is misleading, since there is no hint to the existence of a Latin translation of SP.
In two short closing chapters (»A Reintroduction«, »For Further Reference: Modern Tools and Translations«) instead of a conclusion the authors draw attention to new ways of contemporary scholarly works done and to be done on SP. The book concludes with a bibli-ography (with some mistakes, e. g. 211) and indexes.
Scholarly research and publication on the Samaritan Pentateuch accelerated in the last decades. Despite the inaccuracies and short-ages of the book, the authors successfully displayed its development and changes in a chronological order.