The Samaritan kaleidoscope: A look back at centuries of tensions with Judaism
This work explores the various schools of thought or views on the development of the Samaritans as a distinct people and religion that broke from mainstream Judaism over the centuries after a series of events. These views are: the Samaritan belief that they are direct descendants of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh; the belief that Samaritan religion developed as a splinter group of Judaism during the Persian period; the Jewish belief that Samaritism developed after the Assyrian subjugation of the northern Kingdom of Israel and the subsequent inter-marriage of the Israelite people and Assyrian colonists; the belief that the Samaritan break with Judaism occurred during the Greek and Hasmonean domination of Palestine.
This paper will examine each of the traditional views of the origin of Samaritism, analyzing the schools of thought and the combined collateral effect of various events that led to a deepening of divisions between the Samaritan and the Judaic communities. In particular, the thesis of this paper will show how the Samaritans developed as a distinct people and religion from Judaism due to the north-south drift after the rupture of the united Kingdom after Solomon's reign, the disagreement over Mt. Zion and Mt. Gerizim, competing views of the priesthood, and the subjugation of the Samaritans during the Greek and Hasmonean periods.
0321: Biblical studies
0751: Judaic studies