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Samaritan Pentateuch

a recension of the commonly received Hebrew text of the Mosaic law, in use among the Samaritans, and written in the ancient Hebrew or so-called Samaritan character. The origin of the Samaritan Pentateuch has given rise to much controversy, into which we cannot here enter. The two most usual opinions are—

  • That it came into the hands of the Samaritans as an inheritance from the ten tribes whom they succeeded.
  • That it was introduced by Manasseh at the time of the foundation of the Samaritan sanctuary on Mount Gerizim. It differs in several important points from the Hebrew text. Among these may be mentioned—
  • Emendations of passages and words of the Hebrew text which contain something objectionable in the eyes of the Samaritans, On account either of historical probability or apparent want of dignity in the terms applied to the Creator. Thus in the Samaritan Pentateuch no one in the antediluvian times begets his first son after he has lived 150 years; but one hundred years are, where necessary, subtracted before, and added after, the birth of the first son. An exceedingly important and often-discussed emendation of this class is the passage in (Exodus 12:40) which in our text reads, “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.” The Samaritan has “The sojourning of the children of Israel [and their fathers who dwelt in the Land of Cannaan and in the land of Egypt ] was four hundred and thirty years;” an interpolation of very late date indeed. Again, in (Genesis 2:2) “And God [?] had finished on the seventh day,” is altered into “the sixth ” lest God’s rest on the Sabbath day might seem incomplete.
  • Alterations made in favor of or on behalf of Samaritan theology, hermeneutics and domestic worship.
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