The Samaritans were a racially mixed society with Jewish and pagan ancestry.
Although they worshiped Yahweh as did the Jews, their religion was not
mainstream Judaism. They accepted only the first five books of the Bible as
canonical, and their temple was on Mount Gerazim instead of Mount Zion in
Jerusalem (John 4:20).
The Samaritans of Jesus' day were strict monotheists. In some respects they were
more strict than Jews about commandments of the Mosaic law, especially the
sabbath regulations, but they did not share the Jewish restriction against
pronouncing the divine name Yahweh in their oaths.
Some similarities between Jewish and Samaritan theology were:
1) They both considered themselves true worshippers of Yahweh.
2) Both placed supreme importance on the Pentateuch as a detailed way of life
(the Samaritans rejected the rest of the Jewish canon.
3) The both looked for the Messiah (the Samaritans expected Him to rule from
Mount Gerazim, and the Jews from Jerusalem).
4) The Samaritans insisted that Mount Gerazim was the only true central
sanctuary for all Israel.
5) The Samaritans exalted Moses to a place above normal.
6) The Samaritans believed basically the same as the Jews concerning final
judgment, rewards, punishments, circumcision, Sabbath, dietary laws, and the
ceremonial and judicial laws.
Here are some ancient Samaritan philosophical quotes:
Celebration of God
- Great is the chief Power who abides forever!
Let us put on fear [dahaltah = "worship"] of him before we speak of him!
The secret is not hidden from him and everything is within his power.
He knows what was and what (is) now and what will take place.
He stands to strengthen himself, he who is not in need of anything.
He learns all secrets without learning;
and he is not discovered, but he does what he requires.
(There is) no king and no ruler who can withstand him.
YHWH, he (is) God and there is none beside him!
Great is he who is not large and all greatness belongs to him!
He taught Moses the secrets in the bush (Exod 3:2f),
which revealed his greatness and his glory!
And the angel first confronted him and spoke with him
about what was and what will take place.
--- Marqah, Memar 1.1
Exaltation of Moses
9 And should we search for the Truth and learn Wisdom no apostasy will be found
in us; except any time we run to the guidance of the wicked.
Let's attend to the Truth and trust in YHWH, our Lord and our Maker;
and also in Moses, our Prophet and Redeemer!
Except for Moses the world would not have been created and none of these wonders
would have been revealed.
12 Lifted up is Moses, the great Prophet,
whom his Lord clothed with his name [cf. Exod 7:1]!
He dwelt in hidden things and was surrounded with Light.
The Truth was revealed to him and he gave him the writing of his own hand.
He gave him to drink from ten precious springs, seven above and three below.
Deity drew for him the waters of Life [mayah chayyah]
which watered his heart, until it produced that which gives life.
Prophecy drew for him the waters of Life which purified his soul,
until it made every soul great.
Truth drew for him the waters of Life which made his spirit great,
until it was able to illumine.
And the four Names [of God]* drew for him the waters of life,
so that he might be lifted up and glorified in every place.
--- Marqah, Memar 2.9, 12
Waters of Life
- The four Names are:
Elah [God] (Exod 7:1);
Ehyeh asher ehyeh [I am who I am] (Exod 3:14),
Anaki [I am] (Exod 3:15), and
YHWH (Exod 6:3).
1 In the depths of an abundant spring is the life of the world.
Let us rise with understanding to drink from its waters!
We thirst for the waters of life.
There are great rivers here before us.
Blessed be God who brought into being (all) kinds of creatures
for the sake of Adam.
Worthy is the form which is in the Image of God!
The form of the heart is not the form of the appearance!
--- Marqah, Memar 2.1
Well of Living Water
3 There is a Well of living water
dug by a Prophet whose like has not arisen since Adam
and the water which is in it is from the mouth of God.
Let us eat from the fruit that is in this garden
and let us drink from the waters that are in this well.
There is no need for us to see it in a place we cannot get to.
"It is not in heaven" and it is not in crossing the sea (Deut 30:12-13).
"In the mouth and in the heart" it is done (Deut 30:14).
And woe to us! For we do not do it; it is far from us.
We do not learn it though we came down from heaven!
It was given to us and we believed in it.
It was with them; it was within the Light.
And the glory was around, for it was the word of God.
His hand wrote and the Prophet received it with signs from on high.
And YHWH came down and dwelt with him.
--- Marqah, Memar 6.3
The Prophet & the Restorer
7 Let us stand where we are and listen to the Truth,
for our Lord and Master is merciful to us...
Let us follow after the great Prophet Moses, who leads us well,
for he was sent to us by our Lord.
Where is there a prophet life Moses?
He was a good father to all Israel, bringing them up and looking after them,
appeasing God with his fast and healing them with his prayer...
He was a good physician, healing and giving compensation...
His words are from the words of his Lord:
Believe in him! You will be safe from all wrath;
on the day of vengeance you will be at rest...
He who believes in him believes in his Lord!
Woe to us if we do not remember that!
Let us believe in YHWH and in Moses his servant!...
12 A Restorer [Taheb] will come in peace;
he will rule the places of the perfect and reveal the Truth.
Heed and hear! Stand in Truth! Clear your arguments!
"For YHWH will judge his people" (Deut 32:36a):
The "people" of YHWH is Jacob, the branches and the chief root,
and the branches from fathers to sons;
from Noah, the root, even to the Restorer, the branch...
The word of Truth will penetrate and illumine the world,
in which he will come to dwell.
How great is the hour when one comes to hear the voice of God
walking throughout the world;
and all creatures shall be in order and bow their heads;
their hearts will shiver and their eyes droop
and their limbs shake from fear on the day of Judgment.
And the mouth of Deity will speak:
-- "Now see that I, I am he [ani ani hu]!" (Deut 32:39a)
Those who rest and know this will then be saved.
-- "See, I have taught you rules and judgments" (Deut 4:5).
-- "Only be on your guard" (Deut 4:9)!
I, I (am) he who stands above creation and above Mount Sinai!
I, I (am) he who is and there is none beside me!
I, I (am) he who is without time and without place!
I, I (am) he who who is the life of the world [chayyei 'olam]!
I, I (am) he who suspended and split by my power!
I, I (am) he who planted the Garden and uprooted Sodom!
I, I (am) he who uprooted and stripped away!
I, I (am) he to whom all belongs and to whom (all) return!
I, I (am) he who puts all the living to death and makes all the dead live!
I, I (am) he who encircles my foes with vengeance!
And now it is good for us to rely on the Truth
and to tremble because of his might!
Perhaps we will find the way of prosperity!
--- Marqah, Memar 4.7, 12
3 Wisdom is a light burning in the heart;
and any heart that does not have Wisdom as its comrade is like the blind groping
in the dark.
For Wisdom is the Ladder [sollam] erected from the heart to heaven;
if the heart is guarded ot sees every wonder for what it is.
The heart of Jacob was full of the Spirit of Wisdom [ruach hakamah].
There was revealed to him every good;
for the wisdom which was in it was the Wisdom of Truth [qashat].
--- Marqah, Memar 6.3
Later Samaritan theology
In later Samaritan theology Gnosticism play a big part, possibly because of the
heresies of Simon of Samaria (Acts 8:9-24). There are also strong relationships
between the Samaritans and the Essenes in the area dealing with the future, as
evidenced by some of the DSS.
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