Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations  -     By: Gary N. Knoppers
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Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations

Oxford University Press / 2013 / Hardcover

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Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 0195329546
ISBN-13: 9780195329544

Publisher's Description

Winner of the R.B.Y. Scott Award from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies

Even in antiquity, writers were intrigued by the origins of the people called Samaritans, living in the region of ancient Samaria (near modern Nablus). The Samaritans practiced a religion almost identical to Judaism and shared a common set of scriptures. Yet the Samaritans and Jews had little to do with each other. In a famous New Testament passage about an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman, the author writes, "Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans."

The Samaritans claimed to be descendants of the northern tribes of Joseph. Classical Jewish writers said, however, that they were either of foreign origin or the product of intermarriages between the few remaining northern Israelites and polytheistic foreign settlers. Some modern scholars have accepted one or the other of these ancient theories. Others have avidly debated the time and context in which the two groups split apart.

Covering over a thousand years of history, this book makes an important contribution to the fields of Jewish studies, biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern studies, Samaritan studies, and early Christian history by challenging the oppositional paradigm that has traditionally characterized the historical relations between Jews and Samaritans.

Author Bio


Gary Knoppers is the O'Brien Professor of Theology at University of Notre Dame. Recent publications include a two-volume commentary on I Chronicles in the Anchor Bible series (2004), a co-edited volume (with Bernard Levinson) on The Pentateuch as Torah (2007), and a co-edited volume (with Oded Lipschits and Manfred Oeming) on Judah and the Judeans in the Achaemenid Period (2011).

Editorial Reviews


"There is an immense amount to learn from this book, and it is highly relevant for many areas of scholarly research, including ancient Near Eastern history, the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism, the New Testament, and early Christianity. It is also eminently readable and thus accessible to students and other interested non-specialists; I could easily see it being used in both undergraduate and graduate courses...Jews and Samaritans is a rich, informative, and even provocative study. Its judicious arguments are formidable and guarantee its enduring influence; that the book will certainly prompt several new directions of inquiry only promises to extend its impact further. Professor Knoppers is to be congratulated on his impressive achievement in this book."--Jeffrey Stackert, Conversations with the Biblical World


"As can be seen both in the structure and content of this book, Knoppers brings his extensive knowledge and insights to bear on careful and reasoned analyses of data relevant to understanding the relationships of the Jews and the Samaritans across multiple centuries."--Steven Schweitzer, Conversations with the Biblical World


"Building upon twenty-five years of groundbreaking research, Gary N. Knoppers provides a masterful overview of the state of Samarian studies and his own current assessment of Samarian history and culture....Knoppers' thoroughness and erudition are matched by fine methodological sophistication, the good questions he poses, and the deliberate way in which he approaches data. His pleasingly complex conclusions pay full attention to contradictions and ambiguities in the evidence."--Journal of Near Eastern Studies


"At last, a definitive and balanced study of a significant topic that has been mired in scholarly, and even political, contentiousness....Effectively overturns a number of scholarly and popular perceptions about the history of Samaritans and Jews, such as traditions about the 'Ten Lost Tribes'...The most valuable work on the subject...The book is indispensable for scholars in several biblical specialties and of immense value for Bible students and nonspecialists."--Catholic Biblical Quarterly


"Gary N. Knoppers . . . presents us with a magnificent study on how Israelites became 'Samaritans' and 'Jews,' how they 'separated' and still remained 'together in their otherness for many centuries....An important and stimulating study...Gary Knoppers's book offers a refreshingly new perspective on the origins of both Jews and Samaritans. It is to be recommended to everyone interested in the history and culture of ancient Palestine." --Review of Biblical Literature


"Gary Knoppers is uniquely qualified to write this book because of his impressive breadth of expertise with the historical literature of the Hebrew Bible (especially Kings and Chronicles) and with the Persian period. This synthesis of Samari(t)an history is thoroughly argued, clearly written, and destined to become the standard resource on the subject. Scholars and students alike owe Knoppers a large debt of gratitude." --Steven L. McKenzie, Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Spence L. Wilson Senior Research Fellow, Rhodes College


"Knoppers presents a fresh and original answer to the challenging question of the origin of the Samaritans. Basing himself on the results of the latest literary and archaeological research, he offers a new reading of the history and interdependence of Jews and Samari(t)ans in antiquity. Indispensable for the understanding of the dynamic relationship between the two communities and requisite reading for students of the Samaritan tradition, early Judaism, and the Bible." --Reinhard Pummer, author of The Samaritans in Flavius Josephus


"Traditionally, Biblical scholarship has explained the rise of the Pentateuch as an inner-Judean process that took place during the Persian period. It is only recently that the important role of the Samaritans in this process has become obvious. Knoppers's book, which contains several case studies on the relation between Jews and Samaritans, is an important contribution to this new field of research. As a world-leading specialist on the history of the Levant in the Persian period, Knoppers convincingly demonstrates that there existed a strong relation between the two groups which deteriorated only during the Roman period. This book provides new fascinating insight in the history of Jews and Samaritans and is a must-read for all scholars and students interested in the early history of Jews and Samaritans." --Thomas Römer, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Collège de France and University of Lausanne


"In sum, this ambitious volume is a valuable introduction to the field of early Samarian/Samaritan studies. Knoppers provides a broad, sound synthesis of the scholarship in the area, enriched by his own sensitive analysis... Knoppers offers an accessible treatment oriented towrds those materials most likely to interest the more general reader." --Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology


"A new picture of the history of the Hebrew people comes out of this book, opening the way to new opportunities for researching the periods both preceding and following the one which has been treated." --Enoch Seminar Online


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