The Samaritans: True Keepers of the Torah or Strangers in the Land?
Germantown Jewish Centre
400 W. Ellet St
Philadelphia, PA 19119
The New Testament parable of the “good Samaritan” played on the well-known animosity between Jews and Samaritans—rival claimants to the true inheritance of the Torah. According to Jewish tradition, Samaritans are foreign settlers who remained idolatrous even after converting to Judaism. According to the Samaritans themselves, however, they are the true keepers of the Torah, and they keep a version that differs from the Jewish one in many respects. Today, an active group of Samaritans remains as a tiny minority within Israel, with their own liturgy, a unique ancient Hebrew dialect, and ongoing Passover sacrifices on Mount Gerizim, which they believe to be the most holy place, and not Jerusalem. This presentation will explore the strange history and complex current situation of this group.
Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
Stefan Schorch holds the Chair in Bible in the Faculty of Theology at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Schorch studied theology, Jewish studies, and Semitic philology in Leipzig, Berlin, and Jerusalem, and received his doctorate in theology from Leipzig University. During the 2014–2015 fellowship year, Professor Schorch will explore the extent, role, and context of Samaritan studies within the larger Wissenschaft des Judentums movement.