Horae Samaritanae; Or, A Collection Of Various Readings Of The Samaritan Pentateuch Compared With The Hebrew And Other Ancient Versions -- By: B. Pick

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 033:130 (Apr 1876)
Article: Horae Samaritanae; Or, A Collection Of Various Readings Of The Samaritan Pentateuch Compared With The Hebrew And Other Ancient Versions
Author: B. Pick


Horae Samaritanae; Or, A Collection Of Various Readings Of The Samaritan Pentateuch Compared With The Hebrew And Other Ancient Versions

B. Pick

OF the Samaritan literature which has come down to our times, first in importance and order is the Pentateuch. As to its merits and demerits, there has always been a difference of opinion. The Jews regarded it with contempt, and charged the Samaritans with a downright forgery. “You have falsified your law,” זייפחם תורתכם. This we read very often in the Talmud. Early Christian writers, however, speak of it with respect, in some cases even preferring it to that of the Masoretic text. Origen (†254) quotes it under name of τὸ τῶν Σαμαρειτῶν ῾Εβραῒκόν, giving its various readings on the margin of his Hexapla (cf. Montfaucon, Hexapla, praelim. p. 18 sq.). Eusebius of Caesarea († 340), notices the agreement in the chronology of the Septuagint and Samaritan text as against the Hebrew (Chron. 1:16.

7–11). Jerome (†420) in his Proleg. to Kings, also mentions this fact, and in his Epistol. ad Gal. 3:10, he upholds the genuineness of its text over that of the Masoretic one, which he considers to have been purposely altered. Sextus Julius Africanus (†232), as quoted by G. Syncellus, the chronologist of the eighth century (Chronographia, p. 85) is most outspoken in his praise of it, terming it “the earliest and best, even by the testimony of the Jews themselves” (τὸ Σαμαρειτῶν ἀρχαιότατον καὶ χαρακτῆρσι διάλλαττον ὅ καὶ ἀληθὲς εἶναι καὶ πρῶτον ῾Εβραῖοι καθομολογοῦσιν). Having been afterwards unnoticed, its existence began to be doubted, till Pietro della Valle, in 1616, obtained from the Samaritans in Damascus a complete copy which was then published in the Paris Polyglot of 1645. But with the publication of the Samaritan Pentateuch, the controversy took a new phase, and the ablest scholars were called into the field of controversy — a controversy which lasted over two centuries, till the time of Gesenius, who subjected the recension to a rigid analysis, and arranged its variations under different heads. But with the question of the comparative merits of the two texts another question came up, that of the relation of the Septuagint to the Samaritan Pentateuch on account of its striking resemblance in numerous passages to the Alexandrine version. It is not our intention to discuss the question which copied which, or to speak of the merits and demerits of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Suf...

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