Mount Gerizim The One True Sanctuary -- By: William Eleazar Barton

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 064:255 (Jul 1907)
Article: Mount Gerizim The One True Sanctuary
Author: William Eleazar Barton


Mount Gerizim The One True Sanctuary

William E. Barton

Jacob, Son Of Aaron1

Introductory Note

The following remarkable paper is by the present High Priest of the Samaritan religion. It is the living utterance of a sect almost forgotten, and remembered by the world only in connection with its relations, first with the Jews, and afterward with the ministry of Jesus. Through these sources we know that the Samaritans have held throughout the ages a weary and profitless controversy concerning the authorized place of worship. The pilgrim to Jerusalem looses the shoes from off his feet in reverence for that ancient holy place, and casts a curious glance at Gerizim as he rests by Jacob’s well, and thinks of it as a shrine established by the excommunicated priest Manasseh and his father-in-law Sanballat in the time of Nehemiah.

Against this judgment on the evidence of one side the High Priest asks to be heard. He claims to be able to show for Gerizim an antiquity far antedating Jerusalem. For the first time in any modern tongue (so far as is known to the editor of this document) he has secured the ear of Christendom, and he asks for an impartial hearing.

It will certainly surprise many readers of this article to find the High Priest so keen a logician. While this article shows much reasoning of the type we have learned to call rabbinical, his argument as a whole is logical, and follows the historical method to a climax.

He claims to set forth, as he has received it from his fathers, the Samaritan priests in unbroken succession from Aaron, the argument for the sanctity of the holy mountain, Gerizim, against what he deems the modern and unsupported claims of the Jebusite city of Ælia, called by the Jews Jerusalem. That city, he affirms, was not the place mentioned in the sacred Torah as the one to which the

children of Israel were journeying, nor was it known to them, nor was it in their possession, nor is it named in the passages in the Scriptures of the Jews which they quote in support of it. The unnamed sanctuary there cannot refer to Jabish, which was not known to the Jews at that time, nor until David captured it, and his wicked son Solomon introduced idolatry of various kinds. He appeals to the Scriptures of the Jews, and affirms that where the place of the sanctuary is unnamed it cannot refer to Jerusalem, and that where it is named it plainly names Gerizim. There the tribes gathered for the ratifying of the Law, and there they continued to come for the crowning of their kings. Even the son of Solomon came back to Gerizim to be crowned, as the Jews themselves know, and their ...

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