Cover image for The Keepers : an introduction to the history and culture of the Samaritans
The Keepers : an introduction to the history and culture of the Samaritans
Anderson, Robert T., 1928-
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Publication Information:
Peabody, Mass. : Hendrickson Publishers, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 165 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
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DS129 .A57 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Keepers describes the remarkable history and survival of the Samaritans and the unique oppression and grace that have shaped their culture and religion. It is a history whose antagonists have included Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and it has contributed to arguments between Roman Catholics and Protestants over the text of the Bible. The threads of the story disappear at times into Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but ultimately succeed in affirming the unique Samaritan identity. Popularly associated with phrases like "The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel" and "The Good Samaritan," many are surprised to learn that the Samaritans have a rich history and culture that includes a contemporary chapter. This history is illuminated by stories in the Hebrew Bible and documents from Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic sources.

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Choice Review

Samaritan scholar Giles (Gannon Univ.) and Anderson (emer., Michigan State Univ.), possibly the world's foremost expert on the Samaritans, have published a readable, scholarly study of the history and religion of a minuscule Middle East community that has the most credible claim to be descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. The authors contend that a self-conscious Samaritan identity emerged during the second century BCE, and is maintained by the community's identification with the northern kingdom of Israel (conquered by the Assyrians in 721 BCE); by their holy text, the five books of Moses (Torah or Pentateuch), written in paleo-Hebrew; and by their center of worship on Mount Gerizim near Nablus, a West Bank city under Israeli control. Anderson and Giles trace Samaritan origins and survival from the Bible and from texts from the Persian and Hellenistic periods and from Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic empires to modern times. They analyze Samaritan holy texts and religious practices, and suggest areas of further study, including artifacts in the Chamberlain-Warren Collection at Michigan State Univ. Excellent maps, pictures, and bibliography complete this study of a community, now numbering 500 souls, that has endured against all odds for more than 2,000 years. All levels/collections. B. Weinstein emeritus, Howard University