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Samaritans  

Reinhard Pummer

The Samaritans are an ethno-religious community cognate with, but different from, Judaism. Both religions are branches of Yhwh-worshiping Israelites that parted ways around the turn of the era. Both, however, base their beliefs and religious practices on the Pentateuch/Torah. In the Persian period the Yahwistic Samarians built a temple on Mount Gerizim which eventually came to be seen as a rival temple to the temple in Jerusalem. Thus, the origin of the Samaritans lies in antiquity but a small community still exists today. Besides inscriptions and archaeological finds, our main source for the early history of the Samaritans is Flavius Josephus. For the Late Roman and the Byzantine periods, we have a variety of non-Samaritan texts and Samaritan chronicles. The latter, however, were compiled only in the Middle Ages, although they rely on older sources.Samaritans are an ethno-religious community cognate with, but different from, Judaism. Both religions worship Yhwh as the only god and differ principally with respect to the site that each holds most sacred: Mount Gerizim near the Roman city of Flavia Neapolis (modern Nablus) for the Samaritans and Mount Zion or .