The New International Encyclopædia/Samaritan Pentateuch

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SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH. A recension of the commonly received Hebrew text of the Pentateuch, used by the Samaritans, and their only canonical book of the Old Testament. None of the manuscripts that have reached Europe is older than the tenth century. The variants which it presents from the Masoretic text are mostly of a trifling nature, representing chiefly diflerent fashions of spelling. There are, however, more important differences, such as the occurrence of Gerizim. (See Ebal and Gerizim.) In the figures of Genesis v. and xi. are likewise discrepancies between the Masoretic and the Samaritan recension, which appear to be due to varying traditions. There is also one essential alteration respecting the Pentateuchal ordinances. Exodus xiii. 6, where the Samaritan Pentateuch has “six days shalt thou eat unleavened bread,” instead of “seven.” The Samaritan Pentateuch was printed in the Paris and London polyglots, and an edition in square Hebrew characters was published by Blayney (Oxford, 1790), but a critical edition is still a desideratum. In the absence of such an edition it is difficult to do more than to speculate on the age and origin of the work, but there is no reason to suppose that it is earlier than the fourth century B.C., and it may even belong to the third. The translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch into the Samaritan idiom above referred to (the Samaritan Targum) is ascribed by the Samaritans to their high priest Nathaniel, who died twenty years before Christ, but it can hardly be older than the fourth century A.D. It follows the Hebrew original very closely. A critical edition of it was published by Petermann and Vollers (Berlin, 1872-91). Consult: Gesenius, De Pentateuchi Samaritani Origine, Indole, et Auctoritate (Halle, 1815); Nutt, Fragments of a Samaritan Pentateuch (London, 1874).