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therefore furnish no evidence of the existence of points before the time of the first compilers of the Masora. 1

The preceding are the chief arguments usually urged for and against the vowel points: and from an impartial consideration of them, the reader will be enabled to judge for himself. The weight of evidence, we apprehend, will be found to determine against them: nevertheless, "the points seem to have their uses, and these not inconsiderable; and to have this use among others-that, as many of the Hebrew letters have been corrupted since the invention of the points, and as the points subjoined originally to the true letters have been in many of these places regularly preserved, these points will frequently concur in proving the truth of such corruptions, and will point out the method of correcting them."


Such being the relative utility of the vowel points, it has been recommended to learn the Hebrew language, in the first instance, without them; as the knowledge of the points can, at any time, be superadded without very great labour.





1. Origin of the Samaritans. II. Their enmity against the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ. -III. Critical notice of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and of its variations from the Hebrew. - IV. Versions of the Samaritan Pentateuch.

THE SAMARITANS, mentioned in the New Testament, were in part descended from the ten tribes, most of whom had been made captive by the Assyrians, blended with other distant nations, and settled in the same district with their conquerors. The different people for some time retained their respective modes of worship; but the country being depopulated by war, and infested with wild beasts, the mixed multitude imagined, according to the ideas then generally prevalent in the heathen world, that this was a judgment upon them for not worshipping the God of the country in which they resided. On this account one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria, came and "dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord." (2 Kings xvii. 24-33.) The temple of Jerusalem being destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the Samaritans proposed to join with the Jews, after their return from the captivity, in rebuilding it, but their proposal was rejected (Ezra iv. 1-3.); and, other causes of dissension arising, the Samaritans, at length, by permission of Alexander the Great, erect

1 Walton Prol. iii. §§ 38-56, (pp. 125–170.) Carpzov, Crit. Sacr. Vet. Test. part i. c. v. sect. vii. pp. 242-274. Pfeiffer, Critica Sacra, cap. iv. sect. ii. (Op. pp. 704-711.) Gerard's Institutes, pp. 32-38. Jahn, Introd. ad Vet. Fœdus, pp. 129 -131. Bauer, Critica Sacra, pp. 123-141. Bishop Marsh, (Lectures, part ii. pp.136 -140.) has enumerated the principal writers for and against the vowel points. 2 Dr. Kennicott, Dissertation i. on Hebrew Text, p. 345.

3 For an account of the principal Hebrew Grammars and Lexicons, see the Appendix to this Volume, No. I.

ed a temple on Mount Gerizim, in opposition to that at Jerusalem. Here the Samaritans performed the same worship with the Jews, and also continued as free from idolatry as the Jews themselves: Sanballat, who was then governor of the Samaritans, constituted Manasses, the son of Jaddus, the Jewish high priest, high priest of the temple at Gerizim, which, from that time, they maintained to be the place where men ought to worship.

II. Hence arose that inveterate enmity and schism between the two nations, of which we meet with numerous examples in the New Testament. How flagrant and bitter their rage was, is evident from the instance of the woman of Samaria, who appeared amazed that our Lord, who was a Jew, should so far deviate from the national antipathy as to ask her, who was a Samaritan, even for a cup of cold water; for the Jews, adds the sacred historian, have no friendly intercourse and dealings with the Samaritans. (John iv. 9.) With a Jew, the very name of Samaritan comprised madness and malice, drunkenness and apostacy, rebellion and universal detestation. When instigated by rage against our blessed Saviour, the first word their fury dictated was Samaritan- Thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil! (John viii. 48.) It is remarkable that the pious and amiable author of the book of Ecclesiasticus was not exempt from the national prejudices, but ranks them that sit upon the hill of Samaria, and the foolish people that dwell in Sichem, among those whom his soul abhorred; and reckons them among the nations that were most detestable to the Jews. (Ecclus. 1. 25, 26.) Nor did the Samaritans yield to the Jews in virulence and invective, reproaching them for erecting their temple on a spot that was not authorised by the divine command; and asserting that Gerizim was the sole, genuine, and individual seat which God had originally chosen to fix his name and worship there. (John iv. 20.) How sanguine the attachment of the Samaritans was to their temple and worship is manifest from their refusing to Jesus Christ the rites of hospitality, which, in those early ages, were hardly ever refused," because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem" (Luke ix. 52, 53.), and it appeared that he intended only to pass transiently through their territories without visiting their temple. Though greatly reduced in number, there are still some descendants of the Samaritans at Naplosa (the ancient Shechem), at Gaza, Damascus, and Grand Cairo. Among other peculiarities by which the Samaritans are distinguished from the Jews, besides those already mentioned, we may notice their admission of the divine authority of the Pentateuch, while they reject all the other books of the Jewish canon, or rather hold them to be apocryphal or of inferior authority; with the exception, perhaps, of the books of Joshua and Judges, which are also acknowl

1 As the way from Galilee to Judea lay through the country of the Samaritans, the latter often exercised acts of hostility against the Galileans, and offered them several affronts and injuries, when they were going up to their solemn feasts at Jerusalem. Of this inveterate enmity Josephus has recorded a very remarkable instance, which occurred during the reign of Claudius, (A. D. 52.); when the Samaritans made a great slaughter of the Galileans, who were travelling to Jerusalem through one of the villages of Samaria. (Josephus, Antiq. 1. xx. c. 6. § 1.)

edged, but not allowed to possess the same authority as the five books of Moses. That the old Samaritans did not entirely reject all the other books of the Jewish Scriptures, is evident from their expectation that the Messiah would not only be a prophet or instructer like Moses, but also be the Saviour of the world (John iv. 25. 42.); titles these (Messiah and Saviour) which were borrowed from the Psalms and prophetical writings.

What is of unspeakable value, they preserve among themselves, in the antient Hebrew character, copies of the Pentateuch; which, as there has been no friendly intercourse between them and the Jews since the Babylonish captivity, there can be no doubt were the same that were in use before that event, though subject to such variations as will always be occasioned by frequent transcribing. And so inconsiderable are the variations from our present copies (which were those of the Jews), that by this means we have a proof that those important books have been preserved uncorrupted for the space of nearly three thousand years, so as to leave no room to doubt that they are the same which were actually written by Moses.

The celebrated critic, Le Clerc,1 has instituted a minute comparison of the Samaritan Pentateuch with the Hebrew text; and has, with much accuracy and labour, collected those passages in which he is of opinion that the former is more or less correct than the latter. For instance

1. The Samaritan text appears to be more correct than the Hebrew, in Gen. ii. 4. vii. 2. xix. 19. xx. 2. xxiii. 16. xxiv. 14. xlix. 10, 11. 1. 26. Exod. i. 2. iv. 2.

2. It is expressed more conformably to analogy in Gen. xxxi. 39. xxxv. 26. xxxvii. 17. xli. 34. 43. xlvii. 3. Deut. xxxii. 5.

3. It has glosses and additions in Gen. xxix. 15. xxx. 36. xli. 16. Exod. vii. 18. viii. 23. ix. 5. xxi. 20. xxii. 5. xxiii. 10. xxxii. 9. Lev. i. 10. xvii. 4. Deut. v. 21.

4. It appears to have been altered by a critical hand, in Gen. ii. 2. iv. 10. ix. 5. x. 19. xi. 21. xviii. 3. xix. 12. xx. 16. xxiv. 38. 55. xxxv. 7. xxxvi. 6. xli. 50. Exod. i. 5. xiii. 6. xv. 5. Num. xxii. 32.

5. It is more full than the Hebrew text, in Gen. v. 8. xi. 31. xix. 9. xxvii. 34. xxix. 4. xliii. 25. Exod. xii. 40. xl. 17. Num. iv. 14. Deut. xx. 16.

6. It is defective in Gen. xx. 16. and xxv. 14.

It agrees with the Septuagint version in Gen. iv. 8. xix. 12. xx. 16. xxiii. 2. xxiv. 55. 62. xxvi. 18. xxix. 27. xxxv. 29. xxxix. 8. xli. 16. 43. xliii. 26. xlix. 26. Exod. viii. 3. and in many other passages. Though

7. It sometimes varies from the Septuagint, as in Gen. i. 7. v. 29. viii. 3. 7. xlix. 22. Num. xxii. 4.

III. The differences between the Samaritan and Hebrew Pentateuchs may be accounted for, by the usual sources of various readings, viz. the negligence of copyists, introduction of glosses from the mar

1 Comment. in Pentateuch, Index, ii. See also some additional observations on the differences between the Samaritan and Hebrew Pentateuchs, in Dr. Kennicott's Remarks on Select Passages in the Old Testament, pp. 43—47.

gin into the text, the confounding of similar letters, the transposition of letters, the addition of explanatory words, &c. The Samaritan Pentateuch, however, is of great use and authority in establishing correct readings in many instances it agrees remarkably with the Greek Septuagint, and it contains numerous and excellent various lections which are in every respect preferable to the received Masoretic readings, and are further confirmed by the agreement of other antient ver


The most material variations between the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Hebrew, which affect the authority of the former, occur first, in the prolongation of the patriarchal generations; and secondly, in the alteration of Ebal into Gerizim (Deut. xxvii.), in order to support their separation from the Jews. The chronology of the Samaritan Pentateuch has been satisfactorily vindicated by the Rev. Dr. Hales, whose arguments however will not admit of abridgement; and with regard to the charge of altering the Pentateuch, it has been shown by Dr. Kennicott, from a consideration of the character of the Samaritans, their known reverence for the law, our Lord's silence on the subject in his memorable conversation with the woman of Samaria, and from various other topics; that what almost all biblical critics have hitherto considered as a wilful corruption by the Samaritans, is in all probability the true reading, and that the corruption is to be charged on the Jews themselves. In judging therefore of the genuineness of a reading, we are not to declare absolutely for one of these Pentateuchs against the other, but to prefer the true readings in both. "One antient copy," Dr. Kennicott remarks with equal truth and justice, "has been received from the Jews, and we are truly thankful for it; another antient copy is offered by the Samaritans; let us thankfully accept that likewise. Both have been often transcribed; both therefore may contain errors. They differ in many instances, therefore the errors must be many. Let the two parties be heard without prejudice; let their evidence be weighed with impartiality; and let the genuine words of Moses be ascertained by their joint assistance. Let the variations of all the manuscripts on each side be carefully collected; and then critically examined by the context and the antient versions. If the Samaritan copy should be found in some places to correct the Hebrew, yet will the Hebrew copy in other places correct the Samaritan. Each copy therefore is invaluable; each copy therefore demands our pious veneration and attentive study. The Pentateuch will never be understood perfectly till we admit the authority of BOTH." Although the Samaritan Pentateuch was known to and cited by Eusebius, Cyril of Alexandria, Procopius of Gaza, Diodorus of Tarsus, Jerome, Syncellus, and other antient fathers, yet it afterwards fell into oblivion for upwards of a thousand years, so that its very existence began to be questioned. Joseph Scaliger was the first who excited the attention of learned men to this valuable relic of antiquity; and M. Peiresc procured a copy from Egypt, which, together with the ship 1 Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. pp. 80. et seq. 2 Kennicott, Diss. ii. pp. 20-165.

that brought it, was unfortunately captured by pirates. More successful was the venerable archbishop Usher, who procured six copies from the East; and from another copy, purchased by Pietro della Valle for M. de Sancy, Father Morinus printed the Samaritan Pentateuch, for the first time, in the Paris Polyglott. This was afterward reprinted in the London Polyglott by Bishop Walton, who corrected it from three manuscripts which had formerly belonged to Archbishop Usher. A neat edition of this Pentateuch, in Hebrew characters, was edited by the late Rev. Dr. Blayney, in 8vo. Oxford, 1790.

IV. Of the Samaritan Pentateuch two versions are extant; one in the Aramæan dialect, which is usually termed the Samaritan version, and another in Arabic.

The Samaritan version was made in Samaritan characters, from the Hebræo-Samaritan text into the Chaldæo-Samaritan or Aramæan dialect, which is intermediate between the Chaldee and Syriac languages, before the schism took place between the Jews and Samaritans. Such is the opinion of Le Jay, who first printed this version in the Paris Polyglott, whence Bishop Walton introduced it into the London Polyglott. The author of this version is unknown; but he has in general adhered very closely and faithfully to the original text.

The Arabic version of the Samaritan Pentateuch is also extant in Samaritan characters, and was executed by Abu Said, A. D. 1070, in order to supplant the Arabic translation of the Jewish Rabbi Saadia Gaon, which had till that time been in use among the Samaritans. Abu Said has very closely followed the Samaritan Pentateuch, whose readings he expresses, even where the latter differs from the Hebrew text: in some instances however both Bishop Walton and Bauer have remarked, that he has borrowed from the Arabic version of Saadia. On account of the paucity of manuscripts of the original Samaritan Pentateuch, Bauer thinks this version will be found of great use in correcting its text. Some specimens of it have been published by Dr. Durell in "the Hebrew text of the parallel prophecies of Jacob relating to the twelve tribes," &c. (Oxford 1763, 4to.), and before him by Castell in the fourth volume of the London Polyglott; also by Hwiid, at Rome, in 1780, in 8vo., and by Paulus, at Jena, in 1789, in 8vo.2

1 Then ambassador from France to Constantinople, and afterwards archbishop of St. Maoles.

2 Bishop Walton, Pro. c. xi. §§ 10-21. pp. 527-553. Carpzov, Critica Sacra, pp. 585-620. Leusden, Philologus Hebræus, pp. 59-67. Bauer, Critica Sacra, pp. 325-335. Dr. Priestley's Notes on the Bible, vol. ii. pp. 82, 83. Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible, article SAMARITANS. Dr. Harwood's Introduction to the New Testament, vol. ii. pp. 239, 240. Pritii Introductio ad Lectionem Novi Testamenti, pp. 466-471. See also a learned treatise intitled Pentateuchi HebræoSamaritani Præstantia, in illustrando et emendando Textu Masorethico ostensa, c. Auctore P. Alexio A. S. Aquilino. LL. Orient. P. P. O. Heidelberga 1784; and likewise G. Gesenii De Pentateuchi Samaritani Origine, Indole et Auctoritate, Commentatio philologico-critica, Halæ. 1815. 4to.

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