Alan Crown (1932-2010) was one of Australian Jewry’s greatest intellectuals. He made contributions to Australian Jewish historiography, notably by means of extended monographs on Australian Zionism and the Jewish press, but his main fields of scholarly attainment lay elsewhere. Born and educated in Leeds, he served in the British army and had a stint as a schoolmaster in Britain and Australia, but once he joined the Semitic Studies department at Sydney University in 1962 he developed a reputation as a Hebraist and Bible scholar and in time became a world authority on Samaritan Studies and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Summary of the article: Estimates of when the Samaritans finally separated from the Judeans vary widely. I argue that there are reasons to date that separation only to the period when it was possible to see the Samaritans as religiously and politically distinct from the Jews. In many respects the Samaritans of the first century were a Jewish sect, but we can trace a gradually changing relationship between Judeans and Samaritans. It was only in the generation after Judah ha-Nasi, following the Bar Kokhba revolt, that we see the development of anti-Samaritanism in a series of negative statements by the rabbinical teachers, culminating in the ruling that the Samaritans are unquestionably to be considered as Gentiles. Likewise there is evidence from the church fathers that in the first and second centuries the Samaritans were regarded as Jews. One obvious cause of the increasing tension between the Samaritans and the Judeans of the Second Temple period was the fact that the Samaritans had a temple of their own on Mt. Gerizim, which was a serious rival to the one in Jerusalem. However, rivalries were kept within bounds until both the Samaritans and the Judeans lost their temples. This gave full play to other complex factors which led to an irreconcilable breach. The trigger for the schism might well have been the development of heretical, rather than schismatic Samaritanism, with a separate Pentateuch which included the specific characteristics that we have come to recognize as Samaritan, the development of a chain of synagogues, and the establishment of a liturgy and a series of midrash schools for the development of the Samaritan halakhah. These developments took place in the third century CE. To download the article in PDF click here.
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