I beleive the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated, copied, and interpreted correctly. In the course of my studies of the Bible, I've discovered that it has a long and convoluted history. So, these are my discoveries and my musings of Christian history and doctrines.

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Monday, May 30, 2005

Comparing the Samaritan Pentateuch with the Hebrew

Owing much to the parable of the Samaritan told by Jesus, many people know that the Jews and the Samaritans just don't get along. The origins of their conflict goes back to the eighth century BC The Samaritans like to think that they are descendents of the 10 "lost" tribes that were carried off by the Assyrians. The Jews regard them as pagans that were sent to repopulate the cities that had lain desolate for so many years after the initial conquest. We learn from 2 Kings 17 that the king of Assyria sent a priest that had been carried away to Assyria to return to Samaria to teach the new inhabitants the ways of the Lord.

To this day the Samaritans use only the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) and do not recognize the writings of the prophets or any other writings that were introduced after the conquest of the Babylonians. The traditional Hebrew text, known as the Masoretic text, was passed on and continuously copied by scribes between the 6th and 10th centuries AD. The Masoretic text has a long history in and of itself to be discussed in another article.

According the book The Bible Through the Ages by Readers Digest, scholars have made comparisons of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Hebrew's Masoretic text. It states:

"In some 6,000 instances, however, the Samaritan text departs from the Masoretic. Moreover, about 1,900 variants in the Samaritan text correlate with the 3rd-century BC Greek Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch. Some Scholars have concluded, therefore, that the Samaritan and the Septuagint text reflect versions of the Scriptures that predate the authoritative Hebrew text."

That is 6,000 differences in the first 5 books of the Bible alone! And what about the rest of the Bible?
  • The History of the Bible (Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1996), p. 111.


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