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> The Samaritan Diaspora and the number of Samaritans
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The Samaritan Creed
   
submitted by Turathuna Bethlehem University
22.01.2007

The Samaritan creed is short:
- 'My faith is in you Yahwe'. The Samaritans consider themselves faithful worshippers of the personal God. They are rigidly monotheistic and carefully avoid any anthropomorphic expressions.

- 'and in Moses, son of Amram, your servant'. ' Moses is the only prophet and prayers are offered to God through the merits of the Patriarchs and Moses.

- 'and in the holy Law'. The Law is perfect; having been conceived before the world existed, and given by the hand of God. God, the creator of all things, revealed himself in two great acts: the creation of the universe and the handing down of the Law. The Samaritans call themselves 'Samerin'' the keepers of the Law.

- 'and in Mount Gerizim Beth-El', The habitation of God, chosen by God, is on Mount Gerizim. This is the point on which Samaritans and Jews disagree. The little extra-Talmudic treatise, Masseket Kutim, Treatise on the Cuthes, concludes: "When shall we accept them? When they renounce Gerizim and confess Jerusalem..."

- 'and in the day of Vengeance and Reward.' The Great Day is awaited impatiently. On that day Moses will arise from the dead and intercede for his people. Before the court of God every soul will appear, and the merits of each will be weighed on the scales, while the angels will act as defenders and prosecutors. Israel will be divided into two categories: the just, who will go to the Garden of Eden, and the unjust, who will go into everlasting fire. It seems that some remission is possible after death, and prayers are offered for sinners.

The Masseket Kutun ends thus: "... and shall confess the resurrection of the dead. From that moment on whoever robs a Samaritan, it shall be as if he robbed an Israelite". In the beginning, the Samaritans followed the belief, common to almost all the Hebrew Scriptures, that the dead went to Sheol. This theory agreed with that of the Sadducees, and was contrary to the theory of the Pharisees. This can be explained by recalling the fact that the Law had been brought to Samaria when the Jews themselves still had no clear idea about the Resurrection. This concept, which was further developed under the influence of Christianity, becomes clear in the fourth century A.D., in the works of the greatest Samaritan theologian, Markha. The resurrection, which will take place after the death of the Messiah, will be followed by the Last Judgement. The Samaritans were also late in developing the concept of a messiah, and largely imitated the Jews. Moreover, their ideas on the messiah are not of vital importance to their faith. In the theological texts the references to this doctrine are relatively scarce: it is more a pious belief than a positive dogma. The 'Taheb', the Restorer, will live on earth for 110 years and will lead his people back to the ways of the Lord.

Source: "Samaria" by Maria Petrozzi

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