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Jews and SamaritansThe Origins and History of Their Early Relations$
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Gary N. Knoppers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329544.001.0001

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A Distinction without a Difference?

A Distinction without a Difference?

Samarian and Judean Cultures during the Persian and Early Hellenistic Periods

(p.102) 5A Distinction without a Difference?
Jews and Samaritans

Gary N. Knoppers

Oxford University Press

Some scholars have assumed that Samaria and Judah were substantially unlike one another in the Persian period. Until recently, there was little hard evidence to go by, but it is now possible to make progress on this front. Site surveys and excavation reports show that Samaria had a substantially larger and more well-to-do population than Judah during the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods; the province of Samaria was not an insignificant backdrop to Judah during this period. Analysis of scripts; personal names on Samaria papyri, bullae, coins, and seals; cultic figurines (or the absence thereof); and bilingualism shows many common features, such asYahwistic names, as well as some differences, between Samaria and Judah during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. This chapter also engages the recent archaeological discovery of a monumental Samarian temple at Mt. Gerizim dating to Hellenistic times, as well as a smaller sanctuary predating it, dating to Persian times. The new finds are extremely significant, because they indicate that the Jerusalem temple had a Yahwistic rival to the North significantly earlier than most scholars had assumed.

Keywords:   Persian period, early Hellenistic period, Samaritan temple, Mt. Gerizim, Samaria papyri, archaeology, site surveys, bilingualism

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