Date Approved

2009

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

History and Philosophy

Abstract

Not long after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE began the eventual end of a long history of textual competition between variations of the Pentateuch. For nearly two millennia the Masoretic Text has held a singular dominant position as the most authoritative text. However, it should never be forgotten that in the earliest history of the Pentateuch is a history of several variant Pentateuch texts that held high authority in different regions of the Near East. The Samaritan Pentateuch is one such text, with an ancient history of competition with the Jewish Masoretic Text. It contains many similarities to the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition, the Samaritan Pentateuch offers new perspectives on problematic Biblical passages. Far too often the Samaritan Pentateuch is relegated to an inferior position, designated as a borrowed and edited text of the Jews. The Septuagint, a Greek translation composed around the second century BCE, actually shares over 6000 commonalities with the Samaritan Pentateuch and less with the Jewish Masoretic Text.

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