- Hardcover: 624 pages
- Publisher: Evertype; 2nd,Revised & enlarged edition (December 21, 2008)
- Language: Hebrew
- ISBN-10: 1904808182
- ISBN-13: 978-1904808183
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,868,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Torah: Jewish and Samaritan versions compared (Hebrew Edition) (Hebrew) 2nd,Revised & enlarged Edition
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This is the only available Samaritan Torah I am aware of in print. Until Benyamin Tzedakah publishes his English translation of the Samaritan Torah, which at this date is beyond announced release, this tome will be the standard study text. I might add that Benny's uncle and father together made the first known Masoretic/Samaritan parallel text, but it is scarce if at all extant in any market.
The published Masoretic text is the Leningrad Codex, so you will find differences if you compare the Jewish Publication Society Torah (JPS) and the ArtScroll Torah with this published text; few and minor, but differences. The Jewish text has vowels but no trope. The QERE (traditional variant that is recited) is printed in the main with the KETIB (word actually written) in the footnotes, this is because the qere possesses the traditional meaning as well as aligning with the Samaritan text in many instances. This text is printed with its petuhot and setumot (opened and closed, pey and samech) sections which, as you will read below, can be compared to the Samaritan divisions.
The published Samaritan text is the Shechem Synagogue text. There is not really any "standard" Samaritan text, though this was chosen as the most available resource. The Samaritan text does not have any vowel markings, but it contains qitzim, ancient sectional divisions of the Torah. It is most interesting to follow the Samaritan textual divisions and compare them to the Jewish textual divisions. One of the reasons the qitzim may be different from the petuhot and setumot is that the Samaritans followed a different cycle of Torah readings, which are noted in the margins for both texts. One example of interest: The Torah portions of vYigash and vYechi are not separated but in the Samaritan Torah a new qitza begins in the second to the last verse of vYigash.
The texts are purely Hebrew throughout. Both texts are printed in standard block print. The Masoretic text and the corresponding Samaritan text are on opposite pages for easy comparison. The major plus in this work is the bold-type differences between the Samaritan and Masoretic texts. Most of the differences are orthographic (spelling), but many will be found to be theological, editorial, or traditional in nature. An example of a traditional variant is the age of Jared when Enoch was born: 162 according to the Masoretic text, 62 according to the Samaritan text, as well as 62 according to non-Samaritan extra-biblical literature.
There is a transliterated Samaritan reading of the Tower of Babel story in the Appendix for a sound of the Samaritan tongue.
I regret that I put this book on my wishlist, where it sat for months before I made the decision to buy. It is an amazing tool for the Biblical Textual Critic, truly one of a kind.
I have come to respect the opinions of the Samaritans as well as their claim to origins. I am not alone in this opinion as the renowned Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Community, Hakam Moses Gaster shared this same opinion. They are truly Israelites and until that is recognized not much attention and discovery will result from their fragile existence.
This is not an English translation, so don't buy it if that's what you are thinking it is. As it says, it is a comparison of the Hebrew versions. I found the choice of Mark Shoulson to convert the Samaritan characters into the traditional Hebrew characters to be a very wise decision; it enables the reader to more accurately see the similarities and differences in the two versions. In addition, to help the reader see the differences clearly, he bolded and enlarged additions and variants that were in one version which were not in the other. He used dots to indicate if one version omitted text that was included in the other version. He clearly explains how he made this book and his explanation is very well done. In addition, although he used a computer automated program he hand corrected it as well. So he gave it the best of both worlds: a computer automated version, and then edited the computer automated version by hand. He also includes a great taste of the Samaritan script and vowel system that they themselves use. His bibliographic information, although very sparse, is very crucial to the student's further research into the Samaritan version of the Torah and the Samaritan religion and culture in general.
The only disappointing feature is that it is only based on one Samaritan Torah manuscript and does not include important variants. That being said, if he had included those variants, it may have spoiled the simplicity and ease of this edition. Furthermore, he specified that his version was intended as a starting point to help immerse people into Samaritan studies especially to further study of the Samaritan version of the Torah. I believe this edition perfectly captures Mark's intention as well as presents most impressively the primary differences between the Samaritan and the traditional Hebrew versions.