The Hasmonean period (167–63 BCE) is increasingly seen in current scholarship as formative for Samaritan identity and, in particular, as the moment when the Samaritans emerged as a self-contained group separate from the Jews. The first aim of this paper is to give an overview of the condition of the Samaritans during this period. In largely chronological order, the first part of the article discusses the situation of the Samaritans on the eve of the Hasmonean revolt, at the outbreak of the uprising, and under the rule of the first Hasmoneans. The second aim is to review the commonly held causes of the emergence, at this time, of the Samaritans as a discrete community, such as, for instance, the destruction of the Samaritan temple, the production of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the appearance of anti-Samaritan polemics in Jewish literature. The paper concludes that the Hasmoneans’ attitude toward the Samaritans cannot simply be seen as one of hatred and rejection as is generally assumed. Besides; although some of the historical processes beginning in the Hasmonean period had far-reaching implications for the parting of the ways between Jews and Samaritans; their immediate effects should not be overstated.
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