Special Issue "Exploring Samaritanism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Pummer

Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, 55 Laurier E., Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Samaritanism; Judaism; World Religions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions is devoted to the topic of “Exploring Samaritanism”. Thanks to the New Testament, especially the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37, the phrase the “Good Samaritan” is a familiar designation of compassionate and helpful people and organizations worldwide. Few, however, connect it with more than the idea of aiding people in dire needs. Questions such as “Who were the biblical Samaritans?” and “When and where did they live?” are virtually never asked. Let alone the questions: “Are there still Samaritans and if so, where are they to be found, what are their beliefs and practices?” Even in academia, for a long time the study of Samaritanism was a rather neglected field. This has changed, however, in the last several decades. The change is due in part to the finds of so-called pre-Samaritan manuscripts among the Dead Sea scrolls and to new archaeological discoveries of Samaritan synagogues, inscriptions, and, above all, the remains of a Samaritan sanctuary and city on Mount Gerizim in the vicinity of the modern city of Nablus in Palestine. Other factors of this fresh interest in the community and traditions of the Samaritans are new editions and translations of ancient Samaritan writings; novel analyses of biblical texts; cultural-anthropological research among the present-day Samaritans; and last, but not least, initiatives of the Samaritans themselves to make more people aware of their existence and special traditions.

At the current state of research, scholars of Samaritanism agree that the Samaritans always were and still are a community of Yhwh worshipers, a branch of Israelite religion centered in the North of the country of Palestine. Except for certain textual differences their sacred Scripture is essentially the same Torah/Pentateuch as that of the Jews. Modern biblical research has shown that the question of the origin of the Samaritans as a distinct Yahwistic community must be re-examined in the light of new discoveries. As opposed to the time before the recent (from 1982 on) excavations on the main peak of Mt. Gerizim when Josephus was our only witness to the existence of a Yahwistic temple in Samaria, we now have material evidence of such a temple on the mountain and can date its construction to the fifth century BCE and its destruction to the late second century BCE, the same period in which the Pentateuch was formed. This discovery has had a major impact on our interpretation of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. In the past, many authors considered 2 Kgs. 17:24-41 to be an account of the origin and character of the Samaritans. This view was reinforced by Flavius Josephus’ adoption and adaptation of the passage. However, such an interpretation of 2 Kings has been shown to be untenable, and the proposed dates for the origin of the Samaritans now range from the fifth to the third or second century BCE.

In addition to the manuscript finds in the area of Qumran and the archaeological excavations in Samaria, renewed analyses of biblical books, particularly, but not only, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles, have shed new light on the development of the relations between the northern and southern Yahwists in biblical times. As a consequence, Samaritan and biblical studies are now more closely related than ever.

This Special Issue of Religions aims at highlighting and advancing the new developments in the study of Samaritanism. Chronologically the subjects of the contributions span the time from the biblical to the modern period.

The manuscript submission deadline is December 1, 2019. The paper should be submitted via Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institutes’s online submission site. You may go to https://www.mdpi.com/user/register/ to register and to complete the submission process. As to the length of the manuscript, 5000 to 10000 words are the usual.

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Pummer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Samaritans
  • Samaritans and Jews
  • Qumran manuscripts
  • Archaeology
  • Biblical studies

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top