Reflections on Relationship between Qumran and Samaritan Messianology

Qumran and Samaritan Messianology

Relationship between Qumran and Samaritan Messianology by: Ferdinand Dexinger

Starting with the Gospel of John (4:25) Samaritan Messianology has always been of interest to Christians in general and to Christian scholarship since the 17th cent. in particular.  The third letter sent by the Samaritans to Job Ludolf’ dating from 1689 answered Ludolfs question concerning the Samaritan “Messiah” with the words: “The messiah has not arisen until this day. When he comes his name will be the תהב (Taheb).”‘

a) The Samaritan Taheb and His Basic Functions.

 What does “Taheb” mean and what are the basic functions of this “messianic” figure? 3  From the 4th century C. E. onward the authentic Samaritan messianology expression to designate their eschatological figure 4 is תהב . Although the noun  תהב(as well as the verbal root תוב) is not used in the Samaritan Targums it already appears in Tibat Marqe 6 Before any research in the possible relationship between Qumran and Samaritan Messianology can be made7, it must become clear what the basic nature and the functions of the תהב. On this way we encounter however a major methodological problem, namely the fact that besides the Pentateuch no Samaritan sources which antedate the 2nd or 4th century C. E. have been preserved 8 . The only possible and legitimate way that  remains, is to examine the available later Samaritan material in order to isolate the original aspects of this eschatological figure.

A very recent Samaritan messianology statement summarizes the essential features very precisely. The treatise of the Samaritan High Priest Jacob ben Aaron (1840-1918), which W.E. Barton published in 1907, illustrates how the Samaritans view the Taheb and how they link the Taheb with the specific wording of the Samaritan Pentateuch. The High Priest considered the last verses of Exodus 20 in the Samaritan Pentateuch “which are not found in the Torah of the Jews” to be a reference “concerning the establishment of the Second Kingdom” and as an affirmation of the appearance of the Taheb, the Prophet, at the end of time. He refers as well to Deuteronomy 18:18 as a biblical warrant for the belief in the future prophet. According to their learned men, he says, this prophet will arise and perform miracles and demonstrations and he will uphold religion and justice. Deuteronomy 31:26 is a proof text in his eyes for the expectation that the Taheb will produce the Ark of Testimony. Moreover the Taheb will produce, “in his hand, the staff which was given by the Creator (who is exalted) to our Master Moses (upon him be peace), … in order that miracles be performed thereby.” Finally he would produce the Omer of Manna which the fathers ate, while in the wilderness, for forty years. This is praised as the greatest proof, because, after all this period, it will be found to have undergone not the slightest change. The High Priest could not Find enough support “in the prophecy” to decide whether the Taheb will be of the priestly lineage or not. He observed that “Some of our learned men say he will be of the children of  Aaron and be a priest. Others say that he will be of the children of Joseph and like unto his brethren’. My own private opinion is that he will be of the “children of Joseph.” He then adds “The Messiah (sic!) will be a prophet and will be acknowledged as a prophet. That will be his title as the prophecies give it. But he will also be a king. The Messiah will not be in any sense a Son of God.

    of Vengeance have their place at the end of the millennium. The Figure of the Taheb in its last delineation, in any case, made its way into the visions of the future world. So at its latest religio-historical stage of development the idea of the Taheb exhibits connections with nearly all aspects of Samaritan eschatology. No single Samaritan text contains all the elements of the fully developed picture of the Taheb.

The view of the Taheb as a king is not to be found in Samaritan sources earlier than the Middle Ages. According to the description given by the High Priest quoted above and other Samaritan messianology sources it becomes evident that the Taheb is essentially a prophet. We must not be misled by the fact that the Samaritans use the term “Messiah” when speaking to Christians. In Arabic contexts the Samaritans do use the term “Mahdi” as well. They obviously do so only in order to be understood by their partners. The best example, as far as Christians are concerned, is the passage in the third letter to Ludolf quoted above. All this illustrates the manner in which the Samaritans were able to adopt everything which by some means or other Fitted into the picture. The use of terms basically different in their meaning and in what they designate does show quite clearly that they are not meant as a translation of the Samaritan term Taheb, but as a paraphrase explaining its eschatological meaning only13. When speaking of Samaritan Messianology we must be aware of the fact that the Samaritans did not and do not believe in any sort of a royal (Davidic) Messiah in the strict sense of the word. 14

Since Gesenius it has become clear that the root of תהב  is תוב  and Ta’eb is the Peal participle, thus meaning the “Returning One” or the “Repentant”, according to the intransitive meaning of the root תוב . As תוב has a transitive aspect as well, the meaning of the Peal participle can as well be the “One who leads to Repentance” or the “Restorer.” Philology alone does not permit to decide what “Taheb” does mean in reality. The only thing that can be decided by philology is that the word “Taheb” dates from the Aramaic-speaking period of the 4th cent. C. E.15 But this is not the date of origin of the idea itself. What then is the underlying concept?

The starting point should be the fact, that the Samaritans see their eschatological figure as a prophet and do connect him with the eschatological interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:15,18. The eschatological prophet thus becomes the expected “Prophet like Moses.” In scholarship it became, without entering He will be a prophet like Moses ……….” 9. An inconsistency of the whole idea  appears when the High Priest states that the Taheb will at the same time be “a king and rule the earth from Shechem, the ancient seat of power, and from his holy mountain, Gerizirn. He will call all the world to acknowledge him and they will do so. He will bring blessings to all nations that acknowledge him.”

The statement that the Taheb is a king is expressed in a way which leads to the conclusion that it is a secondary addition. All elements of the summary given by the High Priest, including that of a king-Taheb, can be found in Samaritan messianology texts of earlier periods,10 as the following examples show:

The Taheb is sometimes regarded as a descendant of Jacob (TA 22, p. 43) or of Seth (TA 45, p. 81) or of Pinhas (TA 52, p. 89) or of Moses (TA 52, p. 89) or of Noah (TA 92, p. 171). His name is not known (TA 39, p. 171) but he will be like Moses (TA 22, p. 43) according to Deuteronomy 18:18 (TA 67, p. 119).

The time when he will stand up (TA 50, p. 87) is not known (TA 43, p. 74 ) but penitence is the precondition for his coming (TA 62, p. 103). He will come from the east (TA 53, p. 90) to Mount Gerizim (TA 53, p. 90). He will  show the staff of Aaron and the Manna (TA 33, p. 56) and he will bring the holy Tabernacle (TA 50, p. 87). With his coming the Fanuta (the present age )11 ends and the Rahuta (the future age) begins (TA 54, p. 92). The sacrifices will be renewed (TA 54, p. 92) but he himself is not a priest (TA 52, p. 89). The Taheb is a prophet (TA 67, p. 117) and will reveal the truth (TA 53; p. 90)12.

He is also described as a king (TA 52, p. 89). The second kingdom will be established (TA 56, p. 95) and the Taheb will reign over the whole world )TA 53, p.91). The Hebrew language will become universal (TA 53, p. 90). When he dies (TA 55, p. 93) he will be buried with Joseph (TA 41, p. 73).

The imagery of the coming of the Taheb is the outcome of a long development. The Taheb as a prophetic figure was not linked with any of the eschatological periods, originally. The change of the aeons, i. e. the end of the Fanuta and the coming of the Rahuta on one side, and the beginning of the Second Kingdom on the other, are not only of differing origins themselves but are only secondary aspects of the coming of the Taheb. This would be supported by the fact that the connection between the Taheb and the notion of resurrection is not clear. When the millennium lies between the time of the appearance of the Taheb and the end of the world the resurrection and the Day into the details of the historical development, widely accepted that this connection is an ancient and original one.16 The idea of  the coming  of  the eschatological “Prophet like Moses” is much older than its Aramaic designation “Taheb,” which came into use in the 4th century C. E .

The texts from Qumran can obviously contribute a lot to a better under- standing of this concept and its setting within the Samaritan religious frame- work. Making use of the Qumran material in connection with Samaritan Messianology demands looking at the eschatological Prophet like Moses. This means we have to take into consideration the view of Moses as reflected in Samaritan messianology and Qumran sources. It is an essential Samaritan creed, emphasized ad nauseam in Tibat Marqe that there did not arise and will arise no (other) prophet like Moses.

What then will be the relation between the eschatological Prophet like Moses and Moses himself? Before we can enter this question three different aspects of the Taheb should be distinguished. The Taheb is a prophet, more specifically the expected eschatological prophet and Finally he is the “Prophet like Moses.” All these aspects relevant for the understanding of the Taheb can be found in Qumran as well, forming part of its synthetic messianism. It is not the obvious fact of relationship which should be studied closer but the difference between a primarily prophetic and a mainly royal messianism.


b) The Prophet to Come as Common  Biblical Heritage

 In 1 Maccabees 4:44-46 and 1 Maccabees 14:41 the expectation of a prophet to come is expressed. H. M. Teeple rightly said that this hope: “probably did not arise from the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18, but rather arose from the practical need….”17

 As far as the date of origin is concerned, this expectation of a future prophet  is certainly older than I Maccabees (completed around 100 B. C. E.) and does not appear to be of sectarian origin. The coming of Elijah (Mal 3:23) must be seen within this framework as well. The general situation of Judaism in late Maccabean times seems to be the Sitz im Leben of this common Jewish expectation.18. The expectation of a future prophet not specially linked with Moses has not been preserved in Samaritan Sources. It is however vivid in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; John 1:21 )together with the expectation of “The Prophet” (John 1:21)

Recently M. Abegg published a fresh and convincing approach to analyse the messianic texts from Qumran. There is now doubt, that the royal Messiah is firmly rooted though not central in these 19 But it is of greatest importance what Abegg has to say about the number of Messiahs at Qumran: “There are, however, clear signs that the messianic picture was not so focused as to conclude that messianic hopes were only or always singular.” 20

Although the royal messiah is dominant in the Qumran texts, Abegg enumerates several texts expressing the idea of a messianic prophet different from the expectation of the Messiah(s): 11QMelch 2.18, 4Q521 2 ii+4 1, and 1QS 9.11 (2nd cent. B. C. E.).21

 11QMelch 2.18

 This text 22 contains traditions about Melchizedek described as a celestial and eschatological figure. Interesting for our considerations however is the interpretation of the מבשר of Isaiah 52:7 as a prophetic figure with a function as described in Is 61:2. This eschatological prophet delivers his message before the day on which “Melchizedek will carry out the vengeance of God’s judgments “23 (11QMelch 2.13)ומלכי צדק יקום נקם משפטי אל” We need not enter the question if Milik is correct in identifying this “anointed one” with the “Teacher of Righteousness.” It is however important for our subject that a prophetic eschatological functionary is explicitly mentioned here but not (yet) linked with Deuteronomy 18:15,18. 25.


4Q521 2 ii+4 1

 This text 26 has to be seen in close connection with 11QMelch 2.13 because it links the function of the messiah(s) with Is 61:2. The fragment starts with the words:  כי השמים” והארץ ישמעו למשיחו” For the heav(ens) and the earth will listen to his Messiah.” The Messiah obviously delivers a message 27 similar to the “anointed one” in 11Qmelch.28 This is in accordance with CD 7.18, in which the royal Messiah has prophetic traits. 29


1QS 9.11


It is generally agreed that the prophet mentioned together with the Messiahs in this prominent text 30 is a “messianic” figure. 31  This text has a harmonizing tendency insofar as it unites the different types of eschatological functionaries, namely the king, the priest, and the prophet32 Although the term “Messiah” should be reserved for the royal eschatological figure, in  1QS 9.11 the priest  and a prophet accompany the royal Messiah 33 , thus sharing his messianic fanction.34  When studying the Samaritan Taheb, it is necessary to recognize and to emphasize that the prophetic and the messianic eschatological Figure are basically different although with a similar eschatological function. 1QS 9.11 clearly distinguishes these figures although they are closely related to one another as far as their eschatological function is concerned. 35 It goes without saying that there was a mutual influence between these concepts.” Let alone the Samaritans, the expectation of the future prophet is weaker in the Qumran texts and in later Jewish history than the idea of a Davidic Messiah. 37 The idea of an eschatological prophet 38 without any connection with Moses according to Deuteronomy 18:15,18, as known from 1 Maccabees does not exist in Samaritan messianology tradition.


c) The “Prophet like Moses ” in Qumran

It did not take very long before the general idea of a future prophet as expressed in I Maccabees found its biblical warrant in Deuteronomy 18:15,18. In 1QS 9.11, as well as in 4QTest 5-8 (cf. 4QFIor 2), Deuteronomy 18:15,18  is understood as an eschatological prophecy.39 . This was only possible by a twofold shift of the original meaning. First it changed from a distributive”40 into an individual meanings and second, it left behind its historical significance in order to become an eschatological topos.42 But the relationship remained ambiguous, because “the Coming One” could be Moses himself or any other one like him. This exegesis developed within the pluriform Judaism of the Second Temple period and belonged, as Teeple has shown, to the common Jewish-Christian heritage of the 1st cent. C. E.43 This interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:15,18 made of Moses the model for the expected prophet. In 4 Ezra 14:5;2  Baruch 4:5-6 and 59:4 Moses has eschatological functions. The NT is familiar with this tradition too, as becomes clear from Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; John 1:21; 6:14; 7:52; 9:17.44 In later rabbinical texts this motive does occur as well, but it is interesting to notice”” that in rabbinic literature this interpretation is marginal .46 Though in Kohelet Rahba 1:28 to 1:9 we Find the formula: “Like the first redeemer (sc. Moses) thus the last.”47   According to Deuteronomy Rabba 3:16 and 10:1, Moses and Elijah will come together at the end of time.48 It is difficult to find a reason for that scarcity of examples.” The prophetic figure according to Deuteronomy 18:18 has no central place in Qumran eschatology, which is occupied there by the Davidic Messiah. In Rabbinic Judaism this Messianic mainstream continues, whereas in Samaritanism on the contrary there is no royal Messiah at all but a dominant prophetic eschatological figure, the Taheb. It is of great importance therefore that in Exodus 20 (Samaritan Pentateuch) we find three textual expansions, among  them one containing Deuteronomy 18:18. Though this fact alone does not prove any connection of this text with the expectation of an eschatological “prophet like Moses,” it constitutes a decisive link with the Qumran material.

In addition to the special Samaritan expansion, there are two 50 1) All three expansions in Exodus 20 (Samaritan Pentateuch) are complex and not all elements are specifically Samaritan. 2) The Gerizm verses of Deuteronomy 27 (the elements of the above mentioned expansions) are to be found in each of three fragments (4Q158.6; 4Q175 and 4QEx” col. 29) from Qumran as well.

The first textual expansion 51 of the Samaritan Pentateuch in Exodus 20:17 (MT) consists of the following verses: Exodus 13:11a ; Deuteronomy 27:2b-3a; Deuteronomy 27:4-7; and Deuteronomy 11:30.52.

The second one in Exodus 20:19 (MT) comprises the verses Deuteronomy 5:24-27. The third expansion in Exodus 20:22a (MT) is made of Deuteronomy 5:28b-29; Deuteronomy 18:18-22 and Deuteronomy 5:30-31. This last one with the same order of verses can be found in three different fragments from Qumran too. This is of special interest for our study. The two fragments of the non biblical scrolls 4Q158.6 and 4Q175 do contain it as well as the fragment of the biblical scroll 4QExa (= 4QpaleoEx'”) col 29. One should not overlook that Deuteronomy 18:18-22 interrupts the expansion consisting of Deuteronomy 5:28b-31.” This could indicate that the expansion took place in two successive steps. 54 On the other hand the whole textual plus compared to MT, aims at the future. In a time when God does not speak any more from heaven (כי מן השמים דברתי אתכם) the prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18 is practically necessary. By the insertion after Deuteronomy 5:29 it is stressed that the prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18 is practically identical with Moses. The eschatological function of this text however becomes clear in light of the material from Qumran.


4QTestimonia (= 4Q175) is not part of a Torah scroll but a collection of texts which are understood eschatologically.55 Deuteronomy 18:18-19 is found in the same context as in the Samaritan Pentateuch namely after Deuteronomy 5:29. The quotation of Deuteronomy 18:18-19 is followed by Numbers 24:15-17(royal Messiah) and Deuteronomy 33:8-11 (priestly Messiah). This wider context in which Deuteronomy 18:18 is found, proves the eschatological function of these verses. Similar to 1QS 9.11 three messianic functionaries are enumerated and among them the Prophet who is obviously considered to be an eschatological figure. 56 This, however, did not remain an exegetical theory only but led to practical consequences in Jewish religion after the second century B. C. E. onwards.

The figure, called “the Righteous Teacher ” מורה צדק “57 in 1QpHabakuk 8.2-3 or “The Interpreter of the Law” דורש התורה in Damascus Covenant 1.18 –21  and 4QFIorilegium 1.11-12 has the function of a “Prophet like Moses.”58 According to Damascus Covenant 6.7 and 11a  יורה הצדק had already come and was expected to come again in the future in order to teach the right Torah.59

In  the New Testament (Acts 3:22; 7:37) 60  Jesus is seen as the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15,18. From the Gospel of John (1:21; 6:14; 7:52; 9:17) we learn that the expectation of “the Prophet” was very vivid, but Finally Christian understanding did not describe Jesus as “the Prophet” but as “the Messiah.”61

The Samaritan Dositheus is another example in this line.62  Several sources (Origen, Contra Celsum 1:58 (GCS 10(1903], 252 lines 15-19), Eulogius, Photius, Bibliotheca Cod. 230 [PG 102(1084 D-1085 A)] and Abu’1 Fath)63 show that he claimed to be the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.

The most important though very late result of the “Wirkungsgeschichte” of Deuteronomy 18:15,18 is the Islam. The words used in the Koran to describe the function of Muhammad are an obvious allusion to Deuteronomy 18:15,18: “Allah did confer a great favour on the Believers when He sent among them a Messenger from among themselves” (3:164).64

All these examples show that independently from a royal Messiah the expectation of a coming prophet who would teach the truth was vivid in many circles over numerous centuries.

d) Moses and the “Prophet Like Moses ” in Samaritanism

The eschatological understanding of Deuteronomy 18:15,18 has two dimensions. First, it nourishes the hope in the coming of a future prophet. Second, it offers the criterion according to which this prophet has to be judged, namely that he must be “like Moses.” This general and not specified expectation of a coming prophet could and did provoke numerous applicants for this function as the examples given above, have shown. The Dosithean claim that the prophecy of the coming of the one like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15,18) had been fulfilled by Dositheus, who thus was seen as a kind of new Moses led to a degradation of the ideal Moses. Dositheus was succeeding Moses and demanding faith in himself rather than in Moses. By emphasizing the criterion “like Moses” in the sense of a practical identity with Moses, the necessary limitation was found later on in Samaritanism as can be proved from Tibat Marqe. Deuteronomy 18:15,18 as an eschatological topos and inserted in Exodus 20:22a is not specifically Samaritan as was proved by the above quoted material from Qumran. But the Samaritans used this old variant of the biblical text inherited together with its eschatological interpretation and developed it together with the dominant image of Moses into their Taheb. Before we come to discuss the background of the term תהב we have to look at the picture of Moses as it emerges from Samaritan traditions in general and the Tibat Marqe in particular.


e) Moses and the Taheb in Samaritan Messianology Tradition

Moses is the prophet par excellence in Samaritanism. The picture of Moses as it appears in Samaritan literature is determined by the portrayal of Moses in the Pentateuchal texts. The importance of all that is stressed in a strong and exaggerating manner, and the titles given to Moses exceed by far the biblical terminology. Moses is practically (except for biblical references Genesis 20:7 [Abraham] and Exodus 7:1 [Aharon]) the only one acknowledged as prophet. The Taheb then unites two elements: the hope in a future prophet on the one hand, and a view of Moses as it had developed since the late Second Temple period on the other hand. He is the future prophet like Moses. When we compare the essential deeds of Moses with the expected activities of the Taheb as described at the beginning of this study, one cannot overlook the substantial similarities not to say the basic functional identity: the Taheb like Moses brings the Torah, the Tabernacle, the Staff of Aaron, the Manna. The Taheb like Moses works miracles and renews the sacrifices. The Taheb is obviously modelled according to Moses. He is a second Moses.

There is a summarizing formula used in Tibat Marqe which clearly parallels Moses and the Taheb. In the second book the following is said about Mosesייתי בשלם נביה רבה משה מגלי קשטה”” – The great prophet Moses may come in peace and reveal the truth (McD 2.8 == BH 11.8 [131,343])65 In the fourth book the same wording is connected with the Taheb: ייתי בשלם תהבה ויגלי קשטה The Taheb may come in peace and reveal the truth (McD 4.11 = BH IV,89 291,946].]

What that means can only be estimated by looking at the many titles Moses receives in Samaritanism. Moses is called the “Great Prophet” (נביה רבה) in Tibat Marge (e.g. BH 2.2 [111,33]; 4.77 [285,862]; 5.9 [311,68]; 5.12 [313,103]).

This seems to be a typical hellenistic terminology which we encounter in the Septuagint Exodus 2:ll (ויגדל משה) e.g. is translated (….). The term (…) is used by Philo as an independent title (cf. Opif 12,1; Plant 18,3; Mos 2.211.2). There is a list of other titles used in Tibat Marge (BH 5.19-20 [319,214-230]) which are characteristic because they go beyond the biblical usage כרי נביותה  (foundation of prophethood) שליחה דאלה (messenger of God) and מחתם נביה (Seal of the Prophets) 66 .

Moses has the highest rank of all human beings: “None among mankind will resemble him for ever” (דלית אנש מכל בניו דאדם דמי לה לעלם ) (BH 5.26 [325,327f.]).

Moses’ position in Samaritan religion is expressed by a formula contained already in the Defter and the Tibat Marqe:

“Let us believe in Him (i. e. God) and in Moses, His prophet.” נהימן בה ובמשה נביה)) (McD 5.5 =BH 4.36 [259,505]; Cowley 50,84). This tenet of the creed has no parallel in Rabbinic Judaism and is uniquely Samaritan. There is another example of a title given to Moses which seems to have hellenistic roots. In Tibat Marqe Moses is called קדיש הוא נביה דאקדש בידה דאלה ( He is the prophet who was sanctified by God) (BH 5.102 [297,1043]) This reminds us of the designation  (…)  used several times by Philo (Del 135.1; Immut 140.1; Cong 89.2; Spec 1.59.1; 3.24.1; 4.95.2; Virt 175.2) .Looking through the material from Qumran it becomes clear that there are no terminological parallels. Qumran and Samaritanism are obviously different in this regard.

According to Tibat Marqe (cf. Deuteronomy 10:1) Moses was brought into the Sanctuary of the Unseen: (ואעלני בגו משכן כסיאתה) (McD 4.7 = BH 4.48 [265,594])  and it is emphatically stressed that no one else but Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 5:28 [Samaritan Pentateuch] Deuteronomy 34:10) has been “standing” by God: (“אהן כמשה דאמר לה מרה ואת אכה קום עמי”) (McD 4.12= BH 4.102 [297,1046]). . The ascension to Mt. Sinai and the “standing” by God come very close to the idea of an apotheosis, when considering the following words in Tibat Marqe which indicate that Moses “was exalted above the whole human race and progresses until he was joined with the angels.” (מינה דאדם ואמטה עד אזדמן במלאכיה הסתקף על כל)) (McD 4.12 = BH 4.102 [297,1044]). This has to be seen in connection with Deuteronomy 33:1 in which Moses is called “Man of God.” That Moses is close to God is expressed in a surprising way …

גלי לה דו לביש אלהותה ונביותה)) (McD 1.2 = BH 1.3 [43,31f.]). Moses’ proximity to the heavenly world is expressed in other titles given to Moses: “Son of the House” and “friend of God” (McD 4.1 = BH 4.7 [235,117-18]). The same title is given to Moses by Amram Dare (4th cent. C.E.; Cowley 32,17). A cosmic dimension of Moses is introduced by this epithet, which culminates in a list of similar epitheta enumerated in the liturgy (cf. Cowley 726,19-20) including “Lord of the whole World” (גביר כל העולם).

The sum of all these attributes marks a clear difference from Rabbinic Judaism. But, the Rabbinic statement that “The world exists only for the sake of Moses and Aaron” (אין העולם מתקיים אלא בשביל משה ואהרן; bHul 89a) is not so far from the cosmic view of Moses in Tibat Marqe as it may appear to be at first sight. Moreover, Moses is seen as a possessor of special powers (McD 6.6 = BH 6.43 [365,327]). This epithet thus designates Moses in his capacity of doing mighty works otherwise reserved for God. In this context we are reminded of the saying that it was for Moses’ sake that God “appeared and  brought forth wonders” (בדילך אתחזית למגלי סימני כבודה) (McD 6.2 = BH 6.15 [349,111]).

One aspect of Moses is his relation to the revelation of the Torah. The wording in Tibat Marqe diminishes somewhat the instrumental role of Moses and gives him a more dominant 67 function in connection with Deuteronomy 33:4:תורה צוה לנו משה .

“Moses opened for us the garden of Eden, the Torah (משה דפתח לנו גן עדן התורה)  (BH 2.2 [lll,33f.]; BH 2.15 [242,250]); (BH 2.48 [265,598]; BH 2.108 [301,1092]). . In a very explicit and clear way the teaching function of Moses is expressed “Praised be the Great Prophet Moses, Man of God, who taught us what God taught him” (יתרבי נביה מהי מנה משה איש האלהים דאלפן מה דאלפנה אלה כותה) (BH 2.77 [285,862]).68

Although the Taheb is mentioned several times in Tibat  Marqe, the main emphasis lies on Moses and his particular prophetic image. It was mainly this image which had to be developed in order to prevent uncontrolled prophetic claims. At first sight it may be astonishing that Deuteronomy 18:18 is not quoted in Tibat Marqe.69 But the guideline of Tibat Marqe (cf. the summary given in a later addition to the Tibal Marqe McD 4.1 = BH 4.5 [235,80-87])  and to Samaritan religion in general is the formula steadily repeated:

“There is none like Moses the prophet and none will ever arise”

(משה נביה דלא קעם כותה ולא יקום לעלם) BH 1.3 [43,38-39]; 2.56 [155,732] 4.7[235,11f.];5.1[307,4f.]). One must not forget that this quotation of Deuteronomy 34:10 (Samaritan Pentateuch), is at the same time an allusion to Deuteronomy 18:18. The ST in its translation of Deuteronomy 34:10 adds יקום, thus reflecting the Samaritan struggle against a possible inflation of non-Mosaic prophets.

The elevated picture of Moses as it appears in Tibat Marqe originated already in Second Temple Hellenistic Judaism and was developed further as a consequence of the Dosithean controversy, which took place in pre-Marqan time. The epitheta given to Moses in Tibat Marqe could easily be directed against claims like that of Dositheus and others, to be the expected prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18. It was with this instrument that any claim to be a prophet “like Moses” could be refuted.

By elevating Moses to such a position another problem arose: who then could be the expected Prophet? As the result of the Dosithean controversy Samaritanism found the solution in calling the prophet to come a תהב “a  (or the) Returning One.” In agreement with the biblical wording of Deuteronomy 18, the precise identity of this prophet was left open. The idea of a Moses redivivus was neither excluded nor explicitly stated. This made it possible that in some later texts the Taheb was identified with the returning Enoch 70. In any case it should be some prominent Figure of the biblical history. Samaritanism is different from Qumran as far as this later specification of the prophet like Moses is concerned. The expectation of a “messianic” prophet however belongs to the common background of both.


f) Concluding Considerations

Obviously, one has to avoid any generalization as far as the early date of  Samaritan messianology/traditions is concerned. There is no doubt that many aspects of Samaritanism are of Byzantine or medieval origin. But it is obviously wrong to deny a basic continuity of elements from the Second Temple period onward. Inspite of all later developments, Samaritanism preserved in many ways an older structure of the biblical religion than that represented by the later strata of Rabbinic Judaism.

A methodological approach similiar to the present one. in order to understand the Samaritan Taheb, could be useful in other Fields too. A Samaritan tradition known only from their late sources can be regarded as old if there exists at least one specific ancient support (textual or archaeological). The Qumran material offers such a possibility and enables us to show a continuity at least in some areas. The Taheb-tradition, e. g„ has its roots in a specific interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:18, which is already present in the Qumran texts. Looking back to the first period of Samaritan I·esearch7′ we notice the tendency to interpret all the elements common to Qumran and the Samaritans as the result of reciprocal influence. The historical reality, however, is different. The reason for parallels is the common non-sectarian background of both 72,  that existed within the multivarious biblical religion, before separate developments took place. Qumran material therefore is of greatest importance for the understanding of Samaritan “messianism.” Whereas the eschatological prophet is but an element of the more complex and later Jewish messianism, he remained the only “messianic” functionary in Samaritanism. Thus a Samaritan messianology known only from later Samaritan sources sheds light on a specific aspect of the biblical Religion of the Second Temple period.