The History Of The Israelite Keepers Based On Their Own Sources
The book, written in modern Hebrew, commences with the entry of the People of Israel to the Holy Land under Joshua bin Nun (c.1355-1245 BCE) and continues to the present day
This book is the third major work of Benny’s distinguished writing career. It was published in Holon, Israel, on 17 November 2015 by the AB Institute of Samaritan Studies. Israel’s Ministry of Culture assisted its publication. (Their website is in Hebrew, with some English material).
Israelite Keepers Resurgent
In the first place Benny dedicates his book to the Israelite Samaritan community, the Israelite Keepers of the title. (Because the Israelite Samaritans refer to themselves as The Sons of Israel, Keepers of the Truth of the Torah. See this article by Benny on Israelite Samaritan Identity). It must be remembered that the Israelite Keepers almost disappeared as a people, their numbers having fallen to 141 individuals by 1919. However, the community now enjoys a resurgence. At the present time it comprises around 800 souls, with a promising future guaranteed by the grace of the Almighty. Each family has received a complimentary copy of the book.
Each of the book’s 120 chapters concludes with detailed references for that chapter. Consequently, readers can, if they wish, compare the sources for themselves. The book has a distinctive style, due to being written using the traditional vocabulary of the Torah.
Ten Years’ Research
The book is the outcome of meticulous research carried out by Benny over ten years. During this time, Benny reviewed the Israelite Samaritans’ own resources, historical collections, ancient manuscripts and poetry. He also consulted the Jewish Midrash and Halacha. Hundreds of letters written by Samaritans over a period of five hundred years provided further relevant material. In addition, Benny made use of thousands of documents in the archives of Yitzhak Ben Zvi, Have Mercy Lord. Ben Zvi, second president of Israel, was both father-figure and patron to the Israelite Samaritans. The association lasted from Ben Zvi’s first meetings with them in his early twenties, until his death in 1963.
The History Of The Israelite Keepers Based On Their Own Sources is distilled from the most complete collection of historical documents since the (unfinished) 14th century work of Benny’s spiritual ancestor, Abu Elfath Hadinfi. The latter came from Damascus in 1352-1355 at the request of the Nablus High Priest, Phinhas b. Yusef Harrabban. (Phinhas b. Yusef Harrabban’s tenure covered the years 1308-1363 CE). Writing in Arabic, Abu Elfath Hadinfi recounted the Keepers’ history from the time of Joshua bin Nun up to the tenth century CE. That is to say: 350 years before his own time.
The 900 pages of Benny’s new book are divided into columns. Lines are numbered consecutively so they can be quoted or referenced conveniently. The book complements the author’s earlier work: A Short History of the Israelite Samaritans. The latter draws on external sources to give a complete picture of what the Samaritans themselves wrote – in contrast to what was written about them.
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The History of the Israelite Keepers Based On Their Own Sources
By Benyamim Tsedaka
Language: Modern Hebrew
AB Institute of Samaritan Studies and Israel Ministry of Culture
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In Israel the new book costs US$150 (ILS 600).
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See also by Benyamim Tsedaka The Israelite Samaritan Version Of The Torah
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