Samaria

Samaria

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Samaria, or the Shomron ' onMouseout='HidePop("94557")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tiberian_vocalization">Tiberian
Tiberian vocalization
The Tiberian vocalization is a system of diacritics devised by the Masoretes to add to the consonantal Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible; this system soon became used to vocalize other texts as well...

; ; , or , – also known as ) is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

.

Etymology


The name "Samaria" derives from an ancient city of the same name
Samaria (ancient city)
Samaria was an ancient city in the Land of Israel. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel in the 9th century BC and 8th century BC. The ruins of the city are located in the Samaria mountains and are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority....

, which was located near the south of Samaria, and was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. According to 1 Kings 16:24, it is derived from the individual [or clan] Shemer, from whom Omri
Omri
Omri was a king of Israel, successful military campaigner and first in the line of Omride kings that included Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram.He was "commander of the army" of king Elah when Zimri murdered Elah and made himself king. Instead, the troops at Gibbethon chose Omri as king, and he led them to...

 purchased the site. The name was the only name used for this area from ancient times until the Jordanian conquest of 1948, at which point the Jordanian occupiers coined the term West Bank.

Geographical location


To the north, Samaria is bounded by the Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

; to the east by the Jordan Rift Valley
Jordan Rift Valley
The Jordan Rift Valley is an elongated depression located in modern-day Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. This geographic region includes the Jordan River, Jordan Valley, Hula Valley, Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea, the lowest land elevation on Earth...

; to the west by the Carmel Ridge (in the north) and the Sharon plain (in the west); to the south by the Jerusalem mountains. In Biblical times, Samaria "reached from the [Mediterranean] sea to the Jordan Valley", including the Carmel Ridge and Plain of Sharon. The Samarian hills are not very high, seldom reaching the height of over 800 metres. Samaria's climate is more hospitable than the climate further south.

Political control


The modern history of Samaria begins when the territory of Samaria, formerly part of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, was entrusted to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to administer in the aftermath of World War I
Aftermath of World War I
The fighting in World War I ended in western Europe when the Armistice took effect at 11:00 am GMT on November 11, 1918, and in eastern Europe by the early 1920s. During and in the aftermath of the war the political, cultural, and social order was drastically changed in Europe, Asia and Africa,...

 as a British Mandate of Palestine, by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. As a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 the territory was unilaterally incorporated as Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian-controlled territory and residents would later receive Jordanian passports. The areas of Samaria and Judea conquered by Jordan were renamed the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 (of the Jordan river).

Samaria came under the control of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 during the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 ceded control of the area to the PLO [West Bank, including Samaria], in November 1988- later confirmed by the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty of 1993. Jordan instead recognizes the Palestinian Authority as sovereign in the territory. In the 1994 Oslo accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, responsibility for the administration over some of the territory of Samaria (Areas 'A' and 'B') was transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

Samaria is one of the several standard statistical "areas" utilized by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...

. "The Israeli CBS also collects statistics on the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza District. It has produced various basic statistical series on the territories, dealing with population, employment, wages, external trade, national accounts, and various other topics." The Palestinian Authority however use Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

, Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

, Qalqilya, Salfit
Salfit
Salfit also spelled Salfeet is a Palestinian town in the central West Bank. Salfit is located at an altitude of in the central Samarian highlands adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Ariel. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the City had a population of 8,796 in 2007....

, Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

 and Tubas
Tubas
Tubas or Toubas is a small Palestinian city in the northeastern West Bank, located northeast of Nablus, a few kilometers west of the Jordan River. A city of over 16,000 inhabitants, it serves as the economic and administrative center of the Tubas Governorate. Its urban area consists of 2,271 dunams...

 Governorates as administrative centres for the same region.

The Shomron Regional Council
Shomron Regional Council
The Shomron Regional Council is a regional council in the northern Samarian hills, in the northern part of the West Bank. The offices of the regional council are located in the Barkan Industrial Park. This regional council provides various municipal services for the 30 Israeli settlements within...

 administers the Jewish communities and settlements throughout the northern Samaria area.

Israel has been criticized for the policy of establishing settlements
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 in Samaria. Israel's position is that the legal status of the land is unclear.
On March 22, 1979, the UN Security Council approved resolution 446 which unambiguously stated settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem were illegal.

Samaritans



Ethnically, the Samaritan
Samaritan
The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

s are the inhabitants of Samaria after the beginning of the Assyrian Exile
Assyrian captivity of Israel
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty year demise of Israel's northern ten tribe kingdom. Sennacherib...

 of the Israelites. When Assyria overran the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC, part of the Israelite population was deported, and other peoples from the Assyrian Empire were resettled in Israel. Sargon claimed in Assyrian annals that he carried away 27,280 inhabitants from Samaria, the capital of Kingdom of Israel. This could not have been the entire population; many Israelites must have remained.

The inhabitants worshiped the Greek gods, but when the then-sparsely populated areas became infested with dangerous wild beasts, they appealed to the king of Assyria for Israelite priests to instruct them on how to worship the "God of that country." The result was a syncretistic religion, in which national groups worshiped the Hebrew god, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.
Samaritans claim to be descendants of Israelites from the Northern Kingdom who escaped deportation and exile.

A genetic study concluded from Y-chromosome analysis that Samaritans descend from the Israelites (including Kohanim, or priests), and mitochondrial DNA analysis shows descent from Assyrians and other foreign women, effectively validating both local and foreign origins for the Samaritans. (Shen et al., 2004)http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Shen2004.pdf

Samaritanism is a religion closely related to Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, though it is not considered part of it, and its adherents are not considered Jews. Samaritanism primarily uses a Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 as its holy book, though little of later Jewish theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. Their temple was built at Mount Gerizim in the middle of fifth century BC and was destroyed by the Macabbean
Maccabees
The Maccabees were a Jewish rebel army who took control of Judea, which had been a client state of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE, reasserting the Jewish religion, expanding the boundaries of the Land of Israel and reducing the influence...

 (Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

) John Hyrcanus
John Hyrcanus
John Hyrcanus was a Hasmonean leader of the 2nd century BC.-Name:...

 late in 110 BC, although their descendants still worship among its ruins. The antagonism between Samaritans and Jews is important in understanding the Christian Bible
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

's stories of "Parable of the Good Samaritan
Parable of the Good Samaritan
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus and is mentioned in only one of the Canonical gospels. According to the Gospel of Luke a traveller is beaten, robbed, and left half dead along the road. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a...

" and the "Samaritan woman at the well
Samaritan Woman at the Well
The Samaritan woman at the well is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears only in the Gospel of John, in . In Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, she is known as Photina.According to the John 4:...

".

History


The city Samaria was established as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Omri
Omri
Omri was a king of Israel, successful military campaigner and first in the line of Omride kings that included Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram.He was "commander of the army" of king Elah when Zimri murdered Elah and made himself king. Instead, the troops at Gibbethon chose Omri as king, and he led them to...

 circa 884 BC. Prior to the Omride period the site appears to have been the center of an extensive wine and oil production area, which may have accounted for its choice as the new capital. Apparently the origin of the name of the site was from Shemer the eponymous owner of the land that Omri purchased for two talents of silver .

The city is built on the summit of a rocky hill, and all the remains discovered so far date from the Roman era and were built according to the Roman style. The earliest remains consist of extensive rock cut installations, initially thought to date to the Early Bronze Age by Kenyon, these have recently been re-evaluated, first by Stager and then by Franklin, and are now recognized to be the remains of an extensive early Iron Age oil and wine industry (designated Building Period 0).

New Testament reference


The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 mentions Samaria in Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 chapter 17:11-20, in the miraculous healing of the ten lepers, which took place on the border of Samaria and Galilee. John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 4:1-26 records Jesus' encounter at Jacob's well with the woman of Sychar, in which he declares himself to be the Messiah. In Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 8:5-14, it is recorded that Philip
Philip the Evangelist
Saint Philip the Evangelist appears several times in the Acts of the Apostles. He was one of the Seven Deacons chosen to care for the poor of the Christian community in Jerusalem . He preached and performed miracles in Samaria, converted Simon Magus, and met and baptised an Ethiopian man, an...

 went down to the city of Samaria and preached there. In the time of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, Iudaea of the Romans was divided into three toparchies, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied the centre of Iudaea (John 4:4). (Iudaea was later renamed Syria Palaestina in 135, following the Bar Kokhba revolt.) In the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, Samaria is called the "land of the Cuthim".

External links