Monday, March 9, 2015

Alan Segal and the Two Powers

I know we are supposed to venerate professors - especially when they are dead - but I have been scouring through his Two Powers and notice that though he tentatively identifies the group as Samaritans (or at least toys with the idea) he NEVER ONCE demonstrates any familiarity with the variant Samaritan text of Exodus chapter 20.  Surely the fact that the details from 'Exodus' and 'Deuteronomy' used by the heretics to prove that 'two powers' were present at Sinai all appear in the Samaritan text of Exodus (i.e. you don't have to 'jump' back and forth between books of the Pentateuch) is an important detail!

How could Segal have ignored the Samaritan text of Exodus when he tentatively identifies the 'two powers' sect as Samaritan and a mekhilta is properly defined as a commentary on Exodus?   He references things written by Samaritanologists ABOUT the Samaritan writings - MacDonald on Marqe (albeit wrongly identifies the text as the Malef), the Samaritan liturgy - but not the actual Samaritan text of Exodus?  It can't be that the Samaritan Pentateuch hadn't been rendered into English then.  He could read Hebrew for God's sake.

Simply amazing (unless I am missing something) ...

What we are left with is that the mekhilata are necessarily commenting on the fact that what we would call 'the Samaritan text of Exodus' was still being used in Jewish communities or at the very least - used against Jews by their opponents.  At the very least the clash of textual recensions in the early Common Era is fascinating!

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