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View Diary: Subway Attack; Skirmish from the War On/For Christmas? (242 comments)

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    The Samaritans are not from Samarra in Iraq. The name seems cognate with Samaria (the area of the ancient Jewish Northern Kingdom, called Israel, where the ancient Samaritans were centered and where some still live today), but the Samaritans themselves cite an etymology based on "Shamerim" meaning "keepers of the law".

    Samaritans and Jews are two peoples/religions who diverged from a common origin in Biblical times. Both trace their descent to the tribes that Moses led from Egypt; both base their religion on the five books of Moses. The schism reflected differences of religious interpretation, the politics of competing lineages of leadership, geographical factors, and a contrasting response to rule by a series of conquering empires (Assyria, Babylonia, Persia and Greece). Each group dissociated itself from the other, not without a good dose of mutual scorn.  Had Jesus been preaching to the Samaritans, we might be speaking of the Parable of the Good Jew.  It's an interesting history, a remarkable link from Biblical times to the present day.

    While the Samaritans were not from Samarra, the irony of this story is not lost.  After all, for many Republicans, who are the Samaritans in today's world, if not the people of Islam?  (And, oh yes, illegal immigrants as well.)

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