Lost and Found? A Non-Jewish Israel from the Merneptah Stele to the Byzantine Period

Article from History, Archaeology and The Bible Forty Years After "Historicity (Routledge, 2016).

By Ingrid Hjelm
Faculty of Theology
University of Copenhagen
March 2016

Click here for article.

Comments (2)

As far as I can see the Samaritans of Hellenistic and Roman times never called themselves 'Israel', though it would seem that they had a fairly substantial right to do so. This would seem extraordinarily strange for worshippers of Yahweh, as would any claim per Josephus to Phoenician/Canaanite descent. Is there a possibility that 'Israel' had originally been an opprobrious term = one who struggles with God = completely immoral person. That might suggest that Merneptah's Israel means 'bunch of terrorists' and that Mesha's Omri was 'the brigand King' - is it possible that this negative sense remained in Samaritan usage?I am conscious that this may be a ridiculous idea.

#1 - Martin Hughes - 03/10/2016 - 11:18

The Samaritans had and have no problems with calling themselves Israel. Thy never called theselves Samaritans in the sense used by Josephus' and scholarship's. They call themselves in Eng. translation "Israelite Samaritans",based on the Hebrew "Shamerim", that is "keepers" (of the Torah). The term Israel was never understood in the negative sense you suggest.

#2 - Ingrid Hjelm - 03/16/2016 - 14:50

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