The Samaritan Calendar


At last a Calendar in accordance with the Bible?




As a genuine Christian, a true follower of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, one has to follow Christ in his footsteps and strive to do wholeheartedly what he did.

Messiah was obedient to the Law or Torah, and as a follower of Messiah one has to obey also this Torah.  If one doesn’t follow in Jesus Christ’s footsteps and is disobedient to the Torah, then one is not a real follower of Messiah.

Jesus Christ was obedient to all the commandments and as a consequence he kept the Sabbaths and the annual Feasts properly.  He never questioned the calendar that was in use at his time from which the Feasts were proclaimed.

So if one wants also to keep the Feasts on the proper dates, then one has to find the calendar that was in use in the Second Temple Period.

The Feasts in Messiah’s time were proclaimed from an existing calendar, that is different from almost all calendars in use today.  And as the Eternal is unchangeable over the ages, His calendar will also be unchangeable as part of His creation over the ages.

Remains the question:  Which calendar is the proper one?



The Samaritan Calendar


At last a Calendar in accordance with the Bible?




It is a general saying, if you want to start a new religion, then invent a new calendar.  It is amazing how much truth is in this saying. 

We see that mainstream Christianity has adopted a new calendar system with other religious feasts to set themselves apart from the Jews.  With this new calendar a lot of pagan feasts became “christened” as is the case with Sunday, Easter and Christmas to mention the most important ones.  In the same time the “jewish” feasts got lost for mainstream Christianity, and a totally new religion had emerged.  And a new religion means also other gods to be worshipped.  So Christianity has lost the true faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and has been converted to paganism, from which they borrowed their feasts and their gods.

Christianity has been split in two mainstreams with different calendars, the orthodox or Julian one and the Gregorian or Roman Catholic one, both fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel:

And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.[1]

However, within Christianity there have always been people and groups that held to the faith once delivered with the proper times and feasts, the Sabbaths, and time and again other people who were studying the Holy Scripture made up their mind and tried to return to the original faith.  And almost all of these people became victims of the established religions and have been murdered over the ages by the millions as martyrs for their faith.

This phenomenon has not been restricted to Christianity.  After the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE, the Sadducees, who were responsible for the proper calendar and the related feast days during most of the Second Temple Period, disappeared from the scene and their position was taken over by the Pharisees, who promoted a calendar that was totally different from the proper one in use in the Temple and therefore obeyed by Messiah.  The Pharisees distanced themselves with their new calendar clearly from the faith that one has been delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  Messiah had been murdered, because he did restore the true religion that once had been delivered to the saints.  And so the Pharisees started a new rabbinical calendar, also known as the Hillel II calendar, and confirmed so the foundations of Judaism and the later Zionism.  They sanctified their calendar by alleging that this calendar has been based on secret calculations, handed down by the oral law since the times of Moses.  And so Judaism has lost the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and is worshipping the Talmud and Kabala and therefore are superstitious and worship a multitude of gods.[2]

The same type of revival, as we have seen within Christianity by the Sabbath keeping people, occurred also in Judaism, where the sect of Karaites rejected the rabbinical calendar and restored the religious calendar as far as they could to the Holy Writ.  Because of their rejection of the rabbinical traditions, the Karaites suffered severe persecutions, even from their fellow Jews, and many of them were flogged to death in early mediaeval Spain by them. The Karaites were founded in 761 CE von Anan B. David.  The Karaites have tried without success several times to reform their calendar, until in the end of the 18th century the Crimean Karaites were successful with the introduction of the calculation.[3]

Islam started also using a different calendar and by promoting the Juma’ah, or the Friday evening prayer, that used to be a preparation for the Sabbath, as the day of worship.  Islam has lost for the majority also the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Ishmael, who were true Moslems who had themselves totally surrendered to the Eternal. 

The faith of Abraham and Isaak and Jacob was the faith of Adam, Enoch and Noah.  It was the original faith that once has been revealed and delivered to the saints, the faith that has been restored and expounded by Jesus Christ according to the Will of God.

This true faith is simple, easy to understand, so that little children can comprehend.  It is a faith without specific doctrines and based and condensed in the five books of Moses, the Torah or Pentateuch.  It is the base of a sound and proper life, in which there is respect for all humanity and creation, to surrender to and serve and worship the One True God.  The other part of the Old Testament is a commentary on the Torah for specific groups of people under specific circumstances.  This is also the case with the New Testament, that is a commentary on the Old Testament for specific groups of people under specific circumstances.  The Qur’an is a commentary on the Bible and is also written for specific groups of people under specific circumstances. 

All these commentaries of the Old and New Testament and Qur’an are, apart from history, foremost a calling to the people to return to the original faith that once has been delivered to the saints, to restore the true faith of Abraham and his sons and to do away with the man made idols and sins.  There exists only One God in the true faith and true religion.

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.  By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.[4]

For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,[5]

And your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God – Allah), La ilaha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He) the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.[6]

And this true religion, simple as it is, is mandatory for the restoration of all things:

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil which he said he would do unto them; and he did it not.[7]

And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.[8]

Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah) recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed), they are the ones that believe therein.  And whoso disbelieves in it, those are they who are the losers.[9]

The true religion requires a true worship of the One True God, Who has given with the Creation the means for a true calendar calculation, and this true reckoning revealed to his true believers, beginning with Adam and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Moses and delivered to the High Priest over the centuries.

Messiah restored the true religion and lived according to it. He must have used therefore the proper calendar for worship, else he would have had his comments about it.  The Bible is silent about this, so we can assume safely, that the proper calendar was in use.

The unchanging God.

The main creed that stands central in the Torah is the so-called Shema.

Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah:[10]

Here stands the oneness of God as the central theme for the faith, as we have seen before.  And this God is unchangeable and has been and will be the same forever and ever.  We find this theme in the Old Testament, in the New Testament and in the Qur’an and is essential for the true faith of Abraham and his sons.

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.[11]

Yea, since the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who can hinder it?[12]

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me;[13]

Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called: I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.[14]

And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all.[15]

This God has ordained with the creation all things as can be read in Genesis

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years:[16]

And this part of the Creation is also unchangeable:

declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;  calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.[17]

The Eternal states, that the times have been appointed and that even the birds do know these and observe them, but that His people do not know His law, nor the appointed times.

Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the law of Jehovah.[18]

Thus saith Jehovah: If my covenant of day and night stand not, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;[19]

Jehovah has ordained day and night and the ordinances of heaven.  They are unchangeable, like Jehovah Himself.   They have been ordained with the Creation and they do stand today the same.  Jesus even stated that it is easier that heaven and earth pass away than one tittle of the Law to fall.

But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fall.[20]

The Qur’an even confirms the use of sun and moon for reckoning:

It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out its (their) stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning.  Allah did not create this but in truth.  He explains the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail for people who have knowledge.[21]

So the calendar, based on the movements of sun, moon and stars, is part of the Creation and is unchanged since the Creation and is still valid and should be in use for the religious Feasts.  Remains only the question:  Do we have this calendar available?

The changing calendars

Everywhere that we look for a proper religious calendar we find an authority that is alleging that he has found the truth or the need to change a calendar to execute power over a group of people.  Sometimes the motives have been given by keeping the months in due season, to that in the end summer will fall in wintertime.  It has however been caused by the wrong starting point and teaching the traditions of men, instead of looking for the proper answers you can find by the Inventor of the times.

So has the Roman Emperor introduced the Julian calendar, and after a number of centuries it was clear that the seasons were shifting in the year, and a calendar reform was needed.  This resulted in the so-called Gregorian calendar, named after the Roman Catholic pope Gregory, who changed the calendar.  In the following years many of the Western countries accepted this calendar reform, the Protestants more reluctantly.  However as the situation of this day is so that most of the “civilised” countries use this Roman Catholic calendar without any further question.

The influence of this Gregorian calendar cannot be underestimated for our daily lives, as everything is related to this calendar.  The governments determine for their taxes the days of the Gregorian calendar.  The holidays in a “Christian” country are all according to the Gregorian calendar and most of these are also of pagan origin and christened as Holy Days.

The so-called Jewish calendar of Rabbi Hillel II is a calendar that has been developed after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.  It has been developed, as the Sadducees had lost their function for determining the Feasts for the Temple, and the rabbis have taken over and changed the Second Temple Calendar beyond recognition.  Anyone, who is familiar with the Hillel calendar will notice the deviations that this calendar has with the calendar in use during the Second Temple period and the centuries before.

The majority of the “dissident” Christian groups, that are convinced that they have to keep all the ten commandments and therefore the Sabbaths as the day of rest and the annual Feasts as Sabbaths do rely on the Hillel II calendar for determining the annual Sabbath days, often without being aware, that the Hillel calendar is a counterfeit calendar, obscuring the proper determination of the Feasts and making the specific worship in vain.  It is a pity that they do not refer to the calendar that has been used by their Jesus Christ the Messiah.

The unchanging calendar.

Messiah kept the Feasts in the proper way, as those had been determined by the Sadducees for the Temple service, without any comment.

So we can conclude that the calendar in use in the Second Temple was the proper one, else Messiah could not have been murdered at the proper moment as ordained before the foundation of the world, and been simply an impostor.

Before the foundation of the world the calendar has been set together with the motions of the heavenly bodies and nobody can change this. 

The poem of the fourth-century Samaritan writer Amram Darah says in poem XV:9-10 that for the feasts no shift is allowed, and alludes probably also to the religious duty of intercalation:

“…He (the Lord) gave them feasts that do not shift and bound their names to the celestial lights.”[22]

As the Eternal does not change and Messiah does not change and one wants to serve the Eternal in the proper way, he should also use the unchanging calendar for his Feast days.

And the apostle Jude exhorts us:

Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.[23]

The faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints has not been changed.  The faith of Adam, Enoch and Noah.   The faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that was the proper worship in the proper days, according to the proper calendar, that existed since the Creation.

The Samaritans were also unchanging in their faith and their religion, as the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics states:

The one sacred book of the Samaritans was the Pentateuch, which, they believed, embodied the supreme revelation of the divine will.  They taught that it was most intimately associated with the being of God, and they accorded it the highest veneration.  Today the surviving Samaritans have one particular roll which they cherish with jealous care, and for which they claim a great antiquity.[24]  Their version of the Law differs from the current Hebrew text in numerous details, but variants of real material importance are comparatively few.  One instance of particular interest is Deuteronomy 27:4, where the Samaritan version makes Moses command the building of an altar on Mt. Gerizim, and not on Mt. Ebal, as in the Hebrew.  The charge is often made against the Samaritans that they have tampered with the text of the passage, but there is even greater likelihood of an alteration of the original reading on the part of the Jews.  At the close of the Decalogue in Exodus 20:17 and Deuteronomy 5:21 the present Samaritan text also has an added command to build an altar and offer sacrifices on Mt. Gerizim.

The Samaritans were always extremely punctilious in the observance of the Law.  Even their Jewish opponents recognised their excessive zeal regarding certain commandments.  Rabbi Simon, the son of Gamaliel, is reported to have said, “Every command the Samaritans keep, they are more scrupulous in observing than Israel.”  The moral side of the Law was emphasised by the Samairtans, and they were less inclined to theological speculation regarding its precepts than were the Jews.[25]

Remains only one question:  Do we have access to this unchanging calendar, so that we also can practice the proper worship in the faith that has once be delivered to the saints?  So that we do not have to look at any calendar that has been dreamed up by any people since the time that Messiah restored the proper faith, for which his brother Jude was exhorting the followers of Messiah.

The calendar in use in the Second Temple

The authorities responsible for the determining of the date of the Feasts during the end of the Second Temple Period were the Sadducees, and the calendar they used for determining these Feasts.  Messiah participated in these Feasts and uttered a lot of comments on the way of living of the Pharisees, who were nullifying the Torah by their traditions of men, but never had any comments on the calendar and so the derived Feast Days at that moment in use.

“The most reliable information about the Sadducees is found in three bodies of ancient literature: the writings of Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War (written ca. 75 CE), Antiquities of the Jews (ca. 94 CE), and Life (ca. 101 CE); the New Testament, particularly the Synoptic Gospels and Acts (ca. 65-90 CE; Matt. 3:7; 16:1-12; 22:23-34; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38); and the rabbinic compilations (ca. 200 CE and later; Mishnah, Ber. 9:5; Erub. 6:2; Par. 3:3, 7; Nidd. 4:2; Yad. 4:6-8). Two observations about these sources should be made. First, with the possible exception of Josephus' War, all these sources are decidedly hostile towards the Sadducees. Second, many of the rabbinic references, especially those found in the Talmud and later works, are of doubtful historical reliability. Thus, our knowledge of the Sadducees is perforce severely limited and one-sided.

Equally uncertain are the details of Sadducean history. The meagre evidence suggests the following outline. The Sadducees solidified as a group soon after the Maccabean revolt (167-160 BCE). They were heirs to a persistent tendency within the Jewish aristocracy to see Judaism as a temple-centred religion rather than a law-centred way of life. Because they supported the Hasmonean policy of military and economic expansion, they gradually came to exercise tremendous influence in John Hyrcanus's court (134-104 BCE). Their influence predominated until the end of Alexander Jannaeus's reign (76 BCE). Under Queen Alexandra (76-67 BCE) the Sadducees lost their power, and their numbers were greatly reduced. They fared little better under Herod the Great (37-4 BCE), who deeply mistrusted the native Jewish aristocracy. With the imposition of direct Roman rule (6 CE), Sadducean fortunes revived. Between 6 and 66 CE the Sadducees not only became a major power within the Sanhedrin, but, for many years, they were able to control the high priesthood as well. The revolt of 66-70 spelled the end for the Sadducees. Although they had sought to forestall the revolt, the Romans had no use for a failed aristocracy. With the destruction of the temple and the dissolution of the nation, the Sadducees faded into oblivion.”[26]

What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. And concerning these things it is that great disputes and differences have arisen among them, while the Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side.[27]

The Sadducees are said to have rejected all Jewish observances not explicitly taught in the pentateuchal law. In their legal debates, the Sadducees consistently pushed for a strict and narrow application of the law. They repudiated the notions of resurrection and rewards and punishments after death. According to Josephus, they even denied the immortality of the soul.

Most scholars have held that these beliefs mark off the Sadducees as conservatives who stubbornly resisted the innovations of the Pharisees and others.

“Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadducees are consistently painted in a bad light by the NT writers. Their opposition to Jesus and the early church is presented as monolithic and constant. Reasons for the hostility are not hard to imagine. To the Sadducees, Jesus and his early followers would have appeared as destabilizing forces in delicate balance between limited Jewish freedom and totalitarian Roman rule. But just as significantly, the Sadducees could not have had anything but contempt for a movement that proclaimed the present reality of the resurrection and the unconditional necessity of repentance.”[28]

The calendar in use with the Sadducees was the one that was in agreement with the Torah and not based on the so-called oral traditions, and the attitude of the Sadducees towards the Torah and the oral traditions do have a striking resemblance with the Samaritans.

“It seems that the Sadducean and Samaritan view of the theory of the relationship between Torah and tradition is largely identical, and that at least one crisis has occurred in the history of each group, resulting in catastrophic change.  The product of this change among the Samaritans was the various Dosithean sects (though not necessary the Gnostic subjects), and among the Sadducees or a similar Jewish group, the Qumran sect and similar groups, some of which later amalgamated and organised themselves as Karaism.  Survival of an element of the original outlook would explain the acceptance by many Karaites of the permanent necessity of tradition.”[29]

“Taking into consideration that the Samaritans do not favour the use of the Jewish names of the month but use the ordinal numbers instead, the assumption seems to be plausible that the proto-Samaritans did not follow the Jewish (read rabbinical) calendar from the time when the Babylonian names for the months were finally introduced together with the Autumn Calendar.  An additional support for this dating (Festival of the seventh month) is the fact that the Samaritans do not celebrate the Jewish Feasts Purim and Hanukkah introduced in the Maccabean period.  This is once again a parallel to the Qumran Festival-Calendar.  I therefore come to the conclusion that beginning with the Maccabean period the proto-Samaritans stopped developing their religious and liturgical traditions within the common biblical heritage of the Jews.”[30]

The Maccabees replaced the Zadokite high priesthood with their own priests, reducing the Zadokites to a subsidiary position for as long as Hasmonean rule lasted.

The Maccabees also destroyed under John Hyrcanus the Samaritan Temple at ca 108 BCE, causing the schism between the rabbinical Jews and the Samaritans, that last till today.

The parallels between the Sadducees and Samaritans (and in lesser extent the Karaites) prove that these groups had much in common, of which one is the religious calendar.

“Furthermore, we know that the Samaritans and the Sadducees frequently on halachic questions, for example with regard to the date of Pentecost.  This was probably not the only agreement in calendrical questions, to say nothing of other agreements.”[31]

“A difficulty is created in that we know very little about the views and customs of the Sadducees from the rabbinic-Jewish sources.  Rabbinic Judaism came into power after the year 70 CE and soon and determinedly began to supply itself with Sinaitic authority and to prove that its ideas had always existed.  The Mishnah and the Talmud are not primarily interested in history.  Where they do make historical determinations, these appear only in order to bolster the claim of the Rabbis to the absolute credibility of their teachings.  Eighteen differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees are set forth in the rabbinic sources.  The Sadducees play a roll therein which is unbecoming to them, and this is naturally done on purpose.  Among these traditional differences, the calendrical and purity regulations were the most important.  It was primarily in this respect that the Sadducees as priests had to oppose the Pharisees.  While, in their view, the Pharisees were forced to snatch authority from the priests in these areas if they ever wanted to win complete domination in religious matters.[32]

So with bearing in mind, that the Sadducees determined the Feasts in the Second Temple, and that Messiah kept these Feasts properly, and that there is no difference between the Sadducees and Samaritans concerning the Feasts, the Sadducee Calendar is the same as the Samaritan calendar.  Moreover as the Samaritans have allowed no change at all in their religious practices and strictly adhere to the Pentateuch over the centuries, we safely can assume that the Samaritan calendar reflects exactly the calendar Messiah used in his time.

The Samaritan Calendar

Nobody knows the Samaritan calendar better than the Samaritan priestly family, who have the privilege to calculate the calendar and therefore the related Festivals since ancient times.  This calculation that is much venerated by them, is called isban qasta “True Reckoning” or masseb ayyamem “Reckoning of the Days”.

“This is the Hebrew calendar, from which we learn the course of days, months and years.  My master, the mentioned Pinhas transferred it to us by inheritance from his pure fathers through the pure chain of traditionalists: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who were instructed about it by Eber, Sem Noah, the holy angels, and from the Lord, who knows the hidden things.

For our father Pinhas is the confederate and holder of the high priesthood having been transferred to us by inheritance eternally, as it is written in his (the Lord’s holy book)[33]: behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace, and it will be a covenant of eternal priesthood for him and his seed after him.”[34]

The priests issue twice a year in the week preceding Simmut Pesah and Simmut Sukkot, i.e. sixty days before Passover and Tabernacles, calendars for the next six months and receives at the same time the “ransom” of Exodus 30:11-16.  The word Simmut means “meeting,” “conjunction,” i.e. the conjunction of the sun and the moon. 

The liturgy for the Simmut Pesah commemorates the meeting between Moses and Aaron (Exodus 4:27-28).  With Simmut Sukkot Eleazar and his succession to the priesthood (Numbers 20:22-29) are commemorated.

“Up until the present day few scholars have dealt with the Samaritan calendar.  The reason for neglecting this subject is primarily that the Samaritans have made a secret of the rules of calculation of their calendar until recent times, as not only the duty and privilege of fixing the calendar has remained a heritage of the family of high priests, but also the principles underlying its calculation are still a secret of the family.  This privilege gave them at the time a predominance within the Samaritan community, which would have been jeopardised if the secret was revealed to any outsider.”[35]

The text of the Taulida[36] reveals that the origin of the “True Reckoning” is attributed to Adam, who received the system from God through angels and from whom it was passed to Shem, Eber, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and finally Moses, who fixed the month of Abib as the first month, and who taught the system to Pinhas, Aaron’s grandson.  When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Pinhas applied this reckoning to the latitude of Mt. Gerizim.

Another interesting passage in the introduction of the Taulida tells us that the calendar had been protected in Noah’s ark during the deluge.  According to the tradition it formed part of the so-called Book of Stars, having been handed over to the ancestors by the Lord together with two other books, the Book of Wars, and the Book of Signs.  The author emphasises also that the calendar is not mentioned in the Torah, and has therefore not been received from it but from the high priests.  The high priests, however, descended from the house of Pinhas, and this is the reason why the duty and privilege of fixing the calendar remained a heritage of this family.[37]  Up to this day they issue the calendar twice a year in August and February.  It is binding for the entire congregation and each of its male members is obliged to buy a copy.[38]

Moses Gaster was the first scholar who published a complete calendar for a whole year.  It is a calendar for the year 1910/1911 CE, transcribed and translated.  Beyond that he also gives a description of the other calendar manuscripts catalogued by him.  In his book The Samaritans, their History, Doctrines, and Literature Gaster speaks about the origin of the calendar.[39]

Up till 1939 neither of the scholars who had dealt with the Samaritan calendar, was able to explain the use of the tables as to the computation of the exact time of the conjunction.  That was only accomplished by E. Robertson in 1939.  in his article “The Astronomical Tables and Calendar of the Samaritans”[40] he analyses for the first time the computational method for the determination of the conjunction.

This late discovery of the calendar computation method outside the Samaritan priestly family, is at a time, that the Samaritan population was at its lowest number in history of a mere few hundred, not without significance:

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.[41]

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end.[42]

In the time of the end the knowledge will be increased and the seals of the words will be broken, and the true meaning will be opened.  So it is also with the Samaritan calendar, that has been preserved by a few and now is available for everyone who wants to increase the knowledge of the true reckoning.

Of course there will be vehement attacks on this calendar from different sides.

You say that the Samaritans follow the true calendar. Well I have news for you they don't. Their calendar is based upon the old Byzantine calendar and not upon lunar observation or maybe you are also against lunar observation.[43]

The Samaritans refer to the different calendars, as the Byzantine one, the Persian one and the Gregorian one.  The Samaritan calendar is not based on one of these calendars.  The Karaite attack is also on the conjunction instead of their own observation.  The polemics in the above remark are using the wrong premises.

An other example is the paper by Moses Gaster about the feast of Jeroboam (1Kings 12:32,33) and its relation to the intercalary system of the Samaritans.[44]  Jeroboam ordained a Feast in the eighth month, which he had devised of his own heart.  The Samaritans never had a Feast in the eighth month.  According to the Torah, and not of their own hearts, they ordained the third pilgrim Feast in the seventh month.

As the first day, the new moon, or the first day of the year of the Samaritan calendar can occur one month later than the first day of the month Nisan of the Hillel II calendar converts the seventh month of the Samaritan calendar not to the eighth month, as some simply allege and the Samaritans accuse of the sin of Jeroboam.  With this first day of the year will be dealt later in this paper.

The Samaritans were not free of animosity towards the Jews, as Jesus had experienced himself.  It was at the times that he went up to Jerusalem.  There was the hope or expectation with the Samaritans, that he would go up to Mount Gerizim, where the same Festival would take place at the same time.

And it came to pass, when the days were well-nigh come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he were going to Jerusalem.[45]

It was on one of the three pilgrimages that Messiah experienced this.  A village of the Samaritans did not want to receive him, as he was going to Jerusalem the competing centre for the Feast.  The reaction of his disciples was rather the same carnal mind as the Jews had towards the Samaritans.  However, Messiah did rebuke them and they went to an other village, probably also one of the Samaritans, as they were travelling through the Samaritan country by feet.

We have seen that the determination of the Samaritan calendar is the privilege of the Samaritan priesthood, and that they were very accurately in this, and that the system has been preserved over the centuries and is coming to the full light in the last decades of the history as the calendar that was in use with the Sadducees in the Second Temple period.

So it will make sense to look now at the different elements in the Samaritan calendar.

The Elements of the Samaritan calendar

As the Samaritan calendar differs in many aspects of the Gregorian calendar, that is governing our daily lives, we will have a look at all the elements of the calendar separately to have a better understanding.

The Hour and its Subdivisions

As can be observed from the astronomical tables, the Samaritans were acquainted with the subdivisions of the hour in minutes and seconds.  This subdivision of the hour is similar to the Babylonian sexagesimal system, which has been taken over by most nations including those in the occident.[46]  The word “hour” does not occur in the Torah.  Even after the exile it was not known to the Jews and is found only in the Aramaic dialects, after the Hebrew language had gradually stopped being used in speech.

Day and Week

In the Samaritan manuscripts nothing is mentioned about the beginning of the day.  The nearest assumption at hand would be that they calculate the day from evening to evening, because in Genesis it is written: “…and the evening and the morning were the first day.” 

The Samaritans divide the day in five sections, “dusk”, “dawn”, “sunrise”, “noon” and “afternoon”, according to their hours and minutes.  They start the counting of the hours of the day at 18.00 p.m. as 0.00.  Sunrise is at 12.00 (or 6.00 a.m.) and noon approximately 6.00 (= 12.00 a.m.), depending on the season. 

This gives also the clue about the exact time that Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:15 “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose; seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” It was that moment 9.00 a.m. in the morning, “Christian” time.  Confirmed by the Samaritan calendar.

Each cycle of seven days is one week, the days having no names, only ordinal numbers.  This system was applied throughout the Old Testament, and has been used for religious purposes by the Jews till the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE.  The first day of the week begins with sunset at the pagan Saturday and extends till the sunset of the pagan Sunday.  The last day of the week is the seventh day, also known as Sabbath, meaning seventh.

The Month and its Division

The Samaritan month is a lunar one and is the cycle of a number of nights between two adjacent conjunctions of the New Moon.  The true conjunction finds place at an earlier point of time compared to the one fixed by observation, because the crescent appears after it has already taken place.  Even the proponents of the crescent observation admit that the growth of the crescent starts immediately after the conjunction, and that therefore the time between the conjunction and the observation of the crescent is part of the New Moon.

The Samaritans strictly keep to the ordinal order up to this day.  Besides the ordinal system the Moslem month names are used.  Living for centuries in a Moslem environment, Samaritans were accustomed to apply Moslem months together with the Hegira era for dating their manuscripts and synchronising their own months to the Moslem ones in their astronomical calculations.  For the Samaritans it is not incorrect to use the Moslem months instead of their own because both the Moslem lunar year and the Samaritan solar year are based on lunar months, and the beginning of the month in both years is dependant on the moon.

Just as the Arabs the counting of the days of the months is according to nights by uniting three nights under one name.  This habit, already in use by the Arabs in pre-Islamic times, shows that the year at that time was a lunar year as today.  The Samaritans, having a lunisolar year, adopted this counting, although it was of no practical use of their calendar system. 

This uniting of some nights is also confirmed for the absence of the calculation for each sunset for each day:

The calculation of the calendar is the secret of the priesthood family.  Every day of the year has its fixed sunset and fixed sunrise time according to the calculations of course, which was made.  It sometimes changed every day or every two or three or four days, not only once a week.  At this calendar [a calendar that can be bought from the Samaritans] only the sunset of the Sabbath and the holidays were added.[47]

The following names of the time units are identical with those used by the Arabs:

























The Year

The Lunisolar year

The Samaritan year is a bound lunar year (lunisolar year) like the year of the Jewish calendar, i.e. the periods of revolution of the sun and the moon are balanced in a way that a certain number of solar years comprises a certain number of synodic lunar months.[48]  The lunisolar year is based on the pure lunar year of 354 days still being used by the Moslems.

As the exact length of the solar year was known, it was brought in relation to the moon in a manner that the feasts being primarily agrarian could be celebrated every year at the same time.  This was achieved by means of an intercalation system.

It is necessary to intercalate one month in each second or third year, seven times in the nineteen year lunar cycle, in order to keep the lunar months in alignment with the solar seasons. In the Jewish calendar the intercalation takes place every third, sixth, eight, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth year (starting from the first year of the Creation Era in 3760 BCE).  In contrast with the Jewish calendar, the Samaritan intercalary years are not bound to a fixed year in the lunar cycle but are decided upon according to need.  The intercalated month comes before Abib.  From the Samaritan calculations the following  parallel can be deducted with the Julian calendar: if the conjunction of the month after the twelfth month occurs after the twelfth of adar of the Julian calendar (25th of March, Gregorian calendar), then in the latter case, the day of the conjunction is fixed as the first of Abib, if it occurred on or before the twelfth of adar, the month is intercalated and the year is a leap year.

The beginning of the new year

As specified in Exodus 12:2 with the institutionalising of Passover, the Samaritan year starts with the month Abib[49]:

This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.[50]

The name of the first month is Abib.  It occurs only in the Pentateuch[51] and is generally explained as the “month of ears of corn” (beginning of the ripening of the barley).  This month opens the agrarian year. 

Abib as the beginning of the year was a specific commandment for the children of Israel, when they were leaving the house of bondage, Egypt.  For the Egyptians had three different years: the agrarian year, the Sirius (Sothic) year and the circular year.  The agrarian year started with the ripening of the first-fruits; the Sothic year started with the heliacal rising 0f the Sirius star.[52]  The circular year consisted of 360 days, based on the Babylonian sexagesimal system, plus five epagomenes (ominous days).

“The actual Samaritan liturgy of the feast of the seventh month represents more or less the status of the pre-Maccabean Jewish liturgy.

It is plausible therefore to assume that the proto-Samaritans did not follow the Jewish calendar from the time when the Babylonian names for the months were finally introduced together with the autumn calendar.  An additional support for this dating is the fact that the Samaritans do not celebrate the Jewish Feasts Purim and Hanukkah introduced in the Maccabean period.

I therefore come to the conclusion that the Proto-Samaritans from the Maccabean period onwards began a liturgical development independent from the Jews, without abandoning their common biblical heritage.”[53]

The Samaritans depend exclusively on the Pentateuch concerning the beginning of the year.  However, as they have a parallel listing of the Julian year and the Gregorian year in the calendrical and astronomical tables, and are conform with the Christian and Persian reckonings, this is not the proof that they do depend on these other calendars.  These calendars have been subsumed, like a number of other foreign elements, to enable the Samaritans to give the proper date of all calendar systems used in their surroundings.[54]

Furthermore the Samaritan calendar uses for all the Festivals the Masoretic[55] year, that starts with the month of spring, Abib, that runs parallel with March / April.  The Sabbath year starts with the seventh month in the Samaritan calendar, that runs parallel to September / October.

The Festival of the Seventh Month is called "The Head of Sabbath year".

So the Samaritan calendar is a combination of two countings:

1.        The Masoretic calendar starts on the first of Abib the month of spring-"The First Month" till the twelfth in regular year or the thirteenth in leap year.

2.        The counting of the Jubilee years that starts on the sixth month of the year that is parallel to August / September every year, but the Samaritans celebrate this counting on the Seventh Month because it starts the all the festivals of the Seventh Month.  Actually the counting of the Sabbath year and Jubilee are connected to the entrance of the People of Israel to the Land of Israel. According to the Samaritan History, it happened on the sixth month of the year. This the opening point of counting.

The year 2001/2 CE is in the Samaritan calendar the year 3640, since the entrance of the people of Israel into the Holy Land lead by Joshua ben Nun,  or the 5th year of the 6th Sabbath year in the 73rd Jubilee [72x49+72+40=3640].

Since the counting of the Sabbath year starts on the 7th month [September-October] the next Sabbath cycle will start on September / October 2004 CE.

So the first year of the last 3640 years has started with the Entrance of the People of Israel that happened in the sixth month of the year according to the Samaritan history, and not 14 days before Passover as the start of the Masoretic Calendar.

Years of Emancipation, Remission, Sabbatical, and Jubilee Years

In biblical times the Hebrews had four special years:

1. The Year of Emancipation, referring to the emancipation of Hebrew slaves in every year of their employment.

If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.[56]

2. The Year of Remission, the purpose of which was to avoid pauperisation of the people by remission of debts of the debtors towards their creditors every seven years.

At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.  And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he hath lent unto his neighbour; he shall not exact it of his neighbour and his brother; because Jehovah’s release hath been proclaimed.[57]

3. The Sabbatical year, prescribing to leave the cultivated soil fallow every seven years:

And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the increase thereof:  but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beast of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy olive yard.[58] (ASV)

4. The Jubilee Year, being a period of fifty years, which was basically a combination of the above mentioned regulations; i.e. in every fiftieth year the Hebrew slaves should return to their families, the debtors’ debts should be remitted, and the soil should be left fallow.

And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years.  Then shalt thou send abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land.  And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.  A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the undressed vines.  For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.  In this year of jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.[59] (ASV)

It is obvious from the Taulida and from the KS[60] that sabbatical years and jubilee years are observed by the Samaritans.  They calculated from the Day of the Creation of Man till the Entry of the Israelites into Canaan (2794 years after the Creation), and from the time of settlement there till today.  The starting point for the calculation is the seventh month.  The reason for this point in time is that by the Feast of Tabernacles at the latest – harvest time was over and the soil could be left fallow.

In the Taulida is a list of Jubilee years, starting with the first Jubilee of 50 years, and the next 4 Jubilees have only 49 years, followed by one Jubilee of 50 years and then a number of Jubilees again of 49 years.  The author of the Taulida states that this is not correct:

“In the annual calendar the fiftieth year, which is the Jubilee year, is not calculated.  I found out that it is only reduced and therefore I adopted it, although it is not correct for the Lord said: six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune they vineyard.  But in the seventh year shall be a year of rest for God.”[61]

Perhaps the author of the Taulida was correct and accepted with the proper attitude the wrong data.  Data coming from a wrong source.  At any rate, the contemporary Samaritans do calculate the Jubilee period in proper time sequences of 50 years, as we can see from the data below.  The next Jubilee is the 73rd Jubilee year that falls in the Gregorian years 2011/2 CE.  It is exactly then 3650 years or 73x50 Jubilees since the entering of the children of Israel into the promised land under Joshua, the son of Nun.

August 19, 2001 CE, started 3640, the 5th year of the 6th Sabbath of the 73rd Jubilee. 

September 7, 2002 CE, starts 3641, the 6th year of the 6th Sabbath of the 73rd Jubilee.

August 8, 2003 CE, starts 3642 the Sabbath year of the 6th Sabbath of the 73rd Jubilee. 

September 15, 2004 CE, starts 3643 the 1st year of the 7th Sabbath of the 73rd Jubilee. 

2010 CE, starts 3649 the Sabbath year of the 7th Sabbath of the 73rd Jubilee.

August 29, 2011 CE, starts 3650 the Jubilee year of the 73rd Jubilee.

2012 CE, starts 3651 the 1st year of the 1st Sabbath of the 74th Jubilee.[62]

For some Christians this Jubilee count of the Samaritans seem to conflict with their paradigm, that they have in that Jesus Christ announced himself specifically the Jubilee at the beginning of his ministry in the year 28 CE.  The beginning of Messiah’s ministry comes from recording of the dated beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist, that has been written down by Luke:

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.[63]

This Tiberius Caesar reigned as the second Roman Emperor from 14 to 37 CE.  With simple arithmetic we see that the fifteenth year of his reign is 28 CE.  So the ministry of John started in the year 28 CE in the beginning of the summer season.  About half a year later at the beginning of the winter season, also in the year 28 CE, Jesus started his ministry, as he was about half a year younger than his cousin, John the Baptist.

The announcement of the Jubilee in the year 28 CE is alleged to Messiah’s reading in the synagogue of Nazareth, as noted by Luke:

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about.  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written,  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.  And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.[64] (ASV)

However, if Jesus had proclaimed at that specific moment the acceptable year of the Lord that it was that very moment, then he was rather late, as the announcement had to be before the sixth month as we have seen above in the description of the Samaritan calendar.  Messiah commenced his ministry a good while after his presence at the Festival of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and return to the Galilee where he taught in the synagogues, before he made the statement in Nazareth.  He had been reading from the scroll of Isaiah, where it has been written:

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;[65]

Luke had already written that with the birth of Messiah the goodwill that falls on men is only from God, Who is giving peace, or Favour:

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.[66]

And Jesus Christ proclaimed the year of Divine Favour by reading this from the scroll of Isaiah.  Man cannot do anything about the year of Divine Favour.  It comes only from God, despite men.  The year of Divine Favour is not a Jubilee.  It is totally different.  It resembles clearly the Samaritan idea of the Rahutah.[67]

Messiah in fact restored the true religion, the religion of compassion for the fellow man, the love to God and the love to the neighbour, that was already trodden by the Pharisees, who had to face the day of vengeance of our God.  The Day of Vengeance (and Recompense) has still to come.  Since Messiah a number of Jubilees have passed into history.  Now the followers of Messiah have to preach the good tidings, that is in the restoration of the true faith.  There is no indication in any of the Gospels, that in Messiah’s time there was a Sabbath year or a Jubilee, and nobody seemed to have lived to this.  As to the Samaritan calendar, there has been no Sabbath year or Jubilee during the ministry of Messiah.

Cycles and Periods

For the co-ordination of the lunar year with the solar year Samaritans (and Jews) use two cycles: the nineteen-year lunar cycle and the twenty-eight-year solar cycle.

The Lunar (Metonic) Cycle [nineteen years].

The nineteen year lunar cycle is based on the principle of balancing the times of revolution of the sun and the moon in a way that a determinate number of solar years comprises at the same time a determinate number of synodic lunar months.  This is the case with the proportion 235 to 19, i.e. 235 synodic lunar months correspond to nineteen tropical solar years.  After this period new moons and full moons repeat themselves at the same point of time, which makes it possible to calculate them in advance for the following cycles.  The balance depends on the intercalation of one leap month in seven determinate years. 

The cycle was adopted by the Greek astronomers and established for the Athenian Calendar by Meton in 432 BCE and is called therefore the Metonic cycle.  The Samaritans call it the lunar cycle.


As already mentioned, it is necessary to intercalate one month in each second or third year, seven times in the nineteenth year lunar cycle, in order to keep the lunar months in alignment with the solar seasons.

In the Jewish calendar the intercalation takes place every third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth year (starting from the first year of the Creation Era in 3760 BCE).

In contrast with the Jewish calendar, the Samaritan intercalary years are not bound to a fixed year in the lunar cycle but are decided upon according to the celestial facts.  The intercalated month comes before Abib.  Compared to the Julian calendar the Samaritan rule for intercalation shows the following:  the calculated conjunction of the first month occurs after the twelfth of the Julian month of adar.  The conjunction of the first of the thirteenth intercalated month of the leap year occurs before or on the twelfth of the Julian month of adar, and is a leap year.

The Solar Cycle [Twenty-eight years]

The principle of the solar cycle is the coincidence of the same week days with the same days of the month after twenty-eight years.  The Samaritans call it the “solar cycle” or “solar period”.

The 247-year period

The 275-year period comprises thirteen times nineteen (lunar) cycles.  Its principle is the balancing of the inaccurate lunar cycle the length of which becomes variable due to certain shifts.

Samaritan Eras

In the Pentateuch, which is regarded by the Samaritans as a historical book, no fixed date era is given as the starting point from which years are counted successively; instead, the time of a certain event is given in relation to one preceding or following it.  Nonetheless, eras are mentioned in the Samaritan chronicles and datings of their manuscripts.  The Samaritan eras mentioned are two:

The Creation Era [C].  This is the main era, to which all the others are related.  It starts after the Creation of the World or from Adam, and is based on the life span of each of the Patriarchs in the Pentateuch, from Adam to the death of Moses; i.e. until the entry of the Israelites into Canaan.  According to the Samaritan Pentateuch, this era extended for 2794 years. 

It is not known when the Samaritans started to count by this era, because their oldest extant manuscripts are from the twelfth century.  The length of this era differs in Jewish, Samaritan and Christian tradition, with 3671 in the Jewish tradition and 4439 years with the Samaritans.

The Entry Era [E].  this era is reckoned from the entry of the Israelites into Canaan.  The entry is in the year 2800 [C] of the Creation era, and the first year of the Samaritan Entry Era corresponds to the year 1639 BCE.

Like the Samaritan year, the Jewish year is reckoned from the Creation of the World, as well.  It is calculated on biblical, talmudical, and other data from the traditional literature to coincide with 3760 BCE.  This date shows that there is a difference of 679 years between the Samaritan and Jewish Creation era.  This is probably due to the fact that the Samaritan dates are based exclusively on the Pentateuch, and that the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch deviates from the Masoretic one.

The Samaritan Astronomical Tables

A detailed account of the principles concerning the Samaritan calculation of the conjunction is given in the Taulida.[68]  This passage is written in Aramaic, in contrast with the remaining part of the Taulida, which is written in Samaritan Hebrew.  Thus, this passage was composed at a time when this language was still used by Samaritan scholars, i.e. around the tenth century.  The fixing of this date for the existence of the Samaritan calendar, more or less in its present form, can be corroborated by the external evidence of the tenth-century Karaite scholar, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub Al-Qirqisanin, who polemicised vehemently against the Samaritan system of fixing the first of the month by conjunction and reckoning, instead of by observation of the new moon.

The astronomical tables for the calculation of the conjunction generally consists of six sections:

1)      Movement of the sun relating to collective years (anni collecti), common years, months, days and hours.  Then there is a separate table for each of the above mentioned time elements, which is again divided into five columns:  consecutive number of the time element, signs of zodiac, degrees, minutes, seconds.  The anni collecti, which are given in units of tens, relate to the Samaritan Era of the Entry of the Israelites into Canaan.

2)      Movement of the moon relating to anni collecti, common years, months, days, and hours.

3)      Movement of the anomalies of the moon in the anni collecti, common years, months, days, and hours.

4)      Movement of the nodus borealis[69] in the anni collecti, common years, months, days and hours.

5)      Table of rectifications of sun and moon.[70]  In this table the expression “step” is used for “degrees”.

6)      Tables of the rectified values of sun and moon.

The Calculation of the Conjunction

As mentioned before, for the Samaritans the determining factor for the beginning of the month is the conjunction of the sun and the moon.  According to their tradition, the calendar was always based on calculation and not on observation of the new moon.  The very ancient system of observation originated in Babylonia and was used by almost all people in the Mesopotamian area, including pre-Islamic Arabs. 

In the manuscripts, no explanation is found concerning the method of calculation of the conjunction from the astronomical tables.  There is a source, however, which is the astronomical part of the Taulida. 

“When you want to determine the length of the sun, i.e. the distance between the sun and moon at the very moment of the conjunction, then determine (first) the exact degree of its ascension and deduct from this the degree of the middle of the heaven (ecliptic) from the beginning (of the sign) of Aries, until it arrives there.  Determine next, whether it (the sun) is in the North or the South and determine (simultaneously) what size its declination is in degrees and minutes.  (Calculate now the number of degrees and minutes of the nodus borealis) of the same hour and subtract it from the number of degrees and minutes of the ecliptic.  After this has been done, take what has been left, and you will have the width of the moon; note its place.  When the declination of the sun and the width of the moon are in one place, then there is their conjunction.  However, when they are different, subtract the (smaller figure) from the larger one and look at the remainder.  When both (sun and moon) are in the North, subtract them from the equator; are they, however, in the South, add them to the equator.  After the addition or subtraction, you can determine with the coming conjunction the length of the moon.  When this occurs, take from this the sixth part and its measure is the length of the sun of the same hour and God knows the concealed things.”[71]


Holy Days and Festivals.

The Sabbath and the Day of the New Moon

The Sabbath is basic to Samaritan life and religion.  It is marked by special prayers, special dress, abstention from all work, and emphasis on purity. 

The Samaritans have on an ordinary weekday only two services, one in the morning and one in the evening.  On a Sabbath a third service is held in the afternoon, the shrym.  The reading of the weekly Torah portion takes place in the homes of the Samaritans after the shrym service.  Men wear on Sabbaths and holy days long striped robes; in the synagogue they wear over top of the latter a long white robe, the tallit.  Priests wear white turbans instead of the red ones worn on weekdays.

All Samaritans abstain from all work on Sabbath, and no Sabbath Goyim are allowed.  No fire or other heat is used.  Nor is electricity; today, even refrigerators are unplugged.  However, one light may be left on for security reasons.  The eruv is not used.[72]

Because of their concern for ritual purity, Samaritans do not have intercourse with their wives on Sabbath, referring to Leviticus 15:18.

The Day of the New Moon is the beginning of the month and a minor holiday.  It is marked by special prayers on the eve of the New Moon as well as in the morning service.

The annual Festivals.

The Samaritans have seven festivals:

1)      Passover (Pesah)

2)      The Festival of the Unleavened Bread (Massot)

3)      The Festival of Pentecost (Shavuot)

4)      The Festival of the Seventh Month

5)      The Day of Atonement

6)      The Festival of Tabernacles and

7)      The Eighth Day of Sukkot.

As can be seen from the above list, the Samaritans celebrate four mo’adim and three haggim.  The haggim are the pilgrimages ordered in the Torah, e.g. Exodus 23:14-19.  See also our paper E-015 The Three Biblical Pilgrimages.  The course of every festival is regulated by comprehensive liturgies.

The cycle of festivals is initiated by Passover.  The Samaritans do not celebrate Purim nor Hanukkah because these holidays are not mentioned in the Pentateuch and were declared after the schism between the Samaritans and the Jews.


Israeli Samaritans have no better times in the course of the year than the days preceding Passover and the day of the Passover sacrifice.  The spiritual and emotional preparations for the festival begin from Rosh Hodesh (the beginning of the new moon and new month) of the eleventh month, in an ordinary year, or Rosh Hodesh of the twelfth month in a leap year.  On this evening, the prayers refer to the new month of miracles, the month in which the Lord smote Pharaoh and the Egyptians until they were compelled to let the people of Israel go forth from their land.  From this Rosh Hodesh until the last Sabbath preceding Rosh Hodesh of the first month [of the year], each of the plagues are respectively mentioned in the prayers.  On the first Sabbath, the plague of the crocodiles; on the second Sabbath, the plague of the crocodiles and the plague of blood is mentioned.  And so on each consecutive Sabbath, the previously mentioned plagues are repeated and an additional plague is added, in the following order: crocodiles, blood, frogs, vermin, wild beasts, pestilence, boils and hail.  The Sabbath and New Moon prayers also refer to all the writings, which recount the preparations for the exodus from Egypt.  On the eve of Rosh Hodesh of the first month, which is the beginning of all the months of the year [Exodus 12:2], a special prayer service is conducted, and at the end, everyone blesses each other with a Happy New Year.  On this evening, the Fourteen Days of the Watch over the sheep intended for slaughter also begins.  Community prayers are held in the evening and in the morning and the remaining plagues are added to the prayers: locusts, darkness, and the slaying of the firstborn as are almost all references in the Torah, which include the following [grammatical] forms: rishon, rishona, rishonim [variations of the word meaning first].  On the tenth day of the month, the sheep for sacrifice are selected, and some people choose goats.  All the animals selected are up to one year old, male, whole and unblemished.  Each individual makes certain to guard, feed and water his sheep near his home.[73]


Passover is celebrated in remembrance of the liberation from Egyptian slavery.  It begins on the eve of the fourteenth day of the first month, because the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt took place during the night of the fifteenth day of the first month, and lasts seven days. 

Passover is celebrated on Mt. Gerizim, although there were times in the past where this was impossible because of the political situation.  The main characteristic of the Samaritan  Passover is that it consists of slaughtering, roasting and subsequent eating of lambs as prescribed in Exodus 12. 

The fourteen days preceding Passover proper are called “Days of Watching,” viz. watching the sheep that were selected for the sacrifice.  At least during a part of this time period, the Samaritans live on Mt. Gerizim; they stay there until the twenty-first of the month.

If the fourteenth of the first month is a Friday, the sheep are slaughtered shortly after noon; if it falls on a Sabbath, the slaughtering takes place at sunset as usually, but the fire for the boiling of the water and the roasting of the lambs can only be lit after sunset, which means that the fleecing and the roasting are delayed in comparison with the usual time of the celebration.

It is twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.  The whole community of Israel gathers in the magnificent square.  The High Priest and his entourage of distinguished members of the community arrive at the ceremonial place, accompanied by eminent guests.  The members of the congregation of Israel attend them there.  Some of them, primarily the adults, are dressed in their prayer attire; while the majority, mostly young people, are dressed in the manner of those who left Egypt, wearing belted white pants and shirts, and shoes on their feet.  The High Priest opens with the sacrifice prayer and announces the ritual slaughter.  The sheep are brought to the altar and are slaughtered by experienced slaughterers.  Members of each family check the kashruth of the slaughter for each other. Matzoth with bitter herbs are distributed to all members of the community of Israel.  The sheep are then cleaned both inside and out and they are bound, each sheep on a spit and koshered by being sprinkled with salt.  About two and a half hours before midnight, the sheep on their spits are put into ovens, which have been well heated.  The opening of the oven is completely sealed with an iron net to stabilize the skewers and with burlap, which is immediately covered with a damp mixture of earth and bushes.  The fire is stifling and the immense heat, which wafts from the deep ovens, roasts the sheep until they are well done.  In the middle of the night, at the time when the Angel of Destruction went out to slay the Egyptian firstborns, the sheep are removed from the ovens, taken off the skewers, transferred onto large platters, and accompanied by singing, which has not ceased since the start of the sacrifice, the platters are brought home.  There, the meat of the sacrifice will be eaten in haste with matzoth and bitter herbs.  Any remains left over are brought to be burned before dawn.  When the day of the sacrifice falls on a Friday, the ceremony is begun at midday and the sheep are brought out to be eaten before evening falls to prevent any desecration of the Sabbath.  All the remains are then hidden until the end of the Sabbath.  Then, they are brought to the altar to be burned.  In the early morning, the Passover Festival prayer begins.

In the following chart the dates of the Samaritan Passover for the years 2000 CE to 2049 CE are given.[74]

Wed.,  Apr. 30, 2000

Sun.,   Apr.   8, 2001

Sat.,    Apr. 27, 2002

Wed.,  Apr. 16, 2003

Tue.,   May   4, 2004

Sat.,    Apr. 23, 2005

Wed.,  Apr. 12, 2006

Tue.,   May   1, 2007

Sun.,   Apr. 20, 2008

Fri.,     Apr. 10, 2009

Thu.,   Apr. 29, 2010

Mon.,  Apr. 18, 2011

Sat.,    May   5, 2012

Wed.,  Apr. 24, 2013

Mon.,  Apr. 14, 2014

Sun.,   May   3, 2015

Thu.,   Apr. 21, 2016

Tue.,   Apr. 11, 2017

Mon.,  Apr. 30, 2018

Fri.,     Apr. 19, 2019

Thu.,   May   7, 2020

Mon.,  Apr. 26, 2021

Fri.,     Apr. 15, 2022

Thu.,   May   4, 2023

Tue.,   Apr. 23, 2024

Sat.,    Apr. 12, 2025

Fri.,     May   1, 2026

Wed.,  Apr. 21, 2027

Sun.,   Apr.   9, 2028

Sat.,    Apr. 28, 2029

Wed.,  Apr. 17, 2030

Tue.,   May   6, 2031

Sat.,    Apr. 24, 2032

Thu.,   Apr. 14, 2033

Wed.,  May   3, 2034

Sun.,   Apr. 22, 2035

Fri.,     Apr. 11, 2036

Thu.,   Apr. 30, 2037

Mon.,  Apr. 19, 2038

Fri.,     Apr.   8, 2039

Thu.,   Apr. 26, 2040

Mon.,  Apr. 16, 2041

Sun.,   May   4, 2042

Fri.,     Apr. 24, 2043

Tue.,   Apr. 12, 2044

Mon.,  May   1, 2045

Fri.,     Apr. 20, 2046

Tue.,   Apr.   9, 2047

Mon.,  Apr. 27, 2048

Fri.,     Apr. 16, 2049


There is for Passover an alternative service, one lunar month later, when Mt. Gerizim cannot be ascended, in accordance with the Pentateuch:

And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your generations shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be on a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover unto Jehovah.  In the second month on the fourteenth day at even they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs:  they shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break a bone thereof: according to all the statute of the Passover they shall keep it.[75]

The Festival of Unleavened Bread (Massot)

For the Samaritans, Passover and Massot are two separate fests.  The fifteenth of the first month is at the same time the Passover day and the first of the seven days of Massot.[76]  During the whole period, no leaven must be eaten.

Apart from the Sabbath that occurs during these seven days, the most important one is of course the seventh.  On this day the first pilgrimage of the Samaritan liturgical year takes place.  The other two pilgrimage feasts are Shavuot and Sukkot.  Although each pilgrimage service has its own prayers and biblical readings, the basic structure remains the same in all three.

The point of departure is the synagogue on top of Mt. Gerizim, only a few hundred meters from the peak.  It is in this synagogue to begin the ascent to the top.  The officiating priest carries the Torah scroll, and a “chair” on which to place it during the various stops is also taken along.  Provisions of drink and food as well as prayer carpets or blankets, but no lights, are also brought by the pilgrims. 

While reciting Deuteronomy, the procession proceeds to the first stop which today are the Twelve Stones of Joshua (Deuteronomy 27:4),[77] a row of stones below and parallel to the western wall of Justinian’s fortress.  There, the participants stand and sit and recite biblical and liturgical texts; the priest blesses them by waving the Torah scroll above their heads.  This basic order is repeated at the following six stations:  the Altar of Adam and Seth, the Eternal Hill, “God will provide”, the Altar of Isaac, the Altar of Noah, and again the Eternal Hill.  At the Altar of Isaac, a trough like formation in the rock on the south-east part of the peak of the mountain, all participants kiss the surface of the rock.  At the second stop at the Eternal Hill, towards the very end of the pilgrimage, the qataf of Blessing is recited, and the congregation circumambulates seven times the rock.  At the conclusion, at about 9:00 AM, the participants embrace each other and wish each other peace.[78]

The Festival of Pentecost (Shavuot)

The Festival of Pentecost (Sam. Assaba’ot) derives its name from the seven weeks of the counting of the omer preceding it.  Other names used for the festival are:

-          “Festival of the firstlings”

-          “Harvest Festival”

-          “Festival of the legislation”

the latter term is not mentioned in the Torah and, therefore, is of later origin.

It is known that the Samaritans do have a special meaning for these weeks or Sabbaths:

1)      »Week of the crossing of the (Red) Sea« (Exodus 14:26-15:21)

2)      »Week of the changing of the water of marah« (Exodus 15:22-26)

3)      »Week of elim, where they found twelve water springs and seventy palm trees« (Exodus 15:27-16:3)

4)      »Week of the man, which fell down upon them from heavens in the desert« (Exodus 16:4-36)

5)      »Week of the welling out of water from the rock« (Exodus 17:1-7)

6)      »Week of the battles against ‘Amaleq« (Exodus 17:8-17)

7)      »Week of standing at Mt. Sinai« (Exodus 19:1 ff.)[79]

The Samaritans count these days and weeks from the Sunday after the Sabbath during the week of Unleavened Bread as opposed to the Jews who understand “Sabbath” in Leviticus 23:15 as the first day of Passover.  However, among the Jews were differences in this regard as Menahot 10:3 shows:  the Boethusians began counting on Sunday.  Later on, the Karaites observed the same tradition.

On the fourth day after the sixth Sabbath of the counting of the omer, the Samaritans celebrate the Day of Standing at Mt. Sinai, ywm m’md hr Syny.  The day is also called “Day of Scripture”, ywm mqrth.  According to their tradition, the Pentateuch was given to the Israelites from above Mt. Sinai on this day

On the fiftieth day is the  festival of Pentecost, the Samaritans make a pilgrimage to Mt. Gerizim.  It begins early in the morning, and during the procession all the places holy to the Samaritans that are situated on the peak, are visited:  gib’at ‘olam, on which Moses’ tabernacle stood; Isaac’s Altar, the spot where Abraham bound his son; and the site of the twelve rocks that Joshua set up before erecting Moses’ tabernacle, according to Samaritan tradition.

The Samaritan sages of blessed memory determined that the status of Shavuot should not be diminished among the pilgrimage holidays.  Just as the Festival of Unleavened Bread and the Harvest Festival [Succoth] are holidays, which last for seven days each, as is written in the Torah, so, they resolved, that the festival, which marks the climax of the fifty days of Counting the Omer [of seven weeks and one day], should also last for seven days, from the Monday of the week preceding it until the day of the festival, which would be the seventh day.  The opening day of the seven-day festival is called the Day of Assembly, to mark the day when the people of Israel, who preserve the Truth, gathered for the second pilgrimage of the year.  This day is devoted to visiting the sites, which mark the parameters of the future Garden of Eden, the boundaries of the chosen place, Mt. Gerizim Bet El, with song and prayers.  Each person who makes this pilgrimage or sacrifices the Passover sacrifice there, has fulfilled the commandment, which states At the place God has chosen to rest His name there.  There are four demarcations:

a)      The Everlasting Hill on Mt. Gerizim.

b)      The Parcel of Land in Shechem which Jacob the Forefather bought.

c)      Joseph's Tomb in Shechem.

d)      Kiryat Eburta [currently known as Awwarteh], the burial place of the High Priests, Elazar and Itamar, the sons of Aaron the High Priest, Pinhas ben Elazar and his son Avisha.  This was also the burial place of the seventy elders and Samaritan High Priests.

On Tuesday of the festival week, the second of the seven days, the people are sanctified in preparation for the Day of the Revelation at Mount Sinai.  In the evening, people gather in the synagogues for a special prayer service.

On the third day of the seven festival days, from midnight to the following evening, the prayers are devoted to the remembrance of the Revelation at Mount Sinai.  A variety of hymns are sung and the entire Torah is read.  During the first five days of the festival week, work is permitted.

On Thursday and Friday, which are the fourth and fifth of the seven days, the Samaritans move to their homes at Kiryat Luza on Mt. Gerizim to prepare for the pilgrimage.  On the sixth day, the Sabbath, the prayers are devoted to a description of the giving of the Torah, which is why it is called the Sabbath of the Commandments.  In the middle of the prayers, a hymn, composed in the 14th century and describing the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, is sung.

Sunday brings Shavuot, the years second pilgrimage to the holy sites on Mt. Gerizim.  The prayers begin at 1:00 a.m., after midnight, in the synagogue at Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim.  At about 4:00 a.m., the congregation leaves the synagogue and makes the pilgrimage to the mountain top, while singing and praying.  They move from station to station:.

a)      The first station is the Place of the Stones [The Twelve Stones, Deut. 27:4; in the Samaritan version: Mount Gerizim].

b)      The second stop is the site of the altar of Adam and his son Seth.

c)      The next stop is the site of the Everlasting Hill [The Everlasting Hill, Deut. 33:15].

d)      The next is the site of God Will Provide [God Will Provide, Gen. 22:8], where Abraham saw a ram in the thicket when he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

e)      The following stop is the site of the Altar of Isaac.

f)       The next station is the Altar of Noah.

g)      The next stop is the site of the Everlasting Hill. In the past, two monuments of Jacob marked the place and this had been the third station.

The prayers are devoted to the Harvest Festival. At the end, there is a festive meal.[80]

The Festival of the Seventh Month.

This festival is celebrated on the first day of the seventh month, but is not considered a New Year’s day, although it is corresponding in time with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  No shofar is used by the Samairtans, since the use of shofar and trumpets was restricted to the time when the temple was in existence.  The festival is related to Leviticus 23:24.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. [81]

This day is a day of awe and repentance and serves as preparation day for the Day of Atonement.  The Jews call it with reference to the biblical verse: “day of remembrance” or “day of the trumpet-call.”  The following ten days until the Day of Atonement are called by the Samairtans either “ten days of penitential prayers” or “nine days of repentance”.

During this time people remember their sins of the past year, but visualising at the same time the Lord’s universal love to men, through which He forgives them.

With the Samaritans as well as with the Jews this day is the beginning of the seven times repetitive cycle of sabbatical years.

The Day of Atonement

The tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement, according to Leviticus 23:27-32.  It is marked by twenty-four hours of fasting and praying in the synagogue, and by total abstention of work. 

It is the only day of the year on which women join the men in prayer in the synagogue.[82] 

Fasting means that no food and no drinks must be consumed for the whole twenty-four hour period.  Even children over one year of age have to observe the fast.  The community does penance for their sins of the previous year.

The prayers also last twenty-four hours.  But this does not mean that every single Samaritan spends the whole time in the synagogue. Many take periods of rest and then return to the prayers.

When the Day of Atonement is over, a festive meal is taken, and on the next morning the preparations for the Festival of Tabernacles begin.

In contrast to the Jews, the Samaritans do not consider the Day of Atonement to be the most venerable holy day.  This status, according to their tradition, is reserved for Passover.

The Festival of Tabernacles

The Festival of Tabernacles, also called “Feast of Ingathering”, is celebrated five days after the Day of Atonement; i.e. from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of the seventh month.  Its origin can be found in Leviticus 23:39-43 corresponding to Deuteronomy 16:13, where its institution and ritual are determined.

Samaritan Tabernacle

Samaritan Succah [Tabernacle] is built from the four signs, of which most prominent is the first one - the beautiful fruits of the season [Lev. 23:40].  Each family is erecting a tabernacle of their own, which grows the number to over 100 tabernacles in both Samaritan centres on the Mountain and Holon south of Tel-Aviv. The Tabernacle is built in the living room of the house. In ancient times they were built outside home but under much persecution one of the High Priests decided to start erecting it inside homes to prevent desecration of the tabernacle.. Since then the Samaritans have noticed that the honour of the Succah is kept better inside homes.

There are no better days for the Samaritans of Israel than the days of the Harvest Festival. Following the fast of the Day of Atonement, the tradition of their sages dictates the sense of having been born again. Therefore, each member of the congregation reveals renewed strength and vigour for the building of the succah [booth]. These remind us in their contents and complexity of the exquisite appearance of the Garden of Eden and the facade of the Tabernacle of Moses Our Rabbi, both of which are hidden from the eye. Therefore, freedom is given to every designer in the congregation to set up his succah as he sees fit. Everyone tries to build the most beautiful succah possible.

Before the members of the congregation make the pilgrimage to Mt. Gerizim, as they are commanded to do on each of the three annual pilgrimage festivals, they must complete the construction of their succahs, which they began in the evening, at the end of the Day of Atonement. At times, the interval is very short when the Jewish holidays fall in the same week following the Samaritan holidays. At other times, there is a longer preparation period within the four days, which separate the Day of Atonement from the Feast of Booths. However, the wonder of it is that whatever time is allotted, the Samaritans manage to set up their magnificent succahs. The combination of the four species, which it is commanded to use in setting up the succah, creates a splendid spectacle. Sometimes the four species are attached to the ceiling of the large room in each home, while some place it on four strong poles. The average weight of the fruit used is about 350 kg. Each elegant, wonderful, seasonal citrus fruit is hung in the succah; dozens of kilograms of each species. Above them are open palm branches, alternately spread out right side up and upside down; and above them, dense boughs of thick-leafed trees are placed close together to form a thatched roof and alongside are placed willows of the brook, brought from the banks of Israeli streams and rivers. All the species are joined together.

The different coloured lights suspended among the assorted paper decorations are dimmed and the congregation sets off on its pilgrimage. This is the third pilgrimage of the year to the holy sites on Mt. Gerizim.

Like the Festival of the Unleavened Bread and the Festival of Pentecost it is a hag, i.e. a festival of pilgrimage.  On the morning of the holy day the Samaritans make the third pilgrimage of the annual cycle to the top of Mt. Gerizim.

The eve of the Sukkot is devoted to building the sukkah, which is erected inside the house.

For the erection of the sukkah, a wooden scaffold supported by four poles will be covered with palm branches and interwoven myrtle twigs.  Willow branches, citrus fruit on string, and pomegranates are hung from the roof.  The branches and kinds of fruit that have to be used are prescribed in the Pentateuch:

And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before Jehovah your God seven days.[83]

Concerning the use of the prescribed plants Samaritans and Jews have different conceptions: the Jews make a special bouquet, the lulav (for the erection of the Sukkot they use palm branches or other densely foliated branches);  the Samaritans use them for the erection of the sukkah itself while a lulav especially made for the festival is mentioned nowhere.

According to the kitab hisab as-sinin there are three special reasons for celebrating Sukkot:

1)       Remembrance of the column of fire and the cloud that helped our forefathers in the desert;

2)       Remembrance of paradise, into which one enters who repents his guilt; therefore paradise is the world we shall get into after having been redeemed from our offences on the mighty Day of Atonement;

3)       A way to thank our Lord that He created different kind of fruit and trees abundantly.

With the termination of the festival cycle also ends the reading of the weekly portions.  From ancient times the Samaritans use to divide the chapters of the Pentateuch into weekly portions.  These are called parasiyyot “sections”, also halaqim “parts”.  The last one on the Sabbath before Sukkot is: and it shall come to pass, when they come:

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither Jehovah thy God hath driven thee,  and shalt return unto Jehovah thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul;  that then Jehovah thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither Jehovah thy God hath scattered thee.  If any of thine outcasts be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will Jehovah thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:  and Jehovah thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.  And Jehovah thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.[84]

The eighth Day of Sukkot

The annual festival cycle of the Samaritans is sealed by semini aseret, which is celebrated on the twenty-second day of the seventh month, i.e. the last day of Sukkot.  This is in accordance with the Holy Writ, that states:

On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work;[85]

The Samaritans do hold a festive gathering on the eighth day on which no work is allowed.  After prayers, which begin shortly after midnight and continue for more than ten hours, the priest carries the Torah around the synagogue for one round while the worshippers clap their hands.

In the Samaritan liturgy, the wish of every Samaritan, to die on this holy day, is manifested, because by this day the annual cycle is terminated, and he has been exonerated from all his offences on the Day of Atonement and is able to enter the other world free from guilt.

According to Ibrahim b. Ya’qub it is a day of expiation and pardon.  The expression aseret is interpreted by him thus that the period between the Day of Atonement and semini aseret has the symbolical meaning of being a time of judgement for men.  On semini aseret the decision is made whether their future stay will be in paradise or gehinnom.[86]

The periods of the intermediate days of the festivals during Massot and Sukkot are devoted to special prayers each morning and evening.


The worship in spirit and truth of the unchanging One True God, Who is spirit, by the continuously changing man, is at the set moments, days, and Sabbaths, weekly, monthly and annually.  This unchanged, ongoing cycle has been set in motion with the Creation and is still surviving in the millennia old Samaritan calendar. 

So the Samaritan calendar is the only religious calendar available that can be the base for the determination of the proper festivals connected with the worship of the Eternal.


This study has been done with all the thanks and gratitude to the Eternal God, Who has inspired in His great Mercy to search the Holy Writ and the relevant literature to find some details that have been hidden for a long time, of the ancient religious and divine calendar.

The writings of and personal contacts with Sylvia Powels-Niami, Ferdinand Dexinger and Benyamin Tsedaka have been of extremely high value to shed more light on the ancient Samaritan  calendar, the same as the one in use at the end of the Second Temple Period at the time of our Messiah, Jesus Christ.  As a true Christian, a follower of Messiah, one has also to follow this calendar for the determination of the due times of the Festivals for the proper worship in faith and spirit of the One True God.

Wil Bastiaan and Marja Bruin have admonished, supported and criticised for a long time to finalise this study.

Marknesse, July 2002

[1] Daniel 7:25, American Standard Version, 1901

[2] See also: Michael A. Hoffman II, Judaism’s Strange Gods, (2000) Independent History, ISBN 0970378408.

In this scholarly and deeply considered work, the author documents his provocative thesis that Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament, but the newly formalized belief system of the Pharisees, which arose in Babylon with the commitment of the formerly oral “tradition of the elders” to writing, in the wake of the crucifixion of Israel’s Messiah and the destruction of the Temple.

Basing his findings on authoritative Judaic sources, Hoffman demonstrates that Judaism is a man-made religion of tradition and superstition, which represents the institutionalised nullification of Biblical law and doctrine.

Liberating the reader from the accumulated shackles of decades of misinformation, this book shows that Judaism’s God is not the God of Israel, but the strange gods of Talmud and Kabala, and the racial self-worship they inculcate.


[3] Sylvia Powels, Der Kalender der Samaritaner anhand des Kitab Hisab As-Sinin und anderer Handschriften, p.42, Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York, 1977

[4] Isaiah 45:22-23, American Standard Version, 1901

[5] 1Timothy 2:5, American Standard Version, 1901

[6] The Noble Qur’an, Sura 2:162 Wa-ilahukum ilahun wahidun la ilaha illa huwa alrrahmanu alrraheemu.

[7] Jonah 3:10, American Standard Version, 1901

[8] John 17:3, American Standard Version, 1901

[9] The Noble Qur’an, Sura 2:121  Allatheena ataynahumu alkitaba yatloonahu haqqa tilawatihi ola-ika yu/minoona bihi waman yakfur bihi faola-ika humu alkhasiroona

[10] Deuteronomy 6:4,  American Standard Version, 1901  Shema Yisrael, YHVH eloheinu YHVH echad.

[11] Isaiah 43:10, American Standard Version, 1901 

[12] Isaiah 43:13, American Standard Version, 1901 

[13] Isaiah 46:9, American Standard Version, 1901 

[14] Isaiah 48:12, American Standard Version, 1901 

[15] 1Corinthians 12:6, American Standard Version, 1901 

[16] Genesis 1:14, American Standard Version, 1901 

[17] Isaiah 46:10-11, American Standard Version, 1901 

[18] Jeremiah 8:7, American Standard Version, 1901 

[19] Jeremiah 33:25, American Standard Version, 1901 

[20] Luke 16:17, American Standard Version, 1901 

[21] The Noble Qur’an, Sura 10:5, Huwa allathee jaAAala alshshamsa diyaan waalqamara nooran waqaddarahu manazila litaAAlamoo Aaadada alssineena waalhisaba ma khalaqa Allahu thalika illa bialhaqqi yufassili al-ayati liqawmin yaAAlamoona.

[22] Zeev Ben-Hayyim, The Literary and Oral Tradition of Hebrew and Aramaic Amongst the Samaritans, 5 vols. (Jerusalem, 1957 ff.); III:2, p.74

[23] Jude 1:3, American Standard Version, 1901 

[24] They affirm that it was copied by Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron.  This tradition appears first in the 14th cent.  (Abu’l Fath), and consequently the MS in question may be somewhat older.

[25] Encyclopaedia for Religion and Ethics, The Samaritans, p. 165.

[26] S Taylor (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

[27] Flavius Josephus, Antiquities xiii, x 6, translated by William Whiston

[28] S Taylor (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

[29] IRM Bóid, The Samaritan Halachah.  In The Samaritans, Alan D Crown, Ed. p. 646, 1989, Tübingen: Mohr

[30] Ferdinand Dexinger, Samaritan Origins and the Qumran Texts.  In Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran Site, Michael O Wise et al Ed. p. 242, 1994, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 722.

[31] John Bowman, Is the Samaritan Calendar the Old Zadokite One?” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 91 (1959), pp. 23-37.

[32] John Bowman, The Samaritan Problem, Studies in the relationships of Samaritanism, Judaism, and Early Christianity, Translated by Alfred M Johnson, Jr, p. 73, (1975) The Pickwick Press, Pittsburgh

[33] Numbers 25:12, 13a (the Samaritan text corresponds with the Masoretic text).

[34] Taulida, MS Sam 36: kitab silsilat al-kahana.  Library of the Institute for Semistitik und Arabistik of the Freie Universität Berlin

[35] Sylvia Powels, The Samaritan Calendar, in: The Samaritans, Alan D Crown, Ed. p. 693, 1989, Tübingen: Mohr

[36] Taulida MS Sam 36: kitab silsilat al-kahana.  Library of the Institute for Semistik und Arabistik of the Free University, Berlin

[37] Confirmed by Osher Sassoni, private communication.

[38] Sylvia Powels, Ibid. p 698.

[39] The Schweich Lectures, 1923 (London, 1925), pp 65-67.

[40] “Notes and Extracts from the Semitic Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library. VI.  The astronomical Tables and Calendar of the Samaritans” in BJRL 23 (1939), pp. 458-486; reprinted in Melilah 3-4 (1950), pp. 311-327.

[41] Daniel 12:4, American Standard Version, 1901

[42] Daniel 12:9, American Standard Version, 1901

[43] Hakham Meir Y. Rekhavi, Hattenu'a Hakkaraith Ha'olamith, The World Karaite Movement, 2001, private communication 

[44] Moses Gaster, “The Feast of Jeroboam and the Samaritan Calendar” in The ExTim, 24 (1913), pp. 198-201.

[45] Luke 9:51-53,  American Standard Version, 1901

[46] E. Mahler, Handbuch der jüdischen Chronologie (Frankfurt am Main 1916; repr Hildesheim 1967), p. 9 ff.; Ginzel 1906, pp. 118-124.

[47] Osher Sassoni, 2002, private communication

[48] Synodic month (= time between two conjunctions of the moon; i.e. 29d 12h 44m 2.9s).

[49] The Jewish year starts on first Tishri with Rosh Hashanah

[50] Exodus 12:2, American Standard Version, 1901

[51] Exodus 9:31; 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Leviticus 2:14; Deuteronomy 16:1

[52] Egyptian sopdet; Greek swqiv.

[53] Ferdinand Dexinger, Samaritan and Jewish Festivals: Comparative Considerations, in Essays in Honour of G.D. Sixdenier, New Samaritan Studies, Alan D. Crown – Lucie Davey (ed.) III-IV p. 77-78 (1995), Sydney.

[54] Sylvia Powels, The Samaritan Calendar, in: The Samaritans, Alan D Crown, Ed. p. 710, 1989, Tübingen: Mohr

[55] Masoretic: of or relating to the Masorah, a vast body of notes on the occurrence of words, features of writing, directions for pronunciation, variant sources, and other textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, written in the margins and at the texts by Jewish scribes between about 600 CE and the middle of the tenth century (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary )

[56] Exodus 21:2, American Standard Version, 1901

[57] Deuteronomy 15:1-2, American Standard Version, 1901

[58] Exodus 23:10-11, American Standard Version, 1901

[59] Leviticus 25:8-13, American Standard Version, 1901

[60] KS: MS Sam 41: kitab hisab as-sinin wa l-ashur wa l-ayyam by ‘Abd al-Mu’in B. Sadaqa al-Lawi (Library of the Institute for Semitistik and Arabistik of the Free University, Berlin.

[61] Sylvia Powels, The Samaritan Calendar, in: The Samaritans, Alan D Crown, Ed. p. 713, 1989, Tübingen: Mohr

[62] These data and above provided by Benyamin Tsedaka, Editor of A.B. – The Samaritan News,  private communication

[63] Luke 3:1-2, American Standard Version, 1901

[64] Luke 4:14-20, American Standard Version, 1901

[65] Isaiah 61:1-2, American Standard Version, 1901

[66] Luke 2:14, American Standard Version, 1901

[67] Rhwth [ru:ta]   The period of the Rhwth (Aramaic r’y = to be pleased) is, of its nature, the time of the Divine Favour (= Arabic ridwan) which replaces the Fanuta (Aramaic, from pny, to turn away), the period of the Divine disfavour, (God's turning away).  It is manifested especially by the presence of the Di­vine as it is manifested by the holy Tabernacle on Mt Gerizim.  Later Sa­maritan reflections connect the Rhwth with the Second Kingdom as well as with the coming of the Taheb.

The eschatological expectation of the Rhwth is based on the Samaritan view of history which is contained in their chronicles.  It was in the time of Eli that the disappearance of the holy Tabernacle took place.  This event is marked as a decisive turning point of history marking the beginning of the Fanuta (Cf.  Samaritan Book of Joshua xiii:5).  The Samaritans be­lieve in a period of Divine favour for Israel.  So far as the beginning of this age is concerned it seems as if there are two differing positions.  According to the Asatir the period of Rhwth began with the time of Moses, but the Samaritan Book of Joshua considers the Rhwth to begin in the time of Joshua.  From this it follows that the concept of the Rhwth had a differing ideological force among the different Samaritan groups.  The period during which the Tabernacle was on Mt Gerizim, the Age of Grace, lasted for 260 years: the kings and priests working in harmonious government together.

Then, there originated the schism of the Jews and thus the period of the Rhwth was terminated by the evil priest, Eli.  God's presence was no longer visible on Mt Gerizim and the holy vessels were hidden away.  This was the begin­ning of the second age of Disfavour, the present Fanuta in which God has turned his face away from the people.  The Samaritans expect that there Will be a final coming of an Age of Grace.

As for the terms Rhwth and Fanuta they are to be assigned to the period when Aramaic was spoken.  Thus they can be seen to belong to the Samari­tan theology of the fourth century CE. At the latest we can see the idea of the Rhwth in the Durran.  It is to be noted that the description of the period of the Rhwth as it is found in the Durran includes universal as­pects and those signs of the outward dominion which occur as a result of the renewed divine presence.  The Durran connects the beginning of the Age of Grace with the coming of the Taheb: "Happy is the Taheb and hap­py are his disciples who are like him and happy is the world when he, who brings his peace with him, comes and reveals the Rhwth and purifies Mount Gerizim, the house of God and re­moves trouble from Israel when God gives him great victory, overcoming therewith, the whole world" (Cowley, LS 45 1.12 - 16).

The way in which the texts of the Pentateuch are interpreted in Sa­maritan tradition as referring to the concept of the Rhwth is undoubtedly of interest from the tradition-history point of view.  Thus, in the commen­tary to the Asatir, the Pitron, Num­bers 24:17 b. c. is held to refer to the future Rhwth.  'And here Bileam re­fers to the time of God's Favour (rswn) and the Taheb.  This is not mentioned in the Asatir for it is mentioned in the holy Law".  On the other hand, Num­bers 24:17 b. c. (A star goes forth from Jacob...) appears in the biblical proof for the Second Kingdom  and is set down there with the words "and these are some of the qual­ities of the first world period (Arabic: dawlat al-awla)" which is understood as the "First Kingdom".  As Numbers 24:17 b. c. is applied to the Rhwth, the Rhwth itself is reinterpreted, thus as­suming some of the characteristics of the Second Kingdom.  However, these additionally acquired aspects are secondary to the original meaning.  The extent to which the proof texts of Ghazal (Tabya) ad-Duweik concern­ing the Second Kingdom were used as testimony to the characteristics of the Rahuta in later times is shown in a hymn of Abraham Qabbasa.  There, ­Lev 26:44 is understood as an expres­sion of the faithful concern of God for the maintenance of the Covenant and the establishment of the Rhwth.  It is impossible to determine when this as­pect of dominion was connected with the Rhwth for the first time.  As has been stated this seems to have been accomplished by the time of the Dur­ran.  In later theology the tensions resulting from this connection were har­monised.  For instance, Abraham Qabbasa spoke of the Rhwth in the early sixteenth century saying 'it will be revealed in the Second Kingdom".

The end of the Fanuta and the dawn of the Rhwth in Samaritan literature carry no apocalyptic traits, but es­chatological ones.  In addition, the connection with the concept of the Taheb is thoroughly secondary as is evidenced, perhaps, by the fact that in the eleventh century Kitab al-Kafi the advent of the Rhwth and the re­turn of the sacred tent can be de­scribed without any mention of the Taheb.  The Taheb as a messianic figure was not linked, originally, with any of the eschatological periods.  We may further assume that the return of the sacred tent and the idea of the coming time of mercy were not origi­nally connected with each other.  The idea of the returning Rhwth is deter­mined by a beginning-ending pattern and this implies the restoration of the original state of the Samaritans.  As regards the age of this idea among the Samaritans which is found from the time of the Durran and onwards, it ought to be borne in mind that the two aeon idea was popular in the Qumran literature (1QH 15:15; CD 6.14, 15f; 1QS 9:23 etc.). From: Ferdinand Dexinger in A Companion to Samaritan Studies, Alan D. Crown et al eds. (1993) J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen.


[68] Taulida, 13:16-14:16

[69] Nodus borealis is the ascending node.  The ascending and descending node or dragon head and dragon tail are the intersection points of the moon with the orbit of the sun [ecliptic].

[70] These tables serve for the rectification of the medium value of the longitude/latitude of the sun/moon.  The rectified value of the longitude/ latitude.

[71] “Wenn du die Länge der Sonne feststellen willst, d.h. die Distanz zwischen Sonne und Mond zum Zeitpunkt ihrer Konjunktion, dann stelle (zuerst) den genauen Grad ihrer Azension fest und erkenne daraus den Grad der Mitte des Himmels (Ekliptik) vom Beginn (des Sternbildes) Aries, bis sie ihn erreicht.  Stelle dann fest, ob sie (die Sonne) im Norden oder im Süden steht und stelle (gleichzeitig) fest, wie groß ihre Deklination in Grad und Minuten ist.  (Nun berechne die Grad- und Minutenzahl des nodus borealis) derselben Stunde und subtrahiere sie von der Grad- und Minutenzahl der Ekliptik.  Nachdem dies geschehen ist, nimm das, was übriggeblieben ist, und du erhälst die Breite des Mondes; merke dir seinen Stanort.  Wenn die Deklination der Sonne und die Breite des Mondes sich in einem Ort befinden, findet ihre Konjunktion statt.  Sind sie jedoch unterschiedlich, subtrahiere den (kleineren Betrag) vom größeren und betrachte den Rest.  Wenn sich beide (Sonne und Mond) im Norden befinden, subtrahiere sie vom Äquator;  befinden sie sich jedoch im Süden, addiere sie zum Äquator.  Nach der Addition bzw. Subtraktion kaqnnst du bei der sich einstellende Konjunktion die Lämge des Mondes feststellen.  Wenn sie eintritt, nimm davon den sechchsten Teil und sein Maß ist die Länge der Sonne derselben Stunde und Gott kennt die geheime Dingen.“  Sylvia Powels, Der Kalender der Samaritaner anhand des Kitab Hisab As-Sinin und anderer Handschriften, pp. 77-78, Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York, 1977

[72] Reinhard Pummer, Samaritan Rituals and Customs, in The Samaritans, Alan D Crown, Ed. p.678, 1989, Tübingen: Mohr


[73] Benyamin Tsedaka, The Prophecy of the End of Days, by the Prophets of Judah is realised every Passover, In Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim, Samaria (2002)

[74] The dates were calculated by the priest Eleazar b. Tsedaka and are included in the prayer book for Passover and Massot, Knws tplwt hg hpsh whg hmswt (Holon, 1964) pp. 332-336.

[75] Numbers 9:9-12, American Standard Version, 1901

[76] in the calendar from 1964-65, which is the basis of Powel’s book Kalender, only the twenty-first day is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (pp. 114; 150 [text], 209 [transl.]).  The late high priest Jacob ben Uzzi also stated that “The Feast of the unleavened bread is on the last day of the Passover” (The Samaritans [1965], p. 7).  Concerning earlier centuries, see e.g. Abraham b. Jacob (eighteenth century; he writes: “Das zweite Fest ist das Fest der ungesäuerten Brote.  Seine Zeit ist folgende: am fünfzehnten des erwähnten Monats nach dem Opfern des Pesah ist sein Beginn, und am einundzwanzigsten des Monats ist sein Ende, so dass es volle sieben Tage dauert, deren Beginn die Pesahnacht und deren Ende ein Wallfahrtfest ist” (S. Hanover, Das Festgesetz der Samaritaner nach Ibrâhîm ibn Ja’kûb [Berlin, 1904], p. 38).  Cf. also Kippenberg, Garizim, pp. 208-209 (n. 73).

[77] The Masoretic text has Mt. Ebal, the Samaritan text has Mt. Gerizim. Cf. Deuteronomy 27:12; 11:29.  On the stones were written all the words of the Law, and therefore a blessing, and should relate to the mount of Blessings, which is Gerizim.  The oldest existing manuscript with Deuteronomy 27:4 is a Samaritan one.

[78] Reinhard Pummer, Samaritan Rituals and Customs, in The Samaritans, Alan D Crown, Ed. p.684, 1989, Tübingen: Mohr

[79] Sylvia Powels, The Samaritan Calendar, p. 729, The Samaritans, Alan D. Crown ed. 1989, Mohr, Tübingen

[80] Benyamin Tsedaka, Shavuot (2002)

[81] Leviticus 23:24, American Standard Version, 1901

[82] The reasons why women normally do not attend synagogue services may have to do with the Muslim environment in which the Samaritans lived, and still live as far s Nablus is concerned.

[83] Leviticus 23:40, American Standard Version, 1901

[84] Deuteronomy 30:1-6,  American Standard Version, 1901

[85] Numbers 29:35, American Standard Version, 1901

[86] S. Hanover, Das Festgesetz der Samaritaner nach Ibrahim b. Ya’qub, p. 12, 1904, Berlin