Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
What are the main differences between Orthodox Judaism and Samaritanism?
(25 March, 2018, 9 Nisan, 5778)
Picture of Sophie Tsedaka, a famous Israeli actress of Samaritan origin who converted to Judaism.
The Samaritans were not (or at least mostly not) related to the Hebrews. They are descended from non-Israelites who received a partially Israelite type of belief mixed with that of other faiths (2-Kings 17:24â€“41), cf.
24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them. 26 So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations whom you have carried away into exile in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them because they do not know the custom of the god of the land."
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, "Take there one of the priests whom you carried away into exile and let him go and live there; and let him teach them the custom of the god of the land." 28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away into exile from Samaria came and lived at Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. 29 But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses of the high places which the people of Samaria had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived.
Later, there may have been a stage when they began to grow closer to Judaism but this was terminated. The Samaritans today have a slightly altered copy of the Pentateuch (Torah i.e. 5 books of Moses), and the Book of Joshua. They have none of the other books. They keep the laws according to their understanding in a literal way.
Orthodox Jews have a Bible of 24 books as well as a vast literary output regarding the Oral Tradition. The Jews keep the laws as written in light of traditional exegesis and traditional explanations. In case of uncertainty a consensus is sought from authoritative and accepted Rabbinical scholars. This is what the Israelites were told to do in Deuteronomy ch.17 and elsewhere.