Sunday, July 10, 2011

Samaritan Tabernacle Drawing and Article

This is something that can be very interesting for comparative purposes: traditional Samaritan drawing of the Tabernacle. This image is from this Samaritan(?) web site that I can recommend to check out as it contains other interesting information.

This is, of'course, just one of several existing drawings and it is also of the schematic nature. However, it does provide a different perspective on the subject of the Tabernacle from the point of view of this ancient Hebrew sect.

To supplement this image, check out this article "The Sanctuary and Holy Vessels in Samaritan Art" by James Purvis that provides more comprehensive information, although in a written form.

Here is the short excerpt with the most interesting facts:

"Firstly, some Samaritan representations of the vessels-what they were, how they looked-differ from traditional Jewish views. I note as one example the following case: Jacob ben Aaron depicts two pairs of double-handled vases or pots, labeled mizraq and mazleg, showing one pair on each side of the altar. These vessels are mentioned in Exodus 38:3 as among a category of implements belonging to the altar, but are usually translated "basins and forks": He made all the utensils of the altar, the pots, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the firepans; all its utensils he made of bronze (NRSV).The mizraq is mentioned frequently in biblical Hebrew as a bowl or basin. But the mazleg (or mizlagah) is usually identified as a fork or fleshhook, (as, for example, 1 Sam 2:13-14, where a three-pronged fork appears to be indicated).[26]

Some Samaritan depictions are in agreement with Jewish traditions. For example, as previously noted, the Rev. Samuel Manning published in the late nineteenth century a pen-sketch of the drawing of the tabernacle and vessels depicted on the metal Torah case of the Abisha scroll. In his comments, Manning noted that the location of the door to the tent of meeting, on the right-hand side rather than in the center, was "as the Talmud describes it", and that the peculiar shape of the curved or bent trumpet, "may throw some light upon a question much debated amongst students of the Talmud".[27]

Scholars are often hopeful that new information will resolve or clarify old problems. Whether this might be the case with the Samaritan drawings of the vessels remains to be seen. I do note, however, the following Samaritan depictions, which may be compared positively with some ancient Jewish traditions.
The Base of the Altar. At the base of the altar is a rounded mound identified in Jacob ben Aaron's drawing as 'aphar, "dust". This may imply that the altar rested on a mound of dirt, or it may allude to the ashes which had accumulated there. Here it is worth considering a statement which appears in Josephus' description of the altar (Antiquities III 149): "The ground was in fact the receptacle for all burning fuel that fell from the brazier, the base not extending beneath the whole of its surface".

The Priest's Vestment. The vestment is shown with sleeves in Jacob ben Uzzi's drawing. It is my opinion that the stylized depiction in Jacob ben Aaron's drawings also contains sleeves. (A similar depiction is found in the older, seventh century drawing.) Interestingly, sleeves are not mentioned in the description of the priestly garments in Exodus 28:14, but they are in Josephus (Antiquities m 162).[28]

The Containers on the Table of Showbread. The variety of types of containers on the table in the Samaritan drawings suggests that not all were regarded as having been used for the same purpose, for bread. One may compare here the tradition preserved in Josephus (Antiquities III 143, 256), that two golden cups filled with frankincense were placed on the table above the bread. Two small cups appear also on the table of showbread depicted on the Arch of Titus.[29]"

Popular Posts

Blog Archive