Gannon University Professor's Book Receives Favorable Review

Posted: October 17, 2014

As the longtime Editor-in-Chief of the international Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project, Emanuel Tov reads a lot of ancient texts. He occasionally reads modern texts, too and reviews them. One that received a favorable review was a recent book co-authored by Gannon University Professor of Theology Terry Giles, Ph.D.

Written with Robert Anderson, Ph.D. and entitled "The Samaritan Pentateuch: An Introduction to Its Origin, History, and Significance for Biblical Studies," the book was praised by Tov in the July 2014 edition of The Expository Times, a journal directed toward pastors, pointing them to recent commentary and Biblical scholarship.

Such scholarship has been a passion of Giles' for a long time. Giles takes a particular interest in the Samaritans, a fascinating but dwindling sect who, Giles said, "claim to be the true Israel, and that Eli, Saul and David were heretical fringe figures not representative of the true Israel."

The book explores the Pentateuch, the traditional Hebrew Bible, as preserved in the Samaritan tradition in light of discoveries revealed in analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Samaritan Pentateuch is a version of the first five books of the Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy--that differs from the Torah, the Hebrew Bible as we have come to know it.

"There are some significant differences between the Samaritan Pentateuch and other textual precursors that we have now," Giles said. "For years the Samaritan Pentateuch was cast as a supporting tradition to other precursor text traditions, but the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls has changed the way that we look at these textual traditions. The precursor texts to the Samaritan Pentateuch is present in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the other precursors to what we have today, so the Samaritan Pentateuch is being seen as a really important contributor to the texts we know today. The book that Robert and I wrote explores what we know of one of the precursor texts."