The Comfort of Kin

Samaritan Community, Kinship, and Marriage


In The Comfort of Kin Monika Schreiber presents a study of the social and religious life of the Samaritans, a minority in modern Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Utilizing approaches ranging from anthropological theory and method to comparative history and religion, she approaches this community from diverse empirical and epistemic angles. Her account of the Samaritans, usually studied for their Bible and their role in ancient history, is enriched by a thorough treatment of the Samaritan family, a powerful institution rooted in notions of patrilineal descent and perpetuated in part by consanguineous marriage (which differs from incest in degree rather than in kind). Schreiber also discusses how the tiny community is affected by its demographic predicament, intermarriage, and identity issues.

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Monika Schreiber, Ph.D. (2009), University of Vienna, is librarian at the Jewish Studies Library at that university. She has done extensive anthropological research among the Samaritan community.
Introduction: Who Are the Samaritans?
Part I: Samaritan Ethnicity and Community
Chapter 1: A Community of Faith
Chapter 2: An Accidental People: A Survey of Samaritan History
Chapter 3: A Community of Practice
Chapter 4: No Exit, No Entrance? The Bounds of Community
Part II: Samaritan Family and Marriage
Chapter 5: It’s All in the Family: From Ethnic Identity to Practical Kinship
Chapter 6. Bintī li-ibn ʿammhā—My Daughter Is for Her Cousin: Samaritan Marital Preferences
Chapter 7: Too Close for Comfort? A Critical View of an Ancient Legacy
Chapter 8: Single, Samaritan, Male: A Local Discourse on Minority and Choice
Chapter 9: The Family Politic
Epilogue: Will the Samaritans Endure?
All interested in Samaritans, Jewish sectarianism, and religious minorities. Anyone concerned with questions of the Middle Eastern family, kin marriage and incestuous marriage.
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