Chamberlain Warren Samaritan Collection Edit


MSS 287 large


  • 1470-1918 (Creation)


  • 29 Linear Feet (Whole)
    29 boxes



  • Conditions Governing Access

    Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Material in this collection is in the public domain.

  • Preferred Citation

    Item, Folder number and/or title, Box number, Chamberlain Warren Samaritan Collection, MSS 287, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Collection was donated in 1951 from Edward K. Warren Foundation and Museum. In 1994, It was transferred to MSU Special Collections from MSU Archives and Historical Collections.

  • Processing Information

    This collection was processed by Jill Abood on November 20, 2006.

  • Biographical / Historical

    Samaritans claim their descent from the northern kingdom of Israel, formed when the north seceded from the union after the death of Solomon. Jews are descendents from the southern kingdom of Judah. Initially Samaritans shared with the Jews liturgy and common festivals, but over the years the schism between the two groups led to each community preserving their own traditions.

    Once numbering in the tens of thousands, due to persecution and rejection only several hundred Samaritans exist in Israel today. While popularly associated with the “Lost Ten Tribes” and the biblical story of the “Good Samaritan”, the Samaritan’s culture and scriptural materials have also sparked interest in biblical scholarship and the Samaritan Pentateuch provides a “textual witness independent from both the Massoretic Hebrew and the Greek texts (Anderson, 1978)” that assists in the clarification of textual issues.

    The Chamberlain Warren Samaritan Collection at Michigan State University is considered the most extensive set of Samaritan materials in the United States. Containing rare and important historical documents, this collection was used by Michigan State University Professor Emeritus Robert T. Anderson in his extensive work on the Samaritans which can be found in his recently published book Tradition Kept: the Literature of the Samaritans (2005) and in The Keepers: an Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans (2002) co-authored with Terry Giles.

    The Chamberlain Warren Samaritan Collection contains materials acquired by E.K. Warren, a wealthy businessman of Three Oaks, Michigan in the early 20th century. Warren, very active in the World’s Sunday School Association, first met the Samaritans during a visit to Palestine in 1901. He took great interest in helping the Samaritans preserve their religious artifacts.

  • Scope and Contents

    The collection includes a variety of religious and liturgical materials used by the Samaritans that were collected by E.K. Warren, a wealthy businessman of Three Oaks, Michigan, in the early 20th century. A majority of the collection consists of eighteen Pentateuchs, the earliest dating back to the 15th century. Other texts include Passover Prayers, prayers and hymns for the Day of Atonement, parts of the Defter, and liturgy and instructions for the Festival of Booths. Most of these materials are written in Samaritan with some instructions also provided in Arabic.

  • Bibliography

    Anderson, Robert T. (1978). Studies in Samaritan manuscripts and artifacts: the Chamberlain-Warren Collection. Cambridge, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research.

    Anderson, Robert T. (1984). The Museum Trail: The Michigan State University Samaritan Collection. Biblical Archaeologist. 47, 41-43.

  • Arrangement

    Materials are listed in numerical order based on type. Undated materials are listed with n.d. following the description.

  • Related Materials

    Additional information can be found in the Chamberlain Family Papers, 1795-1931 and Warren Family Papers, 1830-1936 housed in Michigan State University’s University Archives and Historical Collections.

  • General

    Box size varies.

  • Language of Materials

    Texts in Samaritan and Arabic.