The Comfort of Kin
Monika Schreiber, University of Vienna
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.