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8 Single, Samaritan, Male: A Local Discourse on Minority and Choice

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Chapter Summary

Samaritan talk of marriage is shaped by the experience of being a small population with a generally restricted choice of mates and a particular shortage of females. The lively debate on matrimony maintained by people in the Samaritan community is the main thread running through this chapter. Its dominant tropes - demography, lack of females, competition for spouses, and male frustration - shape and subordinate other forms of marital discourse. Even today, Samaritans have a conspicuous tendency to approach outsiders with descriptions of their marriage predicament. Religion was no longer the single dividing line between Samaritans and Jews in Israel. Additional and more fundamental discrepancies had to be overcome: those between religion and secularism, traditionalism and modernism, East and West. Samaritan attitudes towards intermarriage in 1991-1995 were suspended midway between acclaim for earlier successes and suspicion of foreign brides as Trojan horses.

Keywords: marital discourse; Samaritan community; Samaritan-Jewish intermarriages



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