John P. Meier, «The Historical Jesus and the Historical Samaritans: What can be Said?», Vol. 81 (2000) 202-232
Careful analysis of the Gospels shows that there is not very much hard data about the historical Jesus interaction with or views about the Samaritans. There is multiple attestation, found in the Lucan and Johannine traditions, that Jesus, different from typical views of his time, held a benign view of Samaritans and had positive, though passing, encounters with some Samaritans. However, there is gospel agreement, from silence or statement, that Jesus had no programmatic mission to the Samaritans. Besides the above important conclusions, this essay also makes clear the useful distinction between Samaritans and Samarians.
in critical fashion the evidence about this group tend, when they come to the question of Jesus, either to take the Gospel material at face value or to list in catalogue-style the various statements of each Gospel3. Rarely is an attempt made to separate Christian theology from material that may go back to the historical Jesus.
The present essay seeks to remedy this situation by asking (1) what can be said with fair probability about the historical Samaritans up to the 1st century A.D. and then (2) what can be said with fair probability about the historical Jesus relationship to or interaction with these Samaritans. Even if the results of this investigation are largely negative, we shall be left in a better scholarly position than those who rely upon vague or uncritical generalizations. I begin, therefore, with an attempt to define what is meant or should be meant by Samaritans.
I. Samaritans: Problems of Terminology and Definition
One point must be made clear from the start: our goal in this essay is not a general and all-encompassing treatment of the Samaritans4.