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 the 1st century A.D. Religious writings by Samaritans themselves date from centuries later, the earliest compositions coming from the 3rd or 4th century A.D. Our major sources from the 1st century A.D. are Josephus and (secondarily) Luke-Acts and the Gospel of John. None of these gives us a disinterested picture of the Samaritans. In particular, Josephus account, in the estimation of most critics, is hostile to the Samaritans, though it is unclear whether we should place the hostility at the door of the author or of his sources8. Paradoxically, then, we might almost count it a blessing that so few passages in the NT mention the Samaritans in relation to Jesus, since our ignorance of 1st-century Samaritanism would leave us ill-equipped to exegete a large body of Gospel material on the subject.
II. Samaritans: The Problem of Their Historical Origins
If we define Samaritans in the religious terms sketched above (i.e., the third definition), any attempt to determine when and how the Samaritans emerged as a distinct group is fraught with difficulty. In the ancient period, both Samaritans and Jews created narratives describing the Samaritans origins, but neither narrative tradition is historically reliable. In a glorious anachronism, traditional Samaritan theology places the basic split between Samaritanism and Judaism as far back as the 11th century B.C., at the time of the priest Eli (active toward the end of the period of the Judges according to 1 Sam 1,94,18)9. The wicked Eli is said to have moved the sanctuary from its true locus, Mt. Gerizim near Shechem, to Shiloh. Eli thus created both an illegitimate place of worship and an illegitimate priesthood. All future antagonism between Samaritans and Jews is traced to this