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.
the former northern kingdom various foreign populations to settle the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel (2 Kgs 17,24). When, out of ignorance, these new groups did not worship YHWH, the God of the land, YHWH sent lions to kill some of them. The king of Assyria remedied the situation by sending back one of the deported Israelite priests to teach the new settlers the proper way to worship the God of the land (2 Kgs 17,27). In v. 28, the priest is said to settle at Bethel (not Shechem or Mt. Gerizim), the cult site that the OT regularly regards as the center of the idolatrous worship of the northern kingdom (cf. 1 Kgs 1213; Amos 7,10-17; Jer 48,13). The result at least according to the OT narrative was that the new settlers adopted a syncretistic polytheism that offered sacrifice to YHWH alongside the various national gods brought in by the mixed population. Perhaps with a side glance and swipe at the religious group we call the Samaritans, the final redactor of 2 Kgs 17 concludes his narrative with the following summation: And these nations worship [literally, fear] YHWH, but they [also] serve their idols [as do] also their sons and the sons of their sons. As did their fathers, [so] do they until this very day (2 Kgs 17,41).
Josephus backs ups and elaborates upon this polemical narrative in Ant. 9.277-291. Indeed, his retelling of the story is the first unambiguous use of 2 Kgs 17 as anti-Samaritan propaganda. Josephus makes a point of describing the newly installed immigrants in the northern kingdom as coming from Chouthos (= OT Kuthah), which Josephus claims is in Persia. Hence he refers to them as Chutheans or Chuthites (Xouqai=oi in 9.288), a name he then applies to the Samaritans (9.290). Josephus makes this identification in a context in which he highlights the syncretistic rites that he claims have continued among the Chutheans-alias-Samaritans down to his own day. Thus does Josephus create a clear link between the Samaritans of his own time and the descendants of the pagans settled by the Assyrians in the former northern kingdom. Understandably, Josephus statements in the Antiquities, traditionally understood as hostile references, had a great impact on all subsequent understanding of the Samaritans, since, taken as a whole, his narratives about the Samaritans constitute the largest single written source from around the turn of the era12.