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.
tell the story (so, e.g., Josephus in Ant. 11.19-30 and 11.84-119). But from Third Isaiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah, and Ezra, modern historians discern instead indications of internecine quarrels among various Jewish groups in the south, notably between those Jews who had returned from the Babylonian exile and those Jews who had been left behind in Judah. Mixed up with these quarrels was the friction between the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and the local rulers in Samaria, acting as agents of their Persian overlords. What should be noted is that the group the NT calls Samaritans is totally absent from the OT narrative of these disputes.
Some scholars claim that a ray of light is shed on the Samaritans during the murky Persian period by 5th-century papyri emanating from the Jewish colony of Elephantine in Egypt. To request aid in the rebuilding of their own temple, which had been destroyed, these Egyptian Jews sent letters both to Bagoas, the governor and hence imperial agent of Judea and to Delaiah and Shelemiah, the sons of Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, likewise an agent of the Persian empire. Far from indicating that a schism had already taken place between Jews and Samaritans, this correspondence tells us nothing about Samaritans understood in a religious sense. As R.J. Coggins points out, the city of Samaria, to which the letter is sent (as well as to Jerusalem), was a center of local political power, but was never the center of the Samaritan religion or priesthood. Mt. Gerizim near Shechem was16.
Likewise less than enlightening are Josephus accounts of the origin of the Samaritan temple at the end of the Persian period and the dealings of both Samaritan and Jewish priests with Alexander the Great17. These stories are so laced with legendary elements that historians are divided on what if anything can be salvaged as reliable