Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.
This was an amazing find at a local antique store. I should have paid closer attention to the photos it was with, but this one stood out in particular.
This appeared to be a religious man of some sort. I did not recognize the script or language. Was it Arabic? Hebrew? Aramaic?
There were no notations written on the back but it was printed on “Agfa-Brovira” photo paper. The particular printed stamp matched this one, and my sleuthing suggests it was used from 1945 (after WWII) through the mid to late 1950s.
With help of a genealogy facebook group some clues emerged.
The man in the photo above appears to be standing next to a “Samaritan Pentateuch”, which is also know as the “Samaritan Torah”, a religious text. This goes well beyond my area of expertise but it appears that the Samaritans are related to but also distinguished from those of the Jewish faith.
Here is a photo on Wikipedia of a “Samaritan High Priest” next to the “Abisha Scroll” in 1905.
The caption of that original photo reads:
Yaakov ben Aharon, Samaritan High Priest (1896-1916) and Old Pentateuch, Nablus, West Bank. Part of a stereograph from Views of Palestine(1905). The text accompanying this image states "We are looking into the eyes of the chief representative of a religious sect, one of the oldest and certainly smallest in the world...They claim that they are the lineal descendants of the Israelites of old, from a remnant that was left when the tribes were carried into Syrian captivity...There is no doubt but that they are the representatives of the Samaritans of the time of Christ, for whom the Jews had such a deadly hatred. Here is kept with jealous care this ancient copy of the Pentateuch which is before us - one of the very oldest copies in existence. We could not have seen it on any account except in the presence of this high priest."
The scroll looks identical! The men themselves look quite similar but the photos appear to have been taken at very different times (1905 vs. 1950s).
Who is this man and what is his story?
When and where was the photo taken?
What do you think, feel, and wonder about as you look at his photo?
What are your favorite religious themed photographs from your own personal collection? I would love to see them?