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Marqeh ben Amram

Marqeh ben Amram (also: Marqe, fl. 4th century CE) is considered in the Israelite-Samaritan tradition, to be their greatest sage.


אתי בשלם | ࠀࠕࠉ࠰ࠁࠔࠋࠌ | Itti Bishlam (Come in Peace), a Samaritan Aramaic Poem for the Festival Season by Marqeh ben Amram (ca. 4th c.)

Contributed on: 22 Mar 2023 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Marqeh ben Amram |

Itti Bishlam is a sixteen-hundred year old Samaritan Aramaic poem attributed to the great Samaritan sage Marqeh son of Amram. In twelve stanzas it tells the story of the night of the tenth plague and the Exodus. Samaritans traditionally recite it on the night before the holidays, the Sabbaths before the holidays, and the evening before the first day of the first month (the Samaritan new year, fourteen days before Passover). Largely a half-alphabetical acrostic, the fifth stanza of Itti Bishlam begins with an īt (ḥeth) rather than the expected īy (her), understandable considering the loss of guttural distinctions in Samaritan phonology. (See the number of Jewish poems which confuse sin and samekh for a parallel occurrence.) Itti Bishlam is, interestingly enough, lacking polemic or sectarian content — it never calls upon the Samaritan holy mountain of Aargaarizem (Mt. Gerizim), nor does it include any context that contradicts the traditional Jewish interpretation of the paschal narrative. It is worthwhile for Jews to learn about and understand the liturgical practices of their sister religion, and this poem is a great place to start! . . .

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