My scripture studies article “Who Were the Samaritans?” Quote from the opening paragraphs:
“There once was an ancient temple society, led by hereditary high priests from the lineage of Levi who taught and transmitted the sacred words of God as preserved in the Torah (the five books of Moses). Each year at Passover the community gathered in a solemn assembly to perform the rituals on the Paschal Lamb in remembrance that God had saved them from bondage. And through the years this community worshiped God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. Yet this group was vilified and marginalized over the centuries, their beliefs mocked, their people scapegoated and eventually their holy temple destroyed by outside forces. Presently their numbers have dwindled to some 4000 active adherents.
But wait, are there not more than 4000 faithful Jews today? Yes, indeed! But we are not talking about the Jews, we are talking about the Samaritans! If we look closely, we discover that the Samaritans carry all of the important identifying features that would lead us to believe that they are faithful Israelites.”