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In the OT, a term that appears only once, as an ethnic term for the residents of the district of Samaria (2Kgs 17:29). In the NT, however, the term is used for members of a religious community based in that area (Matt 10:5; Luke 9:52; John 4:1-42). Jews and Samaritans shared a common heritage, but differed from one another radically in regard to whether the sacred dwelling place of God was in Jerusalem or on Mt. Gerizim. They also had different legal traditions regarding the cleanliness of vessels and, in general, they avoided contact with one another (John 4:7-10). The negative attitude of the Jews toward the Samaritans is reflected in Jesus’s statement in (Matt 10:5), in which Samaritans are linked with Gentiles in contrast to the “house of Israel” (cf. Acts 1:8), in which Samaria occupies a median position between Jerusalem/Judea and the gentile world), and in (John 8:48), in which the adversaries of Jesus refer to him contemptuously as “a Samaritan”—and demon possessed as well. Basically, the Jews regarded the Samaritans as “foreigners” (Luke 17:18). It was the alien nature of the Samaritans, as commonly perceived, that gave an ironic sting to the Gospel story of the grateful leper (Luke 17:11-19) and to the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).