The Samaritan tradition that they are a remnant of the northern tribes adds a
dimension to the saga of the so-called “ten lost tribes” of Israel.
For nearly three millenia, they’ve survived invasions by armies and
resisted total cultural assimilation. It will be somewhat sad if the modern
world proves to be the one test that finally blots out their identity
altogether. I wouldn't bet against them.
The Samaritans as described in the Bible were a people that resulted from the
mingling of Hebrews with Gentiles. They were despised by the Jews, in part,
because they had intermarried with Gentiles (as well as mixing religions with
them). That's why I find it fascinating that their own refusal to mingle
with other peoples is now threatening their extinction.
Sometime after the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, both groups wrote their
versions of the Torah which is the whole of Samaritan scripture. Both claimed to
be the true defenders of the Law of Moses so the antagonism ran both ways. Even
today, the Samaritans continue the ancient Passover practice of marking their
doors with lambs blood.