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11th century Hebrew Bible with targum, perhaps from Tunisia, found in Iraq: part of the Schøyen Collection.

A targum (Hebrew: תרגום‎, plural: targumim, lit. "translation, interpretation"), referred to in critical works by the abbreviation 𝔗,[1] is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) written or compiled from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages (late first millennium). The two major genres of Targum reflect two geographical and cultural centers of Jewish life during the period of their creation, namely the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Aramaic was the dominant Jewish language or lingua franca for hundreds of years in these major Jewish communities.

To facilitate the study of Tanakh and make its public reading understood, authoritative translations were required. As translations, the targumim largely reflect midrashic interpretation of the Tanakh of the time, and are notable for eschewing anthropomorphisms in favor of allegorical readings.[2] (Rambam, for one, notes this often in The Guide.) This is true both for those targumim that are fairly literal, as well as for those which contain a great many midrashic expansions.

The Aramaic Targumim were used in the Christian Syriac Church.


Two "official" Targumim

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The two most important targumim for liturgical purposes are:

These two targumim are mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud as targum didan ("our Targum"), giving them official status. In the synagogues of talmudic times, Targum Onkelos was read alternately with the Torah, verse by verse, and Targum Jonathan was read alternately with the selection from Nevi'im (i.e. the Haftarah). This custom continues today in Yemenite Jewish synagogues. The Yemenite Jews are the only Jewish community to continue the use of Targum as liturgical text, as well as to preserve a living tradition of pronunciation for the Aramaic of the targumim (according to a Babylonian dialect).

Besides its public function in the synagogue, the Talmud also mentions targum in the context of a personal study requirement: "A person should always review his portions of scripture along with the community, reading the scripture twice and the targum once" (Berakhot 8a-b). This too refers to Targum Onkelos on the public Torah reading and to Targum Jonathan on the haftarot from Nevi'im.

Medieval biblical manuscripts of the Tiberian mesorah sometimes contain the Hebrew text interpolated, verse-by-verse, with the official targumim. This scribal practice has its roots both in the public reading of the Targum and in the private study requirement.

The two "official" targumim are considered eastern (Babylonian). Nevertheless, scholars believe they too originated in the Palestine because of a strong linguistic substratum of western Aramaic. Though these targumim were later "easternized", the substratum belying their origins still remains.

In post-talmudic times, when most Jewish communities had ceased speaking Aramaic, the public reading of Targum along with the Torah and Haftarah was abandoned in most communities. In Yemen, however, rather than abandoning the Aramaic targum during the public reading of the Torah, it was supplemented by a third version, namely the translation of the Torah into Arabic by Saadia Gaon (called the Tafsir). Thus, in Yemen each verse was read three times.

The private study requirement to review the Targum was never entirely relaxed, even when Jewish communities had largely ceased speaking Aramaic, and the Targum never ceased to be a major source for Jewish biblical exegesis. For instance, it serves as a major source in the Torah commentary of Rashi.

For these reasons, the Targum is still almost always printed alongside the text in Jewish editions of the Bible with commentaries. Nevertheless, later halakhic authorities argued that the requirement to privately review the targum might also be met by reading a translation in the current vernacular in place of the official Targum, or else by studying an important commentary containing midrashic interpretation (especially that of Rashi).

Targum Ketuvim

The Talmud explicitly states that no official targumim were composed besides these two on Torah and Nevi'im alone, and that there is no official targum to Ketuvim ("The Writings"). An official targum was in fact unnecessary for Ketuvim because its books played no fixed liturgical role. It is stated in the Talmud (Megilah 3a) that Jonathan ben Uzziel wanted to compose a targum to the Ketuvim, however a bat kol (voice from heaven) came forth and forbade it. The reason given is that the Ketuvim foretell the date of the Messiah's coming, which was not permitted to be revealed.

Nevertheless, most books of Ketuvim have targumim, whose origin is mostly western (Palestine) rather than eastern (Babylonia). But for lack of a fixed place in the liturgy, they were poorly preserved and less well known. From the Palestine, the tradition of targum to Ketuvim made its way to Italy, and from there to medieval Ashkenaz and Sepharad.

Other Targumim on the Torah

There are also a variety of western targumim on the Torah, each of which was traditionally called Targum Yerushalmi ("Jerusalem Targum"). An important one of these was mistakenly labeled "Targum Jonathan" in later printed versions (though all medieval authorities refer to it by its correct name). The error crept in because of an abbreviation: The printer interpreted ת"י to stand for תרגום יונתן instead of the correct תרגום ירושלמי. Scholars refer to this targum as Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. To attribute this targum to Jonathan ben Uzziel flatly contradicts the talmudic tradition (Megillah 3a), which quite clearly attributes the targum to Nevi'im alone to him, while stating that there is no official targum to Ketuvim. In the same printed versions, a similar fragment targum is correctly labeled as Targum Yerushalmi.

The Western Targumim on the Torah, or Palestinian Targumim as they are also called, consist of three manuscript groups: Targum Neofiti I, Fragment Targums, and Cairo Geniza Fragment Targums.

Of these Targum Neofiti I is by far the largest. It consist of 450 folios covering all books of the Pentateuch, with only a few damaged verses. The history of the manuscript begins in 1587 when Andrea de Monte gave it to Ugo Boncampagni. Before this de Monte had censored it by deleting most reference to idolatry. In 1602 Boncampagni gave it to Collegium Ecclesiasticum Neophytum (or Pia Domus Neophytum) until 1886 when the Vatican bought it along with other manuscripts when the Collegium closed (which is the reason for the manuscripts name and its designation). Unfortunately it was then mistitled as a manuscript of Targum Onkelos until 1949 when Alexandro Díez Macho noticed that it differed significantly from Targum Onkelos. It was translated and published during 1968-1979 and has since then been considered the most important of the Palestinian Targumim as it is by far the most complete of these and, apparently, the earliest as well.[3][4]

The Fragment Targums (formerly known as Targum Yerushalmi II) consist of a large number of fragments that have been divided into ten manuscripts. Of these P, V and L were first published in 1899 by M. Ginsburger, A, B, C, D, F and G in 1930 by P. Kahle and E in 1955 by A. Díez Macho. Unfortunately these manuscripts are all too fragmented to confirm what their purpose were but they seem to be either the remains of a single complete targum or short variant readings of another targum. As a group they often share theological views and with Targum Neofiti, which has led to the belief that they could be variant readings of that targum.[5] [6]

The Cairo Genizah Fragment Targums originate from the Ben-Ezra Synagogues genizah in Cairo. They share similarities with The Fragment Targums in that they consist of a large number of fragmented manuscripts that have been collected in one targum-group. The manuscripts A and E are the oldest among the Palestinian Targum and have been dated to around the seventh century. Manuscipts C, E, H and Z contain only passages from Genesis, A from Exodus while MS B contain verses from both as well as from Deuteronomium. [7][8]


The Peshitta is the traditional Bible of Syriac-speaking Christians (who speak several different dialects of Aramaic). Many scholars believe that its Old Testament is based on rabbinic targumim (lightly "corrected" to accord with the Septuagint), and it is generally reckoned to have been translated between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D.


  1. ^ Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, per instance.
  2. ^ Oesterley, W. O. E. & Box, G. H. (1920) A Short Survey of the Literature of Rabbinical and Mediæval Judaism, Burt Franklin:New York.
  3. ^ McNamara, M. (1972) Targum and Testament. Shannon, Irish University Press.
  4. ^ Sysling, H. (1996) Tehiyyat Ha-Metim. Tübingen, J.C.B. Mohr.
  5. ^ McNamara, M. (1972) Targum and Testament. Shannon, Irish University Press.
  6. ^ Sysling, H. (1996) Tehiyyat Ha-Metim. Tübingen, J.C.B. Mohr.
  7. ^ McNamara, M. (1972) Targum and Testament. Shannon, Irish University Press.
  8. ^ Sysling, H. (1996) Tehiyyat Ha-Metim. Tübingen, J.C.B. Mohr.

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

A Targum is a translation of part of the Bible into Aramaic. Most targums are not literal translations but paraphrases incorporating commentary and amplifications. There are three extant targums on the Pentateuch (Onkelos, Jonathan and Neofiti), two on Esther and one on most other books of the Hebrew Bible.


  • The Earth was without form and void, desolate of people and empty of all animals
    • Targum Jonathan for Genesis 1, 2 amplifying "The Earth was without form and void"
  • And God called the light Day, and he made it so that the inhabitants of the world might labour during it
    • Targum Jonathan for Genesis 1, 5 amplifying "And God called the light Day"
  • God blessed the seventh day, more than all the days of the week
    • Targum Jonathan for Genesis 2, 3
  • Make for yourself sharp scalpels, and circumcise the sons of Israel
    • Joshua 5, 2 improving on "flint knives"
  • And the soul of my master will be hidden in the treasury of life before the Lord our God
    • I Samuel 25, 29: Translator's comment is "Targum inserts belief in afterlife"
  • His flesh became soft like turnip from fear.
    • Ruth 3, 8 amplifying "he was afraid"


  • The Aramaic Bible (translation of Targums into English, in 22 volumes) pub. T & T Clark

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Wikipedia has an article about:

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

A Targum targum (plural: targumim) is a rabbinic translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) in Aramaic, written or compiled in the Land of Israel or in Babylonia from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages (late first millennium). English translations of the targumim are listed on this page.


The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel On the Pentateuch, With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee, By J. W. Etheridge, M.A. First Published 1862

Current online version



  • Targum to the Song of Songs - translated from the Aramaic by Herman Gollancz in his Translations from Hebrew and Aramaic (London, 1908); republished (fascimile) in Bernard Grossfeld, The Targum to the Five Megilloth (NY, 1973). Scanned page images with OCRed text to be edited. An updated version of the translation is also anticipated.
  • Targum to Ruth, Translation by Samson H. Levey Current online version

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TARGUM. The Targums are the Aramaic translations - or rather paraphrases - of the books of the Old Testament, and, in their earliest form, date from the time when Aramaic superseded Hebrew as the spoken language of the Jews (see Hebrew Language). In their origin they were designed to meet the needs of the unlearned among the people who had ceased to understand the Hebrew of the Old Testament. In the absence of any precise evidence on the point it is impossible to give more than a rough estimate as to the period at which Hebrew, as a spoken language, was finally displaced by Aramaic. It is, however, certain that the latter language was firmly established in Palestine in the 1st century A.D. By that time, as we know from many sources, Aramaic was not only the language in common use, but had also received official recognition,' despite the fact that Hebrew still remained the learned and sacred tongue. Hence we may reasonably infer that the mass of the people had adopted Aramaic at a considerably, earlier period, probably, as early as the 2nd century B.C., and that the need of Aramaic translations of the sacred text made itself felt but little later. By the Jews 2 the introduction of Targums is ascribed to Ezra; but this tradition, which probably owes its origin to the Talmudic explanation of Neh. viii. 8, 3 is inconsistent with the linguistic evidence furnished by the postexilic literature of the Old Testament, and must be rejected as unhistorical, if only because the process by which Aramaic took the place of Hebrew was admittedly a very gradual one. The Talmudic tradition, however, is, doubtless, correct in connecting the origin of Targums with the custom of reading sections from the Law at the weekly services in the synagogues, since the need for a translation into the vernacular must first have arisen on such occasions. As we know from the New Testament, the custom of reading in the synagogues both from the Law 4 and from the Prophets 5 was well established in the 1 st century A.D.: its introduction, therefore, will date from a much earlier period. The practice of accompanying these readings with a translation into Aramaic is, further, so generally recognized by the 2nd century A.D. that the Mishna 6 takes it for granted, and merely inculcates certain regulations to be observed by the Meturgeman (translator), who had by this time acquired a definite status. From it we learn that the Meturgeman, who was distinct from the reader, translated each verse of the Law into Aramaic as soon as it had been read in Hebrew: in the readings from " the Prophets " three verses might be read at a time. Later regulations are also laid down in the Talmuds in order to prevent any appearance of authority attaching to the translation, and also to ensure reverential 1 Cf. Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, p. 2 f.; Grammatik des jud.- palcist. Aramdisch, 2nd ed., p. 9 f.

2 Sanhedrin, Jer. Meg., i.

3 Nedarim, 37b; Jer. Meg., iv. - " and they read in the book, in the law of God, this is the Scripture, wntrz (R.V. distinctly), this is the Targum." Acts xv.

Luke iv. 16 f.; Acts xiii. 14, Meg. iv. 4-6, 10. treatment on the part of the translator.' Elsewhere, 2 we only find references to certain passages of Scripture, viz., the stories of Reuben and Tamar (Gen. xxxv. 22 and xxxviii.), the two accounts of the golden calf (Exod. xxxii.), the blessing of the priests (Num. V. 22 f.), the stories of David and Amnon (2 Sam. xi., xii. and xiii.), which might be either read and translated, or only read and not translated, or (according to a different tradition) neither read nor translated. It is noticeable that none of the passages cited conveys any rules or information as to the character of the translation to be employed. Judging by the contents of our existing Targums, and the Targumic renderings given in Jewish literature, it is improbable that any definite system of interpretation was ever formally adopted, the rendering into the vernacular being left to the discretion of the individual Meturgeman. At first, no doubt, the translator endeavoured to reproduce the original as closely as possible, but, inasmuch as his object was to give an intelligible rendering, a merely literal rendering would soon be found to be insufficient, and he would be forced, especially in the more difficult passages, to take a more elastic view of his obligations. To prevent misconception he must expand and explain what was obscure, adjust the incidents of the past to the ideas of later times, emphasize the moral lessons to be learned from the national history, and, finally, adapt the rules and regulations of the Old Covenant to the conditions and requirements of his own age. As time went on the practice of introducing additional matter of an edifying character grew in popular favour, and was gradually extended. Thus, by degrees, the reproduction of the original text became of secondary importance, and merely served as a pretext for the discussion of topics that had little or no bearing on the context. The method, by which the text was thus utilized as a vehicle for conveying homiletic discourses, traditional sayings, legends and allegories, is abundantly illustrated by the Palestinian and later Targums, as opposed to the more sober translations of Onkelos and the Targum to the Prophets.

It would, however, be incorrect to suppose that the translation of the text was left entirely to the individual taste of the translator. The latter is rather to be regarded as the representative of the age in which he lived, and his interpretation is to be taken as reflecting the exegesis of that period. That there were certain limits beyond which the translator might not venture, without incurring the censure of the authorities, may be inferred from the few instances of translation which are mentioned with disapproval in the Mishna and elsewhere. Thus the rendering of Lev. xviii. 21 a by " Thou shalt not give any of thy seed to an Aramean woman to make her conceive " is censured, presumably because the prohibition of Molech worship is thereby ignored. 3 In the same Mishnic passage it is forbidden to render Lev. xviii. 7 as if the text had " his father " and " his mother." 4 Yet another translation (that of Lev. xxii. 28) is mentioned with disapproval in the Jerusalem Talmud, 5 though it has been preserved in the Targum PseudoJonathan ad loc.° A definite rule for guidance in translating is apparently preserved in the Tosefta, 7 where it is stated that " he who translates quite literally is a liar, while he who adds anything is a blasphemer," Exod. xxiv. 10, " and they saw the God of Israel " is cited as an example. It is argued that the literal rendering of this passage is inadmissible, because no man has ever seen God; on the other hand, the insertion of the word " angel " before God would be blasphemous. The correct rendering is stated to be " and they saw the glory of God." But it is doubtful if the rule here given was ever intended to Tos. Meg., 3; Jer. Meg., iv. 3--3; Sota, 39h; Sopherim, xi. 1, xii. 7, xiv. 2.

Meg., 25, 25b; cf. Ginsburger, M.G.W.J., xliv. I f.

3 Meg., iv. 9; cf. Jer. Meg., iv. 9; Sanhed., ix. 1, where the meaning is given as - " He who marries an Aramean woman and raiseth up children by her raiseth up enemies to God "; for another explanation, see Ginsburger, M.G.W.J., xliv. 5 f.

4 Cf. Berliner, Targum Onkelos, ii. p. 85 f.

5 Meg., iv. to. Cf. Ginsburger, l.c.

7 Tos. Meg., end.

apply to more than the particular type of passage exemplified: if it had been applied generally, it would have clashed with the whole trend of Midrashic and Targumic paraphrase.

There can be little doubt that the Targums existed for a long time in oral form. They belonged to the class of traditional literature which it was forbidden to write down, and, so long at least as the Targum tradition remained active, there would be little temptation to commit it to writing. But it is highly probable that this prohibition, in the case of the Targums, was mainly enforced with respect to those parts of the Old Testament which were read in the synagogal services, e.g. the Law and the Prophets, and that it was less rigidly observed in regard to the other portions of Scripture: a written translation of the lafter would be of special value for the purpose of private study. Hence there is no need to reject the tradition as to the existence of a written Targum on Job in the time of Gamaliel I. 8 (1st century A.D.), especially as references to Targum MSS. occur in the Mishna and elsewhere. 9 But, as Dalman has pointed out,' 0 it was not these manuscripts, but the living tradition of the learned which was recognized as authoritative throughout the period which closes with the compilation of the Talmud.. .. The official recognition of a written Targum, and therefore the final fixing of its text belongs to the post-Talmudic period, and is not to be placed earlier than the 5th century.

I. Targums On The Pentateuch (t) The so-called Targum of Onkelos admittedly owes its name to a mistaken reference in the Babylonian Talmud." In its original context, that of the Jerusalem Talmud, 12 the passage refers to the Greek translation of Aquila. With the exception of this one reference, the Targum is always introduced in the Babylonian Talmud by the phrase " as we translate " (irn:inr_-r7), or " our Targum " (p' 1 ?urn): it is probable, therefore, that the name of the author, or authors, was unknown to the Babylonian Jews. It is first quoted under the title of the Targum of Onkelos by Gaon Sar Shalom (d. A.D. 859). According to Dalman, 13 its language differs in many material particulars from the Aramaic dialects of the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds, and is more closely allied to the biblical Aramaic. On the linguistic side, therefore, we may regard Onkelos " as a faithful representative of a Targum which had its rise in Judaea, the old seat of Palestinian literary activity." It is not, however, to be regarded as a reproduction in written form of a Palestinian translation, but rather as an official translation of the Law, in the Judaean dialect, which was carried out in Babylon, probably about the 4th century A.D.: in its final form, according to Dalman (l.c.) it cannot be earlier than the 5th century. The translation, as a whole, is good, and adheres very closely to the Hebrew text, which has not been without its influence on the Aramaic idiom; at times, especially in the poetical passages, a freer and more paraphrastic method is employed, and the version shows evident traces of Halakhic and Haggadic expansion. The Hebrew text used by the translators appears to have been practically identical with the Massoretic. The version was held in high esteem in Babylon, and, later, in Palestine, and a special Massora was made for it. The latest edition is Berliner's reprint (1884) of the Editio Sabbioneta (1557) Of all the extant Targums that of Onkelos affords perhaps the most characteristic and consistent example of the exeget i cal methods employed in these works. Two principles may be said to have guided the translators. On the one hand, they had, as their primary object, to produce a faithful rendering of the original which at the same time would be intelligible to the people: for this purpose a purely literal translation would be insufficient. On the other hand, they regarded it as necessary to present the sacred text in such a manner as best to convey the particular form of interpretation then current. But later Jewish exegesis was especially concerned to eliminate everything in the sacred writings that might give rise to misconception with respect to God on the part of the unlearned. Hence we find various expedients adopted in the Targums for avoiding any reference to the Deity, which might be misunderstood by the people, or which involved apparent irreverence. Examples of this peculiarly Targumic method are: (I) the insertion of " word " (x1n^n), " glory " (siip'), " presence " (x7':w) before the divine name, when God is referred to in his 8 Tos. Shabb.; cf. Jer. Shabb., xvi.; Bab. Shabb., I I 5a; Sopherim, v. xv.

9 Jad. iv. 5, and see the preceding references.

"° Grammatik des jiidisch-paldstinischen Aramdisch, p. 12 f.

" Meg. 3a. n Meg. i. 9. u Gramm. p. 12 f.

dealings with men; (2) the insertion of the preposition " before " (c1p) when God is the object of any action; (3) the use of the passive for the active voice, e.g. nnp for yii' or mtn; "p y'aw for ynr'; ' uni for -Inv, ras', in', tin; n'nn for i:i; (4) the use of periphrasis for the more pronounced anthropomorphisms, such as " to smell," " to taste," or when the use of the status constructus might seem to bring God into too close connexion with men or things; (5) the use of different expressions, or the insertion of a preposition before the divine name, when God is compared to man, or the same action is predicated of God and man; (6) the use of " for non' and n'n5rr, and the rendering R i ni or r;Iya when a'n (21. e denotes heathen gods. Instances of this endeavour to maintain, as it were, a respectful distance in speaking of God occur on every page of the Targums, but cases also occur, by no means infrequently, where human actions and passions are ascribed to God. The explanation of this phenomenon is to be found in the fact that anthropomorphisms, as such, were not necessarily avoided, but only in those cases where they might be misunderstood by the people.

(2) In addition to the Targum of Onkelos two other Targums to the Pentateuch are cited by Jewish authorities, under the titles of the Targum Jerushalmi and the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel. Of these the former contains only portions of the Pentateuch,' and is therefore usually designated the Fragmentary (Jerusalem) Targum. In a large number of cases this Targum gives merely a variant rendering of single words: where longer passages are given it presents a very paraphrastic translation, and bears all the marks of a late Haggadic composition. Its fragmentary character arises from the fact that it is simply a collection of variae lectiones and additions to the version of Onkelos, intended possibly for use at public services.' That this Targum was redly intended to supplement that of Onkelos is shown by comparing the two texts. For the former is frequently unintelligible without the latter, since it offers no translation of those words, or clauses, for which it gave the same rendering as Onkelos. On the other hand, the version of Onkelos affords just the supplementary material that is required to restore sense to the shorter text. Moreover, in not a few cases the Fragmentary Targum itself attaches to its variant rendering the succeeding word from Onkelos, thus indicating that from this point onwards the latter version is to be followed. More conclusive still is the fact that in a number of old Mahzor MSS. we find Targums to the Song of Moses and to the Decalogue, in which this process has been fully carried out, the text of Onkelos being given as well as the variants of the Fragmentary Targum.

The second Jerusalem Targum, or the so-called pseudo-Jonathan, admittedly owes its ascription to Jonathan ben Uzziel to the incorrect solution of the abbreviated form by which it was fre quently cited, viz. '"n, or Targum Jerushalmi ('t?5wn' ?unn), This Targum represents a later and more successful attempt to correct and supplement the Targum of Onkelos by the aid of variants derived from another source. It is not, however, a revision of the Fragmentary Targum - for it is clearly independent of that version - but is rather a parallel, if somewhat later, production, in which the text of Onkelos is already combined with a number of variants and additions. It is noticeable that this Targum has been considerably influenced by the Targum of Onkelos, and in this respect, as in others, is far less trustworthy than the Fragmentary Targum, as a witness to the linguistic and other peculiarities of the source from which they were both derived. It exhibits, to a marked degree, that tendency to expand the text by additions of every kind, which has been already noted as characteristic of the later stages of Targumic composition. Homilies, legends, traditional sayings and explanations, in fact every form of Haggadic expansion are utilized by the Targumist, so that at times his works convey the impression more of a late Midrash than of a translation. This impression is fully confirmed by (a) a comparison of the Talmud and later Midrashic works with which it has obvious points of contact, and (b) the historical allusions, such as the mention of Constantinople (Num. xxiv. 19), of a wife and daughter of Mahomet (Gen. xxi. 21), and the references to Esau and Ishmael as representative world-powers (Gen. xlix. 26; Deut. xxxiii. 2; cf. Fragm. Tg. to Gen. xlix. 2; Deut. xxxiii. 2).3 In its translation of the Hebrew pseudo-Jonathan is careful to avoid anthropomorphisms and to give the sense of all but the most simple metaphors, though his method is not so thorough as that of Onkelos. Every endeavour is made to gloss over, or modify, expressions which seemed derogatory to the ancestors of ' According to Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vortrdge, 2nd ed., p. 80, its contents bear the following proportions to Genesis, z o o to Exodus, about 1 1 4 to Leviticus, s to Numbers, and 4 to Deuteronomy.

2 Seligsohn, De duabus Hier. Pent. paraphrasibus (1858): for a fuller discussion see Bassfreund, " Das Fragmenten Targum " in M.G.W.J. xl.

3 The view that Deut. xxxiii. 11 could only have been written by a contemporary of John Hyrcanus cannot be maintained; cf. Dalman, Gramm. p. 30 f., and, more fully, Bassfreund, M.G.W.J. xliv. (1900), pp. 481 f.

Israel, and to amplify everything which redounded to their credit. On the other hand, pseudo-Jonathan shows a tendency to condense those additions which it has in common with the Fragmentary Targum: in particular he omits all quotations from Scripture.

In regard to the source of the two Palestinian Targums to the Pentateuch, we must accept the conclusion of Bassfreund 4 that they both derived their variants from a complete Targum Jerushalmi. This conclusion is based on the following grounds: (i) Various Jewish works dating from the iith to the 14th century contain a large number of quotations under the heading '"n, i.e. Targum Jerushalmi. Of these rather less than a quarter are found in the Fragmentary Targum, the remainder being mostly taken from passages for which no translation of that Targum exists. This completer work, however, cannot be identified with the pseudo-Jonathan, for more than half of these quotations are missing from the latter; and further, in passages for which we possess both the Targums, the text of the Fragmentary Targum agrees much more closely with the quotations: the linguistic evidence also shows that the Fragmentary Targum is a more faithful representative of the original source; (2) the pseudo-Jonathan displays a curious inconsistency in its rendering of particular words and phrases, at one time following Onkelos, at Another a different source. That this latter source is the Targum Jerushalmi is proved, in the majority of cases, by a comparison with the Fragmentary Targum; (3) quotations from Scripture preserved in the Fragmentary Targum point to a completer version than our present Fragmentary Targum. But though the existence of an older Targum Jerushalmi cannot be denied, it is clear that the form in which it was utilized by the two Palestinian Targums cannot be of an early date, for many of the latest elements in the Fragmentary and pseudo-Jonathan Targums were undoubtedly derived from their common source. Moreover, the existence of a written Palestinian Targum at an early date is expressly excluded by the evidence at our disposal. In the middle of the 2nd century A.D. R. Simon ben Gamaliel forbade the translation of the Pentateuch in any language but Greek; and this command was upheld by R. Johanan in the 3rd century. Even in the time of the later Amoraim there is no mention of a written Palestinian Targum, though the official Babylonian Targum is repeatedly referred to in the Babylonian Talmud, in the Midrashim, and at times also by Palestinian Amoraim. These considerations are sufficient to disprove the theory of Geiger, 6 which has for so long been accepted in one form or another, that the Targum of Onkelos was merely a reproduction of the old Targum Jerushalmi revised in accordance with the " new I-Ialakha " introduced by R. Aqiba. Yet it is impossible to hold that the Targum of Onkelos was the only representative of Targum tradition that existed among the Jews down to the 7th century A.D., the period to which the internal evidence compels us to assign the Targum Jerushalmi as used by the Fragmentary Targum and the pseudo-Jonathan. We must rather assume that a tolerably fixed Targum tradition existed in Palestine from quite early times. The language employed in the Targum of Onkelos is, admittedly, Palestinian or Judaean, and since language and thought are ever closely allied, we may conjecture that the current Judaean exegesis, which, in part at least, must go back to the 2nd century A.D., was not without its influence on the Babylonian translation. This old Targum tradition, however, never received official recognition in Palestine, and was unable, therefore, to hold its own when the new Babylonian version was introduced. We may infer that, as time went on, a reaction in favour of the older renderings made itself felt, with the result that these were collected in the form of variants and appended to Onkelos. But the authority enjoyed by the latter rendered it secure against any encroachments; hence any later expansions, especially those of a popular Haggadic character, naturally found their way into the less stereotyped Targum Jerushalmi. Unfortunately, we possess but little material for controlling the texts either of the Fragmentary Targum or of the pseudo-Jonathan. Of the latter only one manuscript (Brit. Museum Add. 27031) is known to exist, and this has been utilized by Ginsburger in his Pseudo-Jonathan (Berlin, 1903). The same scholar has also edited the Paris manuscript (110) of the Fragmentary Targum (Das Fragmententhargum, Berlin, 1899), to which he has added the variants from Cod. Vat. 440 and the manuscripts at Nuremberg and Leipzig. In the same edition are collected the various fragments of the Targum Jerushalmi, which are to be found in the early editions of the Pentateuch and in part also in various manuscripts.

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The Aramaic translation of the Bible. It forms a part of the Jewish traditional literature, and in its inception is as early as the time of the Second Temple. The verb (missing hebrew text) , from which the noun (missing hebrew text) is formed, is used in Ez 4:7 in reference to a document written in Aramaic, although "Aramit" (A. V. "in the Syrian tongue") is added. In mishnaic phraseology the verb denotes a translation from Hebrew into any other language, as into Greek (see Yer. Ḳid. 59a, line 10, and Yer. Meg. 71c, line 11; both statements referring to the Greek version of Aquila); and the noun likewise may refer to the translation of the Biblical text into any language (see Meg. ii. 1; Shab. 115a). The use of the term "Targum" by itself was restricted to the Aramaic version of the Bible (see Bacher, "Die Terminologie der Tannaiten," pp. 205 et seq.). In like manner, the Aramaic passages in Genesis, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezra were briefly called "Targum," while the Hebrew text was called "Miḳra" (see Yad. iv. 5; Shab. 115b).

As an intepretation of the Hebrew text of the Bible the Targum had its place both in the synagogal liturgy and in Biblical instruction, while the reading of the Bible text combined with the Targum in the presence of the congregation assembled for public worship was an ancient institution which dated from the time of the Second Temple, and was traced back to Ezra by Rab when he interpreted the word "meforash" (Neh 8:8) as referring to the Targum (Meg. 3a; Ned. 37b; comp. Yer. Meg. 74d, line 48, Gen. R. xxxvi., end). The rules for reading the Targum are formulated in the Halakah (see Meg. iii. and the Talmud ad loc.; Tosef., Meg. iv.). The Targum was to be read after every verse of the parashiyyot of the Pentateuch, and after every third verse of the lesson from the Prophets. Excepting the Scroll of Esther, which might be read by two persons in turn, only one person might read the Targum, as the Pentateuch or prophetic section also was read by a single person. Even a minor might read the Targum, although it was not fitting for him to do so when an adult had read the text. Certain portions of the Bible, although read, were not translated (as Gen 35:22), while others were neither read nor translated (as Num 6:24-26; II Sam. xi.-xiii.). The reader was forbidden to prompt the translator, lest any one should say that the Targum was included in the text of the Bible (Ulla in Meg. 32a). With regard to the translation of Biblical passages, Judah ben Ilai, the pupil of Akiba, declared that whosoever rendered a verse of the Bible in its original form was a liar, while he who made additions was a blasphemer (Tosef., Meg., end; Ḳid. 49a; comp. the geonic responsum in Harkavy, "Responsen der Geonim," pp. 124 et seq., and the quotation from Midr. ha-Gadol in "J. Q. R." vi. 425). A passage in Ab. R. N. (Recension B, xii. [ed. Schechter, p. 24]) referring to R. Akiba's early training says that he studied the Bible and the Targum; but allusions to the Targum as a special subject of study in connection with the Bible are excessively rare. It must be assumed, however, that the Targum was an integral part of the Biblical course of study designated as "Miḳra"; and Judah b. Ilai declared that only he who could read and translate the Bible might be regarded as a "ḳaryana," or one thoroughly versed in the Bible (Ḳid. 49a). In Sifre, Deut. 161 the Targum is mentioned as a branch of study intermediate between the Miḳra and the Mishnah.

Liturgical Use.

The professional translator of the text of the Bible in the synagogue was called "targeman" ("torgeman," "metorgeman" ; the common pronunciation being Meturgeman; see Meg. iv. 4). His duties naturally formed part of the functions of the communal official ("sofer") who bad charge of Biblical instruction (see Yer. Meg. 74d). Early in the fourth century Samuel ben Isaac, upon entering asynagogue, once saw a teacher ("sofer") read the Targum from a book, and bade him desist. This anecdote shows that there was a written Targum which was used for public worship in that century in Palestine, although there was no definitely determined and generally recognized Targum, such as existed in Babylonia.


The story is told (Yer. Ber. 9c) that Jose b. Abin, an amora of the second half of the fourth century, reprehended those who read a Targum to Lev 22:28 which laid a biased emphasis on the view that the command contained in that verse was based on God's mercy (this same paraphrase is still found in the Palestinian Targum); see also the statements on the erroneous translation of Ex 12:8, Lev 6:7, and Deut 26:4 in Yer. Bik. 65d; as well as Yer. Kil. viii., end, on Deut 14:5; and Meg. iii. 10 on Lev 18:21. In addition to the anecdotes mentioned above, there are earlier indications that the Targum was committed to writing, although for private reading only. Thus, the Mishnah states (Yad. iv. 5) that portions of the text of the Bible were "written as a Targum," these doubtless being Biblical passages in an Aramaic translation; and a tannaitic tradition (Shab. 115a; Tosef., Shab. xiv.; Yer. Shab. 15c; Massek. Soferim v. 15) refers to an Aramaic translation of the Book of Job which existed in written form at the time of Gamaliel I., and which, after being withdrawn from use, reappeared in the lifetime of his grandson Gamaliel II. The Pentateuchal Targum, which was made the official Targum of the Babylonian schools, was at all events committed to writing and redacted as early as the third century, since its Masorah dates from the first half of that century. Two Palestinian amoraim of the same century urged the individual members of the congregation to read the Hebrew text of the weekly parashah twice in private and the Targum once, exactly as was done in public worship: Joshua ben Levi recommended this practise to his sons (Ber. 8b), while Ammi, a pupil of Johanan, made it a rule binding on every one (ib. 8a). These two dicta were especially instrumental in authorizing the custom of reciting the Targum; and it was considered a religious duty even in later centuries, when Aramaic, the language of the Targum, was no longer the vernacular of the Jews. Owing to the obsolescence of the dialect, however, the strict observance of the custom ceased in the days of the first geonim. About the middle of the ninth century the gaon Naṭronai ben Hilai reproached those who declared that they could dispense with the "Targum of the scholars" because the translation in their mother tongue (Arabic) was sufficient for them (see Müller, "Einleitung in die Responsen der Geonen," p. 106).

At the end of the ninth or in the beginning of the tenth century Judah ibn Ḳuraish sent a letter to the community of Fez, in which he reproved the members for neglecting the Targum, saying that he was surprised to hear that some of them did not read the Targum to the Pentateuch and the Prophets, although the custom of such a perusal had always been observed in Babylonia, Egypt, Africa, and Spain, and had never been abrogated. Hai Gaon (d. 1038) was likewise much astonished to hear that the reading of the Targum had been entirely abandoned in Spain, a fact which he had not known before (Müller, l.c. p. 211); and Samuel ha-Nagid (d. 1056) also sharply criticized the scholars who openly advocated the omission of the reading of it, although according to him the Targum was thus neglected only in the northern provinces of that country (see the responsum in Berliner, "Onḳelos," ii. 169). As a matter of fact, however, the custom did entirely cease in Spain; and only in southern Arabia has it been observed until the present time (see Jacob Saphir, "Eben Sappir," i. 53b; Berliner, l.c. p. 172), although the Targum to the hafṭarot, together with introductions and poems in Aramaic, long continued to be read in some rituals (see Zunz, "G. V." pp. 410, 412; idem, "Literaturgesch." pp. 21 et seq. ; idem, "Ritus," pp. 53, 60 et seq., 81; Bacher, in "Monatsschrift," xxii. 220-223). In the synagogues of Bokhara the Persian Jews read the Targum, together with the Persian paraphrase of it, to the hafṭarah for the last day of Passover (Isa 10:32-xii.; see "Zeit. für Hebr. Bibl." iv. 181).

The Aramaic translations of the Bible which have survived include all the books excepting Daniel and Ezra (together with Nehemiah), which, being written in great part in Aramaic, have no Targum, although one may have existed in ancient times.

Targumim to the Pentateuch:


Targum Onḳelos or Babylonian Targun: The official Targum to the Pentateuch, which subsequently gained currency and general acceptance throughout the Babylonian schools, and was therefore called the "Babylonian Targum" (on the tosafistic name "Targum Babli" see Berliner, l.c. p. 180; "Mordekai" on Giṭ. ix., end, mentions an old "Targum Babli" which was brought from Rome). The title "Targum Onḳelos" is derived from the well-known passage in the Babylonian Talmud (Meg. 3a) which discusses the origin of the Targumim: "R. Jeremiah [or, according to another version, R. Ḥyya bar Abba] said: 'The Targum to the Pentateuch was composed by the proselyte Onḳelos at the dictation of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua.'" This statement is undoubtedly due to error or ignorance on the part of the scholars of Babylonia, who applied to the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch the tradition current in Palestine regarding the Greek version of Aquila. According to Yer. Meg. 71c, "Aquila the proselyte translated the Pentateuch in the presence of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua, who praised him in the words of Ps 453." In this passage, moreover, R. Jeremiah is described as transmitting the tradition on the authority of R. Ḥiyya bar Abba. There is no doubt that these accounts coincide: and the identity of (missing hebrew text) and (missing hebrew text) is also clear, so that Onḳelos and Aḳylas (Aquila) are one and the same person (but see Onḳelos). In the Babylonian Talmud only the first form of the name occurs; the second alone is found in the Palestinian Talmud; while even the Babylonian Talmud mentions Onḳelos as the author of the Targum only in the passage cited. The statements referring to Onḳelos as the author of the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch originated in the post-Talmudic period, althoughthey are based entirely on Meg. 3a. The first citation of a targumic passage (on Gen 45:27) with the direct statement "Onḳelos has translated" occurs in Pirḳe R. El. xxxviii. The gaon Sar Shalom, writing in the ninth century, expressed himself as follows on the Targum Onḳelos: "The Targum of which the sages spoke is the one which we now have in our hands; no sanctity attaches to the other Targumim. We have heard it reported as the tradition of ancient sages that God wrought a great thing [miracle] for Onḳelos when He permitted him to compose the Targum." In a similar fashion Maimonides speaks of Onḳelos as the bearer of ancient exegetic traditions and as a thorough master of Hebrew and Aramaic (see Bacher, "Die Bibelexegese Moses Maimunis," pp. 38-42). The designation "Targum Onḳelos" was accordingly established in the early portion of the geonic period, and can no longer be effaced from the terminology of Jewish learning.

Babylonian Influence.

The accepted Targum to the Pentateuch has a better claim to the title "Targum Babli" (Babylonian Targum), as has already been explained. It is noteworthy, moreover, that the Jews of Yemen received this Targum, like that to the Prophets, with the Babylonian punctuation (see Merx, "Chrestomathia Targumica"); and the colophon of a De Rossi codex states that a Targum with Babylonian punctuation was brought to Europe (Italy) from Babylon in the twelfth century, a copy with the Tiberian punctuation being made from it (see Berliner, l.c. ii. 134). In the Babylonian Talmud the accepted Targum is called "our Targum," thus connoting the Targum of Babylonia or of the Babylonian academies (Ḳid. 49a, "Targum didan," for which Maimonides, in his "Yad," Ishut, viii. 4, substitutes "Targum Onḳelos"). Passages from the Targum are cited with great frequency in the Babylonian Talmud with the introductory remark "As we translate" (Berliner l.c. p. 112), and the Babylonian geonim also speak of "our Targum" as contrasted with the Palestinian Targum (see Hai Gaon in Harkavy, l.c. Nos. 15, 248).

The Targum Onḳelos, moreover, shows traces of Babylonian influence in its language, since its vocabulary contains: (1) Aramaic words which occur elsewhere in the Babylonian vernacular, e.g., the Hebrew (missing hebrew text) ("to see") is always translated by (missing hebrew text) , and not by the Palestinian (missing hebrew text) , while the Hebrew (missing hebrew text) ("round about") is rendered by (missing hebrew text) and not by (missing hebrew text) ; (2) Aramaic words used to render Greek words found in the Palestinian Targum; (3) a few Persian words, including "naḥshirkan" (hunter; Gen 25:27); and "enderun" (ib. xliii. 30) instead of the Greek κοιτών found in the Palestinian Targum. These peculiarities, however, justify only the assumption that the final redaction of the Targum Onḳelos was made in Babylonia; for its diction does not resemble in any other respects the Aramaic diction found in the Babylonian Talmud; indeed, as Nöldeke has shown ("Mandäische Grammatik," p. xxvii.), "the official Targum, although redacted in Babylonia, is composed in a dialect fundamentally Palestinian." This statement is confirmed by the text of the Targum Onḳelos, by the results of historical investigations of its origin, and by a comparison of it with the Palestinian Targum. These researches into its history show that the Targum which was made the official one was received by the Babylonian authorities from Palestine, whence they had taken the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and the halakic midrashim on the Pentateuch. The content of the Targum shows, moreover, that it was composed in Palestine in the second century; for both in its halakic and in its haggadic portions it may be traced in great part to the school of Akiba, and especially to the tannaim of that period (see F. Rosenthal in "Bet Talmud," vols. ii.-iii.; Berliner, l.c. p. 107). The Targum Onḳelos can not be compared unqualifiedly with the Palestinian Targum, however, since the latter has been preserved only in a much later form; moreover the majority of those fragments which are earliest seem to be later than the redaction of the Targum Onḳelos. Yet even in this form the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch furnishes sufficient evidence that the two Targumim were originally identical, as is evident from many verses in which they agree word for word, such as Lev 6:3, 4, 6-7, 9, 11, 18-20, 22-23. The difference between the two is due to two facts: (1) the Pentateuchal Targum of the tannaitic period was subjected to a thorough and systematic revision, which may have taken place in Palestine, this revision of subject-matter being followed by a textual revision to make it conform with the vernacular of the Babylonian Jews; and (2) the version of the Targum resulting from this double revision was accepted and committed to writing by the Babylonian academies.


Despite the fact that the Targum was thus reduced to a fixed form in Babylonia, the Palestinian meturgemanim had full license to revise and amplify it, so that the final redaction as it now exists in the so-called "Targum pseudo-Jonathan" (and this is true in even a greater degree of the "Fragmenten-Targum" mentioned below), though it was made as late as the seventh century, approximates the original Targum much more closely both in diction and in content, and includes many elements earlier than the Targum bearing the name of Onḳelos and belonging in its final form to the third century.

The Masorah on the Targum Onḳelos is first mentioned in the "Patshegen," a commentary on this same Targum, written in the thirteenth century; it was edited by Berliner (1877), and reedited in alphabetical order by Landauer ("Letterbode," viii., ix.). This Masorah contains statements concerning the divergencies between the schools of Sura and Nehardea, exactly as the Talmud (Zeb. 54a; Sanh. 99b) alludes to controversies between Rab and Levi over individual words in the Targum. The system followed in the revision of the subject-matter which resulted in the Targum Onḳelos becomes clear when the latter is compared with the Palestinian Targum. The principal object being to conform the Targum as closely as possible to the original text both in diction and in content, explanatory notes were omitted, and the Hebrew words were translated according to their etymological meaning, although the geographical names were retainedin their Hebrew form almost without exception, and the grammatical structure of the Hebrew was closely followed. The paraphrastic style of translation affected by the Targumim generally, in order to obviate all anthropomorphisms in reference to God, is observed with special care in the Targum Onḳelos, which employs paraphrases also in the poetic sections of the Pentateuch and in many other cases. In some instances the original paraphrase is abbreviated in order that the translation may not exceed the length of the text too greatly; consequently this Targum occasionally fails to represent the original, as is evident from paraphrases preserved in their entirety in the Palestinian Targum, as in the case of Gen 4:7, 10; xlix. 3, 22; Ex 14:15; Num 24:4; and Deut 29:17. An example of an abbreviated paraphrase is found also in the Targum Onḳelos to Deut 1:44, as compared with the paraphrase in Soṭah 48b made by a Babylonian amora of the third century.

Supposed Authorship.


The Palestinian Targum (Targum Yerushalmi): A responsum of Hai Gaon, already cited with reference to the Targumim, answers the question concerning the "Targum of the Land of Israel [Palestine]" in the following words: "We do not know who composed it, nor do we even know this Targum, of which we have heard only a few passages. If there is a tradition among them [the Palestinians] that it has been made the subject of public discourse since the days of the ancient sages [here follow the names of Palestinian amoraim of the third and fourth centuries], it must be held in the same esteem as our Targum; for otherwise they would not have allowed it. But if it is less ancient, it is not authoritative. It is very improbable, however, in our opinion, that it is of later origin" (comp. "R. E. J." xlii. 235). The following statement is quoted ("Kol Bo," § 37) in the name of R. Meïr of Rothenburg (13th cent.) with reference to the Targum: "Strictly speaking, we should recite the weekly section with the Targum Yerushalmi, since it explains the Hebrew text in fuller detail than does our Targum; but we do not possess it, and we follow, moreover, the custom of the Babylonians." Both these statements indicate that the Palestinian Targum was rarely found in the Middle Ages, although it was frequently quoted after the eleventh century (see Zunz, "G. V." pp. 66 et seq.), especially in the "'Aruk" of Nathan b. Jehiel, which explains many words found in it. Another Italian, Menahem b. Solomon, took the term "Yerushalmi" (which must be interpreted as in the title "Talmud Yerushalmi") literally, and quoted the Palestinian Targum with the prefatory remark, "The Jerusalemites translated," or "The Targum of the People of the Holy City." After the fourteenth century Jonathan b. Uzziel, author of the Targum to the Prophets, was believed to have been the author of the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch also, the first to ascribe this work to him being Menahem Recanati in his commentary on the Pentateuch. This error was probably due to an incorrect analysis of the abbreviation (missing hebrew text) (= "Targum Yerushalmi"), which was supposed to denote "Targum Jonathan." The statement in the Zohar (i. 89a, on Gen 15:1) that Onḳelos translated the Torah, and Jonathan the Miḳra, does not mean, as Ginsburger thinks ("Pseudo-Jonathan," p. viii.), that according to the Zohar Jonathan translated the entire Bible, and thus the Pentateuch; but the word "Miḳra" here refers to the Prophets (see "R. E. J." xxii. 46). It is possible, however, that the view, first advanced by Recanati, that Jonathan composed also a Targum on the Pentateuch, was due to a misinterpretation of the passage in the Zohar. Azariah dei Rossi, who lived in the sixteenth century, states ("Me'or 'Enayim," ed. Wilna, p. 127) that he saw two manuscripts of the Palestinian Targum which agreed in every detail, one of which was entitled "Targum Yerushalmi" and the other "Targum Jonathan b. Uzziel." The editio princeps of the complete Palestinian Targum was printed from the latter (Venice, 1591), thus giving currency to the erroneous title.

Relation to Onḳelos.

In addition to the complete Palestinian Targum (pseudo-Jonathan) there exist fragments of the Palestinian Targum termed "Targum Yerushalmi"; but of these fragments, comprised under the generic term "Fragment-Targum," only those were until recently known which were first published in Bomberg's "Biblia Rabbinica" in 1518 on the basis of Codex Vaticanus No. 440. A few years ago, however, Ginsburger edited under the title "Das Fragmententhargum" (Berlin, 1899) a number of other fragments from manuscript sources, especially from Codex Parisiensis No. 110, as well as the quotations from the Targum Yerushalmi found in ancient authors. This work rendered a large amount of additional material available for the criticism of the Palestinian Targum, even though a considerable advance had already been made by Bassfreund in his "Fragmenten-Targum zum Pentateuch" (see "Monatsschrift," 1896, xl.). The general views concerning the Palestinian Targum and its relation to Onḳelos have been modified but slightly by these new publications. Although the relation of the Targum Yerushalmi to Onḳelos has already been discussed, it may be added here that the complete Palestinian Targum, as it is found in the pseudo-Jonathan, is not earlier than the seventh century; for it mentions Ayeshah ('A'ishah) (or, according to another reading, Khadija [Ḥadijah]) and Fatima, the wife and daughter of Mohammed, as wives of Ishmael, who was regarded as Mohammed's ancestor. It originated, moreover, at a period when the Targum Onḳelos was exercising its influence on the Occident; for the redactor of the Palestinian Targum in this form combined many passages of the two translations as they now exist in the Targum Yerushalmi and the Targum. Onḳelos (see "Z. D. M. G." xxviii. 69 et seq.), besides revealing his dependence on the Onḳelos in other respects as well. The fragments of the Targum Yerushalmi are not all contemporaneous; and many passages contain several versions of the same verses, while certain sections are designated as additions ("tosefta"). The text of the majority of the fragments is older than the pseudo-Jonathan; and these remnants, which frequently consist of a single word only or of a portion of a verse, have been fused according to a principle which can no longer berecognized; but they may have consisted in part of glosses written by some copyist on the margin of the Onḳelos, although without system and thus without completeness. Many of these fragments, especially the haggadic paraphrases, agree with the pseudo-Jonathan, which may, on the other hand, be older than some of them. In like manner, haggadic additions were made in later centuries to the text of the Targum, so that an African manuscript of the year 1487 alludes to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. Early in the twelfth century Judah ben Barzillai wrote as follows with regard to these additions: "The Palestinian Targum contains haggadic sayings added by those who led in prayer and who also read the Targum, insisting that these sayings be recited in the synagogue as interpretations of the text of the Bible." Despite the numerous additions to the Palestinian Targum, and notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the fragments are of later date than Onḳelos, both pseudo-Jonathan and the fragments contain much that has survived from a very early period; indeed, the nucleus of the Palestinian Targum is older than the Babylonian, which was redacted from it.

Targum to the Prophets:

Targum Jonathan.


The Official Targum to the Prophets: Like the Targum Onḳelos to the Pentateuch the Targum to the Books of the Prophets gained general recognition in Babylonia in the third century; and from the Babylonian academies it was carried throughout the Diaspora. It originated, however, in Palestine, and was then adapted to the vernacular of Babylonia; so that it contains the same linguistic peculiarities as the Targum Onḳelos, including sporadic instances of Persian words (e.g., "enderun," Jdg 15:1, xvi. 12; Joel ii. 16; "dastaka" = "dastah," Jdg 3:22). In cases where the Palestinian and Babylonian texts differ, this Targum follows the latter ("madinḥa'e"; see Pinsker, "Einleitung in die Babylonische Punktuation," p. 124). It originated, like the Targum to the Pentateuch, in the reading, during the service, of a translation from the Prophets, together with the weekly lesson. It is expressly stated in the Babylonian Talmud that the Targum accepted in Babylonia was Palestinian in origin; and a tannaitic tradition is quoted in the passage already cited from Megillah (3a), which declares that the Targum to the Prophets was composed by Jonathan b. Uzziel "from the mouths of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi," thus implying that it was based on traditions derived from the last prophets. The additional statements that on this account the entire land of Israel was shaken and that a voice from heaven cried: "Who hath revealed my secrets to the children of men?" are simply legendary reflections of the novelty of Jonathan's undertaking, and of the disapprobation which it evoked. The story adds that Jonathan wished to translate the Hagiographa also, but that a heavenly voice bade him desist. The Targum to Job, which, as already noted, was withdrawn from circulation by Gamaliel I., may have represented the result of his attempts to translate the Hagiographa (see Bacher, "Ag. Tan." i. 23 et seq.; 2d ed., pp. 20 et seq.). Jonathan b. Uzziel is named as Hillel's most prominent pupil (comp. Jew. Encyc. vi. 399, s.v. Hillel); and the reference to his Targum is at all events of historical value, so that there is nothing to controvert the assumption that it served as the foundation for the present Targum to the Prophets. It was thoroughly revised, however, before it was redacted in Babylonia. In the Babylonian Talmud it is quoted with especial frequency by Joseph, head of the Academy of Pumbedita (see Bacher, "Ag. Bab. Amor." p. 103), who says, with reference to two Biblical passages (Isa 8:6 and Zech. xii. 11): "If there were no Targum to it we should not know the meaning of these verses" (Sanh. 94b; M. Ḳ. 28b; Meg. 3a). This shows that as early as the beginning of the fourth century the Targum to the Prophets was recognized as of ancient authority. Hai Gaon apparently regarded Joseph as its author, since he cited passages from it with the words "Rab Joseph has translated" (commentary on Ṭohorot, quoted in the "'Aruk"; see Kohut, "Aruch Completum," ii. 293a, 308a). As a whole, this Targum resembles that of Onḳelos, although it does not follow the Hebrew text so closely, and paraphrases more freely, in harmony with the text of the prophetic books. The Targum to the Prophets is undoubtedly the result of a single redaction.

Targum Yerushalmi.


A Palestinian Targum (Targum Yerushalmi): This Targum to the prophetic books of the Bible is frequently cited by early authors, especially by Rashi and David Ḳimḥi. The Codex Reuchlinianus, written in 1105 (ed. Lagarde, "Prophetæ Chaldaice," 1872), contains eighty extracts from the Targum Yerushalmi, in addition to many variants given in the margin under different designations, many of them with the note that they were taken from "another copy" of the Targum. Linguistically they are Palestinian in origin. Most of the quotations given in the Targum Yerushalmi are haggadic additions, frequently traceable to the Babylonian Talmud, so that this Palestinian Targum to the Prophets belongs to a later period, when the Babylonian Talmud had begun to exert an influence upon Palestinian literature. The relation of the variants of this Targum to the Babylonian Targum to the Prophets is, on the whole, the same as that of the fragments of the Palestinian Targum to the Onḳelos; and they show the changes to which the targumic text was subjected in the course of centuries, and which are shown also both by the earliest editions of the Targum to the Prophets and by their relation to the text of the Codex Reuchlinianus. This question is discussed in detail by Bacher, "Kritische Untersuchungen zum Prophetentargum" ("Z. D. M. G." xxviii. 1-58). Additions ("tosefta.") to the Targum to the Prophets, similar in most cases to those in the Targum Yerushalmi, are also cited, especially by David Ḳimḥi. The chief extant portion of this Palestinian Targum is the translation of the hafṭarot (see Zunz, "G. V." pp. 79, 412).

Targum to the Hagiographa:

The Babylonian Targumim to the Pentateuch and that to the Prophets were the only ones which enjoyed official recognition; so that even in Babylonia there was no authorized Targum to the Hagiographa, since thisportion of the Bible furnished no sidrot for public worship. This fact is mentioned in the legend, already noted, that Jonathan ben Uzziel was forbidden to translate the Hagiographa. Nevertheless, there are extant Targumim on the hagiographic books; they are, for the most part, Palestinian in origin, although the Babylonian Talmud and its language influenced the Targumim on the Five Megillot.

A Separate Group.


To the Psalms and to Job: These Targumim form a separate group, and, in view of their entire agreement in diction, hermeneutics, and use of the Haggadah, may have a common origin. In no other Targum, excepting the Targum Sheni to Esther, does ἄγγελος, the Greek word for "angel," occur. In rendering Ps. xviii., the Targum to Psalms avails itself of the Targum to II Sam. xxii., although it does not reproduce the linguistic peculiarities found in the Babylonian recension of the latter. The Targum to Psalms contains an interesting dramatization of Ps. xci., cxviii, and cxxxvii., while both in it and in the Targum to Job the two constant themes are the law of God and its study, and the future life and its retribution. In Ps 10812 the parallel construction in the two sections of the verse is interpreted in such a way as to mention Rome and Constantinople as the two capitals of the Roman empire, thus indicating that the work was composed before the fall of Rome in 476. The Targum to Job 4:10 (where (missing hebrew text) is read instead of (missing hebrew text) ) also seems to allude to the division of the empire; and this hypothesis is confirmed by the presence of a Greek and a Latin word in the Targum to Job, which in all cases renders "nagid" or "nadib" by ἄρχων (on this word as an official title in the Jewish communities, see Schürer, "Gesch." ii. 518), and translates "ḥanef" by "delator," a term which was applied in the Roman empire to the vilest class of informers. Characteristic of both these Targumim is the fact that they contain more variants from the Masoretic text in vowel-points and even in consonants than any other Targum, about fifty of them occurring in the Targum to Psalms, and almost as many being found in the Targum to Job, despite its relative brevity. A number of these variants occur also in the Septuagint and in the Peshiṭta, thus affording a confirmation of the early date of composition assigned to the two Targumim. Both of these contain, moreover, a number of variants, fifty verses of Job having two, and sometimes three, translations, of which the second is the original, while the later reading is put first (for a confirmation of the statements in "Monatsschrift," xx. 218, see Perles, ib. vii. 147, and "R. E. J." xxi. 122). The Targum to Psalms, like that to Job, is quoted by Naḥmanides under the title "Targum Yerushalmi" (Zunz, "G. V." p. 80).


To Proverbs: This Targum differs from all other Judæo-Aramaic translations of the Bible in that it shows Syriac characteristics, and also agrees in other respects with the Peshiṭta, to which, according to Geiger ("Nachgelassene Schriften," iv. 112), one-half of it corresponds word for word. This Targum contains scarcely any haggadic paraphrases. It may be assumed either that its author used or, rather, revised the Peshiṭta, or, with a greater degree of probability, that the Targum to Proverbs was derived from the same source as the Peshiṭta of that book, the Syriac version itself being based on a translation originally intended for Jews who spoke the Syriac dialect. This Targum also is quoted in the "'Aruk" and by Naḥmanides as "Targum Yerushalmi" (Zunz, l.c.).


To the Five Megillot: These Targumim are alike in so far as all of them are essentially detailed haggadic paraphrases. This is especially the case in the Targum to Canticles, in which the book is interpreted as an allegory of the relation between God and Israel and of the history of Israel. In the "'Aruk," the first work to cite these Targumim, the Targum to Canticles is once (s.v. (missing hebrew text) ) called "Targum Yerushalmi "; and Rashi applies the same name (Targ. Yer. to Deut 3:4) to the second Targum on Esther, the so-called "Targum Sheni," which may be termed, in view of its length, and of the fact that it betrays eastern Aramaic influences in its diction, an Aramaic midrash on Esther. This last-named work, which is quoted as early as the Massek. Soferim (xiii. 6), has proved extremely popular. The Book of Esther is the only one of the hagiographic books which has a Targum noticed by the Halakah, rules for its reading having been formulated as early as the tannaitic period. The other "scrolls," however, were also used to a certain extent in the liturgy, being read on festivals and on the Ninth of Ab, which fact explains the discursiveness of their Targumim.


To Chronicles: This Targum follows the Palestinian Targumim both in language and in its haggadic paraphrases, although it shows the influence of the Babylonian Talmud also. It remained almost wholly unknown, however, not being cited even in the "'Aruk," nor included in the first editions of the Targumim. It was first published in 1680 (and 1683) by M. F. Beck from an Erfurt codex of 1343; and it was again edited, by D. Wilkins in 1715, on the basis of a Cambridge manuscript of 1347, this edition containing a later revision of the targumic text.

Apocryphal Additions to Esther.

Among the apocryphal additions to Esther the "Ḥalom Mordekai" (Dream of Mordecai) has been preserved in a Targum which is designated in a manuscript as an integral portion of the Targum to the Hagiographa. This passage, divided into fifty-one verses in Biblical fashion, has been printed in Lagarde's edition of the Targumim ("Hagiographa Chaldaice," pp. 352-365) and in Merx's "Chrestomathia Targumica," pp. 154-164 (see Bacher in "Monatsschrift," 1869, xviii. 543 et seq.). On the Targum to the Book of Tobit, known to Jerome, and preserved in a recension published by A. Neubauer ("The Book of Tobit," Oxford, 1878), see Dalman, "Grammatik des Jüdisch-Palästinensischen Aramäisch," pp. 27-29). It is probable, moreover, that a complete Aramaic translation of Ben Sira once existed (ib. p. 29).

The view prevailed at an early time that the amora Joseph b. Ḥama, who had the reputation of being thoroughly versed in the Targumim to the Prophets, was the author of the Targumim to theHagiographa. In the Masseket Soferim (l.c.) a quotation from the Targum Sheni to Esth. iii. 1 is introduced by the words "Tirgem Rab Yosef" (Rab Joseph has translated); and a manuscript of 1238, in the municipal library of Breslau, appends to the "Dream of Mordecai" the statement: "This is the end of the book of the Targum on the Hagiographa, translated by Rab Joseph." The manuscript from which the copyist of the Breslau codex took the "Dream of Mordecai," together with this colophon, included therefore all the Targumim to the Hagiographa, excepting that to Chronicles, the one to Esther standing last (see "Monatsschrift," xviii. 343). In his commentary on Ex 15:2 and Lev 20:17, moreover, Samuel ben Meïr, writing in the twelfth century, quoted targumic passages on Job and Proverbs in the name of R. Joseph. The belief that Joseph was the translator of the Hagiographa was due to the fact that the phrase frequently found in the Talmud, "as Rab Joseph has translated," was referred to the Targum to the Hagiographa, although it occurred only in passages from the Prophets and, according to one reading (Soṭah 48b), in a single passage of the Pentateuch. The Palestinian characteristics of the hagiographic Targumim, and the fact that the translations of the several books are differentiated according to the grouping noted above, prove that the view is historically baseless. The Tosafot (to Shab. 115a, below), since they ascribed a tannaitic origin to the Targum to the Hagiographa (comp. Tos. to Meg. 21b), naturally refused to accept the theory of Joseph's authorship.

Bibliography: Editions—Targum to the Pentateuch: Onḳelos, editio princeps, Bologna, 1482; Sabbionetta, 1557 (reprinted by Berliner, Targum Onkelos, Berlin, 1884); pseudo-Jonathan, Venice, 1591; Fragment-Targum, in Biblia Rabbinica, Appendix, ib. 1518. Targum to the Prophets: editio princeps, Leiria, 1494; Venice, 1518; Lagarde, Prophetœ Chaldaice, Leipsic, 1872. Prætorius has edited Joshua and Judges on the basis of manuscripts from Yemen with superlinear punctuation (1900, 1901; see Theologische Literaturzeitung, xxv. 164, xxvi. 131); Alfr. Levy, Ḳohelet, Breslau, 1905. Targum to the Hagiographa: Venice, 1517; Lagarde, Hagiographa Chaldaice, Leipsic, 1873. On the editions of the Targum to Chronicles see above. Targum Sheni, ed. L. Munk, Berlin, 1876. The polyglot and rabbinical Bibles (see Berliner, l.c. ii. 187-190), as well as numerous other editions. The three Targumim to the Pentateuch were translated into English by J. W. Etheridge (London, 1862, 1865); and German translations of considerable length are given by Winter and Wünsche, Die Jüdische Litteratur, i. 63-79. On the Targum in general: the various introductions to the Bible; Zunz, G. V. pp. 61-83; Z. Frankel, Einiges zu den Targumim, in Zeitschrift für die Religiösen Interessen des Judenthums, 1846, iii. 110-111; Geiger, Urschrift, pp. 162-167; idem, Nachgelassene Schriften, iv. 98-116; G. Dalman, Grammatik des Jüdisch-Palästinensischen Aramäisch, pp. 21-27; Hamburger, R. B. T. ii. 1167-1195; E. Nestle, in Bibeltext und Bibelübertragungen, pp. 163-170, Leipsic, 1897; Buhl, Kanon und Text des Alten Testaments, 1891, pp. 168-184. On the Targumim to the Pentateuch: Luzzatto, Oheb Ger, Vienna, 1830 (see Cracow ed. 1895); Levy, Ueber Onkelos, etc., in Geiger's Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol. 1844, vol. v.; Fürst, in Orient, Lit. 1845; A. Geiger, Das Nach Onkelos Benannte Babylonische Targum, in his Jüd. Zeit. ix. 85-194; A. Berliner, Das Targum Onkelos, ii., Berlin, 1884; Anger, De Onkelo Chaldaico, Leipsic, 1846; M. Friedmann, Onkelos und Akylas, Vienna, 1896; Schönfelder, Onkelos und Peschitta, Munich, 1864; Maybaum, Die Anthropomorphien und Anthropopathien bei Onkelos, etc., Breslau, 1870; S. Singer, Onkelos und das Verhältniss Seines Targum zur Halacha, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1881; H. Barnstein, The Targum of Onkelos to Genesis, London, 1896; E. Kautzsch, Mittheilungen über eine Alte Handschrift des Targum Onkelos, Halle, 1893; A. Merx, Anmerkungen über die Vocalisation der Targume, in Verhandlungen des Fünften Orientalistencongresses, ii. 1, 145-188; G. B. Winer, De Jonathanis in Pentateuchum Paraphrasi Chaldaica, Erlangen, 1823; H. Petermann, De Indole Paraphraseos Quem Jonathanis Esse Dicitur, Berlin, 1831; S. Baer, Geist des Yerushalmi, in Monatsschrift, 1851-52, i. 235-242; Seligsohn and Traub, Ueber den Geist der Uebersetzung des Jonathan b. Usiel zum Pentateuch, ib. 1857, vi. 69-114; Seligsohn, De Duabus Hierosolymitamis Pentateuchi Paraphrasibus, Breslau, 1858; S. Gronemann, Die Jonathan'sche Pentateuchübersetzung in Ihrem Verhältnisse zur Halacha, Leipsic, 1879; W. Bacher, Ueber das Gegenseitige Verhältniss der Pentateuch-Targumim, in Z. D. M. G. 1874, xxviii. 59-72; J. Bassfreund, Das Fragmenten-Targum zum Pentateuch, in Monatsschrift, 1896, xl. 1-14, 49, 67, 97-109, 145-163, 241-252, 352-365, 396-405; M. Neumark, Lexikalische Untersuchungen zur Sprache des Jerusalemischen Pentateuch-Targum, Berlin, 1905. On the Targum to the Prophets: Z. Frankel, Zu dem Targum der Propheten, Breslau, 1872; H. S. Levy, Targum to Isaiah i., with Commentary, London, 1889; Cornill, Das Targum zu den Propheten, i., in Stade's Zeitschrift, vii. 731-767; idem, Das Buch des Propheten Ezechiel, 1886, pp. 110-136; H. Weiss, Die Peschitha zu Deutero-Jesaja und Ihr Verhältniss zum . . . Targum, Halle, 1893; M. Sebök (Schönberger), Die Syrische Uebersetzung der Zwölf Kleinen Propheten und Ihr Verhältniss zum . . . Targum, Breslau, 1887. On the Targum to the Hagiographa: W. Bacher, Das Targum zu den Psalmen, in Monatsschrift, 1872, xxi. 408-416, 462-673; idem, Das Targum zu Hiob, ib. 1871, xx. 208-223, 283 et seq.; S. Maybaum, Ueber die Sprache des Targum zu den Sprüchen und Dessen Verhältniss zum Syrer, in Merx's Archiv, ii. 66-93; T. Nöldeke, Das Targum zu den Sprüchen, ib. pp. 246-249; H. Pinkusz, Die Syrische Uebersetzung der Proverbien . . . und Ihr Verhältniss zum Targum, in Stade's Zeitschrift, 1894, xiv. 65-141, 161-162; A. Abelesz, Die Syrische Uebersetzung der Klagelieder und Ihr Verhältniss zum Targum, Giessen, 1896; A. Weiss, De Libri Job Paraphrasi Chaldaica, Breslau, 1873; A. Posner, Das Targum Rischon zu dem Biblischen Buche Esther, ib. 1896; S. Gelbhaus, Das Targum Sheni zum Buche Esther, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1893; J. Reis, Das Targum Sheni zu dem Buche Esther, in Monatsschrift, 1876, xxv.; 1881, xxx.; P. Cassel, Zweites Targum zum Buche Esther, Leipsic, 1885; M. Rosenberg and K. Kohler, Das Targum zur Chronik, in Geiger's Jüd. Zeit. 1870, viii. 72-80, 135-163, 263-278. Hebrew works on the Targum: the commentaries Patshegen of the thirteenth century, printed in the Wilna edition of the Pentateuch, 1874; N. Adler, Netinah la-Ger, in the same edition; S. B. Scheftel, Bi'ure Onḳelos, ed. I. Perles, Munich, 1888; Abraham ben Elijah of Wilna, Targum Abraham, Jerusalem, 1896. Other Hebrew works: Isaiah Berlin, Mine Targima, Breslau, 1831; Wilna, 1836; H. Chajes, Imre Binah, Zolkiev, 1849; B. Berkowitz, 'Oṭeh Or, Wilna, 1843; idem, Leḥem we-Simlah, ib. 1850; idem, Ḥalifot u-Semalot, ib. 1874; idem, Abne Ḥiyyon, ib. 1877; J. Reifmann, Sedeh Aram, Berlin, 1875; idem, Ma'amar Darke ha-Targumim, St. Petersburg, 1891.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.


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