targums

GregStffrd at aol.com GregStffrd at aol.com
Sat May 15 02:01:10 EDT 1999


In a message dated 5/14/99 7:30:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
dellbert at buckeyenet.net writes:

<< I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this but I was wondering if
 what is called the 'targums' are generally trustworthy?
 
 What I mean is, I have read where they are Aramaic paraphrases for the
 Hebrew scriptures. Are they 'too' parapharsical to get a sense of Jewish
 thought at the time or do they generally present an accurate rendition of
 the Hebrew thought, just perhaps stated differently?
 
 Dan Ebert >>


Dear Dan:

There are many instances where the Targums differ from or expand on the 
Hebrew text. They are generally considered "interpretive translations," and 
as such should be carefully considered just like any interpretive translation 
today. 

As Jim West said, they were intended to make the Hebrew text intelligible for 
those who no longer understood Hebrew.

As an example of the kind of interpretive element present in some readings, 
consider the Targum of Psalm 45:7, 8, as translated by Pierre Grelot:

"The throne of your glory, YHWH has established it forever and ever. Your 
royal scepter is a scepter of rectitude. And you, O king Messiah, because you 
have loved justice and hated impiety, YHWH, your God has anointed you with 
the oil of joy in preference to your fellows."

Compare the above to the Hebrew text, and you will get a feel for the kind of 
interpretive translation that you sometimes get in the Targums.

Greg Stafford



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