targums (More Jack)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Mon May 17 17:01:26 EDT 1999

At 02.16 17/05/99 -0500, Jack Kilmon wrote:
>I'm going to try to distill this down with considerable snipping to
>address some of the more relevent points.
>> The rest of the evidence you have provided, Jack doesn't exist for the
>> period before Herodian times. And I am still working on the notion that the
>> scrolls hit the caves in 63 BCE. I have seen nothing that contradicts this
>> idea, nothing substantive to justify texts from any period after that.
>This is where I think we are talking past each other.  I am addressing
>the Herodian period to the 2nd Jewish War.  

No, Jack. I use the 63 BCE as one point of reference, then there's the Ben
Kosebah fragments at the other end of the period we are dealing with. It
could be that you have some idea of the common people referring to a much
wider part of Palestine than I have, for, as I have said before, up to the
later Hasmoneans the Jewish state was very small. The enlargement was first
brought about through conquest and then through Roman "generosity". Aramaic
was being spoken in the Moabite area as well as Petra and Samaria. The
coast is more problematical: I could imagine a mixture of Phoenician, Greek
and Aramaic. So at the time of Alexander Jannaeus the small Hebrew language
enclave was surrounded mainly by Aramaic.

>This is the period I have studied
>epigraphically on the Aramaic issue.  My interest is the NT period.  We
>continue to go round and round on the DSS issue which we view differently
>on a linguistic basis.  

You however maintain a resounding assurance that Aramaic was the common
people's language. I've never been sure of many things, so I can't see how
you can be so sure here, given your almost total lack of evidence.

>> Do you get the basic idea, Jack. Hebrew is represented in all the text
>> types listed here. Aramaic is represented in a *quarter* of the types. Am I
>> misrepresenting the facts, Jack?
>No, you are not misrepresenting...I've never known you to do that....My
>is that at a time when Hebrew was the vehicle for the religious literate
>that you DO have 20% of this material in Aramaic and an even higher
>percentage when the biblical texts are removed from the model.  

I attempted to show that the 20% is after you remove the biblical texts, by
quoting numbers from the various caves. I don't know why you continue to
get the figure wrong. You could at least check.

Your approach is actually like pointing out the speck in a person's eye and
forgetting the log.

>This conforms to my opinion that Hebrew continued to be the working 
>language of the religious and literate (spoken and written) 

I see no reason for you to opine as you do here.

>in certain 
>social pockets while Aramaic was the spoken language of the illiterate 

Jack, you still haven't argued this case. You are repeating for the
umpteenth time without any evidence provided.

>This does not pose that
>literate pietists also did not have Aramaic as a primary language and 
>certain texts were produced for that purpose.  Some of the Hebrew texts
>are obviously language exercises such as the lesser Isaiah scroll.  This
>suggests that this dialect of Hebrew was being taught to
>students/novitiates to this group.

Your assumptions are showing through again. Scribes often got things wrong.
However, if Hebrew was important religiously as you claim, why isn't it the
biblical Hebrew that is so b. important, rather than some dialect that
doesn't make it into the OT? The argument on religious grounds is
threadbare, for it is not the biblical Hebrew that is mainly represented as
being used.

>> >> For some reason, Jack you are happily oblivious of the restricted
range of
>> >> text types in your list. Look at it. You have a few esoteric texts
>> >> (apocalyptic and priestly) such as Amram, TLevi, NewJeru, and not
much else
>> >> other than one and a bit targums (which as you know is an anachronistic
>> >> term here).
>> >
>> >The works that form a basis for Daniel/Enochian Judaism
>> As you have Enoch in Aramaic you have Jubilees in Hebrew. The pseudo-Daniel
>> material is para-biblical and there are numerous parabiblical works in both
>> languages.
>> >and the wisdom literature for that genre (such as WisSol)
>I mentioned Wisdom of Solomon because of its influence in NT times.

What are the NT times you are assuming, Jack? Late second century? How do
you know when the NT documents you are alluding to were written?

>> >and the
>> >testimentary literature such as T12P are all in Aramaic.
>> Priestly material. Not at all for the common folk, Jack.
>I am not speaking ONLY of the common folk (whom I claim spoke
>Aramaic) but also bilingual literati.

Look at the texts, Jack: T12P, TQahat, New Jerusalem, Enoch... What have
these to do with common people. The range of text types is with the Hebrew.
Aramaic shows only restricted usage and less than 20% of the total
non-biblical texts.

The outrageously large number of scribal hands guarantees that the scrolls
were not produced by a small group. The number of languages and dialects
guarantees that the texts were not produced even in one linguistic
community. The social dicta in the scrolls covers all facets of life,
therefore aimed at a wide population. The conclusion for me is that the
Hebrew texts were meant for a wide slice of life, suggesting for the common
as well as the elite classes. The Aramaic texts from Qumran are esoteric
texts, suggesting that they had nothing to do with the common folk. This
means that you get no help from Qumran, not even from the few Aramaic
translations of Hebrew texts, for you have no idea of the scope for these
texts -- you merely assume a situation found several centuries later and
retroject that situation.
>> >These
>> >works were also important to the early Jesus movement which can
>> >be viewed as arising from the same subset.
>> >
>> >How can you say the targums are anachronistic?
>> The term was coined for a later era. It has merely been retrojected into
>> the DSS. If you mean anything more than a translation from Hebrew into
>> Aramaic -- and you pointedly do -- then the term is an anachronism.
>> >The DSS Targums clearly show this was a practice.
>> The plural is misleading. The so-called Leviticus Targum is only the Azazel
>> text.
>> >TJob and TLev are LITERAL
>> >translations in the COMMON tongue.
>> Your pointlessly repeating the dogma. You first assume that it is the
>> common tongue, then all else follows.
>It is an important point, Ian, that addresses your claim of anachronism.
>11QtgJob has enough of the text preserved to show that the targum did
>not engage in the expansion, commentary and paraphrase typical of the
>later targums of the mishnaic period but is a literal translation of
>the Hebrew text into Aramaic.  This means that the primary purpose of
>this text was for lectionary purposes to Jews who did not understand

Such as the forced converts from Samaria? Perhaps the Idumeans (also
supposed to have been forced converts)? You see, you have no idea of the
destination for these documents. So your speculations have no basis.

>The cave 4 fragment shows that this targum existed in multiple
>copies.  It is true that the dating of TJob is based on Bill Albright
>and Frank Cross although other palaeographers agree.  

Can you tell me of another period in history so poorly attested that has
such an accurate sequencing of palaeography, absurdly down to about 25
years, when most other eras, even with many more exemplars, wouldn't
venture to be so specific? Scripts have been arbitrarily assigned to
limited periods without enough examples to pin down the limits of usage of
such scripts, so that a text attributed to the late Herodian period may
actually have been used decades or even centuries prior. It is not
sufficient to establish that a script was used in a particular period.

>I have seen no
>arguments against the late Herodian dating other than yours 

Does that make the Herodian dating correct? Or do we want to be scholarly
about dating?

>but I
>realize a late Herodium TJob conflicts with your thesis on the DSS.
>> >The Targums of the later
>> >Tannaitic period such as Onkelos and Pseudo-Jonathan show a
>> >DEVELOPMENT from those literal targums to an aggadic midrashic
>> >form.
>> >
>> >You seem to want to make an issue that the TLev was just a
>> >fragment
>> Fragment, maybe not. But there is not enough of the text to say that it was
>> anything more than a translation of the Azazel text.
>The two fragments contain Lev 16:12-15 and 18-21 and Milik was of the
>opinion that they may have been fragments of an entire Pentateuchal
>Targum.  The orthography suggests a "pre-Onkelos" targum.

You're of that opinion as well, but what have you got other than two scraps
of the Azazel passage?
>> >but this fragment was part of a larger complex work.
>> >It matters not that there were but 3 targums found among
>> >the surviving texts, Ian.
>> Sorry, yes, there was a small fragment of another dose of Job. Not enough
>> to assume that it was a whole text however.
>Are you of the opinion that these scribes produced fragments?

I cannot project a whole document from a single fragment. That's why I gave
the example of the Isaiah pesharim which almost certainly didn't each
contain a commentary on the whole text. The Job translation may have
contained the whole text: you don't know either way.

>> Note for example that there
>> were numerous commentaries on Isaiah, but no-one would be able to say that
>> they each originally dealt with the whole text. You would just like the
>> fragment of Job and that of Leviticus to have covered the whole text. There
>> is no necessity from the evidence we have.
>When I see a text from Job 17:14 to 42:11 my tendency is to yield Mr.
>Ockham's sharpie and conclude that it was the Book of Job.  

The debate was not on the cave 11 text, but on the cave 4 fragment. But in
the end I will concede that there just may have been a whole Leviticus and
two whole Job texts. It is irrelevant in the long haul. You cannot make of
these translations anything more than that they were translations from
Hebrew into Armaic. You don't know who the audience of those texts were.
You have no way of knowing and all that you have said on that score has
been based on assumption.

>When I see
>fragments of Leviticus 16, I conclude that it was from Leviticus.
>Job and Leviticus..even the Genesis Apocryphon..are not texts
>that are exclusively germaine to one group, hence it could very
>well be that they were imported into the library from outside
>Iin the Aramaic speaking world).

Which library are you talking about?
>> >They are STILL targumim
>> If you simply mean that they are a translation into Aramaic, then why don't
>> you just call them "Aramaic translations" and we would have one less
>> terminological problem.
>Okay..they are Aramaic translations of Hebrew Biblical texts.

I have already ascertained that you use the term in a loaded manner,
anachronous, for you need the term as used in the later period so as to
define its use in the earlier period. As I said, your discourse here is
conclusion driven.

><commonly known as Targums> <g>
>> >and the
>> >function of a targum was to translate a Hebrew text for
>> >lectionary purposes into the COMMON language.
>> Ahh, but you see, you do have more up your sleave and nothing that you can
>> justify. This is unfortunately the retrojection of a later period into the
>> DSS, which you cannot justify.
>Until the discovery of the DSS the oldest copy of Isaiah was
>from the 10th century.  Is the Great Isaiah Scroll a

Sadly this is another analogy based on guessing. As the Isaiah scroll has
been found we know the situation there. Would you like to apply the same
sort of analogy to Jim Deardorf's Testament of Jmmanuel??? (I think you
should forget the public use of analogy.)

>> >Just as the Great Isaiah Scroll was very significant for the
>> >study against the MT, the Targumim were significant because
>> >they show that they were in use long before Tannaitic times.
>> You don't know how they were used.
>A Hebrew text translated literally into Aramaic can only be
>for the purpose of reading to/by the Aramaic speaking.

By whom exactly?

>> You assume that there was only a small group that spoke Hebrew and wrote
>> the majority of the texts. I have attempted to show that the texts deal
>> with a wide range of subjects and interests including regulation of all
>> aspects of all people's lives. There are no Aramaic texts that aim to deal
>> with aspects of common people's lives.
>Aramaic as the spoken language of the common folk is a separate
>issue from Aramaic as the language of some Jewish pietists who
>would be the audience for the Aramaic texts.

How do you think social rules were communicated? Were they not read to the
people as seems to have been the general practice in Jerusalem? What were
they read from, lost copies of Aramaic versions? Why write rules for the
genereal public in Hebrew to be read to the public if the public didn't
understand Hebrew?

>> >Not is you continue to think that the linguistic distribution
>> >of these texts is parallel to the linguistic use of the
>> >people of Palestine.
>> Have you got a better sample of language use for the period?
>Yes, the ostraca, ossuarial and funerary inscriptions.

You know that there are actually very few examples of such texts which are
often only a few names, perhaps even a sentence. You also know that Herod
was politically motivated against the use of Hebrew. His coins were only in
Greek to my knowledge. (He was a devout hellenised Jew.) One would expect
that the use of Hebrew was limited during his time and lingering onward.

>> >Ian, even if ALL of the DSS were in Hebrew, it would not be
>> >relevent to the common language of Palestine.
>> You have backed out -- during your post -- from the DSS argument. But you
>> offer no tangible evidence to take its place as a representation of
>> language use for the period.
>No, I have not backed out at all. The DSS are relevent only because
>of the Aramaic texts which are probative.

Probative for the lack of substantial presence. You continue to miss the
raging elephant and note only the bee attacking you.

>> >The DSS are not the only evidence here.  The epigraphy
>> >of the time is most probative..as is the testimony of 1st
>> >century authors.
>> The DSS is the largest collection of epigraphy we have. You want to ignore
>> it because it doesn't suit your beliefs.
>No, by epigraphy I am referring to permanent substrate inscriptions.
>Ostraca, ossuarial, funerary....in addition to Aramaic epistolography.

I find this somewhat arbitrary. Had they been written on tablets you'd
probably call them epigraphy. The scrolls are written remains specifically
from the era, literary adjuncts to the archaeology, found in situ to
guarantee their placement.

>I repeat that there is barely a Hebrew inscription from Palestine,
>outside of the DSS, for all of the 1st century. The Bene Hezir tomb
>inscription is the sole exemplar.  See Avigad's "Ancient Monuments
>in the Kidron Valley."  Aramaic, on the other hand, is common.

It is not too surprising that there was little evidence for the use of
Hebrew during the reigns of the Herodian dynasty. As the last Hasmonean
used Hebrew as a rallying point, Herod eliminated it.

>> >No, they are a means of identifying the working language of
>> >the group that owned the texts.....and that was Hebrew.
>> What group, Jack? The ones that spoke Hebrew or the ones that spoke
>> Aramaic? The ones that spoke a Hebrew closer to Mishnaic Hebrew or the ones
>> that spoke a Hebrew closer to biblical Hebrew? Or again the ones that spoke
>> the Hebrew that a lot of the DSS were written in? We have at least three
>> different speech communities in Hebrew. You for some unknown reason insist
>> on making there be only one group.
>Qumran Hebrew is a post-biblical Hebrew 

"post-biblical" is another one of those assumptions. 

>different from Biblical Hebrew
>and Mishnaic Hebrew.  

It is usually described as a discrete dialect.

>It is highly contaminated with colloquialisms.

What does this actually mean? It had its own linguistic forms? What is this
"highly contaminated" business? Dialects are often different from other
dialects. Funny, isn't it?

>The only example of anything like Mishnaic Hebrew is the Copper Scroll
>which I do not believe had the same origin as the bulk of the texts.

MMT is usually classified thus as well.

Don't you find it humorous that you actually argue that the writers of the
DSS  used Hebrew for religious purposes and yet didn't even use the form in
which the biblical texts were written? I think it makes your religious
argument rather meaningless.

>The DSS cover a period somewhere between 200-300 years.  

I'm more inclined to think 150 years (but I have a friend who strenuously
advocates a range of less than thirty years -- he has Ockham on his side).

>Over that
>period of time not only do language patterns change but so would
>a single group who may have owned them.

Compare the Latin of Ovid with that of Suetonius and tell me how much
difference there actually is. Compare Italian of the 19th century with that
of the 17th and there isn't much difference. Diachronic linguistics is not
necessarily such an easily classifiable pursuit. Time is only one aspect to
be considered. So, you can't make to many assumptoins based solely on it.
>> >> >Those texts define the working language of the sect, not the general
>> >> >populace.
>> >>
>> >> Sect? What sect?
>Either Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes ot first century Presbyterians..I
>don't care. They are all sects.

Was the priesthood in the temple a sect? Were the priests who lived in the
small towns out of Jerusalem a sect? We only have the emergence of the
groups you want to talk about in the middle to late second century
according to Josephus, though he wasn't introducing them as part of the
historical fabric of his account. Despite books like that of Morton Smith,
it's not so guaranteed that there were "sects" in Jerusalem before the
emergence of the groups you mention, and then what we know of those groups
is negligible as made clear by Saldarini.

>> You are preaching, Jack. You know that the texts weren't
>> >> written in Qumran.
>I also cannot see these texts having been written/scribed at
>Qumran.  I don't even see them all as having been written by
>those who owned them.  Some or many probably came from
>various sources and were added to the texts that had been
>written by the group that owned them.

Let's cut the "group" bit, huh? You are only reifying something that's
unsubstantiated. How the scrolls got to Qumran is unknown. That they
represent only one group is unknown. We may have a broad spectrum of Hebrew
thought in these texts. This would explain the diversity of language and

>> You know that there are such a linguistic range in the
>> >> texts to see that they weren't written in one community. You know that
>> >> there are so many scribal hands that they couldn't have come from a
>> >> restricted origin -- not even over a period of hundreds of years:
there is
>> >> no small scribal tradition to be found in them.
>There was nothing stopping the group that owned this library, and wrote
>some of them, from going down to the local Ben Barnes and Bar Noble
>Bookstore and charging many other texts on their Mastercards.

Group? What group? Imagine for example the differences pointed out by
Philip Davies between the Community Rule and the Zadokite Fragments. He
strongly argues that they don't represent the same community. This
therefore suggests at least "groups".
>> >and is backed
>> >up by Josephus.  Here are two ancient authors who claim that
>> >Aramaic was the common tongue..and others that support it
>> >indirectly.  Show me ONE ancient author who states that
>> >Hebrew was the common language.
>> Josephus simply does not claim that Aramaic was the common language.
>In Ant. 1.1.1 #33 Josephus calls the Aramaic word "sabbata" THN (EBRAION

How is this any different from the way Sabbath is transliterated and
declined in the LXX (eg Ex16:23), Jack? It seems to me you have only
provided an example against your position, for though the form of Sabbath
here is dubious, Hebrew is important to Josephus.

>In Ant. 3.10.6 #252 he call the Aramaic "asartha" (EN (EBRAIOI
>ASARQA KALOUSI.  Josephus refers to Aramaic as the "Hebrew tongue."  

The thing that you seem to overlook is that Josephus talks of the Hebrew
tongue which had a significance that was quite different from Aramaic, or
the Syrian tongue. Try the following from A.J. 10.1.2:

"When Rabshakeh had made this speech in the Hebrew tongue, for he was
skillful in that language, Eliakim was afraid lest the multitude that heard
him should be disturbed; so he desired him to speak in the Syrian tongue.
But the general, understanding what he meant, and perceiving the fear that
he was in, he made his answer with a greater and a louder voice, but in the
Hebrew tongue;..."

Josephus knew the difference between the two, so that when he talked of
Hebrew tongue, he meant the Hebrew not the Aramaic. Take the account he
gives of the Aristaeus material regarding the pharaoh's interest in the
Hebrew law books:

"But be said he had been informed that there were many books of laws among
the Jews worthy of inquiring after, and worthy of the king's library, but
which, being written in characters and in a dialect of their own, will
cause no small pains in getting them translated into the Greek tongue; that
the character in which they are written seems to be like to that which is
the proper character of the Syrians, and that its sound, when pronounced,
is like theirs also; and that this sound appears to be peculiar to

Sounds like Syrian (ie Aramaic) but is peculiar to the Hebrews. He also
ascribes many Hebrew words to have been Hebrew. Josephus may not have been
a theoretical linguist but he shows he knows the difference between Hebrew
and Aramaic. Need I say more?

>So does Luke...so does the author of 4G.
>> >> The
>> >> later attacks on Marcion's gospel could easily indicate that. And
then, you
>> >> know that I believe that the DSS were in the ground in 63 BCE. There
>> >> to be only one document that has been C-14 dated that causes trouble
>> >> and it was under the care of people who used castor oil to clean the
>> >> C-14 basically indicates first century BCE, no references to people
>> >> 63 BCE, so you can't claim that either Josephus or the writer(s) of GLk
>> >> were contemporary.
>> >
>> >Maybe I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning but this
>> >goes by me.
>> Read it again. It basically says that there is no evidence to indicate that
>> the DSS were later than 63 BCE.
>Well, the C-14 testing of scroll fragments (not all were contaminated
>with castor oil), the C-14 dating of the linens and the dating of the
>scroll jars can be considered evidence.  The mean of the linen dating
>is 33 CE.  Having said that, I realize that there can be challenges.

Are you talking about the Zurich tested thread  which came in at 197-105
BCE or the Tucson piece from cave 4 which came in at 117-2 BCE? (Doudna in
Flint and VanderKam vol.1)
>> >There are those who believe there is a literary
>> >communication between Luke and Josephus...one direction or
>> >the other.
>> Flight of fancy.
>Well, I prescribe to the earlier dating of Luke...or at least
>a proto-Luke.  I wouldn't call it fancy..just unprovable.

"Unprovable" in history means "without historical value".

>> >> >>But you would probably be right to assume
>> >> >> that the writer(s) had little or no knowledge of the original
>> >> >> involved.
>> >> >
>> >> >Actually, since the Lukan scribe more accurately translates Aramaic
>> >> >idiom in Greek it suggests strongly a competence in Aramaic.
>> >>
>> >> This is Albright. But you have so few examples in GLk. How can you
>> >> make general statements about it? Statistics 101, Jack.
>> >
>> >Yes, it's Albright...he taught me...sue me.
>> Yeah, this is the guy that pushed the wandering Aramaean fantasy.
>Wandering Aramaean is, in my view, a brilliant work.  

If you like a mixture of biblical literalism and an active imagination.

>Even if you
>were a linguist of the calibre of Albright and Fitzmyer, I don't
>see how you can call it "fancy."  You can disagree with them since
>their works run counter to your theories but "fancy?"  naaaaah!

We don't want to get into a bitter-sweet analysis of the mixed heritage of
Albright, do we? It should be sufficient that the wandering aramaean has
been dropped by the wayside as romantic and unproductive.
>> >And yes, I can
>> >give linguistic exemplars from Luke that suggests he was
>> >competent in Aramaic.
>> Please do.
>One example is his handling of the "debts/sins" idiom in the LP.
>If Luke was using Matthew..or Matthew's source, he would have
>stayed with OFEILHMATA/OFEILHTAIS "debts/debtors."  Instead
>he uses AMARTIAS/OFEILONTI "SINS/INDEBTED" using the idiomatic
>meaning for the Aramaic xwbyn that is ONLY in Aramaic.
>Another example, to me, is his use of "banquet" rather than
>"wedding" in 14:8-10 for the Aramaic m$twt) capturing again
>the exclusive Aramaic idiom.
>There are also a number of parallels between Lukan phrases
>and the Aramaic texts of the DSS as well as Aramaisms in
>Lukan Greek.
>But, of course, Luke is considered by many scholars to
>have come from Syrian Antioch which was linguistically

Which should be enough to make you reconsider your presuppositions. All it
takes is someone as an informant who has had an Aramaic heritage and the
Lucan text gets a dose of Aramaic influence. It says nothing about the
Lucan writer. My neighbour the Egyptologist seaks English with an Egyptian
accent, but that doesn't make him Egyptian.

>> >You can't envision that
>> >many of the DSS people themselves were Aramaic-speaking?
>> On what grounds should I?
>Well, their having owned and written Aramaic texts like 4QTestimonia
>might give you a clue.

With this does of mystification you are avoiding the answer. (But as a
footnote, Fitzmyer note the similiarity between the beginning of the
fragment and the Samaritan Pentateuch, both joining Deut 5:28 to 18:18-19.)


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