[b-hebrew] emendations of the sopherim - Tetragram - Targum evidence ?

Schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Sun Nov 19 21:22:34 EST 2006

Hi Folks,

   Since the Tetragram is so popular here I have another question :-) .

   E. W. Bullinger claimed (supposedly based on the Masorah work of Christian David 
Ginsburg) that there were 134 cases where YHVH was changed to Adonai in early 
days by the sopherim.  

The 134 Passages Where The Sopherim Altered "Jehovah" to "Adonai". 

Now in general Bullinger's understandings are contested -
eg. see the article by Gil Student.

Did the Scribes change the text of the Bible? 

    Gil is not discussing the 134, probably because he is focusing on what
is discussed in the rabbinical commentary.  In general he is disagreeing
with the claims of Bullinger.  Professor Lawrence Schiffman and Nehemiah
Gordon have also expressed the view that this is a misinterpretation. Apparently
Emanuel Tov has expressed concern as well.  I do not know the views 
expressed in the book by Carmel McCarthy or the article by Prof. Moshe Zipor.

    However the overall claims are not my emphasis in this post
although helpful scholarship there is always welcome. 

    A claim was recently made that the Targumim supported the Bullinger view -

   Psalms has 48 of the 134 and is very checkable. 
   There is a translation on the web that is consistent in Tetragram translation. 

The Psalms Targum: An English Translation by Edward M. Cook 
"The Tetragrammaton is translated as “LORD” in small caps."

   I checked five and the claim clearly did not work for the Targum on Psalms. 

    Very interesting was that some cases the Bullinger claim did not make sense
(apparently the Masoretic Text actually has the Tetragram in some of the verses 
- Psalm 22:19 and Psalm 30:8 and Psalm 2:4 may be a split reading).   

    In any case, in none of the five did the Targum on Psalms support Bullinger.

  Then the claim was reduced to Onkelos on Penteteuch and Jonathan on the Prophets,
the "official Targumim".  

At issue are 13 cases in Onkelos.
Genesis 18:3,27,30,32;   19:18;  20:4. 
Exodus   4:10,13;   5:22;   15:17;   34:9,9. 
Numbers 14:17. 

  23 in the Isaiah Targum
3:17,18;   4:4;    6:1,8,11;    7:14,20;    8:7;    9:8,17;   10:12;    11:11;   
21:6,8,16;   28:2;    29:13;   30:20;    37:24;   38:14,16;   49:14. 

 13 in other prophets
Ezekiel 18:25,29    21:13   33:17,29. 
Amos 5:16; 7:7,8; 9:1. 
Zechariah 9:4. 
Micah 1:2. 
Malachi 1:12,14. 

 49 in all (assuming we have complete Targum Jonathan for those prophets). 

It was said that in these verses ..

"the Targum Onkelos has the Hebrew letter HEY which this Targum normally uses to
indicate the presence of the name YHWH."

"the Targum Jonathan has the Hebrew letters YUD-YUD which this Targum normally
uses to indicate the presence of the name YHWH."

   Afaik none of Targum Jonathan is on the web in translation except Isaiah 53
which is not a factor here. 

   The Etheridge Onkelos Targum translation does not have the same consistent
methodology as the Psalms.
The Aramaic Targum of Onkelos on the Pentateuch 

   So research apparently has to be done with either the Aramaic or the pricier
Targum translation editions that are not on the web.


  Apparently we have only touched on the Targum and the Tetragram in a few posts here.

  We had a thread that touched on the issue of a prefix-word .. e.g. memra.. 

http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/1999-March/002210.html - M. Brody
We find frequently in the Targumim translation of the name of G-d as:
LIFNAY  [before, in the presence ] of  G-d KAVOD [glory, honor] of G-d
as well as MAMAR [statement, word] of G-d.

A discussion of the vowels in the Targumim
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-September/025993.html - Pere Casanellas 
The form with two vowels, which was read Shema (Aramaic), was found in 
the Targum (usually not under the Tetragrammaton but under two yods 
alone). According to Rudolf Meyer (/Hebräische Grammatik/, par. 17.2), 
the form with only two vowels which appears in ms. L is a later form, 
which is to be read also Shema.

  However I do not think we have discussed whether the Targum is consistent
in translating YHVH one way and Adonai and other non-Tetragram titles another.

   And whether, if there are variances, they match up precisely to the Bullinger cases.
And if there is such matching, whether the matches are a subset of a larger class of 
Targum differentiation from the Masoretic Text.

  In general, what are the real issues and the pseudo-issues :-) ?

  Can anyone explain "The Targum and the Tetragram" and perhaps do 
some checking of the actual claim at hand here ?

  Thanks for any assistance.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

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