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The Targums
A Critical Introduction

By Paul V. M. Flesher and Bruce Chilton

The Targums
Paperback, 575 pages $69.95
Published: 15th July 2011
ISBN: 9781602583825
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Biblical Studies, Hebrew Bible

The value and significance of the targums—translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic, the language of Palestinian Jews for centuries following the Babylonian Exile—lie in their approach to translation: within a typically literal rendering of a text, they incorporate extensive exegetical material, additions, and paraphrases. These alterations reveal important information about Second Temple Judaism, its interpretation of its bible, and its beliefs.

This remarkable survey introduces critical knowledge and insights that have emerged over the past sixty years, including targum manuscripts discovered this century and targums known in Aramaic but only recently translated into English. Prolific scholars Flesher and Chilton guide readers in understanding the development of the targums, their relationship to the Hebrew Bible, their dates, their language, their place in the history of Christianity and Judaism, and their theologies and methods of interpretation.

List of Abbreviations

Section I: Getting Started
1 Introduction
2 Defining Targum
3 The Seven Rules of Targum
4 Rabbinic Literature

Section II: The Pentateuchal Targums
5 Pentateuchal Targums: The Basics
6 Sources of the Palestinian Targums
7 Targum Onqelos and the Targums of Israel
8 The Pentateuchal Targums in Rabbinic Literature
9 Dating the Targums of Israel

Section III: The Targums of the Prophets and the Writings
10 Targum Jonathan of the Prophets: Its Development as Revealed by the Targum of Isaiah
11 Targum Jonathan: Former and Latter Prophets
12 Targums to the Writings

Section IV: The Targums in Late-Antique Judaism
13 Aramaic in Judaism
14 Targums and Translation in the History of Rabbinic Literature
15 Targum as Scripture and Hidden Interpretation
16 Ancient Scripture Translations

Section V: The Targums and Early Christianity
17 Comparing the Targums and the New Testament
18 The Aramaic Retroversion of Jesus Sayings
19 The Fourth Gospel and Targumic Memra

Section VI: Conclusions and Prospects
20 Genesis 22 in the Targumim and in Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation
21 Targums in the Rabbinic World and Beyond

Appendix A: The Parallel Expansions of Genesis 28–50
Appendix B: A Guide to Babylonian Pointing

"... a truly monumental resource for the study of the Targums."

—Daniel M. Gurtner, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (2012, 55:4)

"Chilton and Flesher have finally given us the critical introduction to the Targums that has been needed for decades. The Targums is an excellent book that defines and explains these important Aramaic translations of Hebrew Scripture with with nuance and insight. Anyone interested in biblical interpretation—Jewish or Christian—must read this book. I recommend it with enthusiasm."

—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada

“Indeed, it is a desideratum for future research, after reading this excellent Critical Introduction to the Targums, that biblical scholars and students should find themselves reading a similar work that will do the same kind of justice to the scope and depth of the Arabic tarjamat in years to come.”

—Meira Polliack, Tel-Aviv University, Journal of Theological Studies

"Targum, the ancient Aramaic Bible version, bridges the gap between the Biblical and Rabbinic texts. In a critical sense, it is a valuable witness to the Hebrew text itself. A general work on the Targum has been a desiderata for a long time, and this work fits this need admirably. This book will prove to be invaluable to students of religion, Biblical scholars, students of the Ancient Near East, of Semitic linguistics, and those interested in Rabbinics and the early history of Christianity."

—Bernard Grossfeld, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Adjunct Professor of Hebrew and Aramaic, Spertus College of Judaica

"The most complete and up-to-date introduction to Targums, with clear presentation of current research, of issues involved, including Targums and the New Testament, and a rich bibliography. An outstanding achievement. Highly recommended."

—Dr. Martin McNamara, Emeritus Professor of Scripture, Milltown Institute, Dublin, Ireland

"...a most interesting engagement with Targums, of the kind that opens up the field, and its loaded and often obscure terminology, to scholars outside its immediate milieu, and to a wider audience."

—Meira Polliack, Tel-Aviv University, The Journal of Theological Studies

Paul V. M. Flesher is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Wyoming. Flesher is past president of the International Organization for Targumic Study and is the founding editor of Studies in the Aramaic Interpretation of Scripture. He lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

Bruce Chilton is Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College in Annandale, New York. His previous books include The Glory of Israel, Targumic Approaches to the Gospels, and A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 575 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL006000, REL006090, REL006210
 Baylor University Press

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