Targum

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Targum (Heb., ‘translation’). A translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Aramaic, conveying interpretation of the text. The best-known Targum is Targum Onkelos which was regarded as authoritative. Targum Jonathan is the Targum to the prophetic books, and Targum Yerushalmi is a largely midrashic translation (or interpretation) of the Hagiographa. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan is a late targum on the whole Pentateuch (Genesis 15. 14 mentions the wives of Muḥammad as the wives of Ishmael), but preserving the earlier interpretations. Several fragmentary targumim (pl.) have survived, together with an early form of the Palestinian targum tradition in Neofiti I. From all this it is clear that there was a relatively stable, though developing, targum tradition, which is unsurprising, given the connection between targumim and synagogues.

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TARGUM

In its verb form the Hebrew root tirgem means both "to explain" and "to translate." The nominal form means "translation." Although technically it can apply to translation into and from any language, the word is employed in rabbinical literature almost exclusively for Aramaic biblical text, both the Aramaic translation of the Bible's Hebrew (cf. Meg. 3a) and the originally Aramaic portions, including individual words (e.g., Gen 31.47; cf. Shab. 115a; Yad. 4:5). The Targum, i.e., the Aramaic translation par excellence, is the Targum *Onkelos, which was regarded as so authoritative that worshipers were enjoined to read the weekly portion privately "twice in the original and once in the Targum" (Ber. 8a), a custom which is still maintained in orthodox circles. To such an extent was "targum" regarded as synonymous with Aramaic that the Kurdistani Jews, who speak Aramaic, refer to their language as "Targum."

For the language, see *Aramaic; for the Aramaic Bible translations, see *Bible, Translations.

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Targum (tär´gəm) [Aramaic,=translation], Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible. When Aramaic replaced the Hebrew tongue among the Jews of Palestine and Babylon, interpreters were called to translate and explain the scriptural passages that were read aloud during synagogue services. The oral Aramaic paraphrases were, in the course of time, put down in writing under the name Targum. One of the best-known Targums extant is the Targum Onkelos (see Onkelos). The Targum is printed in the margin of corresponding parts of the Bible. A complete manuscript of a Palestinian Targum, the first of its kind, was found in 1956.

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Targum an ancient Aramaic paraphrase or interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, of a type made from about the 1st century ad when Hebrew was ceasing to be a spoken language.

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targum Aramaic translation or paraphrase of portions of the O.T. XVI. — Aram. targūm interpretation, f. targēm interpret.