Archaic Verbal Conjugations in Exod. 15.2–18, 21 and Deut. 32.1–43: Their Rendering in the Targums

In: Aramaic Studies
Author: Dmytro Tsolin1
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Rendering Hebrew archaic verbal forms was a challenging task for the targumists who translated biblical poetry into Aramaic. Their translational technique reveals at least three aspects of morphosyntax of the verbs in the poetical discourse in Middle and Late Aramaic: a) diachronic shifts in the use of suffix (qtl) and prefix (yqtl) conjugations; b) an influence of the interpretation and the practice of oral recitation of the targums on the choice of verbal forms; and c) correlation between semantic connotations of the verbal conjugations and their aesthetic functions. In some cases, the authors of the targums simplified the semantic spectrum of the archaic conjugations in the parallel verse structure, but in others they attempted to render these verbal forms correctly. Their choice was caused by both interpretative and aesthetic tasks.

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