The Lexicon of Targum Song of Songs and Aramaic Dialectology

in Aramaic Studies
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Targum Song of Songs contains words from several Aramaic dialects which seemingly should not coexist. This paper is an analysis of the Targum’s lexicon with particular attention given to the dialectal status of each word, and by extension the text as a whole. It is argued that the targumist primarily draws upon words from Targums Onqelos and Jonathan. A second layer of influence includes words from targumic Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, and while words from the Babylonian Talmud and Biblical Aramaic are attested, they are not as influential on the overall lexicon. Finally, given the Targum’s dependence on literary texts that happen to be written in different dialects, it is argued that some terms only attested in Targum Song of Songs and other Late Jewish Literary Aramaic texts may give evidence to literary texts or traditions that have not survived.

The Lexicon of Targum Song of Songs and Aramaic Dialectology

in Aramaic Studies




See Gustaf DalmanGrammatik des jüdisch-palästinischen Aramäisch (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1905; reprint Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft: Darmstadt, 2nd edn1960) pp. 27–39.


LitkeTargum Song of Songs pp. 146–148. Note that the Yemenite recension uses Aphel instead of Haphel here.


See footnote 7 above; and LitkeTargum Song of Songs p. 7.


Abudraham‘The Hebrew Component (Part 2)’ p. 407. In addition to Aramaic correspondences with ṭeth and ʿayin Abudraham highlights another correspondence with a daleth ‮פצע‬‎ : ‮פדע‬‎ ‘bruise’.


See Francis Thomas GignacA Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (Milan: Istituto editoriale cisalpino-La goliardica1976) pp. 1:266–267; Geoffrey Horrocks Greek: A History of the Language and Its Speakers 2nd ed. (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2010) pp. 162–163; Aaron Michael Butts Language Change in the Wake of Empire: Syriac in Its Greco-Roman Context (LSAWS 11; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns 2016) pp. 90–91.


See LitkeTargum Song of Songs pp. 113–116.


LitkeTargum Song of Songs pp. 423–433.


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