The Hermeneutics of Scribal Rewriting in Targum Jonathan Ezek 1

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
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  • 1 University of St. Andrews

This paper examines a number of expansions and rewordings in Tg. J. Ezek 1 that alter or elaborate upon the description of the celestial creatures. The object is threefold: to identify textual cues within the Targum’s Vorlage that sparked expansions or rewordings, to explain the exegetical choices reflected in those expansions and rewordings, and to deduce something about the hermeneutical assumptions under which those choices were made. Along the way, I explain several features of the Targum in new ways, but the principal objects of my inquiry are the scribes responsible for Targum Jonathan and the various ways that they interacted with their Hebrew Vorlage. I propose that the expansions and rewordings never reflect exuberance or whimsy on the part of the targumic scribes. Rather, they represent a disciplined effort to produce an accurate reading of their Hebrew text, undertaken according to certain hermeneutical assumptions, assumptions that are co-extensive with their assumptions about the nature of their source texts as scripture.

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