Angelology and the Supernal Worlds in the Aramaic Targums To the Prophets

in Journal for the Study of Judaism
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Our goal was to try and examine the degree to which the different Targums to the books of the Prophets-Targum Jonathan and the Toseftot Targum-do or do not represent a unified attitude to angels and the angelic world. There is no doubt that both TJ and the TTs take the existence of angels for granted; but it is equally clear that TJ adopts a more cautious, reserved, approach than the TTs. Indeed, the TTs are intensely curious about the supernal world. Despite the fact that they derive from a variety of sources and differ quite widely in their language and function, it is undeniable that fifteen of them display such an interest. Moreover, these fifteen instances constitute a representative sample of the different sources and are therefore adequate to indicate a trend shared by the Toseftot Targum as a whole.69 Moreover, I would say that the difference is not one of quantity alone, but also of substance-not only is the number of references larger, but their content is quite different. Unlike TJ to Prophets, the TTs furnish us with the names of no less than seven angels: Uriel, Gabriel, Metatron, Michael, Samael, Penuel and the Angel of Death. The number of groups or categories of angels mentioned in the TTs is also greater. While TJ mentions only such groups as "angels of fire," "angels of trembling," "heavenly angels" and "angels of wind," the TTs refer to still other groups: "cruel angels," "angels of wrath," "angels of peace" and "angels of fear" (in addition to those mentioned in TJ, which also appear in TTs). And such expressions as "his attendants" (smšwhy) or "officers" (srky¸) also occur in the TTs but not in TJ.

Angelology and the Supernal Worlds in the Aramaic Targums To the Prophets

in Journal for the Study of Judaism



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