The eighth century is the latest many scholars feel comfortable with for the use of Aramaic as a living language, before it was supplanted by Arabic. Therefore, clearly late Targums were usually dated circa the eighth century. However, persuasive arguments have been made in the past generation for a later dating regarding some Targums. This justifies a re-evaluation of the assumption that an Aramaic speaking environment is necessary for the continued composition of Targums. This article offers a possible Sitz im Leben for Targum composition after the decline of Aramaic as a spoken language throughout most of the Jewish world.
Careful study of the Aramaic text of Targum Chronicles reveals several apparent differences between the Hebrew source text upon which the targumist relied and the Masoretic text of Chronicles. This article is an attempt to identify and document these differences, resulting in four categories: differences in consonantal orthography, differences in vocalization, differences in syntactic division and the degree of conformity with Ketib/Qere. Suspected deviations of TgChron from MT were compared to other textual witnesses (primarily the Septuagint, the Peshitta and medieval Hebrew manuscripts), thus providing a broader context for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.
Targum Chronicles and Its Place Among the Late Targums heralds a paradigm shift in the understanding of many of the Jewish-Aramaic translations of individual biblical books and their origins. Leeor Gottlieb provides the most extensive study of Targum Chronicles to date, leading to conclusions that challenge long-accepted truisms with regard to the origin of Targums. This book’s trail of evidence convincingly points to the composition of Targums in a time and place that was heretofore not expected to be the provenance of these Aramaic gems of biblical interpretation. This study also offers detailed comparisons to other Targums and fascinating new explanations for dozens of aggadic expansions in Targum Chronicles, tying them to their rabbinic sources.
In this article I shall demonstrate how omission due to homoeoteleuton may actually sometimes result in a longer text. Several variants among textual witnesses of the Hebrew Bible presented in this article are most easily explained, to my mind, as the result of the omission being detected and the missing text being copied into the manuscript from the point the omission was detected. Thus, the text from the point of omission to the point of detection is repeated in the target scroll, the new copy of the text. Recognition of this scribal phenomenon may help elucidate difficult passages.