Bearing the Standard: A Rallying Cry to Uphold the Scriptures

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It is a critical edition, quoting 19 printed editions and five Erfurt manuscripts, especially the very important Erfurt 3 with its masorah, and containing also Okhlah ve-Okhlah , an 11 th -century masoretic work of great importance then printed for the first time.

The critical notes and the variants provided by Michaelis indicate a masoretic tradition different from that of the —25 Bible of Jacob b. It is responsible for at least some of the differences between the Complutensian Polyglot and the standard text based on Ashkenazi codices. Michaelis' critical edition is an early and neglected precursor of the modern editions of the Hebrew Bible, those by P. Kahle and N. The dates of these volumes are — Baer believed that the masorah is supreme, that firm rules can be established, and that these must be rigidly followed, whatever the manuscripts may say.

In this he is the literary descendant of Elijah Levita and his Masoret ha-Masoret. Baer, who regularly followed a masorah or a rule against the codices and frequently "corrects an error," worked according to the rules laid down by Jekuthiel in Ein ha-Kore , and later by Heidenheim. In his books on the accents, W.

Wickes Verse Accents , ; Prose Accents , , similarly makes and adopts fixed and rigid rules. In contrast, C. With the third edition of R. Kittel's Biblia Hebraica bh3; , a new signpost was erected. Kahle was responsible for the text, based on the Leningrad codex Firkovich collection b19a which Kahle claimed was a true, accurate, and genuine Ben Asher codex. The Leningrad codex itself is now available in an affordable photographic reproduction edited by D.

Freedman The Foreign Society N. Snaith edition was based mainly on British Museum's mss. The text, though compiled from completely different sources, is very close to the Kahle text. Recent years have witnessed great progress towards the production of a truly critical edition of the Hebrew Bible. Despite its superiority to previous efforts the numerous shortcomings of bh3 pointed out by reviewers necessitated a fourth edition including variants from biblical manuscripts from Qumran , Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia bhs published in Differing in kind from its predecessors a new Biblia Hebraica edition Quinta bhq is appearing in fascicles.

Megilloth appeared in In the manner of of its predecessors bhq uses Leningrad as a base text, but includes the large and small masorah with the text accompanied by a single critical apparatus. When completed bhq will be printed as a single volume, accompanied by a separate volume with translations, notes, and commentary on the masorah. Even more ambitious is the multi-volume Hebrew University Bible Project hubp , based on the excellent but incomplete Aleppo codex ca.

Of special note is the inclusion of variants recovered from biblical citations in rabbinic literature.


Thus far three volumes have appeared: Isaiah , Jeremiah , and Ezekiel Of interest too is N. Ben-Zvi ed. Bibles containing the original Hebrew text or Greek in the case of New Testament together with the important ancient versions arranged in parallel columns are termed polyglots. They were at one time important in ascertaining correct readings or meanings of the text.


The oldest one in print is the Complutensian Polyglot , mentioned above containing the Hebrew masoretic text, the Vulgate, the Aramaic Targum with a Latin translation , and the Septuagint with a Latin translation. More modern polyglots have contented themselves with giving the texts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and a modern language. Ginsburg, introd. Snaith Haran, in, janes, 22 , 51—61; M. Cohen, www. Hurvitz, in, svt, 80 , —60; L.

McDonald and J. Sanders eds. Cohen et al eds. There are no other biblical attestations of trgm.


In Jewish Babylonian Aramaic the verb trgm means "translate into Aramaic," "explain. In Jewish Palestinian Aramaic trgm means "translate" into any language Sokoloff, djpa, In Samaritan the verb means "translate," "relay the message" Tal, dsa, Tirgem is a denominative verb, being derived from the noun turgeman. In Aramaic and Hebrew the word turgeman exists alongside a more native-looking Hebrew adaptation, meturgeman.

In tannaitic and amoraic Hebrew tirgem is said of translating from Hebrew into any other language tj, Kid. In fact, the Mishnah Yad. The Jewish diaspora in Babylonia must have exchanged Hebrew for Aramaic as its vernacular in only a few generations. In Palestine the process was much more gradual, but Aramaic was probably the language of the majority of Jews there before the end of the Persian period.

During the period of Persian domination — b. The bilingual character of the books of Ezra and Daniel is due to the attempt to make these books more "biblical" by providing them with Hebrew beginnings, but they reflect a period of Aramaic dominance. At any rate the custom of interpreting the synagogue reading of the Bible text with the Targum after each verse or after each three verses in the presence of the congregation, so as to permit a translator to repeat it in Aramaic, is attested in the Mishnah Meg.

The professional translator of the Hebrew Bible text in the synagogue was called meturgeman Meg. His oral explanations were given along with the reading of the Sabbath lesson.

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The rules for reading the Targum are formulated in the halakhah Meg. The Targum was to be read after every verse of the parashah of the Pentateuch and after every third verse of the reading from the Prophets. There is no mention in this source of reading from a written Targum, and elsewhere tj, Meg. Although certain portions of the Bible were read but were not translated as Gen.

Ilai , a tanna , and a pupil of Akiva rhetorically expressed the difficulty faced by all Bible translators in his declaration that whoever translates ha-metargem a verse of Bible literally is is a fictionalizer, while he who makes additions is a blasphemer Tosef. A later anonymous opinion Kid. In Sifrei Deut. The Targums as a whole are not always primarily literal translations of the corresponding Hebrew text; they are often intermingled with various paraphrases and aggadic supplements such as one meets in exegetical or homiletic works like the Talmud and the Midrash.

They also contain explanations and alterations adapted to secure the sense of the masoretic text current among the rabbinical authorities, offering it to the people in an intelligible form.

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In this period an important concern of Jewish criticism and exegesis was the need to remove or tone down all references to God that could lead to misunderstanding in the popular mind. The Targum thus employs various devices to obviate the appearance of a very distinct anthropomorphic character of God. These, however, are not consistently applied. Indeed at times anthropomorphic phrases are translated literally or even amplified, e. There are early indications that the Targum was committed to writing, although for private use only.

Targum Onkelos, which was made the official Targum of the Babylonian schools, was committed to writing and redacted as early as the third century c. The official recognition of a written Targum and the final redaction of its text, however, belong to the post-talmudic period, thus not earlier than the fifth century c. Two Palestinian amoraim of the third century c.

There are still pious Jews who do this before the Sabbath, although Aramaic is no longer the vernacular of the Jews.

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The Yemenite Jews have even retained the public reading of Targum Onkelos see below. Targums to all the books of the Bible except Daniel and Ezra-Nehemiah this constituting in Jewish tradition a single book of Ezra have survived to this day. The official Targum to the Pentateuch, the only such Aramaic version that was subjected to a unified and scholastic redaction, is known by the name of Targum Onkelos.

The origin of this name is derived from the Babylonian Talmud Meg. Eliezer and R. Joshua An anonymous statement ibid. The Palestinian Talmud, however Meg. Joshua," in a context which shows that a translation into Greek is meant. The latter is historically reliable — Aquila did compose a scrupulously exact and literal Greek translation of the Bible, and Targum Onkelos, however, is almost a literal Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch.

In addition to this, a great deal of what is revealed about Onkelos in Babylonian sources is attributed to Aquila in the Jerusalem ones.

Friedmann, A. Silverstone, and D.

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Silverstone argues that Aquila was identical with Onkelos, and that this one individual produced both a Greek and an Aramaic translation. Friedmann believes that they were two different personalities. This was based on mistakenly transferring the western tradition of Aquila's Greek translation of the Torah into Greek to the Aramaic Targum of the Torah that the Babylonians possessed.

The Aramaic of this Targum exhibits a mixture of the Western e. This combination gave rise to a variety of opinions about the Targum's place of origin.

Ezra and Nehemiah

Berliner, T.