Targum LamentationsÕ Reading of the Book of Lamentations - PDF

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Targum LamentationsÕ Reading of the Book of Lamentations A thesis submitted to the Oriental Studies Faculty University of Oxford in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

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Targum LamentationsÕ Reading of the Book of Lamentations A thesis submitted to the Oriental Studies Faculty University of Oxford in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Trinity Term 1999 by Christian M. M. Brady St. Cross College Targum LamentationsÕ Reading of the Book of Lamentations Christian M. M. Brady St. Cross College Trinity Term 1999 Abstract This thesis is an examination of the exegetical intent and the translational methods employed in Targum Lamentations (TgLam). There are three primary steps involved in this study of TgLam. The first step involves a survey of the Book of Lamentations (as found in the Masoretic Text [MT]) in order to determine the basic text and meaning of the book which the targumist is interpreting. The second step is a detailed exegetical commentary of TgLam. This involves a verse by verse analysis of the targum with particular attention paid to the ways in which the targumist has departed from or transformed the biblical text. The final step is an analysis of the targum in order to determine how the targumist has modified the biblical text in order to convey or emphasize his message and address the questions of the date, provenance, and Sitz im Leben of TgLam. From the very beginning TgLam presents the argument that Jerusalem was destroyed because Israel had disobeyed God. The people of Judah had transgressed GodÕs Commandments and refused to repent, therefore God decreed that the nations should enter Jerusalem and destroy the city and the Temple. The targumist used a variety of literary devices in order to convey this message. These include the use of aggadic additions and expansions that catalogue the sins of Israel. The first four verses of TgLam are particularly expansive and provide a theological framework within which the audience is to interpret Lamentations. The targumist has also followed the principle of äãî ãâðë äãî and interpreted the nature of IsraelÕs punishment in light of their sin. Where the biblical text depicts graphic scenes such as cannibalism TgLam does not soften the image, but instead intensifies the language and thus increases the dramatic tension while warning the audience of the real, life-threatening dangers of transgressing GodÕs Commandments. TgLam in its present form was intended for use within the synagogue, presumably during the ninth of Ab service, and provided the congregation with an explanation of the destruction of the Temple. While placing the blame firmly upon the Congregation of Israel the targumist also exhorts his audience to repent and return to the LORD through the study of Mishnah and Torah. Table of Contents i Table of Contents Abbreviations... viii Chapter 1. Introduction INTRODUCTION THE EXEGETICAL METHOD Survey of MT Exegetical Commentary a. Quantitative Analysis b. Qualitative Analysis Analysis...15 Chapter 2. A Survey of the Book of Lamentations THE TARGUMIC PERSPECTIVE AUTHORSHIP AND DATE FORM THEOLOGY...21 Chapter 3. Exegetical Commentary...23 Textual Tradition...23 Principles of Translation TGLAM CHAPTER Verse Verse V 3 51 Table of Contents ii Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse TGLAM CHAPTER Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Table of Contents iii Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse TGLAM CHAPTER Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Table of Contents iv Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses Verses TGLAM CHAPTER Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Table of Contents v Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verses TGLAM CHAPTER Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Table of Contents vi Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Verse Chapter 4. Analysis STRUCTURE TRANSLATIONAL TECHNIQUE äãî ãâðë äãî Reversal of Fortune Dramatic Heightening THE ROLE OF àðéã úãî Targumic Evidence Targum Lamentations Targum Esther Targum Qohelet àøîéî àúùðë AND COMMUNITY RABBINIC CONTEXT...220 Table of Contents vii Chapter 5. Date, Provenance, and Sitz im Leben of TgLam THE LANGUAGE OF TGLAM SITZ IM LEBEN Rabbinic Sources Targumic Testimony THE NINTH OF AB SERVICE Chapter 6. Conclusion Appendix 1 - The Text of Urb APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER Appendix 2 - Translation APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER APP CHAPTER Bibliography Abbreviations viii Abbreviations GENERAL ABBREVIATIONS BCE CE HB LXX MS(S) MT NRSV NT p(p). P TT WT YT V before the common era common era Hebrew Bible Septuagint manuscript(s) Masoretic Text New Revised Standard Version New Testament page(s) Peshitta targumic text Western Text (TgLam) Yemenite Text (TgLam) Vulgate RABBINIC TEXTS CantR EsthR FrgTg GenR LamR LevR NumR Song of Songs (Canticles) Rabbah Esther Rabah Fragmentary Targum Genesis Rabbah Lamentations Rabbah Leviticus Rabbah Numbers Rabah Abbreviations ix RABBINIC TEXTS (CONT.) PR PRK TgEsth TgIsa TgJon TgLam TgOnk TgNeof TgPsJ Pesikta Rabbati Pesikta derav Kahana Targum Esther Targum of Isaiah Targum Jonathan Targum Lamentations Targum Onkelos Targum Neofiti Targum Pseudo-Jonathan JOURNALS, BOOK SERIES, AND REFERENCE WORKS BDB Bib BJRL BZAW CBQ HUCA JBL JJS JQR JSJ JSOT JSS JTS ScrHier VT VTSup ZAW Brown-Drivers-Briggs, Hebrew English Lexicon Biblica Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library Beihefte zur ZAW Catholic Biblical Quarterly Hebrew Union College Annual Journal of Biblical Literature Journal of Jewish Studies Jewish Quarterly Review Journal for the Study of Judaism Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Journal of Semitic Studies Journal of Theological Studies Scripta hierosolymitana Vetus Testamentum Vetus Testamentum, Supplements Zeitschrift fÿr die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft Introduction 1 Chapter 1. Introduction 1.1. Introduction When first encountering Targum Lamentations (TgLam) one is struck by the extensive amount of aggadic material which the targumist has accumulated in the first four verses of Chapter One. As a result, TgLam has often been described as being extremely paraphrastic, to such an extent that Sperber was led to claim that the targumim to the Megillot Òare not Targum-texts but Midrash-texts in the disguise of Targum.Ó 1 This is somewhat of an overstatement, although at first sight TgLam does appear to be Òtop heavyó with liberal additions of aggadot in the first chapter and relatively few in the last four. This is, in fact, only partially true. On closer examination it becomes clear that TgLam actually sustains rather vigorous, although often subtle, exegetical activity throughout the text. In ÒtranslatingÓ the Book of Lamentations our targumist not only provides an Aramaic version of the biblical text, he also seeks to explain the event that precipitated its composition. Although the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE was a catastrophe unprecedented in Israelite history, it was not to remain a unique event within Jewish history. In 167 BCE the Temple was desecrated when Antiochus IV established the cult of Olympian Zeus in its precincts, 2 and then in 70 CE the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. By the time of our targumist the Temple had been destroyed twice, and although the Jews were not exiled as they had been after the first destruction, the Land of Israel was no longer under Jewish control. The constraints of a targum (which, although allowing for certain additions to the text, must represent the 1 A. Sperber, The Bible in Aramaic Vol. IV A, The Hagiographa, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1968), p. viii. 2 2 Macc. 6.1, 2. Introduction 2 Hebrew text word for word and in proper order) 3 still allowed our targumist plenty of opportunities for exploring the theological difficulties which arose from the ashes of the twice destroyed Temple of the LORD. 4 It is the purpose of this thesis to examine TgLam in order to determine the targumistõs exegetical activity. Phrased in the form of a question, ÒWhat is the message of TgLam and how has the targumist altered the biblical text in order to convey that message?ó In targumic studies TgLam has been somewhat neglected, being overshadowed by larger or more varied targumim (such as Neofiti 1 or the targumim of Esther). Only two books have been dedicated solely to the study of TgLam. 5 Van der Heide offers an excellent study of the Yemenite textual tradition, but provides no commentary on the content of the targum. 6 Levine has published a text of TgLam based upon the Western text of Codex Urbanates Ebr. 1 (Urb. 1), but the critical apparatus which he provides is notoriously poor. 7 Levine does provide a ÒCritical CommentaryÓ which attempts to address the alterations made to the base text by the targumist and makes frequent references to rabbinic sources. His analysis is incomplete, however, consisting primarily of summaries of views held by other scholars and exegetes. Insofar as this thesis is primarily an Exegetical Commentary on TgLam and includes (in the Appendices) the text and my translation of Urb. 1, its form and presentation are similar to LevineÕs. This is, however, a completely new study. In the following section I have presented a general methodology for analyzing a targum with respect to its exegetical 3 See P. S. Alexander, ÒThe Targumim and the Rabbinic Rules for the Delivery of the Targum,Ó Supplements to Vetus Testamentum vol. XXXVI (1985), pp , and the discussion below Throughout this work I will follow the style of many English Bibles by representing äåäé as Òthe LORD,Ó that is, in small-caps. 5 ƒtan Levine, The Aramaic Version of Lamentations, (New York: Hermon Press, 1981; this will be referred to simply as ÒLevineÓ throughout this work) and Albert Van der Heide, The Yemenite Tradition of the Targum of Lamentations, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1981). SperberÕs edition is a pointed text based upon the Yemenite text of British Museum Or. 2375, but Òno attempt has been made in this volume to offer the texts published here in a critical editionó (p. viii). Traditions.Ó 6 For discussion of the Western and Yemenite textual traditions of TgLam see 3, ÒTextual 7 See Van der Heide, p. 58, where he explains that LevineÕs siglum ÒSÓ is not ÒSalonika, University 1 (1532 CE)Ó as stated in LevineÕs introduction (p. 10), but is, in fact, SperberÕs edition including the errors. Methodology 3 intent and, following that methodology, I have included a survey of the biblical text (MT). As the title of Chapter 3 (ÒExegetical CommentaryÓ) suggests, the focus of this study is the exegetical intent and methods used by the targumist in transforming the Book of Lamentations into the Targum of Lamentations. As a result, many questions of translation and textual recension have not been addressed fully, except where the targumistõs word choice or variants among the extant texts have a bearing upon the meaning of the text. This is not a great omission since Albrektson has already provided an excellent study of the versional history of Lamentations; 8 the value of Van der HeideÕs work on the recensional history of TgLam has already been noted. Chapter 4 is an analysis and synthesis of the evidence presented in the Exegetical Commentary and Chapter 5 addresses the questions pertaining to the date, provenance, and Sitz im Leben of TgLam The Exegetical Method Although targumic literature has been studied extensively over the last several decades, there has yet to be a systematic presentation of a critical methodology for the reading and interpretation of targumic texts. There are critical studies of the targumim, but they have tended to focus upon textual and recensional issues and relied upon relatively self-evident methods of analysis. 9 Several scholars have focused upon the literary and theological aspects of the targumim, but they tend to articulate the method with which they will approach the particular text at hand rather than argue for a more general method that would be usable in the study of other targumim. 10 On the other hand, there is the invaluable 8 B. Albrektson, Studies in the Text and Theology of the Book of Lamentations with a Critical Edition of the Peshitta Text, Vol. 21, Studia Theologica Ludensia, (Lund: Cwk Gleerup, 1963). 9 E.g., Moses Aberbach and Bernard Grossfeld (Targum Onkelos to Genesis: A Critical Analysis with an English Translation of the Text, [New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1982]) whose stated ÒmethodologyÓ includes Òa straightforward, idiomatic modern English translationó and Òcritical notesó. Their list is more a description of their presentation than a true methodology. See, however, the work of A. Samely on speech in the targumim. The Interpretation of Speech in the Pentateuch Targums, (TŸbingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1991) and ÒThe Background of Speech: Some Observations on the Representation of Targumic Exegesis,Ó JJS 39 (1988), pp E.g., Bruce D. Chilton, The Glory of Israel: The Theology and Provenience of the Isaiah Targum, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983). Methodology 4 work of Klein, 11 who examines many different targumim in order to reveal patterns in the translational method of the targumist. It would appear that the field of targumic studies is lacking what biblical studies has taken for granted for the last 100 years: an armory of articulated critical methodologies from which we might choose that which best applies to a given text and approach. In this section I will present a general critical methodology that can be applied to targumic texts in order to determine their exegetical, or theological, perspective. This proposed method for discerning the exegetical perspective of a targum, which I will refer to as the ÒExegetical Method,Ó involves three main steps Survey of MT 12 The basic textual reading and theological message of MT must be determined so that it is possible to see where the targumist follows or departs from what we might hesitantly refer to as the Òsimple meaningó of MT. 13 For example, the biblical text of 2.22 reads: You invited my enemies from all around as if for a day of festival; and on the day of the anger of the LORD no one escaped or survived; those whom I bore and reared my enemy has destroyed. Clearly the Hebrew text is a description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the massacre of her people. The targum, however, transforms the verse so that it now reads: May you declare freedom to your people, the House of Israel, by the King Messiah just as you 11 See below The biblical text represented in this thesis is from the Soncino Classics Collection CD-ROM, (Chicago: Davka Corporation, 1996). ÒThe text of the Tanach is based upon the 1895 Warsaw edition of the Mikraot Gedolot which has been carefully compared with other versions such as the Jerusalem Koren Tanach. In some instances the text has been modified to conform to the Koren edition,ó (Users Manual, p. 61). I have omitted the qere supplied with the text. All biblical quotations in English are from the New Revised Standard Version (Oxford: OUP, 1989) unless otherwise noted. 13 This is not to be confused with the rabbinic notion of peshat, which has come to mean the plain or literal meaning of a text (often in contrast with derash), but probably originally referred to the accepted or authoritative interpretation (which was not necessarily ÒliteralÓ). See b Eruv. 23b, b Kidd. 80b, and b Ket. 111b. For a survey of this topic see David Halivni, Peshat and Derash, (Oxford: OUP, 1991). Methodology 5 did by Moses and Aaron on the day when you brought Israel up from Egypt. My children were gathered all around, from every place to which they had scattered in the day of your fierce anger, O LORD, and there was no escape for them nor any survivors of those whom I had wrapped in fine linen. And my enemies destroyed those whom I had raised in royal comfort. In the targum the verse has been completely altered so that the verse has become a day of liberation for Israel, rather than a day of mourning. 14 The nature of the targumic additions cannot be fully appreciated until they are compared with the base text of MT. It is therefore important that we survey MT before we begin our study of the targum so that we will be able to perceive any changes which the targumist may have made to the text in the process of creating the targum to Lamentations. In so doing we will also summarize current biblical scholarship on the Book of Lamentations. This is necessary because modern scholarship has revealed much about Lamentations, particularly through linguistic analysis, which will provide us with a better understanding of the targumistõs source text. Our reliance upon this scholarship will, however, be limited because the concerns of the targumist were often very different than those of the modern biblical scholar. 15 A general survey of the Book of Lamentations will follow this chapter, but each verse must be examined individually, therefore frequent references will be made to relevant scholarship throughout the Commentary (Chapter 3). Our next step in the methodology is the Exegetical Commentary which involves an examination of the individual verses of both MT and the targum Exegetical Commentary The second step requires two phases: a. Quantitative Analysis Before we begin to analyze how the targumist has come to a particular reading of the Hebrew text we must first determine the basis of the targumic text. Thus the first step is to decide which MS or edition of the targum will be used. 16 The 14 See See 2 for further discussion of the difference between the targumic approach and that of modern biblical scholarship. 16 As mentioned above, the purpose of this chapter is to present a general methodology. For the Methodology 6 targum should then be translated into English (or another modern language). This translation will serve as an aid to the reader and an indication of our interpretation of the targum. 17 Part of this translation process is determining which Aramaic terms correspond to the Hebrew found in the biblical text. Observing where the targum goes beyond a simple one-to-one correspondence with the Hebrew will help to reveal how the targumist has interpreted the biblical text. Such a task would appear on the surface to be a simple one. Merely compare MT with the targum and italicize the portions in the Aramaic text which are Òleft over.ó Often, however, it is not such a straight forward matter. While the targumist will frequently provide a verbatim rendering of the Hebrew, 18 it is also common to find an element of the Hebrew represented by more than one word or phrase. 19 So while it is easy to see in 1.1, for example, where the targumist has added a lengthy preface to the targum which identifies Jeremiah as the author of the Book of Lamentations, even in this first verse we encounter difficulties in determining exactly what portion of the Aramaic corresponds to the Hebrew text. The first word of the Book of Lamentations, äëéà, is represented in the targum not once, but three times. In the first instance äëéà is translated in its operative sense by the Aramaic ïéãëéà. ÒJeremiah the Prophet and High Priest told how it was decreed that Jerusalem and her people should be punished with banishment.ó In the other two instances the term is retained in its original form, äëéà. By the rabbinic period äëéà had come to mean Òlamentations,Ó 20 thus Jeremiah declared that Jerusalem Òshould be mourned with ÃekahÓ just as God mourned over Adam and Eve Òwith Ãekah.Ó So, which occurrence of specifics concerning the MSS and textual tradition of TgLam see See 3 for an explanation of the principles governing the translation found in this thesis. 18 Throughout this work the term Ò
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