Monday, February 24, 2014

The Targums of Isaiah

Having spent the last couple of months on the Septuagint (LXX), I am now turning to the Targums, which are a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Aramaic, a local dialect that has been used widely since the post-exilic times in Yehud and certainly the majority tongue of most Israelites in Jesus' time. The targums are dated 50 years or 100 years before Christ, probably just slightly later than the Qumran scrolls of the mid 2nd century BCE. That the targums could have been influential in the writings of the New Testament are without doubt seeing that most Jewish authors of the New Testament knew Aramaic better than Hebrew with the exception of Paul the former pharisee turned apostle and Matthew who was probably a scribe (Matt 13) cum tax collector who later left his tax booth to follow Jesus.
I think John, the author of John's Gospel knew the Targums well and the Word in John 1 is likely to be a translation of memra in the Targums, especially of Isaiah.

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