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Many of the targums are translated and easily accessible to the English reader, for Targum Neofiti and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, see The Aramaic Bible (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press), and for Fragment Targums Paris and Vaticanus, see translantion in Klein.

Proto-Palestinian Targumim Traditions

Paul V. M. Flesher has argued that a synoptic comparison of the complete Palestinian Targumim of the Pentateuch––Targum Neofiti (TgN), Pseudo-Jonathan (PsJ), Fragment Targum Paris (FT-P), and Fragment Targum Vatican (FT-V)––reveals the elements within these translation expansions that are the most ancient.[i] Each of the complete Palestinian Targumim has distinct traditions, yet they also share expansion traditions. In short, the expanded passage traditions that are shared by the four complete Palestinian Targumim (TgN, PsJ, FT-P, FT-V) are probably older than any of these witnesses to the common traditions. Based on a series of deductions relative to agreements and disagreements of the four complete witnesses to the Palestinian Targumim, especially in Genesis 49, Numbers 21-24 and Deuteronomy 32-34, the synoptic witness to the proto-Palestinian Targumim can be extended to the traditions upon which TgN and FT-V agree.[ii] Relative to the Palestinian Targumim of Genesis 28-50 Flesher offers a “Proto-Palestinian Targumim” diagram.[iii]

Table W: The Relationship between the Proto-Palestinian Targumim and the Complete Witnesses to the Palestinian Targumim Traditions


In all there are more than 150 Torah passages that could be thought of as containing proto-Palestinian Targumim traditions.

The list below summarizes a synoptic comparison of expanded passages in the Five Books of Moses of the Palestinian Targumim in relation to TgN.[iv] Only TgN passages which are at least fifty percent longer than the MT are considered as expansions here.[v] Parentheses enclose the approximate size of the TgN expansion in relation to MT (e.g., “(2.0X)” means that the TgN expansion has twice as many words as the verse in the MT). Brackets enclose Hebrew verse references when different. References which are underlined signal that the text is a proto-Palestinian Targumim text based on the synoptic criteria explained above. For comparison, selected Targumim Fragments are also listed: C, D, E, Z each refer to Targum Fragments from Cairo Geniza (Flesher, Kahle);[vi] B (Kahle); Br., ms. British Museum Or. 10794 (Klein);[vii] F (Kahle); G (Kahle); J, ms. J.T.S. 605 (Klein); TgNgl, marginal and interlineal glosses to TgN; Onq, Targum Onqelos; †/††, other ms/mss (Flesher).[viii]

 Table X: The Synoptic Witnesses to the Proto-Palestinian Targumim Traditions of the Torah












[i] See Paul V. M. Flesher, “Translation and Exegetical Augmentation in the Targums to the Pentateuch,” 29-86, in Jacob Neusner and Ernest S. Frerichs, eds., New Perspectives on Ancient Judaism, vol. 3, Judaic and Christian Interpretation of Texts: Contents and Contexts (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1987); Paul V. M. Flesher, “Mapping the Synoptic Palestinian Targums of the Pentateuch,” 247-53, in D. R. G. Beattie and Michael J. McNamara, eds., The Aramaic Bible: Targums in their Historical Context, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, ed. David J. A. Clines and Philip R. Davies, no. 166 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994). Flesher has developed and applied these ideas more fully in regard to the Palestinian Targumim of Gen. 28-50 in “Exploring the Sources of the Synoptic Targums to the Pentateuch,” 1: 101-34, in Paul V. M. Flesher ed., Targum Studies, vol. 1, Textual and Contextual Studies in the Pentateuchal Targums, South Florida Studies in the History of Judaism, ed. Jacob Neusner et al., no. 55 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992). Through a series of agreements, disagreements, and deductions, Flesher has further argued that the agreements between TgN and FT-V are a part of what Flesher has called “proto-Palestinian Targumim.” The Fragment Targum mss. Vatican (FT-V), Nürnberg (N), and Leipzig (L) represent the same family of Fragment Targumim (see Martin McNamara, TAB, 1A: 5). Hence, for the purposes of the present study FT-V will be used to represent this set of traditions. For a listing of the biblical texts represented in the Fragment Targumim FT-P, FT-V, N, and L see TAB, 1A: 47-49; 2: 7-8; 3: 12; 4: 23-24; 5A: 13-14; and for the Genizah Fragments of Palestinian Targumim see 1A: 50; 2: 9; 3: 12; 4: 25; 5A: 15. Although some have criticized Flesher’s approach, I generally concur with Kugel’s positive evaluation of the synoptic thesis, see Traditions, 943-44.

[ii] See Flesher, “Translation,” 65-67. McNamara regards TgN Numbers 22-24 expansions as old traditions within the targum based upon comparisons with documents from Qumran, Philo, Pseudo-Philo, Josephus, and others (see “Early Exegesis,” esp. 67).

[iii] Adapted from Flesher, “Exploring,” 125.

[iv] The information for list of the Proto-Palestinian Targumim traditions is adapted and modified from Flesher, “Translation,” 70-85. The material on Genesis 28-50 is augmented from Flesher, “Exploring,” esp. 130-34. There are also a few minor changes noted ad loc (based on personal correspondence with Paul V. M. Flesher, 1999).

[v] Several parallel passages among Genesis Targumim are listed in Flesher, “Exploring” (130-34) which are not included in here because they are either less than fifty percent longer than the MT or are not attested in TgN––28:22 TgN, PsJ, E; 30:15 TgN, PsJ, E; 32:21 TgN, C; 32:29 TgN, C; 33:4 PsJ, FT-P, FT-V; 33:10 TgN, PsJ; 37:33 PsJ, FT-P, FT-V, C, E; 38:9 TgN, PsJ; 38:21 TgN, D; 38:26 TgN, PsJ, FT-P, FT-V, D, E; 39:9 TgN, E; 41:44 TgN, PsJ, E; 43:14 TgN, PsJ, FT-P, FT-V, D; 46:30 TgN, PsJ, FT-P, D; 48:4 TgN, D, Z; 48:16 TgN, D, Z; 48:20 D, Z [PsJ contains different tradition].

[vi] Regarding data on C, D, E, Z see Flesher, “Exploring,” 130-34; Flesher “Translation,” 68.

[vii] See Michael L. Klein, The Fragment Targums of the Pentateuch According to their Extant Sources, 2 vols., Analecta Biblica Investigationes Scientificae in res Biblicas, no. 77 (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1980).

[viii] See Flesher, “Translation,” 68-81.            

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