ABT - 1987
The Aramaic Bible (The Targums)
Old Covenant
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While any translation of the Scriptures may in Hebrew be called a Targum, the word is used especially for a translation of a book of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic. Before the Christian era Aramaic had in good part replaced Hebrew in Palestine as the vernacular of the Jews.

Rabbinic Judaism has transmitted Targums of all the books of the Hebrew Canon, with the exception of Daniel and Ezra-Nehemiah, which are themselves partly in Aramaic. Translations of books of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic for liturgical purposes must have begun before the Christian era, although none transmitted by Rabbinic Judaism can be shown to be that old.

The aim of this series is to translate all the traditionally-known Targums into modern English idiom, while respecting the particular and peculiar nature of what these Aramaic translations were originally intended to be. The translators have made use of what they feel to be the best printed editions of the Aramaic Targum in question or have directly consulted the manuscripts. The translation aims at giving a faithful rendering of the Aramaic.

The Targums are not of the same kind. They were translated at different times and have more than one interpretive approach to the Hebrew Bible. Targumic deviations from the Hebrew Text are indicated in italics.

It contains the Old Testament in nineteen volumes.

The Liturgical Press (1987 to 1992)

[Blakley Library, University of Dallas, Dallas, Texas]


Genesis 1: 1, 2

From the beginning with wisdom the Memra of the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and unformed, desolate of man and beast, empty of plant cultivation and of trees, and darkness was spread over the face of the abyss; and the spirit of mercy from before the Lord was blowing over the surface of the waters.