Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Targum Isaiah in English Translation for BibleWorks

The Aramaic Targum of Isaiah is an incredibly important resource for the study of ancient biblical interpretation. It is particularly relevant to the study of the Old Testament in the New, because many of its readings/interpretations of the Hebrew text appear to inform, parallel, or be reflected in the New Testament. Accordance, BibleWorks, and Logos all have tagged Targum texts available. English translations are a bit harder to obtain. As far as I can find, Logos does not have any such translations available. BibleWorks contains the old Etheridge translations of the Pentateuch targums and Cook's translation of the Psalms Targum. Accordance is particularly notable for commissioning their own translation by Eldon Clem. In addition to the Pentateuch targums, they also have ones for Targum Jonathan to Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, Hosea. (I am under the impression that this translation project is ongoing, so more texts may be coming.)

Of the targums, however, one of the most interesting is the Targum Jonathan to Isaiah. (Check out the renderings of the "Song of the Vineyard" in Isa 5 and the so-called "Servant Songs" in various places in Isaiah.) The best English translation is Bruce Chilton's The Aramaic Bible: The Isaiah Targum : Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes, part of The Aramaic Bible series which includes quite a few translations of biblical books outside the Pentateuch. There is a free, downloadable English translation of the Targum Jonathan of Isaiah at Google books. It is The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah by CWH Pauli from 1871. I have not worked through this text nor compared it to what I must believe is the superior Chilton translation, but it will at least provide a good start on the Aramaic and point you to where you need to do closer work. ("Notably, this work, at times, displays a Christian tone.")
The good news here is that Jay Palmer has converted it into a module that can be integrated into BibleWorks. It's posted on the BibleWorks blog. Thanks!

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