Targum and Septuagint

The Aramaic language, a dialect of Hebrew, became the common language of the Jews in the centuries before the Christian era and editions of the Hebrew Canon in Aramaic, with much commentary, became the books of common usage, while Hebrew was used for readings in the synagogue. The two prominent Aramaic editions were the Targum Onkelos and the Targum Jonathan. 

Meanwhile, the great Library at Alexandria was endeavoring to obtain copies of all extant books, and as a part of that effort copies of all Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek, the language of scholarship of that time, in the 3rd century BCE. The text used ante-dated that of the Aramaic Targum. Because seventy-two translators were used, this translation has become known as The Septuagint and formed the basis for subsequent translation efforts into other languages. The earliest actual manuscripts of the Septuagint (usually abbreviated as LXX) date from the 7th century CE. 

The books used for the LXX translation were not all accepted by Jews as being Holy Scripture, but the LXX fixed them in place until Luther made a distinction between canonical and apocryphal and separated some books out for Protestant Bibles and placed them between the Old and New Testaments as the Apocrypha -a distinction that still remains between Catholic and Protestant versions.

[click thumbnail for large view]

Blue bible cover 
Onkelos & Jonathan Targum,  Leiden, 1992 #1500A-E
Blue bible bindings 
Onkelos & Jonathan Targum,  Leiden, 1992 #1500A-E
Open book with text
Hexaglott Bible, London, 1874 Septuagint in column 2 #F1354-D

Back to Top

Back to Displays

Ramseyer Home