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. It continued as their vernacular for centuries later and remained in part as the language of the schools after Aramaic itself had been replaced as the vernacular.
Written in the eighth century AD, Targum Canticles offers one of the classic interpretations of the Song of Songs. In the relationship between the bridegroom and the bride in the Song, with its rhythm of communion, estrangement and reconciliation, the Targumist discovers allegorical history of God’s relationship to Israel from the first exodus from Egypt, to the final exodus from exile when the Messiah comes.
The Targum of Canticles was one of the most popular religious texts within Judaism, and it may have promoted the use of the Song of Songs as the special reading for Passover. It was adapted in the medieval and early modern periods by Christian scholars who saw in the Song of Songs a cryptic history of Christ’s relationship to the Church. Targum Canticles has played a central role in the interpretation of one of the most puzzling yet influential books of the Bible.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
The Aramaic Bible series, under McNamara’s able leadership, has brought the difficult world of Targum to a larger audience of biblical scholars.
—Gary A. Rendsburg, Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History, Cornell University
Philip S. Alexander is professor of post-biblical Jewish literature in the University of Manchester, England, and has published extensively in the fields of early Jewish Bible-interpretation (particularly the Targumim), early Jewish mysticism and magic, and the history of Rabbinic Judaism.