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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines the state of research on what is (a) t/Targum, why did it come into being, and how was it used? The 'targum' is used for words or passages in the Bible that are originally in Aramaic. It becomes then synonymous with 'Aramaic' and has nothing to do with translation. In rabbinic literature, however, the words are used almost exclusively for the translation of the Bible, and even more specifically, for the translation of the Bible into Aramaic. Targum served a purpose in private devotional study and in the school system. For this purpose written copies were in circulation. Targums can be classified into literal word-by-word translation, extended translation with detachable glosses, interpretative word-by-word translation and extended interpretative translation. The chapter provides an overview of the state of the art on the questions of the raison d’être and function of the targums.

Keywords: Aramaic; bible; rabbinic literature; raison d’être; targum

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