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New Fragments Of Targum To Esther From The Cairo Genizah

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Chapter Summary

It is common knowledge that the Esther Scroll enjoys many Aramaic translations. This is perhaps most vividly described by Rav Hai Gaon that at that time there existed in Babylonia several distinct targumim to Esther. Not only are there two major traditions of Targum Esther, commonly called Targum Rishon and Targum Sheni, but each of these versions is itself comprised of several sub-traditions. The plurality of names for Targum Esther is further evidence for the multiplicity of targumic traditions, even if several of the names refer to the same text. One can only conclude that, unlike Onqelos and Targum Jonathan to the Prophets, Targum Esther was never subjected to the processes of standardization or canonization. It is, therefore, no surprise that among the targumic fragments recently discovered in the Genizah collections of Cambridge University Library, several new composite texts of Targum Esther have come to light.

Keywords: Aramaic translations; Esther Scroll; Rav Hai Gaon; Targum Rishon; Targum Sheni



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