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The Lexicon of Targum Song of Songs and Aramaic Dialectology

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image of Aramaic Studies

Targum Song of Songs contains words from several Aramaic dialects which seemingly should not coexist. This paper is an analysis of the Targum’s lexicon with particular attention given to the dialectal status of each word, and by extension the text as a whole. It is argued that the targumist primarily draws upon words from Targums Onqelos and Jonathan. A second layer of influence includes words from targumic Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, and while words from the Babylonian Talmud and Biblical Aramaic are attested, they are not as influential on the overall lexicon. Finally, given the Targum’s dependence on literary texts that happen to be written in different dialects, it is argued that some terms only attested in Targum Song of Songs and other Late Jewish Literary Aramaic texts may give evidence to literary texts or traditions that have not survived.

Affiliations: 1: The Catholic University of America, Washington


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