Desiderata I: Handausgabe of the Targums in English Translation

We have compact editions and translations of the LXX, the OT Pseudepigrapha, the Mishnah, Josephus and Philo (though both of those could use a cheaper format than the Loeb, as useful as it is; hopefully someone can extract an English translation from the Josephus commentary series and the PACS and publish them as single volumes when they’re done), the Nag Hammadi library, the NT Apocrypha and other corpora. Why not a compact edition of the Targums in English translation?

Perhaps the easiest way to do this would be to take the full translation of the Targums from the Aramaic Bible series but delete almost all of the notes and the introductions, perhaps with a general introduction to the whole thing. There would be some books in which two or three targums of the same book exist (see below), and one would need to decide whether to print them in parallel or subsequent to one another. So the end result would be about as large as a full Bible, I think, and could even be presented the way OUP’s New English Translation of the Septuagint was (for example). But if it were comprehensive in this way, then I think you would get lots of interest from scholars in related fields – OT, NT, early Judaism, history of interpretation, late Antiquity, etc. – who would find it useful to have these translations as a reference on their shelves, but couldn’t possibly afford all the individual 22 or so volumes, which retail in the US for $65-100 each. It would be extremely useful to have the full, stripped-down translations as a reference set (2 vols?), for quick checking of references, comparison of interpretative renderings or sustained reading.

Here is what is in the Aramaic Bible series, with volume numbers in brackets (n.b., no targums on Daniel, Ezra or Nehemiah):

v. 1A.Targum Neofiti 1, Genesis /translated, with apparatus and notes by Martin McNamara –v. 1B.Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Genesis /translated with introduction and notes by Michael Maher –v. 2.Targum Neofiti 1: Exodus /translated with introduction an apparatus by Martin McNamara.Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Exodus /translated with notes by Michael Maher –v. 3.Targum Neofiti 1, Leviticus /translated, with apparatus, by Martin McNamara; introduction and notes by Robert Hayward.Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Leviticus /translated, with notes by Michael Maher –v. 4.Targum Neofiti 1, Numbers /translated with apparatus and notes by Martin McNamara.Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Numbers /translated, with notes by Ernest G. Clarke with assistance of Shirley Magder –v. 5A.Targum Neofiti 1, Deuteronomy /translated, with apparatus and notes by Martin McNamara –Prophets /by Daniel J. Harrington and Anthony Saldarini –v. 5B.Targum Pseudo-Jonathan /translated, with notes by Ernest G. Clarke –v. 11.The Isaiah Targum /introduction, translation, apparatus, and notes by Bruce D. Chilton –v. 12.The Targum of Jeremiah /by Robert Hayward –v. 13.The Targum of Ezekiel /translated, with a critical introduction, apparatus, and notes by Samson H. Levey –v. 14.The Targum of the Minor Prophets /by Kevin J. Cathcart and Robert P. Gordon –v. 17A.The Targum of Canticles /translated, with a critical introduction, apparatus, and notes by Philip S. Alexander –v. 17B.The Targum of Lamentations /translated, with a critical introduction, apparatus, and notes by Philip S. Alexander –v. 18.The two Targums of Esther /translated, with apparatus and notes by Bernard Grossfeld –v. 19.The Targum of Ruth/translated, with introduction, apparatus, and notes by D.R.G. Beattie.The Targum of Chronicles / translated, with introduction, apparatus, and notes by J. Stanley McIvor.

I’m sure the rights will be a question, but surely Liturgical Press has made most of the money it will make on the full editions by now anyway, and specialists will always need to consult the full notes in the Aramaic Bible volumes (and of course the original Aramaic in Sperber and other places). But it would be useful to have these and, in my opinion, they would sell well.



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