ISAIAH AND THE PROPHETS IN THE TARGUMIM
The Targumim have been intensively studied since the discovery of Neophyti I, a Targum of the Pentateuch, by Alejandro Díez Macho. Pentateuchal Targumim continue to be a topic of considerable controversy in regard to their dating, their purposes, and their interrelationships. Targum Jonathan to the Prophets has proven much easier to reach agreement about.
The theory of the formation of the Isaiah Targum in two principal phases was first advanced in 1982.1 The theory holds that prior to the revolt of Simeon bar Kosiba (bar Kokhba) in 132 CE, the first exegetical framework of the Targum of Isaiah was produced. That exegetical framework organized then current translations of the Hebrew text into a powerful vehicle of opposition to the Romans and propaganda for the restoration of the Temple. During the fourth century, the second exegetical framework of the Isaiah Targum was developed. With its completion, virtually the whole of the Hebrew text of Isaiah was rendered, and the perspective of the translation as a received test was coordinated with the concerns of the Babylonian academies (especially Pumbeditha's, where the work was encouraged under Joseph bar Hiyya).
After the theory of two exegetical frameworks was developed for the Targum of Isaiah, it was applied to the Targum of the Former Prophets, the Targums of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the Targum of the Minor Prophets.2 Today, then, the development of Targum
1 For a brief introduction, cf. B. Chilton, “Targums,” in J. B. Green, et al.
(eds.), Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity,
1992) 800–4. The principal publications are B. Chilton, The Glory of Israel: The
Theology and Provenience of the Isaiah Targum (JSOTSup 23; Sheffield: JSOT
Press, 1982); idem, The Isaiah Targum. Introduction, Translation, Apparatus, and
Notes (ArBib 11; Wilmington: Glazier; Edinburgh: Clark, 1987).
2 The paradigm is applied in D. J. Harrington and A. J. Saldarini, Targum
Jonathan of the Former Prophets (ArBib 10; Wilmington, DL: Glazier;
Edinburgh: Clark, 1987); R. Hayward, The Targum of Jeremiah (ArBib 12;
Wilmington: Glazier; Edinburgh: Clark, 1987); S. H. Levey, The Targum of
Ezekiel (ArBib 13; Wilmington: Glazier; Edinburgh: Clark, 1987); K. J. Cathcart
and R. P. Gordon, The Targum of the Minor Prophets (ArBib 14; Wilmington:
Glazier; Edinburgh: Clark, 1989). For application to a major Targum of the
Pentateuch, see B. Grossfeld, The Targum Onqelos to Genesis (ArBib 6;
Wilmington: Glazier; Edinburgh: Clark, 1988).