History of the Bible

Septuagint, LXX, Versions of the Bible

{sep' - too - uh - jint}

General Information

The Septuagint, commonly designated LXX, is the oldest Greek version of the Old Testament of the Bible, the title "seventy" referring to the tradition that it was the work of 70 translators (or 72 in some traditions). The translation was made from the Hebrew Bible by Hellenistic Jews during the period 275 - 100 BC at Alexandria. Initially the Septuagint was widely used by Greek - speaking Jews, but its adoption by the Christians, who used it in preference to the Hebrew original, aroused hostility among the Jews, who ceased to use it after about 70 AD. It is still used by the Greek Orthodox church.

The Septuagint contains the books of the Hebrew Bible, the deuterocanonical books - that is, those not in the Hebrew version but accepted by the Christian church - and the Apocrypha. Ancient manuscripts from Qumran suggest that the Septuagint often followed a Hebrew text different from the present authoritative Hebrew text. Thus its value for textual criticism has been enhanced. The Septuagint provides an understanding of the cultural and intellectual settings of Hellenistic Judaism.

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Norman K Gottwald

C H Dodd, The Bible and the Greeks (1935); S Jellicoe, The LXX and Modern Studies (1968).


General Information

Septuagint is the name given the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. The term is derived from the Latin word septuaginta ("seventy"; hence, the customary abbreviation LXX), which refers to the 70 (or 72) translators who were once believed to have been appointed by the Jewish high priest of the time to render the Hebrew Bible into Greek at the behest of the Hellenistic emperor Ptolemy II.

The legend of the 70 translators contains an element of truth, for the Torah (the five books of Moses-Genesis to Deuteronomy) probably had been translated into Greek by the 3rd century BC to serve the needs of Greek-speaking Jews outside Palestine who were no longer able to read their Scriptures in the original Hebrew. The translation of the remaining books of the Hebrew Old Testament, the addition to it of books and parts of books (the Apocrypha), and the final production of the Greek Old Testament as the Bible of the early Christian church form a very complicated history. Because the Septuagint, rather than the Hebrew text, became the Bible of the early church, other Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek were made by the 3rd century; these are extant only in fragments, and their history is even more obscure than that of the Septuagint.

Rev. Bruce Vawter



General Information

Vulgate (Latin vulgata editio, "popular edition") is the edition of the Latin Bible that was pronounced "authentic" by the Council of Trent. The name originally was given to the "common edition" of the Greek Septuagint used by the early Fathers of the Church. It was then transferred to the Old Latin version (the Itala) of both the Old Testament and the New Testament that was used extensively during the first centuries in the Western church. The present composite Vulgate is basically the work of St. Jerome, a Doctor of the Church.

At first St. Jerome used the Greek Septuagint for his Old Testament translation, including parts of the Apocrypha; later he consulted the original Hebrew texts. He produced three versions of the Psalms, called the Roman, the Gallican, and the Hebrew. The Gallican Psalter, based on a Greek transliteration of a Hebrew text, is now read in the Vulgate. At the request of Pope Damasus I in 382, Jerome had previously undertaken a revision of the New Testament. He corrected the Gospels thoroughly; it is disputed whether the slight revisions made in the remainder of the New Testament are his work.

Through the next 12 centuries, the text of the Vulgate was transmitted with less and less accuracy. The Council of Trent (around 1550) recognized the need for an authentic Latin text and authorized a revision of the extant corrupt editions. This revision is the basic Latin text still used by scholars. A modern reworking of it, called for by Pope Paul VI as a result of the Second Vatican Council, was largely completed in 1977. It was used in making up the new liturgical texts in Latin that were basic to the vernacular liturgies mandated by the council.


Advanced Information

A Version is a translation of the holy Scriptures. This word is not found in the Bible; nevertheless, as frequent references are made in this work to various ancient as well as modern versions, it is fitting that some brief account should be given of the most important of these. These versions are important helps to the right interpretation of the Word. (See Samaritan Pentateuch article, below.)

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

Newer Popular English Versions

General Information

The American Standard Version (1901, 1946, 1957); The Holy Bible; Revised Standard Version (1946 [NT], 1952 [OT], 1971); the Living Bible (1971); the New International Version (NIV) (1973, 1978, 1984); the Simple English Version (1978, 1980); the New King James Version (1982); and the Micro Bible (1988), have all developed broad acceptance by various Christian Denominations and groups.

Additionally, the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Young, 1887, reprinted 1953); The Twentieth Century New Testament (1901); The Historical New Testament (Moffatt, 1901); The New Testament in Modern Speech (Weymouth, 1903); The Holy Bible - An Improved Edition (Amer. Baptist Publication Society, 1913); The Bible - A New Translation (Moffatt, 1922); The New Testament, an American Translation (Goodspeed, 1923); The Bible, an American Translation (Goodspeed, 1931); The New Testament (Williams, 1937); Letters to Young Churches (Phillips, 1948) (paraphrases the New Testament Epistles); The Gospels (Phillips, 1953) (popular paraphrases among young people); The Berkeley Version of the Bible (Verkuyl, 1959); have popularity for various reasons, usually either common vocabulary or extremely careful translation.


Samaritan Pentateuch

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On the return from the Exile, the Jews refused the Samaritans participation with them in the worship at Jerusalem, and the latter separated from all fellowship with them, and built a temple for themselves on Mount Gerizim. This temple was razed to the ground more than one hundred years B.C. Then a system of worship was instituted similar to that of the temple at Jerusalem. It was founded on the Law, copies of which had been multiplied in Israel as well as in Judah.

Thus the Pentateuch was preserved among the Samaritans, although they never called it by this name, but always "the Law," which they read as one book. The division into five books, as we now have it, however, was adopted by the Samaritans, as it was by the Jews, in all their priests' copies of "the Law," for the sake of convenience. This was the only portion of the Old Testament which was accepted by the Samaritans as of divine authority.

The form of the letters in the manuscript copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch is different from that of the Hebrew copies, and is probably the same as that which was in general use before the Captivity. There are other peculiarities in the writing which need not here be specified. There are important differences between the Hebrew and the Samaritan copies of the Pentateuch in the readings of many sentences. In about two thousand instances in which the Samaritan and the Jewish texts differ, the LXX agrees with the former. The New Testament also, when quoting from the Old Testament, agrees as a rule with the Samaritan text, where that differs from the Jewish. Thus Ex. 12:40 in the Samaritan reads, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they had dwelt in the land of Canaan and in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years" (comp. Gal. 3: 17). It may be noted that the LXX has the same reading of this text.

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)


Sinaiticus codex

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Sinaiticus codex, usually designated by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is one of the most valuable of ancient MSS of the Greek New Testament. On the occasion of a third visit to the convent of St. Catherine, on Mount Sinai, in 1859, it was discovered by Dr. Tischendorf. He had on a previous visit in 1844 obtained forty-three parchment leaves of the LXX, which he deposited in the university library of Leipsic, under the title of the Codex Frederico-Augustanus, after his royal patron the king of Saxony. In the year referred to (1859) the emperor of Russia sent him to prosecute his search for MSS, which he was convinced were still to be found in the Sinai convent.

The story of his finding the manuscript of the New Testament has all the interest of a romance. He reached the convent on 31st January; but his inquiries appeared to be fruitless. On the 4th February he had resolved to return home without having gained his object. "On that day, when walking with the provisor of the convent, he spoke with much regret of his ill-success. Returning from their promenade, Tischendorf accompanied the monk to his room, and there had displayed to him what his companion called a copy of the LXX, which he, the ghostly brother, owned. The MS was wrapped up in a piece of cloth, and on its being unrolled, to the surprise and delight of the critic the very document presented itself which he had given up all hope of seeing.

His object had been to complete the fragmentary LXX of 1844, which he had declared to be the most ancient of all Greek codices on vellum that are extant; but he found not only that, but a copy of the Greek New Testament attached, of the same age, and perfectly complete, not wanting a single page or paragraph." This precious fragment, after some negotiations, he obtained possession of, and conveyed it to the Emperor Alexander, who fully appreciated its importance, and caused it to be published as nearly as possible in facsimile, so as to exhibit correctly the ancient handwriting.

The entire codex consists of 346 1/2 folios. Of these 199 belong to the Old Testament and 147 1/2 to the New, along with two ancient documents called the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. The books of the New Testament stand thus:, the four Gospels, the epistles of Paul, the Acts of the Apostles, the Catholic Epistles, the Apocalypse of John.

It is shown by Tischendorf that this codex was written in the fourth century, and is thus of about the same age as the Vatican codex; but while the latter wants the greater part of Matthew and sundry leaves here and there besides, the Sinaiticus is the only copy of the New Testament in uncial characters which is complete. Thus it is the oldest extant MS copy of the New Testament. Both the Vatican and the Sinai codices were probably written in Egypt. (See Vaticanus article, below.)

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)


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Syriac, (2 Kings 18:26; Ezra 4:7; Dan. 2:4), more correctly rendered "Aramaic," including both the Syriac and the Chaldee languages. In the New Testament there are several Syriac words, such as "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" (Mark 15:34; Matt. 27:46 gives the Heb. form, "Eli, Eli"), "Raca" (Matt. 5:22), "Ehtmlhatha" (Mark 7:34), "Maran-atha" (1 Cor. 16:22).

A Syriac version of the Old Testament, containing all the canonical books, along with some apocryphal books (called the Peshitto, i.e., simple translation, and not a paraphrase), was made early in the second century, and is therefore the first Christian translation of the Old Testament. It was made directly from the original, and not from the LXX Version. The New Testament was also translated from Greek into Syriac about the same time. It is noticeable that this version does not contain the Second and Third Epistles of John, 2 Peter, Jude, and the Apocalypse. These were, however, translated subsequently and placed in the version. (See Version article, above.)


Codex Vaticanus

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The Codex Vaticanus is said to be the oldest extant vellum manuscript. It and the Codex Sinaiticus are the two oldest uncial manuscripts. They were probably written in the fourth century. The Vaticanus was placed in the Vatican Library at Rome by Pope Nicolas V. in 1448, its previous history being unknown.

It originally consisted in all probability of a complete copy of the Septuagint and of the New Testament. It is now imperfect, and consists of 759 thin, delicate leaves, of which the New Testament fills 142. Like the Sinaiticus, it is of the greatest value to Biblical scholars in aiding in the formation of a correct text of the New Testament. It is referred to by critics as Codex B.

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)


The Early Canon of the New Testament

The following table indicates which Books of the New Testament were included in a number of early Versions, including several of the Manuscripts discussed above. See the legend at the bottom for descriptions of what the letters indicate.

. Mar

1 Coriiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
2 Coriiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
1 Thessiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
2 Thessiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
1 Timoiiiiiiiimiiiiii
2 Timoiiiiiiiimiiiiii

1 Petoiooiiiiimiioiii
2 Petoooooooodmiiioii
1 Johnoiiiiiooimiiiiii
2 Johnoiiioododmiiioii
3 Johnooiooododmiiioii


i=included (canonicity definitely accepted)
o=omitted (canonicity doubted or denied)
m=missing (the codex omits the Pastorals and ends at Heb. 9:13)
d=disputed (canonicity mentioned as being in doubt)
r=rejected (canonicity specifically denied)

Marcion was a heretic in Rome. He believed that the Church should eliminate all references to the Creator-God of the Old Testament. Therefore, he proposed rejecting the entire Old Testament as well as anything in the New Testament that seemed to him to be contaminated with Judaism. Therefore, he eliminated everything but an edited version of Luke (written by the Gentile Luke) and ten of the Pauline Epistles. Marcion's list was definitely not the position of the Church at the time, but a deliberate variation from it. Actually, his efforts acted to inspire the orthodox Church to speed up their establishment of the true New Testament Canon.

Muratorian Fragment
Cardinal Muratori first published (in 1740) a list based on a document he studied that also came from around Rome. The beginning of the original document is mutilated, but it evidently included Matthew and Mark because it refers to Luke as the third Gospel. It included the Apocalypse of Peter (a Book later determined to be non Canonical) and it mentions that the Shepherd of Hermas as being worthy to be read in Church but not to be included among prophetic or apostolic writings.

The Gospel
Very early on, possibly soon after the writing of the Gospel according to John, the four Gospels appear to have been united. The fourfold collection was originally known as "The Gospel" (singular) and this appears to be where the "according tos" were established. This collection was designated by the Greek word Evangelion.

Around 170 AD an Assyrian Christian (apparently in Rome) named Tatian combined the fourfold Gospel into a narrative "Harmony of the Gospels". This was long the favorite form of the Gospels in the Assyrian Church, and it was quite distinct from the four Gospels in the existing Old Syriac version also existant at the time. Tatian's Harmony is usually known as the Diatessaron and it is thought that its original language was probably Greek, but later given to the Assyrian Christians in a Syriac form.

When the four Gospels had become gathered together into one combined work, Luke's two contributions (Luke and Acts) thus became separated. Slight modifications were apparently then introduced into the text at the end of Luke and the beginning of Acts. (Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:2) Some scholars have been concerned about apparent inconsistencies regarding the Ascension in these two Books that this 'adjustment' might be responsible for that.

Corpus Paulinum
At roughly the same time that the fourfold Gospel was collected together, the group of Paul's writings were assembled. It was designated by the Greek word Apostolos. Initially, this collection just included the letters "To the . . ." but Hebrews and Acts were soon bound up with them.

Origen mentioned that a number of Books were disputed by some: Hebrews, 2Peter, 2John, 3John, James, Jude, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and the 'Gospel according to the Hebrews'. (This last greatly resembled Matthew and existed among a group called the Ebionites in Egypt and Transjordan. Jerome later identified it with the "Gospel of the Nazarenes".) It is not clear if Jerome was correct about that.

In 367 AD, Athanasius appears to have been the first to establish the specific New Testament Canon of 27 Books that became broadly accepted and which we follow today.

Eastern Church
It took until around 508 AD that 2Peter, 2John, 3John, Jude and Revelation were included in a version of the Syriac Bible, adding to the earlier 22, to then agree with the same 27 Book New Testament Canon as in the West.

Hippo Regius (393) and Carthage (397)
These were the first two ecclesiastical Councils held specifically to classify the Canonical Books. These both occurred in North Africa. They did not impose any 'new' list on Christians but rather codified the already generally recognized Canon.

Septuagint Version

Catholic Information

The first translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, made into popular Greek before the Christian era. This article will treat of:

I. Its Importance;

II. Its Origin:

A. According to tradition;

B. According to the commonly accepted view;

III. Its subsequent history, recensions, manuscripts, and editions;

IV. Its critical value; Language.


The importance of the Septuagint Version is shown by the following considerations:

A. The Septuagint is the most ancient translation of the Old Testament and consequently is invaluable to critics for understanding and correcting the Hebrew text (Massorah), the latter, such as it has come down to us, being the text established by the Massoretes in the sixth century A.D. Many textual corruptions, additions, omissions, or transpositions must have crept into the Hebrew text between the third and second centuries B.C. and the sixth and seventh centuries of our era; the manuscripts therefore which the Seventy had at their disposal, may in places have been better than the Massoretic manuscripts.

B. The Septuagint Version accepted first by the Alexandrian Jews, and afterwards by all the Greek-speaking countries, helped to spread among the Gentiles the idea and the expectation of the Messias, and to introduce into Greek the theological terminology that made it a most suitable instrument for the propagation of the Gospel of Christ.

C. The Jews made use of it long before the Christian Era, and in the time of Christ it was recognised as a legitimate text, and was employed in Palestine even by the rabbis. The Apostles and Evangelists utilised it also and borrowed Old Testament citations from it, especially in regard to the prophecies. The Fathers and the other ecclesiastical writers of the early Church drew upon it, either directly, as in the case of the Greek Fathers, or indirectly, like the Latin Fathers and writers and others who employed Latin, Syriac, Ethiopian, Arabic and Gothic versions. It was held tin high esteem by all, some even believed it inspired. Consequently, a knowledge of the Septuagint helps to a perfect understanding of these literatures.

D. At the present time, the Septuagint is the official text in the Greek Church, and the ancient Latin Versions used in the western church were made from it; the earliest translation adopted in the Latin Church, the Vetus Itala, was directly from the Septuagint: the meanings adopted in it, the Greek names and words employed (such as: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers [Arithmoi], Deuteronomy), and finally, the pronunciation given to the Hebrew text, passed very frequently into the Itala, and from it, at times, into the Vulgate, which not rarely gives signs of the influence of the Vetus Itala; this is especially so in the Psalms, the Vulgate translation being merely the Vetus Itala corrected by St. Jerome according to the hexaplar text of the Septuagint.


A. According to Tradition

The Septuagint Version is first mentioned in a letter of Aristeas to his brother Philocrates. Here, in substance, is what we read of the origin of the version. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, King of Egypt (287-47 BC) had recently established a valuable library at Alexandria. He was persuaded by Demetrius of Phalarus, chief librarian, to enrich it with a copy of the sacred books of the Jews. To win the good graces of this people, Ptolemy, by the advice of Aristeas, an officer of the royal guard, an Egyptian by birth and a pagan by religion, emancipated 100,000 slaves in different parts of his kingdom. He then sent delegates, among whom was Aristeas, to Jerusalem, to ask Eleazar, the Jewish high-priest, to provide him with a copy of the Law, and Jews capable of translating it into Greek. The embassy was successful: a richly ornamented copy of the Law was sent to him and seventy-two Israelites, six from each tribe, were deputed to go to Egypt and carry out the wish of the king. They were received with great honor and during seven days astonished everyone by the wisdom they displayed in answering seventy-two questions which they were asked; then they were led into the solitary island of Pharos, where they began their work, translating the Law, helping one another and comparing translations in proportion as they finished them. At the end of seventy-two days, their work was completed, The translation was read in presence of the Jewish priests, princes, and people assembled at Alexandria, who all recognized and praised its perfect conformity with the Hebrew original. The king was greatly pleased with the work and had it placed in the library.

Despite its legendary character, Aristeas' account gained credence; Aristobulus (170-50 B.C.), in a passage preserved by Eusebius, says that "through the efforts of Demetrius of Phalerus a complete translation of the Jewish legislation was executed in the days of Ptolemy"; Aristeas's story is repeated almost verbatim by Flavius Josephus (Ant. Jud., XII, ii) and substantially, with the omission of Aristeas' name, by Philo of Alexandria (De vita Moysis, II, vi). the letter and the story were accepted as genuine by many Fathers and ecclesiastical writers till the beginning of the sixteenth century; other details serving to emphasize the extraordinary origin of the version were added to Aristeas's account" The seventy-two interpreters were inspired by God (Tertullian, St. Augustine, the author of the "Cohortatio ad Graecos" [Justin?], and others); in translating they did not consult with one another, they had even been shut up in separate cells, either singly, or in pairs, and their translations when compared were found to agree entirely both as to the sense and the expressions employed with the original text and with each other (Cohortatio ad Graecos, St. Irenæus, St. Clement of Alexandria). St. Jerome rejected the story of the cells as fabulous and untrue ("Praef. in Pentateuchum";"Adv. Rufinum", II, xxv). likewise the alleged inspiration of the Septuagint. Finally the seventy two interpreters translated, not only the five books of the Pentateuch, but the entire Hebrew Old Testament. The authenticity of the letter, called in question first by Louis Vivès (1492-1540), professor at Louvain (Ad S. August. Civ. Dei, XVIII, xlii), then by Jos. Scaliger (d. 1609), and especially by H. Hody (d. 1705) and Dupin (d. 1719) is now universally denied.


(1) The letter of Aristeas is certainly apocryphal. The writer, who calls himself Aristeas and says he is a Greek and a pagan, shows by his whole work that he is a pious, zealous Jew: he recognizes the God of the Jews as the one true God; he declares that God is the author of the Mosaic law; he is an enthusiastic admirer of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Jewish land and people, and its holy laws and learned men.

(2) The account as given in the letter must be regarded as fabulous and legendary, at least in several parts. Some of the details, such as the official intervention of the king and the high priest, the number of the seventy-two translators, the seventy-two questions they had to answer, the seventy-two days they took for their work, are clearly arbitrary assertions; it is difficult, moreover, to admit that the Alexandrian Jews adopted for their public worship a translation of the Law, made at the request of a pagan king; lastly, the very language of the Septuagint Version betrays in places a rather imperfect knowledge both of Hebrew and of the topography of Palestine, and corresponds more closely with the vulgar idiom of Alexandria. Yet it is not certain that everything contained in the letter is legendary, and scholars ask if there is not a historic foundation underneath the legendary details. Indeed it is likely -- as appears from the peculiar character of the language, as well as from what we know of the origin and history of the version -- that the Pentateuch was translated at Alexandria. It seems true also that it dates from the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and therefore from the middle of the third century B.C. For if, as is commonly believed, Aristeas's letter was written about 200 B.C., fifty years after the death of Philadelphus, and with a view to increase the authority of the Greek version of the Law, would it have been accepted so easily and spread broadcast, if it had been fictitious, and if the time of the composition did not correspond with the reality? Moreover, it is possible that Ptolemy had something to do with the preparation or publishing of the translation, though how and why cannot be determined now. Was it for the purpose of enriching his library as Pseudo-Aristeas states? This is possible, but is not proven, while, as will be shown below, we can very well account for the origin of the version independently of the king.

(3) The few details which during the course of ages have been added to Aristeas's account cannot be accepted; such are the story of the cells (St. Jerome explicitly rejects this); the inspiration of the translators, an opinion certainly based on the legend of the cells; the number of the translators, seventy-two (see below); the assertion that all the Hebrew books were translated at the same time. Aristeas speaks of the translation of the law (nomos), of the legislation (nomothesia), of the books of the legislator; now these expressions especially the last two, certainly mean the Pentateuch, exclusive of the other Old Testament books: and St. Jerome (Comment. in Mich.) says: "Josephus writes, and the Hebrews inform us, that only the five books of Moses were translated by them (seventy-two), and given to King Ptolemy." Besides, the versions of the various books of the Old Testament differ so much in vocabulary, style, form, and character, sometimes free and sometimes extremely literal, that they could not be the work of the same translators. Nevertheless, in spite of these divergencies the name of the Septuagint Version is universally given to the entire collection of the Old Testament books in the Greek Bible adopted by the Eastern Church.

B. Origin according to the commonly accepted view.

As to the Pentateuch the following view seems plausible, and is now commonly accepted in its broad lines: The Jews in the last two centuries B.C. were so numerous in Egypt, especially at Alexandria, that at a certain time they formed two-fifths of the entire population. Little by little most of them ceased to use and even forgot the Hebrew language in great part, and there was a danger of their forgetting the Law. Consequently it became customary to interpret in Greek the Law which was read in the synagogues, and it was quite natural that, after a time, some men zealous for the Law should have undertaken to compile a Greek Translation of the Pentateuch. This happened about the middle of the third century B.C. As to the other Hebrew books -- the prophetical and historical -- it was natural that the Alexandrian Jews, making use of the translated Pentateuch in their liturgical reunions, should desire to read the remaining books also and hence should gradually have translated all of them into Greek, which had become their maternal language; this would be so much the more likely as their knowledge of Hebrew was diminishing daily. It is not possible to determine accurately the precise time or the occasions on which these different translations were made; but it is certain that the Law, the Prophets, and at least part of the other books, that is, the hagiographies, existed in Greek before the year 130 B.C., as appears from the prologue of Ecclesiasticus, which does not date later than that year. It is difficult also to say where the various translations were made, the data being so scanty. Judging by the Egyptian words and expressions occurring in the version, most of the books must have been translated in Egypt and most likely in Alexandria; Esther however was translated in Jerusalem (XI, i).

Who were the translators and how many? Is there any foundation for their number, seventy or seventy-two, as given in the legendary account (Brassac-Vigouroux, n. 105)? It seems impossible to decide definitely; the Talmudists tell us that the Pentateuch was translated by five interpreters (Sopherim, c.i.). History gives us no details; but an examination of the text shows that in general that the authors were not Palestinian Jews called to Egypt; and differences of terminology, method, etc. prove clearly that the translators were not the same for the different books. It is impossible also to say whether the work was carried out officially or was merely a private undertaking, as seems to have been the case with Ecclesiasticus; but the different books when translated were soon put together -- the author of Ecclesiasticus knew the collection -- and were received as official by the Greek-speaking Jews.



The Greek version, known as the Septuagint, welcomed by the Alexandrian Jews, spread quickly throughout the countries in which Greek was spoken; it was utilized by different writers, and supplanted the original text in liturgical services. Philo of Alexandria used it in his writings and looked on the translators as inspired Prophets; it was finally received even by the Jews of Palestine, and was employed notably by Josephus, the Palestinian Jewish historian. We know also that the writers of the New Testament made use of it, borrowing from it most of their citations; it became the Old Testament of the Church and was so highly esteemed by the early Christians that several writers and Fathers declared it to be inspired. The Christians had recourse to it constantly in their controversies with the Jews, who soon recognized its imperfections, and finally rejected it in favour of the Hebrew text or of more literal translations (Aquila, Theodotion).

Critical corrections of Origen, Lucian, and Hesychius

On account of its diffusion alone the hellenizing Jews and early Christians, copies of the Septuagint were multiplied; and as might be expected, many changes, deliberate as well as involuntary, crept in. The necessity of restoring the text as far as possible to its pristine purity was felt. The following is a brief account of the attempted corrections:

A. Origen reproduced the Septuagint text in the fifth column of his Hexapla; marking with obeli the texts that occurred in the Septuagint without being in the original; adding according to Theodotion's version, and distinguishing with asterisks and metobeli the texts of the original which were not in the Septuagint; adopting from the variants of the Greek Version the texts which were closest to the Hebrew; and, finally, transposing the text where the order of the Septuagint did not correspond with the Hebrew order. His recension, copied by Pamphilus and Eusebius, is called the hexaplar, to distinguish it from the version previously employed and which is called the common, vulgate, koine, or ante-hexaplar. It was adopted in Palestine.

B. St. Lucien, priest of Antioch and martyr, in the beginning of the fourth century, published an edition corrected in accordance with the hebrew; this retained the name of koine, vulgate edition, and is sometimes called Loukianos, after its author. In the time of St. Jerome it was in use at Constantinople and Antioch. C. Finally, Hesychius, an Egyptian bishop, published about the same time, a new recension, employed chiefly in Egypt.


The three most celebrated manuscripts of the Septuagint known are the Vatican, "Codex Vaticanus" (fourth century); the Alexandrian, "Codex Alexandrinus" (fifth century), now in the British Museum, London; and that of Sinai, "Codex Sinaiticus" (fourth century), found by Tischendorf in the convent of St. Catherine, on Mount Sinai, in 1844 and 1849, now part at Leipzig and in part in St. Petersburg; they are all written in uncials.

The "Codex Vaticanus" is the purest of the three; it generally gives the more ancient text, while the "Codex Alexandrinus" borrows much from the hexaplar text and is changed according to the Massoretic text (The "Codex Vaticanus" is referred to by the letter B; the "Codex Alexandrinus" by the letter A, and the "Codex Sinaiticus" by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet Aleph or by S). The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris possesses also an important palimpsest manuscript of the Septuagint, the "Codex Ephraemi rescriptus" (designated by the letter C), and two manuscripts of less value (64 and 114), in cursives, one belonging to the tenth or eleventh century and the other to the thirteenth (Bacuez and Vigouroux, 12th ed., n. 109).

Printed Editions

All the printed editions of the Septuagint are derived from the three recensions mentioned above.

The editio princeps is the Complutensian or that of Alcalá. It was from Origen's hexaplar text; printer in 1514-18, it was not published till it appeared in the Polyglot of Cardinal Ximenes in 1520.

The Aldine edition (begun by Aldus Manucius) appeared at Venice in 1518. The text is purer than that of the Complutensian edition, and is closer to Codex B. The editor says he collated ancient manuscripts but does not specify them. It has been reprinted several times.

The most important edition is the Roman or Sixtine, which reproduces the "Codex Vaticanus" almost exclusively. It was published under the direction of Cardinal Caraffa, with the help of various savants, in 1586, by the authority of Sixtus V, to assist the revisers who were preparing the Latin Vulgate edition ordered by the Council of Trent. It has become the textus receptus of the Greek Old Testament and has had many new editions, such as that of Holmes and Pearsons (Oxford, 1798-1827), the seven editions of Tischendorf, which appeared at Leipzig between 1850 and 1887, the last two, published after the death of the author and revised by Nestle, the four editions of Swete (Cambridge, 1887-95, 1901, 1909), etc.

Grabe's edition was published at Oxford, from 1707 to 1720, and reproduced, but imperfectly, the "Codex Alexandrinus" of London. For partial editions, see Vigouroux, "Dict. de la Bible", 1643 sqq.


Critical Value

The Septuagint Version, while giving exactly as to the form and substance the true sense of the Sacred Books, differs nevertheless considerably from our present Hebrew text. These discrepancies, however, are not of great importance and are only matters of interpretation. They may be thus classified: Some result from the translators having had at their disposal Hebrew recensions differing from those which were know to the Massoretes; sometimes the texts varied, at others the texts were identical, but they were read in different order. Other discrepancies are due to the translators personally; not to speak of the influence exerted on their work by their methods of interpretation, the inherent difficulties of the work, their greater or less knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, they now and then translated differently from the Massoretes, because they read the texts differently; that was natural, for, Hebrew being written in square characters, and certain consonants being very similar in form, it was easy to confound them occasionally and so give an erroneous translation; moreover, their Hebrew text being written without any spacing between the various words, they could easily make a mistake in the separation of the words; finally, as the Hebrew text at their disposal contained no vowels, they might supply different vowels from those used later by the Massoretes. Again, we must not think that we have at present the Greek text exactly as it was written by the translators; the frequent transcriptions during the early centuries, as well as the corrections and editions of Origen, Lucian, and Hesychius impaired the purity of the text: voluntarily or involuntarily the copyists allowed many textual corruptions, transpositions, additions, and omissions to creep into the primitive text of the Septuagint. In particular we may note the addition of parallel passages, explanatory notes, or double translations caused by marginal notes. On this consult Dict. de la Bible, art. cit., and Swete, "An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek".


Everyone admits that the Septuagint Version was made in popular Greek, the koine dislektos. But is the Greek of the Old Testament a special idiom? Many authorities assert that it is, though they disagree as to its real character. The "Dict. de la Bible", s.v. Grec biblique, asserts that it was "the hebraicizing Greek spoken by the Jewish community at Alexandria", the popular Greek of Alexandria "with a very large admixture of Hebraicisms". The same dictionary, s.v. Septante, mentions the more recent opinion of Deissmann that the Greek of the Septuagint is merely the ordinary vernacular Greek, the pure koine of the time. Deissmann bases his theory on the perfect resemblance of the language of the Septuagint and that of the papyri and the inscriptions of the same age; he believes that the syntactical peculiarities of the Septuagint, which at first sight seem to favour the theory of a special language, a hebraicizing Greek, are sufficiently explained by the fact that the Septuagint is a Greek translation of Hebrew books.

Publication information Written by A. Vander Heeren. Transcribed by Nick Austriaco. Dedicated with gratitude to God to the Catholic Fellowship of M.I.T. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Authorized Version

Catholic Information

Name given to the English translation of the Bible produced by the Commission appointed by James I, and in consequence often spoken of as "King James's Bible". It is in general use among English-speaking non-Catholics. In order to understand its origin and history, a brief survey is necessary of the earlier English translations of the Scriptures. From very early times portions of the Bible have been translated into English. It is well known that Venerable Bede was finishing a translation of St. John's Gospel on his deathbed. But the history of the English Bible as a whole does not go back nearly so far; it dates from the so-called Wyclif Version, believed to have been completed about the year 1380. The translation was made from the Vulgate as it then existed, that is before the Sixtine and Clementine revisions, and was well and accurately done. Abbot Gasquet contends confidently (The Old English Bible, 102 sqq.) that it was in reality of Catholic origin, and not due to Wyclif at all; at any rate it seems fairly certain that he had no share in any part of it except the Gospels, even if he had in these; and there is evidence that copies of the whole were in the hands of good Catholics, and were read by them. The version, however, undoubtedly derived its chief importance from the use made of it by Wyclif and the Lollards, and it is in this connection that it is chiefly remembered. During the progress of the Reformation a number of English versions appeared, translated for the most part not from the Vulgate, but from the original Hebrew and Greek. Of these the most famous were Tyndale's Bible (1525); Coverdale's Bible (1535); Matthews' Bible (1537); Cromwell's, or the "Great Bible" (1539), the second and subsequent editions of which were known as Cranmer's Bible; the Geneva Bible (1557-60); and the Bishop's Bible (1568). The art of printing being by this time known, copies of all these circulated freely among the people. That there was much good and patient work in them, none will deny; but they were marred by the perversion of many passages, due to the theological bias of the translators; and they were used on all sides to serve the cause of Protestantism.

In order to counteract the evil effects of these versions, the Catholics determined to produce one of their own. Many of them were then living at various centres on the Continent, having been forced to leave England on account of the Penal Laws, and the work was undertaken by the members of Allen's College, at Douai, in Flanders, which was for a time transferred to Reims. The result was the Reims New Testament (1582) and the Douay Bible (1609-10). The translation was made from the Vulgate, and although accurate, was sadly deficient in literary form, and so full of Latinisms as to be in places hardly intelligible. Indeed, a few years later, Dr. William Fulke, a well-known Puritan controversialist, brought out a book in which the text of the Bishops' Bible and the Reims Testament were printed in parallel columns, with the sole purpose of discrediting the latter. In this he did not altogether succeed, and it is now generally conceded that the Douay Bible contained much excellent and scholarly work, its very faults being due to over-anxiety not to sacrifice accuracy. In the meantime the Protestants were becoming dissatisfied with their own versions, and soon after his accession King James I appointed a commission of revision--the only practical outcome of the celebrated Hampton Court Conferences. The commissioners, who numbered forty-seven, were divided into six companies, two of which sat at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, respectively; each company undertook a definite portion of the Bible, and its work was afterwards revised by a select committee chosen from the whole body. The instructions for their procedure were, to take the Bishops' Bible, which was in use in the churches, as their basis, correcting it by a comparison with the Hebrew and Greek texts. They were also given a list of other English versions which they were to consult. The commissioners set to work in 1607, and completed their labours in the short period of two years and nine months, the result being what is now known as the "Authorized Version". Although at first somewhat slow in gaining general acceptance, the Authorized Version has since become famous as a masterpiece of English literature. The first edition appeared in 1611, soon after the Douay Bible; and although this latter was not one of the versions named in the instructions to the revisers, it is understood that it had considerable influence on them (see Preface to Revised Version, i, 2. Also, J. G. Carleton, "Rheims and the English Bible").

The Authorized Version was printed in the usual form of chapters and verses, and before each chapter a summary of its contents was prefixed. No other extraneous matter was permitted, except some marginal explanations of the meaning of certain Hebrew or Greek words, and a number of cross-references to other parts of the Scripture. At the beginning was placed a dedication to King James and a short "Address to the Reader". Books such as Ecclesiasticus, and Machabees, and Tobias, which are considered by Protestants to be apocryphal, were of course omitted. Although it was stated on the title-page that the Authorized Version was "appointed to be read in the Churches", in fact it came into use only gradually. For the Epistles and Gospels, it did not displace the Bishops' Version until the revision of the Liturgy in 1661; and for the Psalms, that version has been retained to the present day; for it was found that the people were so accustomed to singing it that any change was inadvisable, if not impossible. Considerable changes were made, from time to time, in the successive editions of the Authorized Version, in the notes and references, and some even in the text. A system of chronology based chiefly on the calculations of Archbishop Ussher was first inserted in 1701; but in many later editions both the dates and many, or even all, of the references or verbal notes have been omitted.

It is generally admitted that the Authorized Version was in almost every respect a great improvement on any of its predecessors. So much was this the case that when Bishop Challoner made his revision of the Douay Bible (1749-52), which is now commonly in use among English-speaking Catholics, he did not scruple to borrow largely from it. Indeed, Cardinal Newman gives it as his opinion (Tracts Theol. and Eccles., 373) that Challoner's revision was even nearer to the Authorized Version than to the original Douay, "not in grammatical structure, but in phraseology and diction". Nevertheless, there remained in the Authorized Version here and there traces of controversial prejudice, as for example, in the angel's salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the words "highly favoured" being a very imperfect rendering of the original. In such cases, needless to say, Challoner adhered to the Douay. Moreover, while in the Authorized Version the names of persons and places were usually given in an anglicized form already in use, derived from the Hebrew spelling, Challoner nearly always kept the Vulgate names, which come originally from the Septuagint. It is partly due to this that the Authorized Version has an unfamiliar sound to Catholic ears. The Authorized Version remained in undisputed possession for the greater part of three centuries, and became part of the life of the people. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, however, it began to be considered that the progress of science called for a new version which should embrace the results of modern research. The work was set on foot by Convocation in 1870, and a Committee was formed, in which the Americans co-operated, resulting in the issue of the Revised Version (1881-84). The Revised Version has never received any definite ecclesiastical sanction, nor has it been officially introduced into church use. It has made its way simply on its merits. But although at the present day it is much used by students, for the general public (non-Catholic) the Authorized Version still holds its ground, and shows no sign of losing its popularity.

Publication information Written by Bernard Ward. Transcribed by Janet Grayson. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

Bible Manuscripts

Jewish Viewpoint Information

By this term are designated handwritten copies and codices of the Hebrew Bible as a whole, or of several books arranged in groups according to a certain order (see Bible Canon), or of single books. Sometimes, though not often, they contain collections of detached prophetic selections (see Haftarah), generally in connection with the Pentateuch (see Strack, "Zeitschrift für die Gesammte Lutherische Theologie und Kirche," 1875, p. 594). A distinction is made between manuscripts intended for use in the synagogue and in public reading and those for private purposes. Originally both the sacred or public copies and the private or profane were in the shape of scrolls, this being the only style of book-making known to antiquity. After the leaved form of books came into vogue (from the fourth century of the common era), adherence to the ancestral model was insisted on in the case of those reserved for holy uses at public worship. While demanded only for the Pentateuch and the Book of Esther, this conformity must, as the name indicates, have been at one time exacted also for the four remaining Megillot, read as lessons on certain festivals. Why they and the collections of the Haftarot ceased to conform to the historical model can not be ascertained.

Rules for Writing.

The Pentateuch and Esther, when designated for synagogal use, are required to be written with scrupulous attention to rules laid down in the Law (see Soferim). They must be written in square characters (, also known as ; see Alphabet), without vowel-points and accents, on parchment made from the hides of "clean" animals, which, when duly prepared, are sewn together by threads of the same origin. If four mistakes are found in one column, or a single error is discovered in the "open" and "closed" sections of the Law, or in the arrangements of the metrical portions, the whole copy is rendered unfit for use () and must be buried. Great age-through long use, and exposure to climatic and other influences involving decay and other imperfections-is among the causes which render a copy unserviceable; and this circumstance explains why very old copies are not found. The manuscripts intended for private use vary considerably in size, material, and character. They are in rolls, and in book form-folio, quarto, octavo, and duodecimo. Some are written on parchment, some on leather, others on paper; some in square characters, others in rabbinical (the latter only in modern times). They are usually provided with vowel-points, written in a different color from the consonants, which-are always in black. Initial words or letters are often in gold and silver; some, indeed, are artistically illuminated. Sometimes on the inner margins of the columns are given Masoretic notes; the outer ones are reserved for scholia and, in more modern manuscripts, for rabbinical commentaries. Yemenite manuscripts have usually no columns; and each verse is accompanied by the corresponding verse from the Targum Onkelos and the Arabic translation by Saadia. The space at the bottom of the pages is sometimes occupied by the commentary of Rashi.

Colophons and Inscriptions.

Generally, the manuscripts are provided with inscriptions giving the name of the copyist and the dates of writing. Several eras are used in the computation of these dates: that of the creation of the world; that of the Seleucids; that of the destruction of the Temple; and, finally, that of the Babylonian exile (see Era). The age of undated manuscripts is approximatively determined by the ink, the quality of the parchment, the presence or absence of Masoretic notes, and by paleographic signs (See Paleography).

As indicated above, extant manuscripts are not of very great antiquity. In addition to the explanation already given, this phenomenon, all the more curious because, according to Jewish law, every Jew ought to have at least one copy in his house, is very plausibly accounted for on the theory advanced by Brian Walton; namely, that with the definitive settlement of the Masorah in the seventh century, many copies must have been discarded because of their infractions of the established Masoretic rules. If Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta'anit lxviii. 1) is to be credited, while the Temple was still standing, standard codices of the Pentateuch were officially recognized. These were deposited in the court of the Temple and served as models for accuracy. According to the passage quoted, three were known by the following names respectively: "Sefer Me'on," so called on account of its reading instead of (Deut. xxxiii. 27); "Sefer Za'atute," because of its reading instead of (Ex. xxiv. 5); and "Sefer Hi," because of its reading with a yod in nine passages instead of eleven. The Masorites, too, seem to have consulted standard manuscripts celebrated for their accuracy in the redaction of the text and in the compilation of the Masoretic glosses. Though none of these has been preserved, the following are referred to as authorities in almost every manuscript of importance:

Codex Muggeh,

i.e., the corrected Codex: Quoted by the Masorites either by its full title () or simply as "Muggeh" ().

Codex Hilleli ():

The origin of its name is not known. According to Zacuto, this codex was written by a certain Hillel at about 600 of the common era. In his Chronicle, compiled about 1500, Zacuto expresses himself as follows:

"In the year 4957, on the twenty-eighth of Ab (Aug. 14, 1197), there was a great persecution of the Jews in the kingdom of Leon at the hand of the two kingdoms that came to besiege it. At that time they removed thence the twenty-four sacred books which were written about 600 years before. They were written by R. Hillel ben Moses ben Hillel, and hence his name was given to the codex, which was called 'Hilleli.' It was exceedingly correct; and all other codices were revised after it. I saw the remaining two parts of it, containing the Former and Latter Prophets, written in large and beautiful characters; these had been brought by the exiles to Portugal and sold at Bugia in Africa, where they still are, having been written about 900 years ago. Kimhi in his grammar on Num. x. 4 says that the Pentateuch of the Hillel Codex was extant in Toledo."

Codex Sanbuki:

Frequently quoted in the Masorah Parva, and highly praised for its accuracy by Menahem de Lonzano in his "Or Torah." According to Christian D. Ginsburg, the name of this codex is derived from "Zambuki" on the Tigris, to which community it belonged.

Codex Yerushalmi:

As attested by Ḳimhi ("Miklol," ed. Fürth, 1793, p. 184b), the codex was for many years in Saragossa, and was extensively used by the grammarian and lexicographer Ibn Janah. It is often quoted in the Masorah as exhibiting a different orthography from that of the Codex Hilleli.

Codex Jericho, also called Jericho Pentateuch ():

The name seems to imply that the manuscript embraced only the Pentateuch. It is mentioned by Elijah Levita, in "Shibre Luhot," as most reliable for the accents.

Codex Sinai ():

Many opinions exist as to the derivation of its name. The most plausible is that it was derived from "Mount Sinai," just as the codices Jericho and Yerushalmi denote the places of their origin. It is mentioned in the Masorah, and is also cited by Elijah Levita in his work quoted above.

Codex Great Mahzor ():

This probably contained the annual or triennial cycle ("Mahzor") of lessons to be read on week-days, Sabbaths, feasts, and fasts; hence its name.

Codex Ezra:

Quoted in the Masorah Parva. A manuscript professing to be a copy of this codex is in the possession of Christian D. Ginsburg.

Codex Babylon ():

Differences (, "hillufin") existed between the Western schools (), the chief seat of which was Tiberias, and the Eastern (), the principal centers of which were Nehardea and Sura, in the reading of many passages; this codex gives the Eastern recension (see Masorah). Another standard codex which served as a model at the time of Maimonides was that written in the tenth century by the renowned Masorite Aaron ben Moses ben Asher of Tiberias (compare Maimonides, "Yad," Sefer Torah, viii. 4). This codex was for a long time believed to be identical with that preserved in the synagogue at Aleppo (Jacob Saphir, , i. 12b; Grätz, in "Monatsschrift," 1871, p. 6; 1887, p. 30; Strack, "Prolegomena Critica," pp. 44-46). [E. N. Adler ("Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," p. 130) argues that the Aleppo Codex is a copy, not the original; but Wickes ("Hebrew Accentuation," Preface, p. vii., Oxford, 1887) makes it clear that "the statement assigning the codex to (Aaron ben Moses) Ben-Asher is a fabrication." E. G. H.

Two celebrated manuscripts believed to be very ancient are still extant in Syria. One of these, the Damascus Codex, which, according to the inscription on its title-page (added, however, by a later hand), was written in the third century of the common era, belongs to a Jewish family of Damascus named Parhi, and is exhibited to the inhabitants on feast-days. The other is kept in a grotto by the inhabitants of Jobar near Damascus.

Number of MSS.

The number of Hebrew Bible manuscripts found in European libraries is considerable. The oldest collection is that in the Imperial Library, St. Petersburg, formerly in the Odessa Biblical Society's library. A description of some of these manuscripts was given by Ephraim Moses Pinner in a pamphlet entitled "Prospectus der Alten Hebräischen und Rabbinischen Manuscripte," etc., Odessa, 1845. A full description by Strack and Harkavy is given in their catalogue. The oldest manuscript of this valuable collection is a Pentateuch brought from Derband (Daghestan), written before 604 of the common era. It consists of forty-five skins having 226 columns, and is composed of six pieces: (1) Gen. i.-xlvi. 25, end (9 skins, 52 columns, 51 lines; Taggin by a later hand). (2) Gen. xlvi. 26-Numbers (24 skins, 134 columns, 50 lines, without Taggin). (3) Deut. i.-xvii. (4 skins, 21 columns, 51 lines, without Taggin). (4) Deut. xvii.-xxi. 4 (1 skin, 3 columns, 51 lines). (5) Deut. xxi. 5-xxiii. 23 (1 skin, 3 columns, 51 lines). (6) Deut. xxiii. 24-end of Deut. (4 skins, 13 columns, 51 lines).

The oldest manuscript in book form at the library of St. Petersburg dates from 916. It consists of 225 folios, each folio divided lengthwise into two columns with 21 lines to the column, with the exception of folio 1a and folio 224a-b, which exhibit epigraphs. It contains the Latter Prophets. Two lines of Masorah Magna appear in the lower margin of each page; while the Masorah Parva occupies the center space between the columns. The vowel-points are superlinear in the so-called Babylonian system. The total number of the Bible manuscripts in the St. Petersburg library is 146.

In Libraries.

The British Museum possesses 165 Bible manuscripts, the oldest of which is the Masoretic Bible written about 820-850. This contains the Pentateuch and consists of 186 folios, 55 of which were at one time missing, but have been added by a later hand. The Bodleian Library, Oxford, possesses 146 Bible manuscripts, the oldest of which dates from 1104. Cambridge counts 32, the oldest believed to be of the tenth century. Bible manuscripts in goodly numbers are also to be found in private libraries in England, the most important collection being that of E. N. Adler. This contains about 100 codices, the oldest dating from the ninth century. The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, has 132 Bible manuscripts, the oldest with the date 1286. The number of Bible manuscripts in the Vienna Library is 24. The oldest (given by Kennicott under No. 126) contains the Latter Prophets and the Hagiographa, written in the tenth century. Steinschneider describes 14 Bible manuscripts in the Royal library of Berlin; none of them is very old. De Rossi describes 848 manuscripts (now at Parma), the oldest of which is No. 634, containing Lev. xxi. 19-Num. i. 50, written in the eighth century. The Vatican Library possesses 39 Bible manuscripts, which have been described by Joseph Simon Assemani and Stephen Ephodius Assemani.

Several Bible manuscripts are in the libraries of Leipsic, Munich, and Leyden.

Some Bible manuscripts have been brought from China. They are partly synagogue rolls, partly private copies, whose text does not differ from the Masoretic Bibles. A Pentateuch of the Malabar Jews is now in England. It resembles, on the whole, the usual synagogue rolls, except that it is written on red skin.

Samaritan manuscripts of the Pentateuch are to be found in the British Museum, the Bodleian, St. Petersburg, Parma, and the Vatican libraries; for a description of them, the respective catalogues may be consulted.

As curiosities may be mentioned a Hebrew Pentateuch in Arabic characters, now in the British Museum; the Pentateuch in Latin characters in the Bodleian Library; and, finally, the fragments of the Pentateuch written in inverted alphabet discovered lately in the Cairo genizah.

Emil G. Hirsch, Isaac Broyd
Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.

Kennicott, Dissertatio Generalis; Walton, Prolegomena to the Polyglot; S. Davidson, Treatise on Biblical Criticism; Strack, Prolegomena Critica in Vetus Testamentum Hebraicum; Christian D. Ginsburg, Introduction to the Masoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, pp. 421 et seq.

Bible Translations

Jewish Viewpoint Information

The Targums.

Jewish translations of the Old Testament were made from time to time by Jews, in order to satisfy the needs, both in public service and in private life, of those that had gradually lost the knowledge of the ancient national tongue. In Palestine itself, Hebrew was driven out first by Aramaic, then by Greek, and finally by Arabic. Portions of the Bible itself (in Daniel and Ezra) are written in Aramaic; and there is no consensus of opinion among scholars as to whether these parts were originally written in that tongue or were translated from the Hebrew. Though Hebrew remained the sacred and the literary language, the knowledge of it must have faded to such a degree in the second century preceding the common era that it became necessary for a "meturgeman" to translate the weekly Pentateuch and prophetic lessons as read in the synagogue (Berliner, "Onkelos," p. 7; Friedmann, "Akylos und Onkelos," p. 58). The assertion made by the two scholars just cited, that the Targums date from the time of Ezra, is unwarranted; since they are written in a West-Aramaic dialect. The authorities of the synagogue did not willingly allow such translations to be written down. They felt that this would be putting a premium upon ignorance of the text, and that the Biblical word would be in danger of being badly interpreted or even misunderstood. They sought to minimize the danger by permitting only one verse to be read and translated at a time in the case of the Law, and three in the case of the Prophets (Meg. iv. 4). Certain passages were never to be translated publicly; e.g., Gen. xxxv. 22; Ex. xxxii. 21-25; Num. vi. 23-26; Lev. xviii. 21 (Meg. iv. 10; see. Berliner, l.c. p. 217; Ginsburger, "Monatsschrift," xliv. 1). These passages are to be found in Pseudo-Jonathan and in the Midrashim for private use. It is distinctly stated that no written copy of the Targum was to be used in the public service (Yer. Meg. iv. 1); though for private purposes copies were allowed to be made. The Talmud, it is true, mentions a written Targum to the Book of Job which was in the possession of Rabban Gamaliel I. during the Second Temple, about 20-40 C. E. (Tosef., Shab. xiv. 2; Bab. Shab. 115a; Soferim xv. 2; compare Berliner, l.c. p. 90), and which was then buried by order of Gamaliel. In Yer. Shab. xvi. 1 a variant tradition tells of such a Targum having been in the hands of both the elder and the younger Gamaliel. Though this tradition is accepted even by Bacher (see Aramaic Language), there are no means of verifying this statement, the existing Targum to that book being of a much later date. The tradition certainly can not refer to a Greek translation, as Grätz ("Monatsschrift," xxvi. 87)holds.

According to Blau ("Einleitung," p. 79) the reference is to a copy written in the Old Hebrew script. The Targum is largely a paraphrase, reproducing the rabbinical tradition as regards the meaning of the text. For a history of this Targum see Targum. In passing a word should be said about the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch in the West-Aramaic dialect, which the Samaritans at one time spoke. It is as yet not possible to say in which century this version was made. Even though the citations under the caption τὸ Σαμαρειτικόυ, which are found in the scholia to Origen's Hexapla, refer to it, Kohn believes that they are drawn from a Greek translation of the Samaritan made in Egypt. The text has been edited in Samaritan characters by H. Petermann and K. Vollers (Berlin, 1872-91), and in Hebrew characters by A. Brüll (1873-75), from the London Polyglot. M. Heidenheim's edition in Hebrew characters, of which Genesis only has appeared ("Bibliotheca Samaritana," i., Leipsic, 1884), has been very severely criticized (see Nestle, "Uebersetzungen der Bibel," p. 205).

Influence of Hellenism.

The settlement of large numbers of Jews in various parts of the Greek world, the Hellenization of Palestine, and the presence in Jerusalem of Jews from all countries, especially from those under Greek influence, in course of time forced the Rabbis to treat the question more liberally. According to Meg. ii. 1, it was forbidden to read the Megillah in Aramaic or in any other non-Hebrew language, except for the foreign Jews () in Jerusalem (compare the Baraita in Bab. Meg. 18a; Shab. 115b); and that such foreign Jews were in the city in large numbers is seen from Acts ii. 5-11. So, also, it is found, according to another tradition (Meg. i. 8), that it was permitted to write the Biblical books in any language (); though R. Simon ben Gamaliel would restrict this permission to Greek (Yer. Meg. i. 1): "After careful examination it was found that the Pentateuch could be adequately translated only into Greek").

Evidence exists of the fact that in the synagogue of the Greek was freely used (Tosef., Meg. iv. 13). There is even a tradition that Greek letters were engraven upon the chest in the Temple in which the shekels were kept (Shek. iii. 2); and there is also Christian testimony to this effect (Justin, "Cohortatio ad Græcos," xiii.; Tertullian, "Apologia," xviii.; Frankel, "Vorstudien," p. 56). It is reported that in Asia Minor R. Meïr was unable to find a Megillah written in Hebrew (Tosef., Meg. ii. 4); and the weekly lessons both from the Law and the Prophets were at an early date read in Greek in Alexandria ("Jew. Quart. Rev." ix. 730). This makes comprehensible the statement that "the Law can be read in any language" (Sotah 33a; Meg. 17b). The well-known passage in the Mishnah (Yad. iv. 5) which mentions the Levitical impurity occasioned by touching Biblical books, and which especially excepts the Targum from these provisions, has been very properly explained by Blau as referring to different degrees of sanctity only: no translation could, of course, be put upon the same level with the original Hebrew.

At a later time-perhaps in the second century of the present era-a different view seems to have prevailed; and it was said that the day on which the Law was translated into Greek was as unfortunate for the Jews as that on which the Golden Calf was made (Soferim i. 8, 9). Even to teach children Greek was forbidden (Sotah ix. 14); though it was still permitted to teach a girl Greek, as a knowledge of that language was considered to be an accomplishment. Evidently this change of view was occasioned by the rise of the Christian Church, which used the Bible only in the Septuagint Version. It will be seen that in the Middle Ages the desire to please the women during the service and to instruct them led to the introduction of the vernacular, especially for the prophetical lessons. The treatise Soferim even makes it a duty "to translate, for the women, the weekly readings from the Pentateuch and the Prophets before the close of the service. The translation was not read verse by verse after the Hebrew, but as one continuous passage" (Abrahams, "Jewish Life in the Middle Ages," p. 345).

The Septuagint.

The oldest and most important of all the versions made by Jews is that called "The Septuagint" ("Interpretatio septuaginta virorum" or "seniorum"). It is a monument of the Greek spoken by the large and important Jewish community of Alexandria; not of classic Greek, nor even of the Hellenistic style affected by Alexandrian writers. If the account given by Aristeas be true, some traces of Palestinian influence should be found; but a study of the Egyptian papyri, which are abundant for this particular period, is said by both Mahaffy and Deissmann to show a very close similarity between the language they represent and that of the Septuagint, not to mention the Egyptian words already recognized by both Hody and Eichhorn. These papyri have in a measure reinstated Aristeas (about 200 B.C.) in the opinion of scholars. Upon his "Letter to Philocrates" the tradition as to the origin of the Septuagint rests. It is now believed that even though he may have been mistaken in some points, his facts in general are worthy of credence (Abrahams, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." xiv. 321). According to Aristeas, the Pentateuch was translated at the time of Philadelphus, the second Ptolemy (285-247 B.C.), which translation was encouraged by the king and welcomed by the Jews of Alexandria. Grätz ("Gesch. der Juden," 3d ed., iii. 615) stands alone in assigning it to the reign of Philometor (181-146 B.C.). Whatever share the king may have had in the work, it evidently satisfied a pressing need felt by the Jewish community, among whom a knowledge of Hebrew was rapidly waning before the demands of every-day life.

It is not known when the other books of the Bible were rendered into Greek. The grandson of Ben Sira (132 B.C.), in the prologue to his translation of his grandfather's work, speaks of the "Law, Prophets, and the rest of the books" as being already current in his day. A Greek Chronicles is mentioned by Eupolemus (middle of second century B.C.); Aristeas, the historian, quotes Job; a foot-note to the Greek Esther seems to show that that book was in circulation before the end of the second century B.C.; and the Septuagint Psalter is quoted in I Macc. vii. 17. It is therefore more than probable that the whole of the Bible was translated into Greek before the beginning of the Christian era (Swete, "An Introduction to the O. T. in Greek," ch. i.). The large number of Greek-speaking Jewish communities in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and northern Africa must have facilitated its spread in all these regions. The quotations from the Old Testament found in the New are in the main taken from the Septuagint; and even where the citation is indirect the influence of this version is clearly seen. This will also explain in a measure the undoubted influence of the Septuagint upon the Syriac translation called the "Peshitta."

Being a composite work, the translation varies in the different books. In the Pentateuch, naturally, it adheres most closely to the original; in Job it varies therefrom most widely. In some books (e.g., Daniel) the influence of the Jewish Midrash is more apparent than in others. Where it is literal it is "intolerable as a literary work" (Swete, ib. p. 22). The translation, which shows at times a peculiar ignorance of Hebrew usage, was evidently made from a codex which differed widely in places from the text crystallized by the Masorah. Its influence upon the Greek-speaking Jews must have been great. In course of time it came to be the canonical Greek Bible, as Luther's translation became the German, and the Authorized Version the English. It is the version used by the Jewish Hellenistic writers, Demetrius, Eupolemus, Artabanus, Aristeas, Ezekiel, and Aristobulus, as well as in the Book of Wisdom, the translation of Ben Sira, and the Jewish Sibyllines. Hornemann, Siegfried, and Ryle have shown that Philo bases his citations from the Bible on the Septuagint Version, though he has no scruple about modifying them or citing them with much freedom. Josephus follows this translation closely (Freudenthal, "Hellenistische Studien," ii. 171; Siegfried, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," iii. 32). It became part of the Bible of the Christian Church.


Two things, however, rendered the Septuagint unwelcome in the long run to the Jews. Its divergence from the accepted text (afterward called the Masoretic) was too evident; and it therefore could not serve as a basis for theological discussion or for homiletic interpretation. This distrust was accentuated by the fact that it had been adopted as Sacred Scripture by the new faith. A revision in the sense of the canonical Jewish text was necessary. This revision was made by a proselyte, Aquila, who lived during the reign of Hadrian (117-138). He is reported to have been a pupil of R. Akiba and to have embodied in his revision the principles of the strictest literal interpretation of the text; certainly his translation is pedantic, and its Greek is uncouth. It strove only to reproduce the text word for word, and for this reason it grew rapidly in favor in strictly Jewish circles where Hebrew was yet understood. Not only in the days of Origen was it thus popular, but, according to the testimony of Jerome and Augustine, down to the fourth and fifth centuries. Of this translation a few fragments have come down to us, together with many citations made by Christian writers from Origen's Hexapla. In the middle of the sixth century a certain section of the Jews in Byzantium wished to read the Sabbath lections in Greek as well as in Hebrew; but the Rabbis and authorities desired that only Hebrew should be read. The discussion came before the emperor, Justinian, who in the year 553 issued a novella in which it was expressly stated that "the Hebrews are allowed to read the Holy Writ in their synagogues in the Greek language"; and the emperor advised them to use either the Septuagint or the version of Aquila (Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," v. 435).

Theodotion and Symmachus.

A second revision of the Septuagint was made by one Theodotion, perhaps a native of Ephesus, who may have lived toward the end of the second century. He is sometimes said to have been a convert to Judaism. His revision, also, is in the nature of a recurrence to the Hebrew text, but he avoids entirely the pedantry of Aquila, and his Greek gives a readable text; the only evidences of pedantry are his transliterations of a number of Hebrew words. Strange to say, his version of Daniel entirely displaced that of the Septuagint; and in other portions his translations are occasionally found in ordinary Septuagint manuscripts. For this fact no sufficient reason has yet been given. Fragments of his work are also found in the remains of Origen's Hexapla. A third translator, Symmachus, whose date is not known, tried to smooth down Aquila's un-Grecian Greek by the use of both the Septuagint and Theodotion. He seems to be the best stylist of all. According to Epiphanius, he was a Samaritan convert to Judaism; but Eusebius and Jerome make him out an Ebionite. Of the three other fragmentary translations into Greek used by Origen in compiling his Hexapla, very little is known. It is not even certain that they are the work of Jews.

Toward the end of the fourteenth century or at the beginning of the fifteenth another translation of the Bible into Greek was made, of which the portion covering the Pentateuch, Ruth, Proverbs, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Daniel is still preserved in manuscript (MS. Gr., No. vii.) in the library of St. Mark's, Venice. It has been edited in a final form by Oscar von Gebhardt ("Græcus Venetus," Leipsic, 1875), with a preface by Franz Delitzsch. According to Von Gebhardt, Delitzsch, and Freudenthal ("Hellenistische Studien," p. 129), the author was a Jew, who for some reason or other preferred the commentary of David Ḳimhi to that of Rashi. The author has also used the former Greek versions. The body of the work is done into Attic Greek; the Aramaic portions of Daniel are rendered into Doric. Delitzsch has tried to identify the author with a certain Eliseus, a learned Jew at the court of Murad I. (see "Theol. Lit. Zeit." i. 107; Swete, l.c. p. 56; Nestle, l.c.p. 84). On the other hand, P. Frankl has tried to show that the translator was a Christian and not a Jew ("Monatsschrift," xxiv. 372). According to Grätz ("Gesch. der Juden," vii. 318), Shemariah of Negroponte (1328-46) rendered the Book of Genesis into Greek, in an attempt to bridge over the cleft separating Karaites from Rabbinites. But Shemariah's work was a commentary and not a translation (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." xv. 39). On translations of the Haftarot into Greek see "Magazin," ii. 5.

Modern Greek.

The first attempt to translate the Bible into modern Greek was made by a monk of the island of Crete, Agapiou by name. In 1543 he published a rendering of the Psalms which followed closely the Septuagint translation. This preceded the first Jewish translation by only a few years. One column of the Polyglot Pentateuch (Constantinople, 1547) contained a Neo-Greek version in Hebrew characters. The dialect used is that of Epirus; and no single word of Turkish is to be found in it. Though full of Hebraisims, it is said to be of importance for the study of Greek linguistics. The few copies of this edition which are now known to exist do not agree; and it has been suggested that corrections were made in the text during printing. In the "Revue des Etudes Grecques" (iii. 288 et seq.) Belleli has reprinted the first four chapters of Genesis; and a facsimile of the whole has been published by D. C. Hesseling, "Les Cinq Livres de la Loi" (Leyden, 1897; compare the discussion in "Rev. Etudes Juives," xxxv. 132, 314). A translation of Jonah into modern Greek is found in a manuscript volume of prayers in the library of the University of Bologna; and it is known, from R. Meïr Katzenellenbogen, that in his day (1470-1565) it was customary in Padua to read the Haftarah of the Atonement Day in the vernacular; this was also the case in Candia (Kapsali, ed. Lattes, p. 22). L. Modena has shown ("Cataloghi dei Codici Orientali," p. 335, Florence, 1876) that this thirteenth-century manuscript, which came originally from Canea, is similar to MS. No. 1144 in the Bodleian collection (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." col. 333; "Rev. Etudes Juives," xxiii. 135). In 1576 Moses ben Elijah Phobian, or Popian, published at Constantinople a Neo-Greek translation of Job for the express purpose of facilitating the teaching of Hebrew (Belleli, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," xxii. 250; compare ib. xxiii. 136, xxiv. 160, and Güdemann, "Quellen'" pp. 239-289).

The Peshitta.

The Syriac translation of the Old Testament was undoubtedly made directly from the Hebrew; though at Antioch, during the third century of the present era and at later periods, it was revised so as to make it conform to the Septuagint. The history of its origin is obscure; but it was probably made in Mesopotamia during the first century. As with most of the older translations, various hands have been at work here. Perles ("Meletemata Peschittoniana," Breslau, 1859), Prager ("De Veteris, Testamenti Versione Peschitto," Göttingen, 1875), and Bacher (see Aramaic Language) believe it is the work of Jews: but this has not yet been proved; and the view of Dathe, Eichhorn, Hitzig, Nöldeke, and Renan, that it owes its origin to Judæo-Christians, seems more probable. Perles, however, has shown that there are unmistakable evidences in the Peshitta of the influence of the Targum, especially in Genesis. This has been confirmed for Ezekiel by Cornill ("Das Buch Ezekiel," p. 154), for Chronicles by S. Fränkel (in "Jahrb. für Protestantische Theologie," 1879), and for Job by Stenig ("De Syriaca Libri Jobi Interp." Helsingfors, 1887), Mandl ("Peschitto zu Hiob," Leipsic, 1892), and Hauman (in Stade's "Zeitschrift," xix.29). The closest agreement between the two versions is found in the Book of Proverbs; but it is now generally held that in this case the Targum reflects the Peshitta and not vice versa, as Maybaum contends (Merx, "Archiv," vol. ii.). This view is upheld by a consideration of the general character of the translation (Pinkuss, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," xiv. 101; see also Duval, "Littérature Syriaque," 1899, pp. 31 et seq.).

Arabic Versions.

It is impossible to tell at how early a time the Jews commenced to translate the Bible into Arabic. After the early victories of the Mohammedans, Arabic civilization and Arabic surroundings brought the Jews into very close connection with the Arabic language. Even where Hebrew was still kept up, the Hebrew alphabet must at times have gone out of fashion; for there exist some Karaite manuscripts of the tenth century, giving the Hebrew text in Arabic characters and with the letters used as vowel-signs (R. Hörning, "British Museum Karaite MSS." London, 1889; Margoliouth, "Cat. Hebr. and Samaritan MSS. Brit. Mus." i., Nos. 103, 104). That the Jews had little scruple in reading the Bible in Arabic may be seen from Judah ibn Tibbon's advice to his son to read the Sabbath lections in that tongue ("Jew. Quart. Rev." xii. 484). There are no facts, however, which prove that the early Jews of Arabia possessed any Arabic translation of the Bible. There is a tradition, going back to Abu Huraya, a contemporary of Mohammed, that "The People of the Book used to read the Taurah [Torah] in Hebrew and interpret it in Arabic to the followers of Islam"; which tradition is the basis of the polemics of Abu Mohammed ibn hazm (d. 1064). Another tradition says that "Ka'ab the rabbi brought a book ["sifr"] to Omar the calif and said, 'Here is the Torah, read it'" (Goldziher, in "Z. D. M. G." xxxii. 344). The evidence is insufficient; and thereis even less warrant for Sprenger's idea that apocryphal writings were current in Arabia during Mohammed's days (see Kuenen, "Volksreligion," p. 297). At a later time, however, such translations must have existed, even though little credence can be placed upon the assurances of the polemical writers that they had "read this in the Torah" or "in the Zabur [Psalms]" (ib. p. 351; compare Stade's "Zeitschrift," xiii. 315). The Fihrist (ed. Flügel, i. 22) of Al-Nadim mentions an Ahmad ibn Abd Allah ibn Salam who translated the Bible into Arabic, at the time of Harun al-Rashid. Fahr al-Din al-Razi mentions a translation of Habbakuk by the son of Rabban al-Tabari ("Z. D. M. G." xlii. 645). Many of the Arabic historians, as Al-Tabari, Mas'udi, hamza, and Biruni, cite passages and recount the early history of the Jews in a most circumstantial manner. Ibn Kutaibah, the historian (d. 889), says that he read the Bible; and he even made a collection of Biblical passages in a work which has been preserved by Ibn Jauzi of the twelfth century (see Haupt and Delitzsch, "Beiträge zur Assyriologie," iii. 46; Stade's "Zeitschrift," xv. 138).

Saadia Gaon.

The first important Arabic translation is that of Saadia Gaon (892-942). The influence of this translation was in its way as great as that of the gaon's philosophical work. It has remained to this day the version for the Jews in Arabic-speaking countries: it is dignified by the name "Targum"; and in many of the South Arabian Bible manuscripts it follows the Aramaic verse by verse, as the Aramaic follows the Hebrew. Saadia in the main takes the Targum as his guide, especially in doing away with all anthropomorphisms. His chief thought, however, is to produce a readable and intelligible translation. In this sense his translation may be called free; he was evidently working for a general reading public, both Jewish and Mohammedan, and not for scholars. Ibn Ezra blames him for the apparent case with which he passes over difficulties. But, in calling this translation a "tafsir" (explanation), he meant to indicate that he aimed to present the simple sense ("basit"="peshat") of the Biblical text; and Abu al-Walid looks upon him as the chief representative of this method. His fervent belief in the verbal inspiration of the Biblical text kept him free, on the one hand, from the influence of his rationalistic philosophy and, on the other, from the allegorical method of the Talmud (Editio Derenbourg, v. x.; Bacher in Winter and Wünsche, "Jüdische Litteratur," iii. 244). When no word in Arabic will exactly express his meaning, he uses the Hebrew word or adopts the Hebrew construction. In addition, he attempts to reproduce Hebrew words by Arabic words with a similar sound (Munk, in Cahen's "Bible," ix. 127). Saadia, in the introduction to the commentary on the Pentateuch, states that he translated it twice: once with a diffuse commentary; the second time without the commentary. Of the first translation only a few fragments and citations by Abraham ibn Ezra, Bahya ben Asher, Abraham Maimonides, etc., have been preserved (Derenbourg's ed. of the Pentateuch, Hebrew part, p. vii.; "Monatsschrift," xli. 205; "Jew. Quart. Rev." xii. 536). Of this work, at one time complete, only the Pentateuch, Isaiah, Minor Prophets, portions of Judges, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, and Daniel are now extant.

Saadia's translation was first printed in the Polyglot Pentateuch, Constantinople, 1546. It was reproduced in Arabic characters in the Paris and London Polyglots (1645-57). From time to time more or less critical editions of various portions have been published; a complete list of these editions as well as of the extant manuscripts is given by Steinschneider in the "Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," pp. 153 et seq. (see also "Monatsschrift," xli. 124, and Engelkemper, "De Saadiæ Gaonis Vita, Bibliorum Versione, etc.," Münster, 1897). A definite edition of the translation and commentaries was commenced by the late Joseph Derenbourg, "Œuvres Complètes de R. Saadia," Paris, 1893 et seq., and is being carried on by Hartwig Derenbourg and Mayer Lambert; the Pentateuch, Isaiah, Proverbs, and Job have appeared (1902).

Other Arabic Versions.

A number of other translations into Arabic must have existed. Abu al-Walid mentions some of them, though it can hardly be determined to-day to which translations he refers (Bacher, "Leben und Werke des Abulwalid," p. 99). Some of them, though bearing no direct relation to that of Saadia, show evident traces of his influence. This is true at least of a translation of the Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, found in Codex Huntington (No. 206 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford). From this manuscript Hosea was published by R. Schröter in Merx, "Archiv," i. 28 et seq. M. Peritz has edited "Zwei Alte Uebersetzungen des Buches Ruth," Berlin, 1900 ("Monatsschrift," 1899, pp. 49 et seq.). The second of these, from a manuscript in the British Museum, though it shows most of the peculiarities of Saadia's translation, is not by him (see also Poznanski, in "Zeit. für Hebr. Bibl." iv. 167). Nothing is known of the fragments of the Arabic version of the Pentateuch found in the twelfth-century manuscript, St. Petersburg, Nos. 137 and 138 (Harkavy-Strack, "Catalog," p. 164). Another translation of the Five Scrolls is found in British Museum MSS., Nos. 146, 147 (Poznanski, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," xli. 302). A rimed version of the Psalms was made by one Hafz al-Kuti (tenth century), which is contained in a manuscript of the Ambrosian Library in Milan (Hammer-Purgstall in "Bibl. Ital. di Letteratura," civ. 36), copied in 1625 from a manuscript in the Escurial, which has since been lost. It is cited by Moses ibn Ezra in his "Poetics"; but it is evident that this translation was made by one who was not even, as has been supposed, a baptized Jew ("Hebr. Bibl." x. 26). Neubauer has pointed out ("Rev. Etudes Juives," xxx. 65) that it contains Christian quotations; and the term "the Goth" (ib. p. 318) would sufficiently indicate that the author was a Christian. A version of Ecclesiastes by Judah ibn Ghayyat has been published by J. Löwy, Leyden, 1884 (see Rahmer's "Jüdisches Litteratur-Blatt," May 29, 1884, p. 88). In the thirteenth century a translation of the Pentateuch was made by an African Jew, who also based his work on that of Saadia. It is known as the "Arabs Erpenii" ("Pent. Mosis Arabice," Lug.-Bat. MS., No. 1622). (On a supposed translation of the Psalms by Saadia ben Levi Azankot see Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." col. 2227.) In modern times several Arabic translations of the Bible have been published in India; e.g., by Ezekiel Shem-Tob David, Bombay, 1889, and the Apocrypha by Joseph David, Bombay, 1895.

Karaite Versions.

It was natural that the Karaites should refuse to make use of the version in Arabic made by their arch-enemy, Saadia. Only two or three of their attempts to replace it have come down; and even these have been preserved in a most fragmentary form only. One of the earliest of these attempts was that made by Joshua b. Ari, or, to give him the name by which he is better known, Abu al-Faraj Furkan ibn Asad, a learned Jerusalem Karaite of the middle of the eleventh century. A portion of his Arabic translation of the Pentateuch is to be found in MS. Or. 2491 of the British Museum. It shows occasionally a decided rationalistic tendency, explanatory glosses being introduced here and there into the text (G. Margoliouth, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." xi. 190). Whether Japheth ha-Levi (Ibn Ali al-Basri) really translated any parts of the Bible (Margoliouth, "Descriptive List," pp. 25 et seq.), is undetermined; but it is known that he had the ambitious desire to write an extensive commentary upon the whole Bible (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Uebers." p. 941). According to Margoliouth ("Cat. Hebr. and Samaritan MSS. Brit. Mus." p. 71), MS. Brit. Mus. 101 (Or. 2481) contains an Arabic translation of the Pentateuch based upon that of Japheth.

Samaritan Revision of Saadia.

The translation of Saadia, as is said above, had become a standard work in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. But to the Samaritans it was as distasteful (Harkavy, "hadashim," No. 7, p. 22) as it no doubt had been to the Karaites, because of the rabbinical interpretations which it represented. At some time, perhaps during the thirteenth century, it was revised by a Samaritan with the express purpose of adapting it to the use of his coreligionists. This revision is usually held to have been made by Abu Sa'id ibn abu al-husain ibn abu Sa'id, and has claimed the attention of European scholars such as De Sacy ("Mémoires de l'Académie," 1808, xlix. 1 et seq.), Gesenius ("De Pentateuchi Samaritani Origine, Indole et Auctoritate," p. 120, Halle, 1815), and Juynboll ("Commentatio de Versione Arabico-Samaritana," Amsterdam, 1846). Of it Genesis, Ezodus, and Leviticus have been edited by A. Kuenen (Leyden, 1851-54; see Kohn, "Zur Sprache der Samaritaner," p. 134; Nestle, l.c. p. 153). Abu Sa'id was supposed to have lived about the year 1070; but Wreschner ("Samaritanische Tradition," 1888, p. xix.) has shown that he flourished in the thirteenth century. According to Joseph Bloch, "Die Samaritanisch-Arabische Pentateuch Uebersetzung," p. 16, Berlin, 1901, the real translator is perhaps the Tyrian, Abu al-hasan, and Abu Sa'id is only a scholiast. If this be true, it was not the first translation; for one was made in the twelfth century by Sadaka ibn Munajja of Damascus, a physician in the service of Sultan Malik al-Ashraf (Haji Khalifah, ii. 402; Neubauer, "Chronique Samaritaine," p. 112).

Persian Versions.

It is not known at what time the first translations of the Bible were made into Persian. From quotations in the "Dinkard" and the "Shikand Gumanik Vijar" (theological works of the Sassanian period), James Darmesteter has supposed that one existed in Pahlavi ("Rev. Etudes Juives," xviii. 5); but the supposition is unsupported by any real evidence. Blau also ("Einleitung," p. 95) seems to incline to this opinion, because Bab. Meg. 18a speaks of a scroll of Esther in the Elamite and Median languages. According to Maimonides, the Pentateuch was translated into Persian many hundred years previous to Mohammed (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., p. 9). This statement also can not be further substantiated. The earliest version of which we have any knowledge is that made by Jacob ben Joseph Tawus, and printed in Hebrew characters in the Polyglot Pentateuch, Constantinople, 1546. This was transcribed into Persian characters and translated into Latin by Thomas Hyde, in which form it was published in the London Polyglot. Kohut ("Beleuchtung der Persischen Pentateuch-Uebersetzung," 1871) places Tawus in the first half of the sixteenth century (compare also Zunz, "G. S." iii. 136). According to Steinschneider ("Jewish Literature," p. 321), Tawus made use of an earlier translation made in the thirteenth century (see Munk, in Cahen's "Bible," vol. ix.), which followed the Targum and the commentary of David Kimhi. A number of translations into Persian are to be found in the various collections of manuscript, of which the following is a partial list:


Vatican MS. 61 (Guidi, in "Rendiconti . . . dei Lincei," 1885, p. 347). Codex Adler B. 63, written in 1776 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." x. 596). Codex St. Petersburg 141 (not by Tawus; Harkavy-Strack, "Cat." p. 166).

Psalms: Vatican MS. 37; Bodleian MS. 1830. Vatican MS. 42; Bodleian MS. 1827 (Jewish? Horn, in "Z. D. M. G." li. 7). Codex Adler B. 27 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." x. 592). Brit. Mus. MSS. 159, 160 (transl. about 1740 by Baba b. Nuriel of Ispahan; Margoliouth, "Cat. of Hebr. and Samaritan MSS. Brit. Mus." p. 120). Brit. Mus. MS. Or. 4729 (dated 1822; "Jew. Quart. Rev." vii. 119). Proverbs, Canticles, Ruth, Ecclesiastes: Paris MS. 116 ("Cat. des MSS. Héb. de la Bibl. Nat.").

Proverbs, Canticles, Ecclesiastes: Codex Adler B. 46 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." x. 595). Paris MS. 117 ("Cat. des MSS. Héb. de la Bibl. Nat."). Proverbs: On a translation now lost, see Lagarde, "Symmicta," ii. 14.

Job and Lamentations: Codex de Rossi 1093 (Zunz, "G. S." iii. 135). Paris MS. 118 ("Cat. des MSS. Hébreux de la Bibl. Nat.").

Job: Codex St. Petersburg 142 (Harkavy-Strack, p. 167.). Paris MSS. 120, 121 ("Catalogue," etc.). Song of Songs: Codex Adler B. 12 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." x. 589).

Daniel: Paris MSS. 128, 129 ("Catalogue," etc.).

Esther: Codex Adler T. 16 and 27 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." x. 598, 599). Paris MS. 127 ("Catalogue," etc.).

Tobit, Judith, Bel and Dragon, Antiochus: Codex Bodleian 130.

Minor Prophets: Codex St. Petersburg 139 and Codex B. 18 (Harkavy-Strack, pp. 165, 262).

Haftarot: Codex St. Petersburg 140 (Harkavy-Strack, p. 166). There are also some quite modern translations into Persian, as , Vienna, 1883 (transl. by Benjamin Cohen of Bokhara; see "Lit.-Blatt für Or. Phil." i. 186); , Jerusalem, 1885; Job, ib.; the latter two also translated by Benjamin Cohen.

Tatar Versions.

For the use of the Karaites in the Crimea and Turkey, a translation has been made into the Tshagatai-Tatar dialect. The Pentateuch was printed (text and Tshagatai in Hebrew characters) by 'Irab Ozlu & Sons, Constantinople, 1836, with the title ; on the margin are the ; and acrostic poems are added by Abraham ben Samuel, Simhah ben Joseph (Chages?), Isaac Cohen, and Isaac ben Samuel Cohen of Jerusalem. The whole Bible was printed in Tshagatai by Mordecai Trishkin (4 vols., Goslov, 1841-42; see "Jew. Quart. Rev." xii. 686). Extracts are also to be found in the of Musafia, printed at Ortaköi (Constantinople), 1825, and published by the same firm that edited the Pentateuch of 1836 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." xiii. 549). Manuscripts of such translations exist also in the Imperial Library at St. Petersburg (Nos. 143-146; Harkavy-Strack, "Cat." pp. 167-170).

Coptic and Hungarian.

Talmud tradition expressly speaks of a Coptic translation of the Bible (Meg. 18a; Shabbat 115a). Cornill, in his examination of the Coptic text of Ezekiel, finds the one published by Tattam to be of composite character and not simply a translation of the Septuagint. Blau believes that it was made directly from the Hebrew text ("Einleitung," p. 91; "Jew. Quart. Rev." ix. 728).

No Jewish translation into Hungarian was made until quite recently, the Jews of Hungary making use of the Catholic and Protestant versions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. About the middle of the nineteenth century M. Bloch (Ballaghi) attempted such a rendering; but he was not successful. His plan has recently (1902) been carried out; and the Pentateuch (by M. Bernstein and M. Blau), Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings (by Julius Fischer, Bánóczi, Bacher, and Krauss) have appeared (see "Rev. Etudes Juives," xliii. 158).


The translation of the Bible into the German dialect spoken by the Jews of middle Europe was commenced at an early date. A manuscript in the collection of De Rossi, dated Mantua, 1421, contains a Judæo-German translation of Joshua, Judges, Jonah, and four of the Megillot. De Rossi supposed them to be written in Polish because they were brought to Italy by Polish Jews (Neubauer, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." iv. 703). Such translations were technically known as "Teutsch-hummash." A printer had innocently placed the words (Cant. iii. 11) on the title-page of such a translation made by Jacob ben Isaac of Janow (Lublin, 17th century?), from which they became familiarly called "Ze'enah U-re'ennah"; and down to the time of Mendelssohn's translation they were popular reading-books, especially for women on Saturdays. They were embellished with all manner of explanations, legends, and moral sayings, which were inserted into the text (Steinschneider, "Volkslitteratur der Juden," p. 17). The first rendering of this kind was made by a convert, Michael Adam, the translator of Yosippon into Judæo-German. It was published by Paulus Fagius, Constance, 1543-44 (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." Nos. 1187, 4333; Perles, in "Monatsschrift," xxv. 361; id. "Aramäische Studien," p. 167; "Rev. Etudes Juives," v. 143, 315), and was reprinted at Basel in 1583 and 1607. It has nothing in common with Luther's translation, as Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." iv. 198) supposes. This Pentateuch was reprinted at Cremona, 1560 (ed. Judah ben Moses Naphtali); Basel, 1583; ib. 1603; Prague, 1608, 1610; Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1687. A rimed version of it appeared at Fürth, 1692, and Wilmersdorf, 1718; and a second rimed version of Genesis was made by a certain Aaron of Prague during the seventeenth century. In 1543-44 Paulus Æmilius published a similar translation of the Pentateuch (Augsburg, 1544). It is uncertain whether Æmilius simply copied the edition of Adam or not (Steinschneider, in "Zeit. für Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland," i. 286). Æmilius also edited at Ingolstadt (1562) the Judæo-German rimed translation of Samuel in German characters. This was a mere copy of the edition in Hebrew characters by hayyim ben David Schwartz, Augsburg, 1544 (ib. i. 285). It was called the ("Samuel Book"). This was reprinted at Mantua about 1562; Cracow, 1593; Prague, 1609; Basel, 1612. Schwartz also published a rimed translation of Kings, , Augsburg, 1543; Prague, 1607. A translation of Judges (rimed) appeared at Mantua in 1561; one of Joshua, "derneut in teutscher Sprach, wol gereimt . . . hübsch mit Midraschim," at Cracow in 1588 or 1594; one of Canticles, by Isaac Sulkes, at Cracow in 1579; another by Moses Särtels, Prague, 1604; one of Jeremiah, ib. 1602; one of Ezekiel (rimed), ib. 1602; and one of Jonah, " mit viel und alle Midraschim" (rimed), Prague, before 1686.

The first Judæo-German translation of the Psalms was that of Elijah Levita (Venice, 1545; Zurich, 1558, etc.); it was arranged in the order of the psalms said on each day of the week. A rimed by Moses Stendal appeared at Cracow in 1586. Proverbs was translated by Mordecai ben (Isaac) Jacob Töplitz, Cracow, 1582 (a version also appeared at Amsterdam, 1735); and Job by the same (?), Prague, 1597. A translation of Kings appeared at Cracow in 1583 (Neubauer, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," v. 144); one of Esther, ib. 1596; and one of Daniel, " in teutscher Sprach hübsch und bescheidlich, gar kurzweilig darin zu leien Weiber und Meidlich," Cracow, 1588. These editions of Cracow came from the press of Isaac ben Aaron Prossnitz, whose intention it was to publish the whole Bible in Judæo-German in order that "women and children might be able to read without the help of a teacher" (Perles, in "Monatsschrift," xxv. 353). Isaac Blitz's Bible.

The first complete Bible in Judæo-German was that of Isaac Blitz, Amsterdam, 1676-78. It was for the use of the Polish Jews who had fled thither a few years previously because of the Chmielnicki persecutions. It must have been the intention of the translator to push its sale in Poland also; for letters patent were granted for it by John Sobieski III. This translation exercised very little influence, as the Judæo-German in which itwas written contained many Dutch words and expressions (Wiener, "Yiddish Literature," p. 19). A second translation, in opposition to that of Blitz, was published in Amsterdam in 1679 by Joseph Witzenhausen, formerly a compositor in the employ of Uri Phoebus, the printer of the former edition. Witzenhausen was able to secure the approbation of the Council of the Four Lands, and his attempt to make the Athias edition supersede that of Phoebus occasioned much bad blood (see Joseph Athias). A second edition of this last translation was published at Amsterdam in 1687, and a third, in German characters, at Wandsbeck in 1711. A third translation, by Süssman Rödelheim and Menahem Man Levi, under the title , appeared at Amsterdam in 1725-29. At the same place in 1735 there was published an edition of Proverbs ("Cat. Rosenthal. Bibl." i. 207). It was more than one hundred years before another complete German translation was published, namely, at Prague, 1833-37; but this was of a composite character, as its editor, W. Meyer, made use of various translations (in general, compare Grünbaum, "Jüdisch-Deutsche Chrestomathie," Leipsic, 1882).

German Translation-Mendelssohn.

The growing acquaintance of the Jews with German literature soon produced a marked discontent with these Judæo-German translations. This discontent was voiced by the rabbis of Berlin, Mecklenburg, and Courland (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., p. 467). To meet this want Mendelssohn stepped into the breach; and his translation of the Pentateuch is worthy of more than a passing notice. It had a special importance in that it not only aroused an esthetic interest in literature on the part of those who read it, but also paved the way for a more general use of High German among the Jews of Germany, among whom it may be said to have introduced a new literary era (Kayserling, "Moses Mendelssohn," p. 286; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 320; Auerbach, in "Zeitschrift für Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland," i. 25; Wogue, "Hist. de la Bible et de l'Exégèse," p. 329). Mendelssohn undertook the work for the instruction of his own children; but upon the advice of Solomon Dubno, consented to its publication on condition that Dubno should write a commentary explaining the reasons why Mendelssohn chose his various renderings. A specimen, "'Alim li-Trufah," was edited by Dubno (Amsterdam, 1778), and aroused the liveliest interest on the part of Christians as well as of Jews. It was natural that it should also evoke strenuous opposition, especially on the part of those Jews who feared that the reading of High German would cause the Jewish youth to neglect their Hebrew studies. Foremost in this opposition were the rabbis Ezekiel Landau (d. 1793) of Prague, Raphael ha-Kohen (1722-1803), of Hamburg, Altona, and Wandsbeck, Hirsch Janow (1750-85) of Fürth, and Phineas Levi Horwitz (1740-1803) of Frankfort-on-the-Main.

In June, 1799, the proposed translation was put under the ban at Fürth. It was also forbidden in some cities of Poland, and is said even to have been publicly burned. An additional ban was laid upon it by Raphael ha-Kohen (July 17, 1781; see Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," xi. 585, note 1). Work on it was, however, continued with the assistance of Solomon Dubno, Hertz Homberg, and Aaron Jaroslav. Dubno became frightened at the continued opposition, and retired, forcing Mendelssohn himself to do an additional share of the work. Though the translation was in High German, it was printed in Hebrew characters under the title , with a Hebrew commentary or "biur," the commentaries of Rashi, etc., and an introduction by Naphtali Hertz Wessely. It appeared in parts-Genesis, Berlin, 1780; Exodus, ib. 1781; Leviticus, ib. 1782; Numbers and Deuteronomy, ib. 1783-and has often been republished both in German and in Hebrew characters. An attempt was made in Mendelssohn's time to issue an edition in German characters; but the German Jews at that time looked upon the work as so exceptionally strange that its publication had to be suspended (Bernfeld, "Juden im 19 Jahrhundert," p. 9). Mendelssohn also published (Berlin, 1783) a translation of the Psalms (which, however, follows closely that of Luther; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 320) and one of the Song of Solomon (ib. 1788). These translations attempted a conscientious reproduction of the text, and sought to make the pathos of the original felt in the German; and they were followed by a large school of translators (see Biurists). C. E. J. Bunsen ("Vollständiges Bibelwerk," I. xvii.) calls these and similar translations "Synagogenbibeln." He says "they do not speak in the historical German language, but in the Hebræo-rabbinical Judæo-German"; a verdict which is wholly one-sided, if one excepts the proper names, where an attempt was made to reproduce the Hebrew originals ("Monatsschrift," ix. 156). Only a few of Mendelssohn's followers can be mentioned here. His translation of the Song of Solomon was published after his death by Joel Löwe and Aaron Wolfson. The first of these also published a translation of Jonah (Berlin, 1788); while the second translated Lamentations, Esther, and Ruth (Berlin, 1788), Job (ib. 1788; Prague, 1791; Vienna, 1806), and Kings (Breslau, 1809). Isaac Euchel translated Proverbs (Berlin, 1790; Dessau, 1804), introducing, however, philosophical expressions into the text, thereby often clouding the meaning. David Friedländer, who translated Ecclesiastes (in German characters, Berlin, 1788), wrote in a belletristic style. Meïr Obernik translated Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, and, together with Samuel Detmold, the Second Book of Samuel (), Vienna, 1792). M. Philippson, Joseph Wolf, Gotthold Salomon, Israel Neumann, and J. Löwe were the translators of the Minor Prophets published in Dessau, 1805, under the title (stereotyped as early as 1837). Wolf also published a translation of Daniel (Dessau, 1808); David Ottensosser one of Job (Offenbach, 1807), Isaiah (Fürth, 1807), and Lamentations (ib. 1811), and together with S. J. Kohn, of Jeremiah (ib. 1810). A translation of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles by Ottensosser, Kohn, and Schwabacher appeared at Fürth, 1807-23. Isaiah was also translated by Isaiah Hochstetter (Winter and Wünsche, "Die Jüdische Litteratur," iii. 744), Jeremiahby Heinemann (Berlin, 1842), Job by Beer Blumenfeld (Vienna, 1826), and Psalms by Shalom Kohn (Hamburg, 1827). The period of the Mendelssohnian biurists may be fittingly said to end with the Bible published by Moses Landau (20 parts, Prague, 1833-37, mentioned above. Of this work the translations of the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Five Scrolls were those of Mendelssohn; the translations of the other books were contributed by Moses Landau, J. Weisse, S. Sachs, A. Benisch, and W. Mayer; and the Minor Prophets were reprinted from the edition of Dessau, 1805 (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 972). It may also be added here that an edition of Proverbs, Job, and the Five Scrolls, with translations by Obernik, Euchel, Wolfson, Mendelssohn, and Friedländer, had already appeared at Vienna in 1817-18; and in Hebrew characters at Basel in 1822-27.

Other German Versions.

The translation of Mendelssohn threatened to become canonical: but the German Jews had tasted of modern learning; and toward the latter end of the first half of the nineteenth century various individual attempts were made to provide better translations for the general public, which should reflect the progress then already made in Biblical science. The first in the field was Joseph Johlson (Asher ben Joseph of Fulda), whose attempt, though worthy of notice here, was not successful, notwithstanding the fact that the text was accompanied by learned philological notes (Minor Prophets, Carlsruhe, 1827; Pentateuch, ib. 1831; the historical books, ib. 1836). Bunsen (l.c. p. xvii.) even declares his work to be "geistreich und scharfsinnig" (compare Geiger's "Zeitschrift," 1836, p. 442; 1837, p. 121). Mention may also be made of A. A. Wolff's double translation (word for word and metrical) of Habakkuk; Phœbus Philippsohn's "Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Obadiah und Nahum in Metrisch-Deutscher Uebersetzung," Halle, 1827; A. Rebenstein's (Bernstein's) sentimental translation of the Song of Solomon (Berlin, 1834; compare "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 324); S. H. Auerbach's Ecclesiastes (Breslau, 1837), into which he reads his own philosophy; and Michael Sachs's Psalms (Berlin, 1835). The last was a clear protest against previous attempts, which reflected too much the individuality of the translators. Sachs tried to give "a purely scientific and philological" rendering of the original, taking Rückert as his guide, whose translation of Ps. lxviii. he inserted bodily (see Zunz, in Geiger's "Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol." ii. 499, and in "G. S." iii. 116, who characterizes the work as "somewhat stiff and awkward"). It was reprinted in the edition of the Prophets and the Hagiographa , Fürth, 1842-47 (Zedner, "Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus." p. 119), and was revised for Zunz's Bible ("Monatsschrift," xxxviii. 507). This protest was carried to excess by Gotthold Salomon, who, in addition to his work on the Dessau edition of the Minor Prophets (see above), translated the Pentateuch (Krotoschin, 1848-49; see the criticism of Hess in "Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1839, p. 80, and of L. Skreinka in "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, pp. 468 et seq.). The translations of Job (Glogau, 1836) and of the Pentateuch (ib. 1840) by Heimann Arnheim, though in Hebrew characters and intended chiefly for use as part of the ritual, show good judgment and philological schooling ("Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 641). Only a mere mention can be made of L. Herzberg's Ecclesiastes (Brunswick, 1838; see Zunz, in Jost's "Annalen," 1839, p. 102) and of L. H. Löwenstein's metrical translation of Proverbs and Lamentations (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1837-38). Gotthold Salomon's "Deutsche Volks- und Schul-Bibel" (Altona, 1837) was the first translation of the entire Old Testament in German characters made by a Jew. It was stereotyped and was intended to be sold so cheaply that every one could afford to buy it (see the correspondence in Jost's "Annalen," 1839, Nos. 12 et seq.).

Zunz's Bible.

More important was the attempt made by L. Zunz to provide a Bible for school and home. As editor, he translated only the books of Chronicles, the rest of the work being done by H. Arnheim, Julius Fürst, and M. Sachs (Berlin, 1838). Zunz succeeded in a large measure in producing a translation which, while it kept strictly to the Masoretic text, was abreast of the scholarship of his day and free from the circumlocutions and idiotisms of previous translators, though it still preserved the transliteration of the Hebrew names (Nestle, "Bibel-Uebersetzungen," p. 142). Mendelssohn had translated neither Prophets nor Hagiographa; and it is therefore no wonder that the Zunz Bible passed through at least six editions up to 1855 and twelve up to 1889 (see Rosin, in "Monatsschrift," xxxviii. 512). Only a few years later another popular translation was produced by Solomon Herxheimer (Berlin, 1841-48; 3d ed. of the Pentateuch, 1865), to which an explanatory and homiletic commentary was added. Though evidently meant to take the place of Mendelssohn's biur, Herxheimer expressly states that his work was done "for Jews and Christians" (Jost's "Annalen," 1839, pp. 312 et seq.; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 513).

A still more ambitious attempt was that of Ludwig Philippson. He translated the text anew, aiming to include the latest assured results of criticism and to produce what in every sense might be called a family Bible. For this reason for the first time illustrations were added, together with introductions and an extensive commentary intended for the intelligent layman. This work occupied Philippson for eighteen years, and was published at Leipsic, 1839-56; 2d ed., 1858-59; 3d ed., 1862. His translation was then published, together with the Doré illustrations, by the Israelitische Bibel-Anstalt, revised by W. Landau and S. I. Kämpf (Stuttgart, 1875). Of this translation separate editions of the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and of the Pentateuch together with Isaiah, were published (see M. Philippson, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," xlii. 30). But even the slight concessions made in these translations to the modern exegetical spirit gave offense in some quarters; a rival Bible-house, the Orthodoxe Israelitische Bibel-Anstalt, was established, which, on the basis of J. Z. Mecklenburg's "Ha-Ketab we-haKabbalah" (Leipsic, 1839), produced a translation of the Bible strictly on the lines of Jewish traditional exegesis (ib. 1865). The Pentateuch translation byJ. Kosmann (Königsberg, 1847-52) had a similar end in view. Still further in this direction, and in evident protest against modern Christian radical exegesis, which he entirely ignores, went Samuel Raphael Hirsch. In his translation of the Pentateuch (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1867; 3d ed., 1899) and of the Psalms (1882), as well as in the translation of the Minor Prophets by his son, M. Hirsch (ib. 1900), a return is seen to the "derash," from which the whole school of Mendelssohn and his followers had tried to free themselves (see "Zeit. für Heb. Bibl." v. 78). Of L. J. Mandelstamm's "Die Bibel Neu Uebersetzt," partly with the assistance of M. Kirchstein, only Genesis and the Song of Solomon seem to have appeared (Berlin, 1862-64). In 1901 a new translation by S. Bernfeld was commenced. It keeps strictly to the Masorah and preserves the Hebrew form of the proper names.

During all this time many translations of individual books appeared, of which the following is a partial list, cited under the names of their respective authors:

Israel ben Abraham, Job, in Hebrew characters, Prague, 1791. Shalom Kohn, Psalms, Hamburg, 1827. Mendel Stern, Proverbs, in Hebrew characters, Presburg, 1833. J. Wolfson, "Das Buch Hiob. . . . Neu Uebersetzt . . .," Breslau-Leipsic, 1843. E. J. Blücher, "Ruth, mit Deutscher Uebersetzung," Lemberg, 1843. M. Löwenthal, " . . . Nebst Uebersetzung . . . ," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1846. "Das Hohe Lied . . . Neue Deutsche Uebersetzung," Vienna, 1847. Samuel Aschkenazi, (Song of Solomon, in Hebrew characters), Presburg, 1847. (A new translation of the Pentateuch, in Hebrew characters), Königsberg, 1856. "Odiosus," "Das Buch Ijob im Engeren Anschluss an den Mass. Urtext" (see "Hebr. Bibl." vi. 101). S. Horwitz, "Das Hohe-Lied, das Aelteste Dramatische Gedicht," Vienna, 1863 (see ib. vi. 62). Adolph Brecher, "Die Psalmen Nebst Uebersetzung," Vienna, 1864. Israel Schwarz, "Tikwat Enosh" (Job, in German characters), Berlin, 1868. Sänger, Maleachi, 1868. Benjamin Holländer, Das Hohelied, Budapest, 1871. Hermann Tietz, Das Hohelied, 1871. M. Levin, (with Judæo-German translation), Odessa, 1873. H. Grätz, "Krit. Commentar zu den Psalmen, Nebst . . . Uebersetzung," Breslau, 1882 (compare his Kohelet, 1871, and Song of Songs, 1871). S. I. Kämpf, Das Hohelied, Prague, 1877; 3d ed., 1884. K. Kohler, Das Hohelied, Chicago, 1878. Hermann Tietz, "Das Buch der Elegien Metrisch Uebersetzt," Schrimm, 1881. J. Landsberger, Das Buch Hiob, Darmstadt, 1882. D. Leimdörfer, "Kohelet . . . Nebst Uebersetzung," Hamburg, 1892. Herman Rosenthal, "Worte des Sammlers (Kohelet) . . . in Deutsche Reime Gebracht," New York, 1885; 2d ed., 1893. Idem, "Das Lied der Lieder, in Neue Deutsche Reime Gebracht," New York, 1893. M. Jastrow, "Der Neunzigste Psalm; Uebersetzt," Leipsic, 1893. Salomon Plessner (transl. of Nahum, in his "Biblisches und Rabbinisches," pp. 29 et seq.), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1897.

English Translation.

It was not before the forties of the nineteenth century that the desire made itself really felt among the English Jews for a Bible translation of their own in the vernacular, though David Levi had in 1787 (London) produced an English version of the Pentateuch (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 926). Wherever an English Bible was needed by them, they had freely used the King James Version; as is seen in the Pentateuch (including Haftarot and Scrolls) which was published in London, 1824, under the title . But the impropriety of the use of this version, with its Christian headings and its Messianic interpretations, did in the end impress itself upon the English Jews (see, for example, S. Bennett, "Critical Remarks on the Authorized Version," London, 1834; Seelig Newman, "Emendations of the Authorized Version of the O. T." London, 1839; Benjamin Marcus, " (Fountain of Life): Mistranslations and Difficult Passages of the O. T. Corrected and Explained," Dublin, 1854).

The veneration for this masterpiece of English literature had impressed itself upon the Jews also. When the Revised Version was published (May 17, 1881) it was eagerly seized upon as being much more suitable for Jewish readers, since in it the headings had been removed and the Christology of many passages toned down. The Revised Version is used as a basis for such books as C. G. Montefiore's "Bible for Home Reading," London, 1896, 1901. That the revision is not complete from the Jewish point of view can be seen from the leaflet issued by the Jewish Religious Education Board, "Appendix to the Revised Version" (London, 1896), which sets forth the "alterations deemed necessary with a view to placing the Revised Version in the hands of members of the Jewish faith." These alterations were limited to the following sets of cases: viz., "where the R. V. departs from the Masoretic text," and "where the R. V. is opposed to Jewish traditional interpretation or dogmatic teaching." Isa. lii. 13-liii. 12 is there reprinted in full. The first to attempt to produce an independent Jewish translation was D. A. de Sola of London, who in 1840 issued a "Prospectus of a New Edition of the Sacred Scriptures, with Notes Critical and Explanatory." Morris J. Raphall and J. L. Lindenthal were associated with him in the work. Only one volume, Genesis, appeared (London, 1841; 2d ed., 1843). Of a similar attempt by S. Bennett, "The Hebrew and English Holy Bible," only Gen. i.-xli. appeared (1841); though in the same year Francis Barham published "The Hebrew and English Holy Bible," which contained Bennett's revision of the English and a revision of the Hebrew by H. A. Henry. Another translation was published by A. Benisch, "Jewish School and Family Bible" (1851-56); and still another by M. Friedländer, ", The Jewish Family Bible" (1884). This last has had the sanction of the chief rabbi of the British Jews. A. Elzas has published translations of Proverbs (Leeds and London, 1871), Job (1872), Hosea and Joel (1873), in an attempt "to put the English reader, at least in some degree, in the position of one able to read the Hebrew text." None of these versions, however, can be said to have replaced either the Authorized or the Revised Version in the esteem of the Jewish Bible-reading public.

The United States.

In the United States the same feeling as in England had been engendered against the headings of the Authorized Version. Isaac Leeser attempted to rectify this and at the same time so to translate the Bible as to make it represent the best results of modern study. The Prophets, Psalms, and Job are practically new versions. In the other parts, the Authorized Version is very closely followed; and though in most cases the changes Leeser made bring the translation nearer to the Masoretic text, the beauty of the English was often sacrificed. A quarto edition was published in 1854, and a duodecimo edition in 1856. Despite its insufficiencies, the smaller edition has had a wide circulation, due especially to the development of Jewish religious school instruction in the United States. The inadequacy of Leeser's translation has, however, been felt; and the Jewish Publication Society of America in 1898 took in hand the preparation of a complete revision. This is now (1902) being made by a number of scholars, with M. Jastrow, Sr., as editor-in-chief, and K. Kohler and F. de Sola Mendes as associate editors (see Reports of the Jewish Publication Society of America, 1898 et seq.).

Spanish Versions.

Nowhere in Europe is the history of the translation of the Bible into the vernacular so interesting as it is in Spain. Translations were here made as early as the thirteenth century, despite the fact that in 1234 Jaime I., by means of secular legislation, prohibited their use (Lea, "History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages," i. 324). As Berger has shown, the earliest Castilian renderings, even when made by Christians, stand much closer to the Hebrew original than do those of any other country. This seems to have been due to the early and intense influence of the Jews in the peninsula and to the Oriental coloring of its whole culture. This similarity is seen even in the outward form. The Spanish translations follow the Hebrew division of the Bible into three great parts; and it is significant that the first polyglot (Complutensian) saw the light of day in Spain. In the production of these translations both Jews and converts took a laudable part. One of the earliest of such Castilian translations is found in the Aragonese MS. i. j, 8 in the Escurial Library, Madrid. The Psalms in this manuscript are distinctly said to be the translation "que fizo Herman el Aleman, segund cuemo esta en el ebraygo." Herman must undoubtedly have known Hebrew, though Berger thinks that he made use of Jerome's "Psalterium Hebraicum" and not of the "Psalterium Gallicum." This Herman the German is the well-known Latin translator of Aristotle, and lived between 1240 and 1256.

In the fifteenth century several revisions of these older translations were made, but always according to the Hebrew text. Such a revision is represented by MSS. i. j, 5 and i. j, 3 in the Escurial and MS. cxxiv. 1, 2 (dated 1429) in the Library of Evora. In a number of places these translations ostentatiously follow the Hebrew original and run counter to the usual Church tradition. MS. i. j, 3 of the Escurial is richly illuminated with miniatures, which may perhaps have been the work of Hebrew miniaturists. In this manuscript not only is the order of the books in the Canon the same as in the Hebrew, but the Pentateuch is divided into sections which agree with the parashiyot and sedarim. The proper names also follow the Hebrew and not the ordinary Latin version. Berger thinks that this manuscript may be the work of the baptized Jew, Juan Alfonso de Buena, who was in the service of Jaime II. (1416-54). An additional interest attaches to these revisions, as they formed the basis for the Spanish of the Constantinople Pentateuch of 1547 and for the Ferrara Bible; the Ferrara Bible, in its turn, was the basis for the Protestant Bible translation by Cassidoro de Reina (1569); for the revision by Cyprian de Valera (1602), the "Psalterio de David Conforme a la Verdad Hebraica" (Lyons, 1550), and the Psaltér of Juan Perez (Venice, 1557; see Samuel Berger, in "Romania," xxviii.). A still further revision, again upon the basis of the Hebrew, was made by Rabbi Moses Arragel (1430) for Don Luis de Guzman, master of the Order of Calatrava. According to Berger, this revision was made on MS. Escurial i. j, 3. It is provided with a commentary, and profusely illustrated, perhaps by Jewish artists. A manuscript of the Prophets, in two languages, in the library of the Academy of History in Lisbon follows Arragel's translation so closely that it may possibly represent the first attempt of Arragel.

This Castilian translation (or revision) was carried by the Spanish exiles into Italy and Turkey. It also became the Bible of the Spanish Jews in the Netherlands. It appears first in Hebrew characters in the Polyglot Pentateuch (Hebrew, Onkelos, Rashi, Neo-Greek, and Spanish), published at Constantinople by Eliezer Bekor Gerson Soncino (see Belleli, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," xxii. 250; Grünbaum, "Jüd.-Span. Chrestomathie," p. 6). The Neo-Greek represents a different translation from that of the Spanish. From this polyglot it found its way into the celebrated Ferrara Bible of 1553, which bears the title "Biblia en Lengua Española, Traduzida Palabra por Palabra de la Verdad Hebrayca por Muy Excellentes Letrados, Vista y Examinada por el Oficio de la Inquisicion. Con Privilegio del Ylustrissimo Señor Duque de Ferrara." Two editions seem to have been published: one, for Jews, signed by Abraham Usque; the other, for Christians, signed by Jerome of Vargas (De los Rios, "Juifs d'Espagne," p. 432). De los Rios (l.c. p. 436) thinks that the author of "Retratos o Tablas de las Historias del Testamento Viejo," Lyons, 1543, a popular exposition of the Bible, was a Marano; but this does not seem to have been proved.

The Ferrara Bible of 1553 became the basis for the Spanish and Ladino translations which were published at Salonica and Amsterdam. This is seen also in the title, which usually runs "Biblia en Lengua Española, Traduzida Palabra por Palabra de la Verdad Hebrayca." This is also true of the " con Ladino y Agora Nos a Parecedo Comenzar de los ," etc., published by Joseph b. Isaac b. Joseph Jabez in 1568, as Kayserling (l.c. p. 28) has clearly shown. In Amsterdam the translation remained substantially the same, though it was often revised ("reformada"): 1611; 1630 and 1646, Gillis Joost; corrected by Samuel de Caceres and printed by Joseph Athias (1661);corrected by Isaac de Abraham Dias and printed by David Fernandes (1726); "con las annotaciones de Or Torah," Proops, 1762. This translation also appeared in Venice, 1730; Constantinople, 1739-43; idem, 1745; Vienna (ed. by Israel Bahor Haim and Aaron Pollak), 1813-16; and Smyrna, 1838. A Ladino translation, in Rashi script, was published at Vienna, 1841 (2d ed., 1853), by W. S. Schauffler for the American Bible Society (see Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the society, 1842, p. 120). According to Grünbaum, it bears many points of resemblance to the Pentateuch of 1547 and to the Ferrara Bible. Various portions of this translation appeared separately, an edition of the Pentateuch appearing in the same year (1553) and at Ferrara.

To this may be added the following:

"Humas de Parasioth y Aftharoth," ed. Manasseh ben Israel, Amsterdam, 1627; ed. Ymanuel Benveniste, ib. 1643; another edition was published by Manasseh himself, ib. 1655 (though he says of it, "Obra nueva y de mucha utilidad"); "Parafrasis Comentada sobre el Pentateucho," ed. Isaac da Fonseca Aboab, ib. 1681; "Cinco Libros de la Ley Divina . . . de Nuevo Corrigidos," by David Tartas, ib. 1691; "Los Cinco Libros . . . Interpretados en Lengua Española," ed. Joseph Franco Serrano, ib. 1695; 1705 and 1724 (Isaac de Cordova); "Cinco Libros," corrected by David de Elisha Pereyra, ib. 1733; "El Libro de la Ley," published in Constantinople in 1873, is, according to Grünbaum (l.c. 12), a different translation.

The Psalms were reprinted: Ferrara, 1553; Salonica, 1582; Amsterdam, 1628, 1730; Vienna, 1822; Constantinople, 1836. Several other translations of the Psalms were produced during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. David Abenatar Melo, a Marano who escaped the Inquisition at Madrid and became a Jew again in 1611, published in 1626 ("En Franquaforte") "Los CL Psalmos de David, en Lengua Española, en Varias Rimas." In these Psalms he has inserted, when appropriate, an account of his own and his people's sufferings (De los Rios, l.c. pp. 468 et seq.; Kayserling, "Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud." pp. 67, 68). A prose translation was made by Ephraim Bueno and Jonah Abravanel (Amsterdam, 1650; 2d edition, 1723; see De los Rios, l.c. p. 498). A third translation was made by Jacob Judah Leon Templo (, "Las Alabancas de Santidad," Amsterdam, 1671)-a verbatim prose translation of the original (De los Rios, l.c. p. 570; Kayserling, l.c. p. 58).

Of all the Biblical books, Canticles was most frequently reprinted. A translation was published in Hamburg, 1631, by David Cohen Carlos "de lengua Caldayca"; but the favorite rendering was that of Abraham de Isaac Lañado, published in Hebrew characters at Venice, 1619, 1654, 1655, 1672, 1716, 1721, 1739, 1805; Leghorn, 1769, 1787; Vienna, 1820. The Venice edition was published in Roman characters by Moses Belmonte, Amsterdam, 1644, and was reprinted at Amsterdam, 1664, 1683, 1701, 1712, 1724, and 1766. An edition of the Megillot appeared at Constantinople in 1813 (see Kayserling, l.c. p. 30); a Megillah in Spanish, dating from the early part of the eighteenth century, exists in the British Museum ("Jewish Chron." March 21, 1902, p. 24); but the provenience of the translation is unknown (on such Megillot see Abrahams, "Jewish Life in the Middle Ages," p. 345). A Portuguese translation of the Psalms, under the title "Espejo Fiel de Vidas," by Daniel Israel Lopez Laguna, appeared in London, 1720 (Kayserling, l.c. p. 55).

Italian Versions.

Both Zunz ("G. V." 2d ed., p. 457) and Güdemann ("Erziehungswesen in Italien," p. 206) refer to early translations of the Bible into Italian; the latter even speaks of their existence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Steinschneider has shown ("Monatsschrift," xlii. 117) that this is an error. It is true that some of the authorities (such as Zedekiah ben Abraham and Isaiah de Trani, the younger) laid stress upon the necessity of translating the Bible into the speech of the country; but Judah 'Azahel del Bene (Ferrara, c. 1650) advised against the practise of teaching girls Italian, as he feared they would conceive a love for amorous poetry (Vogelstein and Rieger, "Juden in Rom," ii. 300). It was not before the sixteenth century that attempts were made to produce versions of portions of the Bible in Italian. Steinschneider (l.c. p. 318) has given a list of the existing manuscript translations. It was toward the end of that century that the first translations were published. David de Pomis (died after 1593) brought out an edition of Ecclesiastes with Italian translation at Venice in 1571. It was dedicated to Cardinal Grimani of Aquileja (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 218). He also translated Job and Psalms, but never published them ("Monatsschrift," xliii. 32). Hezekiah Rieti published (Venice, 1617) the text of Proverbs with Italian translation ("Cat. Bodl." No. 418); but no reliable account can be found of a translation of Job (Rome, 1773) mentioned by Zunz. The translations made in the nineteenth century were all more or less under the influence of Mendelssohn's biur. In 1818 I. S. Reggio published at Vienna, as a specimen, ten verses of Genesis. He then brought out the whole Pentateuch ( "colla Traduzione Italiana"), Vienna, 1821; and ten years later "Il Libro d'Isaia, Versione Poetica" (Udine, 1831). Severe criticism was passed upon this version, because it seemed to weaken the force of many of the Messianic prophecies (see Fürst, "Bibl. Jud." iii. 140). In 1844 there appeared at Leghorn () an Italian translation of Job (Fürst, "Bibl. Jud." ii. 282, says it is by Luzzatto); and in 1872 a "Pentateuch, rev. von Letteris, mit Ital. Uebersetzung von Diodati" (Vienna; perhaps also London, 1836, 1864). Lelio della Torre of Padua translated the Psalms (Vienna, 1845). But these were completely overshadowed by the exact and careful versions of S. D. Luzzatto, whose poetical and literary judgment made him an excellent stylist (see "Hebr. Bibl." vi. 99; Elbogen, in "Monatsschrift," xliv. 460). He translated the greater part of the Old Testament: Isaiah ("Il Profeta Isaia Volgarizzato"), Padua, 1855-63; Pentateuch, Rovigo, 1860, Padua, 1876; Prophets, Rovigo, 1868; Isaiah, Padua, 1867; Job, Triest, 1853; generally with a valuable Hebrew commentary. Other Italian translations were produced: by Giuseppe Barzilai, "El Cantico dei Cantici" (Triest, 1865) in dramatic form, following Mandelstamm's and Horowitz's German translations; Lamentations (Trieste, 1867); by David Castelli, Ecclesiastes (Pisa, 1866); by Benjamin Consolo, Lamentations, Job, and Psalms (Florence?);by Gino Morpurgo, Ecclesiastes (Padua, 1898), and Esther (1899).

French Translations.

Translations of the Old Testament into French were not made by Jews prior to the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1831 Samuel Cahen began a monumental work, "La Bible, Traduction Nouvelle" (Paris, 1833-46, in 18 volumes), to which were added many essays by Munk, Zunz, Dukes, and others, and also a somewhat rationalistic commentary. This work was somewhat severely criticized (Abbé B. M. B., "Quelques Mots sur la Traduction Nouvelle," etc., Paris, 1835; "Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1839, p. 30; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, pp. 368 et seq.; Wogue, "Hist. de la Bible," p. 342); but it held the field for many years. A more faithful version of the Pentateuch was published in 1860 by Lazare Wogue. Among other translators may be mentioned A. ben Baruch Créhange (Psalms), and B. Mossé of Avignon (Psalms). But a popular and cheap Bible in French was sorely needed by the French Jews. Such a work has been taken in hand by the present chief rabbi of France, Zadok Kahn, and the other members of the French rabbinate. Wogue's translation was employed as the basis for the Pentateuch. The author himself made the necessary corrections; and before his death he was able to finish the translation of the prophetical books down to the First Book of Kings (vol. i., Paris, 1899). At the same time and under the same auspices, a children's Bible ("Bible de la Jeunesse") is being brought out.

Dutch Translations.

Few translations have been attempted by the Dutch Jews into their vernacular: the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Holland made use of Spanish; the Ashkenazic Jews, of the Judæo-German version. The version of the Psalms in Dutch printed by Joseph Athias was made by Johann Leusden. During the nineteenth century translations were made by Samuel J. Mulder (see his "Tets over de Vertalingen der Heilige Schrift," Amsterdam, 1859): Pentateuch, 1826-42; Major Prophets, 1827; Five Scrolls, 1835, 3d ed. 1859; Proverbs, 1836; Psalms, 1838; all published in Amsterdam. He also published a "Bijbel voor de Israel. Jeugd," Leyden, 1843-54. In 1844 Gabriel J. and M. S. Polak published a Dutch translation of Job, which was to have been followed by a translation of the Prophets and the Hagiographa. This seems never to have been completed. A translation of Isaiah by G. A. Parsen also exists; while a new translation of the Pentateuch, together with Targum and Rashi, was brought out by A. S. Ondervijser in 1901.

Jewish translations into Russian are of very recent date. The writer knows only of L. I. Mandelstamm's Psalms (Berlin, 1864; 3d ed. 1872), Pentateuch (, 3d ed., Berlin, 1872); Aaron Pumpiansky's Psalms (Warsaw, 1871); J. Cylkow's Psalms (1883); and a version of Esther in German (Hebrew characters) and Russian (Warsaw, 1889). A Polish translation has been published by D. Neufeld.

Crawford Howell Toy, Richard Gottheil
Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.

See especially Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 1-198;

idem, Jewish Literature, pp. 232 et seq.; Jost, Neuere Gesch. der Israeliten, iii. 37, 139, 161; Kayserling, in Winter and Wünsche, Die Jüdische Literatur, iii. 751 et seq.; Jacobs and Wolf, Bibl. Anglo-Jud. pp. 199 et seq.; Urtext und Uebersetzungen der Bibel, in Real-Encykl. für Protest. Theologie und Kirche, vol. iii., Leipsic, 1897.T. G.


Jewish Viewpoint Information


The Aramaic translation of the Bible. It forms a part of the Jewish traditional literature, and in its inception is as early as the time of the Second Temple. The verb , from which the noun is formed, is used in Ezra iv. 7 in reference to a document written in Aramaic, although "Aramit" (A. V. "in the Syrian tongue") is added. In mishnaic phraseology the verb denotes a translation from Hebrew into any other language, as into Greek (see Yer. Kid. 59a, line 10, and Yer. Meg. 71c, line 11; both statements referring to the Greek version of Aquila); and the noun likewise may refer to the translation of the Biblical text into any language (see Meg. ii. 1; Shab. 115a). The use of the term "Targum" by itself was restricted to the Aramaic version of the Bible (see Bacher, "Die Terminologie der Tannaiten," pp. 205 et seq.). In like manner, the Aramaic passages in Genesis, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezra were briefly called "Targum," while the Hebrew text was called "Mikra" (see Yad. iv. 5; Shab. 115b).

As an intepretation of the Hebrew text of the Bible the Targum had its place both in the synagogal liturgy and in Biblical instruction, while the reading of the Bible text combined with the Targum in the presence of the congregation assembled for public worship was an ancient institution which dated from the time of the Second Temple, and was traced back to Ezra by Rab when he interpreted the word "meforash" (Neh. viii. 8) as referring to the Targum (Meg. 3a; Ned. 37b; comp. Yer. Meg. 74d, line 48, Gen. R. xxxvi., end). The rules for reading the Targum are formulated in the Halakah (see Meg. iii. and the Talmud ad loc.; Tosef., Meg. iv.). The Targum was to be read after every verse of the parashiyyot of the Pentateuch, and after every third verse of the lesson from the Prophets. Excepting the Scroll of Esther, which might be read by two persons in turn, only one person might read the Targum, as the Pentateuch or prophetic section also was read by a single person. Even a minor might read the Targum, although it was not fitting for him to do so when an adult had read the text. Certain portions of the Bible, although read, were not translated (as Gen. xxxv. 22), while others were neither read nor translated (as Num. vi. 24-26; II Sam. xi.-xiii.). The reader was forbidden to prompt the translator, lest any one should say that the Targum was included in the text of the Bible (Ulla in Meg. 32a). With regard to the translation of Biblical passages, Judah ben Ilai, the pupil of Akiba, declared that whosoever rendered a verse of the Bible in its original form was a liar, while he who made additions was a blasphemer (Tosef., Meg., end; Kid. 49a; comp. the geonic responsum in Harkavy, "Responsen der Geonim," pp. 124 et seq., and the quotation from Midr. ha-Gadol in "J. Q. R." vi. 425). A passage in Ab. R. N. (Recension B, xii. [ed. Schechter, p. 24]) referring to R. Akiba's early training says that he studied the Bible and the Targum; but allusions to the Targum as a special subject of study in connection with the Bible are excessively rare. It must be assumed, however, that the Targum was an integral part of the Biblical course of study designated as "Mikra"; and Judah b. Ilai declared that only he who could read and translate the Bible might be regarded as a "karyana," or one thoroughly versed in the Bible (Kid. 49a). In Sifre, Deut. 161 the Targum is mentioned as a branch of study intermediate between the Mikra and the Mishnah.

Liturgical Use.

The professional translator of the text of the Bible in the synagogue was called "targeman" ("torgeman," "metorgeman" ; the common pronunciation being Meturgeman; see Meg. iv. 4). His duties naturally formed part of the functions of the communal official ("sofer") who bad charge of Biblical instruction (see Yer. Meg. 74d). Early in the fourth century Samuel ben Isaac, upon entering asynagogue, once saw a teacher ("sofer") read the Targum from a book, and bade him desist. This anecdote shows that there was a written Targum which was used for public worship in that century in Palestine, although there was no definitely determined and generally recognized Targum, such as existed in Babylonia.


The story is told (Yer. Ber. 9c) that Jose b. Abin, an amora of the second half of the fourth century, reprehended those who read a Targum to Lev. xxii. 28 which laid a biased emphasis on the view that the command contained in that verse was based on God's mercy (this same paraphrase is still found in the Palestinian Targum); see also the statements on the erroneous translation of Ex. xii. 8, Lev. vi. 7, and Deut. xxvi. 4 in Yer. Bik. 65d; as well as Yer. Kil. viii., end, on Deut. xiv. 5; and Meg. iii. 10 on Lev. xviii. 21. In addition to the anecdotes mentioned above, there are earlier indications that the Targum was committed to writing, although for private reading only. Thus, the Mishnah states (Yad. iv. 5) that portions of the text of the Bible were "written as a Targum," these doubtless being Biblical passages in an Aramaic translation; and a tannaitic tradition (Shab. 115a; Tosef., Shab. xiv.; Yer. Shab. 15c; Massek. Soferim v. 15) refers to an Aramaic translation of the Book of Job which existed in written form at the time of Gamaliel I., and which, after being withdrawn from use, reappeared in the lifetime of his grandson Gamaliel II. The Pentateuchal Targum, which was made the official Targum of the Babylonian schools, was at all events committed to writing and redacted as early as the third century, since its Masorah dates from the first half of that century. Two Palestinian amoraim of the same century urged the individual members of the congregation to read the Hebrew text of the weekly parashah twice in private and the Targum once, exactly as was done in public worship: Joshua ben Levi recommended this practise to his sons (Ber. 8b), while Ammi, a pupil of Johanan, made it a rule binding on every one (ib. 8a). These two dicta were especially instrumental in authorizing the custom of reciting the Targum; and it was considered a religious duty even in later centuries, when Aramaic, the language of the Targum, was no longer the vernacular of the Jews. Owing to the obsolescence of the dialect, however, the strict observance of the custom ceased in the days of the first geonim. About the middle of the ninth century the gaon Natronai ben Hilai reproached those who declared that they could dispense with the "Targum of the scholars" because the translation in their mother tongue (Arabic) was sufficient for them (see Müller, "Einleitung in die Responsen der Geonen," p. 106).

At the end of the ninth or in the beginning of the tenth century Judah ibn Kuraish sent a letter to the community of Fez, in which he reproved the members for neglecting the Targum, saying that he was surprised to hear that some of them did not read the Targum to the Pentateuch and the Prophets, although the custom of such a perusal had always been observed in Babylonia, Egypt, Africa, and Spain, and had never been abrogated. Hai Gaon (d. 1038) was likewise much astonished to hear that the reading of the Targum had been entirely abandoned in Spain, a fact which he had not known before (Müller, l.c. p. 211); and Samuel ha-Nagid (d. 1056) also sharply criticized the scholars who openly advocated the omission of the reading of it, although according to him the Targum was thus neglected only in the northern provinces of that country (see the responsum in Berliner, "Onkelos," ii. 169). As a matter of fact, however, the custom did entirely cease in Spain; and only in southern Arabia has it been observed until the present time (see Jacob Saphir, "Eben Sappir," i. 53b; Berliner, l.c. p. 172), although the Targum to the haftarot, together with introductions and poems in Aramaic, long continued to be read in some rituals (see Zunz, "G. V." pp. 410, 412; idem, "Literaturgesch." pp. 21 et seq. ; idem, "Ritus," pp. 53, 60 et seq., 81; Bacher, in "Monatsschrift," xxii. 220-223). In the synagogues of Bokhara the Persian Jews read the Targum, together with the Persian paraphrase of it, to the haftarah for the last day of Passover (Isa. x. 32-xii.; see "Zeit. für Hebr. Bibl." iv. 181). The Aramaic translations of the Bible which have survived include all the books excepting Daniel and Ezra (together with Nehemiah), which, being written in great part in Aramaic, have no Targum, although one may have existed in ancient times.

Targumim to the Pentateuch:


Targum Onkelos or Babylonian Targun: The official Targum to the Pentateuch, which subsequently gained currency and general acceptance throughout the Babylonian schools, and was therefore called the "Babylonian Targum" (on the tosafistic name "Targum Babli" see Berliner, l.c. p. 180; "Mordekai" on Git. ix., end, mentions an old "Targum Babli" which was brought from Rome). The title "Targum Onkelos" is derived from the well-known passage in the Babylonian Talmud (Meg. 3a) which discusses the origin of the Targumim: "R. Jeremiah [or, according to another version, R. hyya bar Abba] said: 'The Targum to the Pentateuch was composed by the proselyte Onkelos at the dictation of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua.'" This statement is undoubtedly due to error or ignorance on the part of the scholars of Babylonia, who applied to the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch the tradition current in Palestine regarding the Greek version of Aquila. According to Yer. Meg. 71c, "Aquila the proselyte translated the Pentateuch in the presence of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua, who praised him in the words of Ps. xlv. 3." In this passage, moreover, R. Jeremiah is described as transmitting the tradition on the authority of R. hiyya bar Abba. There is no doubt that these accounts coincide: and the identity of and is also clear, so that Onkelos and Akylas (Aquila) are one and the same person (but see Onkelos). In the Babylonian Talmud only the first form of the name occurs; the second alone is found in the Palestinian Talmud; while even the Babylonian Talmud mentions Onkelos as the author of the Targum only in the passage cited. The statements referring to Onkelos as the author of the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch originated in the post-Talmudic period, althoughthey are based entirely on Meg. 3a. The first citation of a targumic passage (on Gen. xlv. 27) with the direct statement "Onkelos has translated" occurs in Pirke R. El. xxxviii. The gaon Sar Shalom, writing in the ninth century, expressed himself as follows on the Targum Onkelos: "The Targum of which the sages spoke is the one which we now have in our hands; no sanctity attaches to the other Targumim. We have heard it reported as the tradition of ancient sages that God wrought a great thing [miracle] for Onkelos when He permitted him to compose the Targum." In a similar fashion Maimonides speaks of Onkelos as the bearer of ancient exegetic traditions and as a thorough master of Hebrew and Aramaic (see Bacher, "Die Bibelexegese Moses Maimunis," pp. 38-42). The designation "Targum Onkelos" was accordingly established in the early portion of the geonic period, and can no longer be effaced from the terminology of Jewish learning.

Babylonian Influence.

The accepted Targum to the Pentateuch has a better claim to the title "Targum Babli" (Babylonian Targum), as has already been explained. It is noteworthy, moreover, that the Jews of Yemen received this Targum, like that to the Prophets, with the Babylonian punctuation (see Merx, "Chrestomathia Targumica"); and the colophon of a De Rossi codex states that a Targum with Babylonian punctuation was brought to Europe (Italy) from Babylon in the twelfth century, a copy with the Tiberian punctuation being made from it (see Berliner, l.c. ii. 134). In the Babylonian Talmud the accepted Targum is called "our Targum," thus connoting the Targum of Babylonia or of the Babylonian academies (Kid. 49a, "Targum didan," for which Maimonides, in his "Yad," Ishut, viii. 4, substitutes "Targum Onkelos"). Passages from the Targum are cited with great frequency in the Babylonian Talmud with the introductory remark "As we translate" (Berliner l.c. p. 112), and the Babylonian geonim also speak of "our Targum" as contrasted with the Palestinian Targum (see Hai Gaon in Harkavy, l.c. Nos. 15, 248).

The Targum Onkelos, moreover, shows traces of Babylonian influence in its language, since its vocabulary contains: (1) Aramaic words which occur elsewhere in the Babylonian vernacular, e.g., the Hebrew ("to see") is always translated by , and not by the Palestinian , while the Hebrew ("round about") is rendered by and not by ; (2) Aramaic words used to render Greek words found in the Palestinian Targum; (3) a few Persian words, including "nahshirkan" (hunter; Gen. xxv. 27); and "enderun" (ib. xliii. 30) instead of the Greek κοιτών found in the Palestinian Targum. These peculiarities, however, justify only the assumption that the final redaction of the Targum Onkelos was made in Babylonia; for its diction does not resemble in any other respects the Aramaic diction found in the Babylonian Talmud; indeed, as Nöldeke has shown ("Mandäische Grammatik," p. xxvii.), "the official Targum, although redacted in Babylonia, is composed in a dialect fundamentally Palestinian." This statement is confirmed by the text of the Targum Onkelos, by the results of historical investigations of its origin, and by a comparison of it with the Palestinian Targum. These researches into its history show that the Targum which was made the official one was received by the Babylonian authorities from Palestine, whence they had taken the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and the halakic midrashim on the Pentateuch. The content of the Targum shows, moreover, that it was composed in Palestine in the second century; for both in its halakic and in its haggadic portions it may be traced in great part to the school of Akiba, and especially to the tannaim of that period (see F. Rosenthal in "Bet Talmud," vols. ii.-iii.; Berliner, l.c. p. 107). The Targum Onkelos can not be compared unqualifiedly with the Palestinian Targum, however, since the latter has been preserved only in a much later form; moreover the majority of those fragments which are earliest seem to be later than the redaction of the Targum Onkelos. Yet even in this form the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch furnishes sufficient evidence that the two Targumim were originally identical, as is evident from many verses in which they agree word for word, such as Lev. vi. 3, 4, 6-7, 9, 11, 18-20, 22-23. The difference between the two is due to two facts: (1) the Pentateuchal Targum of the tannaitic period was subjected to a thorough and systematic revision, which may have taken place in Palestine, this revision of subject-matter being followed by a textual revision to make it conform with the vernacular of the Babylonian Jews; and (2) the version of the Targum resulting from this double revision was accepted and committed to writing by the Babylonian academies.


Despite the fact that the Targum was thus reduced to a fixed form in Babylonia, the Palestinian meturgemanim had full license to revise and amplify it, so that the final redaction as it now exists in the so-called "Targum pseudo-Jonathan" (and this is true in even a greater degree of the "Fragmenten-Targum" mentioned below), though it was made as late as the seventh century, approximates the original Targum much more closely both in diction and in content, and includes many elements earlier than the Targum bearing the name of Onkelos and belonging in its final form to the third century. The Masorah on the Targum Onkelos is first mentioned in the "Patshegen," a commentary on this same Targum, written in the thirteenth century; it was edited by Berliner (1877), and reedited in alphabetical order by Landauer ("Letterbode," viii., ix.). This Masorah contains statements concerning the divergencies between the schools of Sura and Nehardea, exactly as the Talmud (Zeb. 54a; Sanh. 99b) alludes to controversies between Rab and Levi over individual words in the Targum. The system followed in the revision of the subject-matter which resulted in the Targum Onkelos becomes clear when the latter is compared with the Palestinian Targum. The principal object being to conform the Targum as closely as possible to the original text both in diction and in content, explanatory notes were omitted, and the Hebrew words were translated according to their etymological meaning, although the geographical names were retainedin their Hebrew form almost without exception, and the grammatical structure of the Hebrew was closely followed. The paraphrastic style of translation affected by the Targumim generally, in order to obviate all anthropomorphisms in reference to God, is observed with special care in the Targum Onkelos, which employs paraphrases also in the poetic sections of the Pentateuch and in many other cases. In some instances the original paraphrase is abbreviated in order that the translation may not exceed the length of the text too greatly; consequently this Targum occasionally fails to represent the original, as is evident from paraphrases preserved in their entirety in the Palestinian Targum, as in the case of Gen. iv. 7, 10; xlix. 3, 22; Ex. xiv. 15; Num. xxiv. 4; and Deut. xxix. 17. An example of an abbreviated paraphrase is found also in the Targum Onkelos to Deut. i. 44, as compared with the paraphrase in Sotah 48b made by a Babylonian amora of the third century.

Supposed Authorship.


The Palestinian Targum (Targum Yerushalmi): A responsum of Hai Gaon, already cited with reference to the Targumim, answers the question concerning the "Targum of the Land of Israel [Palestine]" in the following words: "We do not know who composed it, nor do we even know this Targum, of which we have heard only a few passages. If there is a tradition among them [the Palestinians] that it has been made the subject of public discourse since the days of the ancient sages [here follow the names of Palestinian amoraim of the third and fourth centuries], it must be held in the same esteem as our Targum; for otherwise they would not have allowed it. But if it is less ancient, it is not authoritative. It is very improbable, however, in our opinion, that it is of later origin" (comp. "R. E. J." xlii. 235). The following statement is quoted ("Kol Bo," § 37) in the name of R. Meïr of Rothenburg (13th cent.) with reference to the Targum: "Strictly speaking, we should recite the weekly section with the Targum Yerushalmi, since it explains the Hebrew text in fuller detail than does our Targum; but we do not possess it, and we follow, moreover, the custom of the Babylonians." Both these statements indicate that the Palestinian Targum was rarely found in the Middle Ages, although it was frequently quoted after the eleventh century (see Zunz, "G. V." pp. 66 et seq.), especially in the "'Aruk" of Nathan b. Jehiel, which explains many words found in it. Another Italian, Menahem b. Solomon, took the term "Yerushalmi" (which must be interpreted as in the title "Talmud Yerushalmi") literally, and quoted the Palestinian Targum with the prefatory remark, "The Jerusalemites translated," or "The Targum of the People of the Holy City." After the fourteenth century Jonathan b. Uzziel, author of the Targum to the Prophets, was believed to have been the author of the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch also, the first to ascribe this work to him being Menahem Recanati in his commentary on the Pentateuch. This error was probably due to an incorrect analysis of the abbreviation (= "Targum Yerushalmi"), which was supposed to denote "Targum Jonathan." The statement in the Zohar (i. 89a, on Gen. xv. 1) that Onkelos translated the Torah, and Jonathan the Mikra, does not mean, as Ginsburger thinks ("Pseudo-Jonathan," p. viii.), that according to the Zohar Jonathan translated the entire Bible, and thus the Pentateuch; but the word "Mikra" here refers to the Prophets (see "R. E. J." xxii. 46). It is possible, however, that the view, first advanced by Recanati, that Jonathan composed also a Targum on the Pentateuch, was due to a misinterpretation of the passage in the Zohar. Azariah dei Rossi, who lived in the sixteenth century, states ("Me'or 'Enayim," ed. Wilna, p. 127) that he saw two manuscripts of the Palestinian Targum which agreed in every detail, one of which was entitled "Targum Yerushalmi" and the other "Targum Jonathan b. Uzziel." The editio princeps of the complete Palestinian Targum was printed from the latter (Venice, 1591), thus giving currency to the erroneous title.

Relation to Onkelos.

In addition to the complete Palestinian Targum (pseudo-Jonathan) there exist fragments of the Palestinian Targum termed "Targum Yerushalmi"; but of these fragments, comprised under the generic term "Fragment-Targum," only those were until recently known which were first published in Bomberg's "Biblia Rabbinica" in 1518 on the basis of Codex Vaticanus No. 440. A few years ago, however, Ginsburger edited under the title "Das Fragmententhargum" (Berlin, 1899) a number of other fragments from manuscript sources, especially from Codex Parisiensis No. 110, as well as the quotations from the Targum Yerushalmi found in ancient authors. This work rendered a large amount of additional material available for the criticism of the Palestinian Targum, even though a considerable advance had already been made by Bassfreund in his "Fragmenten-Targum zum Pentateuch" (see "Monatsschrift," 1896, xl.). The general views concerning the Palestinian Targum and its relation to Onkelos have been modified but slightly by these new publications. Although the relation of the Targum Yerushalmi to Onkelos has already been discussed, it may be added here that the complete Palestinian Targum, as it is found in the pseudo-Jonathan, is not earlier than the seventh century; for it mentions Ayeshah ('A'ishah) (or, according to another reading, Khadija [hadijah]) and Fatima, the wife and daughter of Mohammed, as wives of Ishmael, who was regarded as Mohammed's ancestor. It originated, moreover, at a period when the Targum Onkelos was exercising its influence on the Occident; for the redactor of the Palestinian Targum in this form combined many passages of the two translations as they now exist in the Targum Yerushalmi and the Targum. Onkelos (see "Z. D. M. G." xxviii. 69 et seq.), besides revealing his dependence on the Onkelos in other respects as well. The fragments of the Targum Yerushalmi are not all contemporaneous; and many passages contain several versions of the same verses, while certain sections are designated as additions ("tosefta"). The text of the majority of the fragments is older than the pseudo-Jonathan; and these remnants, which frequently consist of a single word only or of a portion of a verse, have been fused according to a principle which can no longer berecognized; but they may have consisted in part of glosses written by some copyist on the margin of the Onkelos, although without system and thus without completeness. Many of these fragments, especially the haggadic paraphrases, agree with the pseudo-Jonathan, which may, on the other hand, be older than some of them. In like manner, haggadic additions were made in later centuries to the text of the Targum, so that an African manuscript of the year 1487 alludes to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. Early in the twelfth century Judah ben Barzillai wrote as follows with regard to these additions: "The Palestinian Targum contains haggadic sayings added by those who led in prayer and who also read the Targum, insisting that these sayings be recited in the synagogue as interpretations of the text of the Bible." Despite the numerous additions to the Palestinian Targum, and notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the fragments are of later date than Onkelos, both pseudo-Jonathan and the fragments contain much that has survived from a very early period; indeed, the nucleus of the Palestinian Targum is older than the Babylonian, which was redacted from it.

Targum to the Prophets:

Targum Jonathan.


The Official Targum to the Prophets: Like the Targum Onkelos to the Pentateuch the Targum to the Books of the Prophets gained general recognition in Babylonia in the third century; and from the Babylonian academies it was carried throughout the Diaspora. It originated, however, in Palestine, and was then adapted to the vernacular of Babylonia; so that it contains the same linguistic peculiarities as the Targum Onkelos, including sporadic instances of Persian words (e.g., "enderun," Judges xv. 1, xvi. 12; Joel ii. 16; "dastaka" = "dastah," Judges iii. 22). In cases where the Palestinian and Babylonian texts differ, this Targum follows the latter ("madinha'e"; see Pinsker, "Einleitung in die Babylonische Punktuation," p. 124). It originated, like the Targum to the Pentateuch, in the reading, during the service, of a translation from the Prophets, together with the weekly lesson. It is expressly stated in the Babylonian Talmud that the Targum accepted in Babylonia was Palestinian in origin; and a tannaitic tradition is quoted in the passage already cited from Megillah (3a), which declares that the Targum to the Prophets was composed by Jonathan b. Uzziel "from the mouths of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi," thus implying that it was based on traditions derived from the last prophets. The additional statements that on this account the entire land of Israel was shaken and that a voice from heaven cried: "Who hath revealed my secrets to the children of men?" are simply legendary reflections of the novelty of Jonathan's undertaking, and of the disapprobation which it evoked. The story adds that Jonathan wished to translate the Hagiographa also, but that a heavenly voice bade him desist. The Targum to Job, which, as already noted, was withdrawn from circulation by Gamaliel I., may have represented the result of his attempts to translate the Hagiographa (see Bacher, "Ag. Tan." i. 23 et seq.; 2d ed., pp. 20 et seq.). Jonathan b. Uzziel is named as Hillel's most prominent pupil (comp. Jew. Encyc. vi. 399, s.v. Hillel); and the reference to his Targum is at all events of historical value, so that there is nothing to controvert the assumption that it served as the foundation for the present Targum to the Prophets. It was thoroughly revised, however, before it was redacted in Babylonia. In the Babylonian Talmud it is quoted with especial frequency by Joseph, head of the Academy of Pumbedita (see Bacher, "Ag. Bab. Amor." p. 103), who says, with reference to two Biblical passages (Isa. viii. 6 and Zech. xii. 11): "If there were no Targum to it we should not know the meaning of these verses" (Sanh. 94b; M. K. 28b; Meg. 3a). This shows that as early as the beginning of the fourth century the Targum to the Prophets was recognized as of ancient authority. Hai Gaon apparently regarded Joseph as its author, since he cited passages from it with the words "Rab Joseph has translated" (commentary on Tohorot, quoted in the "'Aruk"; see Kohut, "Aruch Completum," ii. 293a, 308a). As a whole, this Targum resembles that of Onkelos, although it does not follow the Hebrew text so closely, and paraphrases more freely, in harmony with the text of the prophetic books. The Targum to the Prophets is undoubtedly the result of a single redaction.

Targum Yerushalmi.


A Palestinian Targum (Targum Yerushalmi): This Targum to the prophetic books of the Bible is frequently cited by early authors, especially by Rashi and David Kimhi. The Codex Reuchlinianus, written in 1105 (ed. Lagarde, "Prophetæ Chaldaice," 1872), contains eighty extracts from the Targum Yerushalmi, in addition to many variants given in the margin under different designations, many of them with the note that they were taken from "another copy" of the Targum. Linguistically they are Palestinian in origin. Most of the quotations given in the Targum Yerushalmi are haggadic additions, frequently traceable to the Babylonian Talmud, so that this Palestinian Targum to the Prophets belongs to a later period, when the Babylonian Talmud had begun to exert an influence upon Palestinian literature. The relation of the variants of this Targum to the Babylonian Targum to the Prophets is, on the whole, the same as that of the fragments of the Palestinian Targum to the Onkelos; and they show the changes to which the targumic text was subjected in the course of centuries, and which are shown also both by the earliest editions of the Targum to the Prophets and by their relation to the text of the Codex Reuchlinianus. This question is discussed in detail by Bacher, "Kritische Untersuchungen zum Prophetentargum" ("Z. D. M. G." xxviii. 1-58). Additions ("tosefta.") to the Targum to the Prophets, similar in most cases to those in the Targum Yerushalmi, are also cited, especially by David Kimhi. The chief extant portion of this Palestinian Targum is the translation of the haftarot (see Zunz, "G. V." pp. 79, 412).

Targum to the Hagiographa:

The Babylonian Targumim to the Pentateuch and that to the Prophets were the only ones which enjoyed official recognition; so that even in Babylonia there was no authorized Targum to the Hagiographa, since thisportion of the Bible furnished no sidrot for public worship. This fact is mentioned in the legend, already noted, that Jonathan ben Uzziel was forbidden to translate the Hagiographa. Nevertheless, there are extant Targumim on the hagiographic books; they are, for the most part, Palestinian in origin, although the Babylonian Talmud and its language influenced the Targumim on the Five Megillot.

A Separate Group.


To the Psalms and to Job: These Targumim form a separate group, and, in view of their entire agreement in diction, hermeneutics, and use of the Haggadah, may have a common origin. In no other Targum, excepting the Targum Sheni to Esther, does ἄγγελος, the Greek word for "angel," occur. In rendering Ps. xviii., the Targum to Psalms avails itself of the Targum to II Sam. xxii., although it does not reproduce the linguistic peculiarities found in the Babylonian recension of the latter. The Targum to Psalms contains an interesting dramatization of Ps. xci., cxviii, and cxxxvii., while both in it and in the Targum to Job the two constant themes are the law of God and its study, and the future life and its retribution. In Ps. cviii. 12 the parallel construction in the two sections of the verse is interpreted in such a way as to mention Rome and Constantinople as the two capitals of the Roman empire, thus indicating that the work was composed before the fall of Rome in 476. The Targum to Job iv. 10 (where is read instead of ) also seems to allude to the division of the empire; and this hypothesis is confirmed by the presence of a Greek and a Latin word in the Targum to Job, which in all cases renders "nagid" or "nadib" by ἄρχων (on this word as an official title in the Jewish communities, see Schürer, "Gesch." ii. 518), and translates "hanef" by "delator," a term which was applied in the Roman empire to the vilest class of informers. Characteristic of both these Targumim is the fact that they contain more variants from the Masoretic text in vowel-points and even in consonants than any other Targum, about fifty of them occurring in the Targum to Psalms, and almost as many being found in the Targum to Job, despite its relative brevity. A number of these variants occur also in the Septuagint and in the Peshitta, thus affording a confirmation of the early date of composition assigned to the two Targumim. Both of these contain, moreover, a number of variants, fifty verses of Job having two, and sometimes three, translations, of which the second is the original, while the later reading is put first (for a confirmation of the statements in "Monatsschrift," xx. 218, see Perles, ib. vii. 147, and "R. E. J." xxi. 122). The Targum to Psalms, like that to Job, is quoted by Nahmanides under the title "Targum Yerushalmi" (Zunz, "G. V." p. 80).


To Proverbs: This Targum differs from all other Judæo-Aramaic translations of the Bible in that it shows Syriac characteristics, and also agrees in other respects with the Peshitta, to which, according to Geiger ("Nachgelassene Schriften," iv. 112), one-half of it corresponds word for word. This Targum contains scarcely any haggadic paraphrases. It may be assumed either that its author used or, rather, revised the Peshitta, or, with a greater degree of probability, that the Targum to Proverbs was derived from the same source as the Peshitta of that book, the Syriac version itself being based on a translation originally intended for Jews who spoke the Syriac dialect. This Targum also is quoted in the "'Aruk" and by Nahmanides as "Targum Yerushalmi" (Zunz, l.c.).


To the Five Megillot: These Targumim are alike in so far as all of them are essentially detailed haggadic paraphrases. This is especially the case in the Targum to Canticles, in which the book is interpreted as an allegory of the relation between God and Israel and of the history of Israel. In the "'Aruk," the first work to cite these Targumim, the Targum to Canticles is once (s.v. ) called "Targum Yerushalmi "; and Rashi applies the same name (Targ. Yer. to Deut. iii. 4) to the second Targum on Esther, the so-called "Targum Sheni," which may be termed, in view of its length, and of the fact that it betrays eastern Aramaic influences in its diction, an Aramaic midrash on Esther. This last-named work, which is quoted as early as the Massek. Soferim (xiii. 6), has proved extremely popular. The Book of Esther is the only one of the hagiographic books which has a Targum noticed by the Halakah, rules for its reading having been formulated as early as the tannaitic period. The other "scrolls," however, were also used to a certain extent in the liturgy, being read on festivals and on the Ninth of Ab, which fact explains the discursiveness of their Targumim.


To Chronicles: This Targum follows the Palestinian Targumim both in language and in its haggadic paraphrases, although it shows the influence of the Babylonian Talmud also. It remained almost wholly unknown, however, not being cited even in the "'Aruk," nor included in the first editions of the Targumim. It was first published in 1680 (and 1683) by M. F. Beck from an Erfurt codex of 1343; and it was again edited, by D. Wilkins in 1715, on the basis of a Cambridge manuscript of 1347, this edition containing a later revision of the targumic text.

Apocryphal Additions to Esther.

Among the apocryphal additions to Esther the "halom Mordekai" (Dream of Mordecai) has been preserved in a Targum which is designated in a manuscript as an integral portion of the Targum to the Hagiographa. This passage, divided into fifty-one verses in Biblical fashion, has been printed in Lagarde's edition of the Targumim ("Hagiographa Chaldaice," pp. 352-365) and in Merx's "Chrestomathia Targumica," pp. 154-164 (see Bacher in "Monatsschrift," 1869, xviii. 543 et seq.). On the Targum to the Book of Tobit, known to Jerome, and preserved in a recension published by A. Neubauer ("The Book of Tobit," Oxford, 1878), see Dalman, "Grammatik des Jüdisch-Palästinensischen Aramäisch," pp. 27-29). It is probable, moreover, that a complete Aramaic translation of Ben Sira once existed (ib. p. 29).

The view prevailed at an early time that the amora Joseph b. hama, who had the reputation of being thoroughly versed in the Targumim to the Prophets, was the author of the Targumim to theHagiographa. In the Masseket Soferim (l.c.) a quotation from the Targum Sheni to Esth. iii. 1 is introduced by the words "Tirgem Rab Yosef" (Rab Joseph has translated); and a manuscript of 1238, in the municipal library of Breslau, appends to the "Dream of Mordecai" the statement: "This is the end of the book of the Targum on the Hagiographa, translated by Rab Joseph." The manuscript from which the copyist of the Breslau codex took the "Dream of Mordecai," together with this colophon, included therefore all the Targumim to the Hagiographa, excepting that to Chronicles, the one to Esther standing last (see "Monatsschrift," xviii. 343). In his commentary on Ex. xv. 2 and Lev. xx. 17, moreover, Samuel ben Meïr, writing in the twelfth century, quoted targumic passages on Job and Proverbs in the name of R. Joseph. The belief that Joseph was the translator of the Hagiographa was due to the fact that the phrase frequently found in the Talmud, "as Rab Joseph has translated," was referred to the Targum to the Hagiographa, although it occurred only in passages from the Prophets and, according to one reading (Sotah 48b), in a single passage of the Pentateuch. The Palestinian characteristics of the hagiographic Targumim, and the fact that the translations of the several books are differentiated according to the grouping noted above, prove that the view is historically baseless. The Tosafot (to Shab. 115a, below), since they ascribed a tannaitic origin to the Targum to the Hagiographa (comp. Tos. to Meg. 21b), naturally refused to accept the theory of Joseph's authorship.

Editions-Targum to the Pentateuch: Onkelos, editio princeps, Bologna, 1482; Sabbionetta, 1557 (reprinted by Berliner, Targum Onkelos, Berlin, 1884); pseudo-Jonathan, Venice, 1591; Fragment-Targum, in Biblia Rabbinica, Appendix, ib. 1518. Targum to the Prophets: editio princeps, Leiria, 1494; Venice, 1518;

Lagarde, Prophetœ Chaldaice, Leipsic, 1872. Prætorius has edited Joshua and Judges on the basis of manuscripts from Yemen with superlinear punctuation (1900, 1901; see Theologische Literaturzeitung, xxv. 164, xxvi. 131); Alfr. Levy, Kohelet, Breslau, 1905. Targum to the Hagiographa: Venice, 1517; Lagarde, Hagiographa Chaldaice, Leipsic, 1873. On the editions of the Targum to Chronicles see above. Targum Sheni, ed. L. Munk, Berlin, 1876. The polyglot and rabbinical Bibles (see Berliner, l.c. ii. 187-190), as well as numerous other editions. The three Targumim to the Pentateuch were translated into English by J. W. Etheridge (London, 1862, 1865);

and German translations of considerable length are given by Winter and Wünsche, Die Jüdische Litteratur, i. 63-79. On the Targum in general: the various introductions to the Bible; Zunz, G. V. pp. 61-83; Z. Frankel, Einiges zu den Targumim, in Zeitschrift für die Religiösen Interessen des Judenthums, 1846, iii. 110-111; Geiger, Urschrift, pp. 162-167; idem, Nachgelassene Schriften, iv. 98-116; G. Dalman, Grammatik des Jüdisch-Palästinensischen Aramäisch, pp. 21-27;

Hamburger, R. B. T. ii. 1167-1195; E. Nestle, in Bibeltext und Bibelübertragungen, pp. 163-170, Leipsic, 1897; Buhl, Kanon und Text des Alten Testaments, 1891, pp. 168-184. On the Targumim to the Pentateuch: Luzzatto, Oheb Ger, Vienna, 1830 (see Cracow ed. 1895); Levy, Ueber Onkelos, etc., in Geiger's Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol. 1844, vol. v.; Fürst, in Orient, Lit. 1845; A. Geiger, Das Nach Onkelos Benannte Babylonische Targum, in his Jüd. Zeit. ix. 85-194; A. Berliner, Das Targum Onkelos, ii., Berlin, 1884; Anger, De Onkelo Chaldaico, Leipsic, 1846; M. Friedmann, Onkelos und Akylas, Vienna, 1896; Schönfelder, Onkelos und Peschitta, Munich, 1864; Maybaum, Die Anthropomorphien und Anthropopathien bei Onkelos, etc., Breslau, 1870; S. Singer, Onkelos und das Verhältniss Seines Targum zur Halacha, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1881; H. Barnstein, The Targum of Onkelos to Genesis, London, 1896; E. Kautzsch, Mittheilungen über eine Alte Handschrift des Targum Onkelos, Halle, 1893; A. Merx, Anmerkungen über die Vocalisation der Targume, in Verhandlungen des Fünften Orientalistencongresses, ii. 1, 145-188; G. B. Winer, De Jonathanis in Pentateuchum Paraphrasi Chaldaica, Erlangen, 1823; H. Petermann, De Indole Paraphraseos Quem Jonathanis Esse Dicitur, Berlin, 1831; S. Baer, Geist des Yerushalmi, in Monatsschrift, 1851-52, i. 235-242; Seligsohn and Traub, Ueber den Geist der Uebersetzung des Jonathan b. Usiel zum Pentateuch, ib. 1857, vi. 69-114; Seligsohn, De Duabus Hierosolymitamis Pentateuchi Paraphrasibus, Breslau, 1858; S. Gronemann, Die Jonathan'sche Pentateuchübersetzung in Ihrem Verhältnisse zur Halacha, Leipsic, 1879; W. Bacher, Ueber das Gegenseitige Verhältniss der Pentateuch-Targumim, in Z. D. M. G. 1874, xxviii. 59-72; J. Bassfreund, Das Fragmenten-Targum zum Pentateuch, in Monatsschrift, 1896, xl. 1-14, 49, 67, 97-109, 145-163, 241-252, 352-365, 396-405; M. Neumark, Lexikalische Untersuchungen zur Sprache des Jerusalemischen Pentateuch-Targum, Berlin, 1905. On the Targum to the Prophets: Z. Frankel, Zu dem Targum der Propheten, Breslau, 1872; H. S. Levy, Targum to Isaiah i., with Commentary, London, 1889; Cornill, Das Targum zu den Propheten, i., in Stade's Zeitschrift, vii. 731-767; idem, Das Buch des Propheten Ezechiel, 1886, pp. 110-136; H. Weiss, Die Peschitha zu Deutero-Jesaja und Ihr Verhältniss zum . . . Targum, Halle, 1893; M. Sebök (Schönberger), Die Syrische Uebersetzung der Zwölf Kleinen Propheten und Ihr Verhältniss zum . . . Targum, Breslau, 1887. On the Targum to the Hagiographa: W. Bacher, Das Targum zu den Psalmen, in Monatsschrift, 1872, xxi. 408-416, 462-673; idem, Das Targum zu Hiob, ib. 1871, xx. 208-223, 283 et seq.; S. Maybaum, Ueber die Sprache des Targum zu den Sprüchen und Dessen Verhältniss zum Syrer, in Merx's Archiv, ii. 66-93; T. Nöldeke, Das Targum zu den Sprüchen, ib. pp. 246-249; H. Pinkusz, Die Syrische Uebersetzung der Proverbien . . . und Ihr Verhältniss zum Targum, in Stade's Zeitschrift, 1894, xiv. 65-141, 161-162; A. Abelesz, Die Syrische Uebersetzung der Klagelieder und Ihr Verhältniss zum Targum, Giessen, 1896; A. Weiss, De Libri Job Paraphrasi Chaldaica, Breslau, 1873; A. Posner, Das Targum Rischon zu dem Biblischen Buche Esther, ib. 1896; S. Gelbhaus, Das Targum Sheni zum Buche Esther, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1893; J. Reis, Das Targum Sheni zu dem Buche Esther, in Monatsschrift, 1876, xxv.; 1881, xxx.; P. Cassel, Zweites Targum zum Buche Esther, Leipsic, 1885; M. Rosenberg and K. Kohler, Das Targum zur Chronik, in Geiger's Jüd. Zeit. 1870, viii. 72-80, 135-163, 263-278. Hebrew works on the Targum: the commentaries Patshegen of the thirteenth century, printed in the Wilna edition of the Pentateuch, 1874; N. Adler, Netinah la-Ger, in the same edition; S. B. Scheftel, Bi'ure Onkelos, ed. I. Perles, Munich, 1888; Abraham ben Elijah of Wilna, Targum Abraham, Jerusalem, 1896. Other Hebrew works: Isaiah Berlin, Mine Targima, Breslau, 1831; Wilna, 1836; H. Chajes, Imre Binah, Zolkiev, 1849; B. Berkowitz, 'Oteh Or, Wilna, 1843; idem, Lehem we-Simlah, ib. 1850; idem, halifot u-Semalot, ib. 1874; idem, Abne hiyyon, ib. 1877; J. Reifmann, Sedeh Aram, Berlin, 1875; idem, Ma'amar Darke ha-Targumim, St. Petersburg, 1891.W. B. Wilhelm Bacher
Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.

Also, see:

Romanized Bible Text
Literal Translation
History of the Bible Septuagint and early Manuscripts
Translating the Bible
Transliteration of Hebrew
Jewish Genesis (Advanced), Bereshit. A Thorough Presentation of Jewish Genesis 1 text

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