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The halacha in the Targum to the Torah attributed to Yonatan ben Uzziel

Freedman, H.S.; (1999) The halacha in the Targum to the Torah attributed to Yonatan ben Uzziel. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The halachic interpolations and expansions in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan are derived either from the Targumist's independent reasoning, or from his use of rabbinic traditions and compilations. All the halachic material can be classified in one of three ways: l) that which is intended to clarify the meaning of the Masoretic text; 2) material which results from Midrashic and exegetical techniques; 3) material which explains how a particular law was carried out. The Targumist made significant use of Mishnah, Mechilta, Sifra, Sifrei Numbers and a text similar to Midrash Tannaim. There is also regular use of Halachic Targumic Traditions. There is no evidence of use of Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer. A few halachic comments were identified which cannot be attributed to any known rabbinic source, and which do not seem to have been derived independently. The number of these comments is no more than one would expect to find in a Palestinian work of this period. We suggest that when the Targumist used his independent reasoning, this was either because he did not have relevant rabbinic material available, or because lie felt that the information presented by the sources was inadequate for his purposes. Once the Targumist's techniques are understood, there remains no evidence which suggests a pre-Mishnaic origin of any of the halachic material in the Targum. We can support the results of Shinan and others who have investigated the aggadic content of the Targum and propose a date of seventh or eighth century. We have no evidence to support Shinan's claim that the author of PsY wove his own material into a single extant Palestinian Targum. The author may have had several targumic versions available in addition to his rabbinic sources, and selected material as he felt appropriate. The information that he provides concerning the application of the law is moderated by the constraints of the biblical text; whilst his frequent agreement with minority opinions suggests that his intention is not to produce an authoritative manual on religious law and practice. The probability is that the Targum was written for the school house, as a tool which allowed the student to see the relationship between the Pentateuch and practical law.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The halacha in the Targum to the Torah attributed to Yonatan ben Uzziel
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Hebrew and Jewish Studies

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