Targum (tärˈgəm) [key] [Aramaic, = translation], Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible. When Aramaic replaced the Hebrew tongue among the Jews of Palestine and Babylon, interpreters were called to translate and explain the scriptural passages that were read aloud during synagogue services. The oral Aramaic paraphrases were, in the course of time, put down in writing under the name Targum. One of the best-known Targums extant is the Targum Onkelos (see Onkelos). The Targum is printed in the margin of corresponding parts of the Bible. A complete manuscript of a Palestinian Targum, the first of its kind, was found in 1956.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.