8:22: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Behold, we would be sacrificing the cattle which the Egyptians worship, and they would see us; would they not stone us?" Of interest here is the sense of the Hebrew text, where this final clause is construed as a negative, necessitating one to read an unmarked negative question, since a negative declarative would not make sense contextually: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Behold, we would sacrifice the abomination of Egypt before them; and would they not stone us?" Utilizing hela' as a negative interrogative would allow the Targumist
to preserve the negative sense of the Hebrew, while at the same time attempting to make sense of the text by utilizing a negative rhetorical question.
For the sake of convenience, however, the editors constantly speak of "the targumist", a usage followed in this review, even though it may be that Onkelos as such never existed or that there were a number of "Onkeloses." The rabbinic Sages believed--against linguistic and other evidence--that Ezra authored all or most of the Targum, which was forgotten or lost over the centuries until Onkelos, whoever he was, reformulated it in the second century.
According to the editors, this change was made to avoid confusing the public with a name bearing the plural ending im, an exception being Genesis 1:27, where the editors regard the phrase be-tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, as too well known for it to be altered (they also note in the Appendix to Genesis, "The targumist does not change Elohim to the Tetragrammaton where a pronoun is attached to Elohim, such as 'our God'").
In Hebraic tradition the Targumist
translating the five books of Moses, the Torah, into vernacular Aramaic in front of the people, is enjoined not to stand too near the Torah, not to look into the Torah for the translation's not there, not to recite in a louder or higher pitched voice than the Torah reader.
In Adna's opinion, this was the result of the targumist
's conscious decision, not of `atomistic' exegesis.
This accounts for many of the "changes" made by the targumist. Over and over again, but not always, we find him translating verbs in a verse so that they will be uniformly in the present, past, or future tense, and nouns so they will be appropriately feminine or plural or singular, regardless of the biblical Hebrew.
There are other reasons that compelled our targumist to provide a translation that was not always literal, or even prompted him to add words to those found in the biblical text, without causing our sages discomfort.
These are issues and theological difficulties that the targumist
had to address ...
This unrealistic view attests to the Targumist
's miscomprehension of the verse.
Rather, he looks to "non-elite intellectuals" - scribes, perhaps, or "synagogue functionaries" such as liturgical poets, preachers, or targumists