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If traduttori traditori, then how shall the doubly-damned translators of targum be described? One of the major purposes of the targum was indeed to translate Scripture into the vernacular. Its other major purposes, however, were to interpret the Holy Writ, and to find in it a basis for Synagogal homily. The tension between these conflicting goals has been felt since very early times; for, whereas the first requires a rather literal rendition of the text, the latter two can be achieved only through paraphrase and midrashic exposition and expansion - and even, at times, through the outright contradiction of the original Hebrew text. All the known targums of the Pentateuch partake of both of these types of translation - only in varied proportions; and the balance that is struck between the literal and the paraphrastic, is what determines the individual character of a particular targum. The targums never achieved independent existence - nor were they ever intended to replace the Hebrew Bible. On the contrary, they were read alongside the Hebrew Version, both at home and in the Synagogue; and as such, were always relegated a secondary status. And even if the ignorant masses were, at some point in history, totally dependent upon the Aramaic rendition, the rabbis never let theme lose sight of the Hebrew original.
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