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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Two Targums of Esther (Aramaic Bible) (Vol 18) » User review

The translator adds immaginative legends that are not in the original biblical book

  • Jul 28, 2010
Rating:
+3
Although included in the biblical canon as a holy book, Esther bothered many readers because it lacked any mention of God and did not seem to have a religious message. Two Aramaic translations were made of the volume, a short version and a long one, during the first millennium of the Common Era. The translators were also bothered by the omissions as well as other things. They made a multitude of changes in their version of the book, much of it imaginative legends.

My reviews of the two volumes Targum Neofiti 1: Genesis and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis gives details about this 19 volume series presenting an English translation of the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible. This is the eighteenth volume of the translation series.

The two translators of the two Esther translations inserted many additions to make them what the translators - arguably, in many cases, mistakenly - considered religious. Among other things: God is mentioned frequently, the king Ahasuerus is identified, his wife Vashti is punished by God by being killed by her husband because she did not permit the Jews to rebuild the Temple destroyed in 586 BCE, and Ahasuerus himself was punished by having his kingdom split and his life shortened because he listened to her. The translator informs us of his opinion of such things as: why is 127 mentioned in the book's beginning, because Esther was a descendant of the matriarch Sarah, Abraham's wife, who lived for 127 years.

The translator fills his work with legends, such as Ahasuerus wanting to sit on Solomon's throne, which had been taken from Israel when the land was destroyed in 586, but was unable to do so. The king was able to drink from the golden goblets that had been used in the Jewish Temple. Vashti the queen was so arrogant that she made a feast for women in her husband's bedroom. God decreed that her husband ordered her to appear before the people at his feast naked because she had made Jewish girls work nude on the Sabbath. The king had wise men to advise him and they were Jewish.

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About the reviewer
Israel Drazin ()
Ranked #67
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of twenty books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four … more
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ISBN-10: 0814654541
ISBN-13: 978-0814654545
Author: Bernard Grossfeld
Publisher: Michael Glazier Books

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