Friday, August 27, 2021

New PhD thesis on Targum Canticles

ARAMAIC WATCH: Paul Moore has recently completed a doctoral thesis at University College London: Studies in the Language of Targum Canticles, with Annotated Transcription of Geniza Fragments.

While the language of Targum Canticles—a species of Late Jewish Literary Aramaic—has attracted previous study, many of its peculiarities have been overlooked, or accorded but cursory treatment. The present work investigates a range of morphological, syntactic, and semantic anomalies that punctuate the text. These impinge on various domains, including predicate argument marking, verbal stems, the nominal dimensions of state and gender, and particle usage. Attending to these phenomena, with descriptive sensitivity and comparative perspective, yields insight into literary influences, the process of composition, and the conceptions of Aramaic—both grammatical and aesthetic—of the Jewish literati who adopted this dialectally eclectic idiom. This study also probes the still under-researched nexus between Late Jewish Literary Aramaic and the Aramaic of Zoharic literature. It concludes with an annotated transcription of the fragments of Targum Canticles from the Cairo Geniza: Cambridge, T-S B11.81, T-S NS 312—which are among the earliest, known, extant witnesses to the text—and Oxford Heb. f. 56, whose colophon bears the date 1416 CE. The latter features a Judaeo-Arabic translation of the Targum—possibly the earliest known example—which is included in the transcription. The alignments of the readings of these fragments with other witnesses are highlighted, accompanied by ad hoc textual and exegetical commentary.

It is available for open-access download at the link.

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