[Professor Michael Klein]

Professor Michael Klein

The first meeting in the second series of centenary lectures was chaired by the Regius Professor of Hebrew, Robert Gordon, and was treated to a study of Aramaic Bible translations and commentaries by Professor Michael Klein, of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.

He demonstrated how a detailed review of the oldest extant fragments helps to illuminate such subjects as the synagogal-liturgical setting of the targum, its status and sanctity, and the reason for its original composition.

It also touches upon the non-normative halakhah reflected in such Palestinian targum and the purity of Aramaic dialect that it preserves.

Several new targumic texts and text-types discovered in the Genizah were noted, such as ``shorthand'' manuscripts; collections of expansive readings for festivals and special Sabbaths; introductory Aramaic poems to the targum of the haftarot; a fragment-targum of Onqelos; and various compositions of Masorah to Onqelos.

The paper concluded with a reading of the targumic tosefta to the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4), which is unparalleled in its midrashic and exegetical expansiveness and literary fancy.

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