02.02.28 Targum. In the early Inter-Testamental Period, Aramaic was the language of the Persian government (5th-4th century B.C.) and continued to be the language of the common people at the time of Jesus. Because culture and language had changed since the days of Moses more than a thousand years earlier, there was a need for an Aramaic rephrasing of Hebrew writings. The Targum was not so much a translation, but a paraphrase and commentary of the Hebrew Bible for the benefit of those who were more fluent in Aramaic than Hebrew.
In synagogue services, Scriptures were read in Hebrew as was the Aramaic paraphrase. The translator was given the honorable assignment of explaining or writing a Targum of Scripture, but so important was his assignment that he was considered a traitor if he translated the words properly but did not convey the full meaning.
. Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 6, Session 1.
. Lee, U., The Life of Christ. 121-23.