I published a twenty-page scholarly article on the well-respected famed thirteenth century sage Nachmanides’ commentaries on the late fourth century Aramaic translation of the Torah called Targum Onkelos on the on-line scholarly publication www.oqimta.org.il.


People read Targum Onkelos today, and search it for derash, halakhah, and homiletical teachings. My article shows for the first time that the rabbis in the Talmuds and the Midrashim, as well as all the Bible commentators who used the Targum before the thirteenth century, recognized that this Aramaic translation only contains the Torah’s peshat – its plain meaning – and no exegetical material. It also shows how Nachmanides mistakenly changed the way the Targum was understood.


Nachmanides mentions Targum Onkelos in his Commentary to the Pentateuch while analyzing 230 verses. Seventy-five percent of the time that he analyses the Targum are problematical: he reads more into Aramaic words than the terms state. It was only after this Nachmanides change that other interpreters of Onkelos read more than the plain meaning into this Targum.


The article also introduces the reader to Onkelos and explains why the Talmudic rabbis considered it so important that they required that it be read weekly.