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Onkelos on the Torah: Deuteronomy

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Onkelos on the Torah: Deuteronomy

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Onkelos on the Torah: Deuteronomy
Understanding the Bible Text
By Israel Drazin and Stanely M. Wagner
Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem and New York, (2011)
ISBN: 978-965-229-473-9

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - July 12, 2012

The fifth and final volume in Israel Drazin and Stanely M. Wagner's series groundbreaking series, Onkelos on the Torah - Understanding the Bible Text has been released. The final volume in this series pertains to the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim).

Onkelos on the Torah: Deuteronomy contains not only the complete text of Sefer Devarim in Hebrew, but also the associated Haftarot for the weekly Torah portion. Also included is an English translation of the text that is based on the Targum Onkelos along with Onkelos' Aramaic translation of the Hebrew text. This volume includes Rashi's commentaries (written in Rashi Script) of the text, along with elucidating and in-depth commentaries, in English, drawn from both ancient and modern sources. This volume, as a whole, is well organized and the various translations and commentaries are intuitively laid out, making it easy to jump back and forth between the text you are reading and the corresponding translations or commentaries.

For serious students of the Bible, a study of Targum Onkelos is an essential undertaking. Onkelos on the Torah: Deuteronomy, as with its sister volumes, offers students of every age and level of understanding a window through which to not only study Onkelos, but to also gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the Bible. In writing these volumes, the authors' have done an excellent job of making them both accessible to students new to the study of Onkelos, as well as still being rigorous enough to hold the interest of - and provide new insights to - those who have already embarked upon a study of Targum Onkelos.

In addition to the main body of the text and associated commentaries, the authors have also included a wealth of supplemental materials. These include a detailed introduction to the volume and the appendix to the book and chapter by chapter commentaries on the text. These additional commentaries deal with popular topics that arise from Sefer Devarim. As well, you will find two very helpful study aids interwoven within the body of this text, the Onkelos Highlights and the Beyond the Text sections. The highlights serve to point out important aspects of each section of the text. The Beyond the Text segments serve to explore difficult, and sometimes controversial topics, in greater detail. These segments also pose thought-provoking questions that will enhance your appreciation and understanding of the text. As well, the Haftarot are each preceded by a brief introduction.

Although the Aramaic translation of the Torah known as the Targum Onkelos is usually attributed to a Ger (convert to Judaism) by the name of Onkelos, the actual identity of the author is unknown. The translation was completed sometime around 400 C.E. It was immediately accepted as authoritative, and has been in use ever since. This series, Onkelos on the Torah: Understanding the Bible Text brings this remarkable work once again to the fore, making it understandable to a modern generation. As such, this entire series deserves a space in every public and private library. As well, it would make an ideal gift for anyone in your life wishing to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the literal meaning of the Bible through the study of Onkelos' Aramaic translation of the Torah.

All five volumes in the Onkelos On the Torah: Understanding the Bible Text series are now available and they can be purchased individually or as a boxed set via the following links: Back to top

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