Targum of Job (11Q10)

The book of Job is by far the most difficult book in the Bible. The Hebrew in which it is written is as difficult and complex as the Hebrew of Genesis is easy and straightforward. This is because Job is a late book; most scholars put its composition to the Persian period, sixth or fifth centuries BCE, a period in which the Hebrew language had developed and become more complicated. It is a difficult book also because it is a static book of lament and theological argument rather an active narrative of men and actions.  Finally, it is more challenging theologically than any other book of Holy Scriptures.

The replica which Biblical Reproductions offers here is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection (11Q10) and is not the book of Job itself, but a Targum. “Targum”(תרגום) in Hebrew means simply “translation”.  But in the context of early Bible translations, the word is always used to define translations from the original Hebrew to the most common and universal language of the day, Aramaic. This was the language most Jews spoke; the language Jesus spoke. In the only place where the Gospels quote Jesus directly in a language other than the Greek in which the New Testament was written, they record Him as calling out /“EloiEloilema sabachthani?”/(Mark 15:34), which is Aramaic, and which the text itself translates into Greek so that all of its readers outside the Eastern Mediterranean (who don’t know Aramaic) will understand it.

Biblical Reproductions is thus offering an exquisite reproduction of one of the most unusual Dead Sea Scroll fragments ever discovered; a piece of the Aramaic translation, the Targum, of part of Chapter 36 of the Book of  Job. Found in Cave No. 11, it is interesting historically because it shows that the book of Job was in circulation in the last centuries BCE and the first century CE. And that it was important enough and popular enough that it needed a Targum, a translation into Aramaic. And that the members of the Dead Sea Community thought the work important enough to include it in their library in the caves near Qumran.

Biblical Reproductions, www.biblicalreproductions.com,  is licensed by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Walter Zanger