Cook asks, “A Spurious Addition to Targum Pseudo-Jonathan?”


Over at Ralph the Sacred River Ed Cook wonders where this mis-translation of TgPsJ t Gen 4 comes from.

I notice that it is common to quote the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Genesis 4:1 as Mahlon Smith does at his website, where we find this translation:

And Adam knew that his wife Eve had conceived
from Sammael the angel (of death)
and she became pregnant and bore Cain.
And he was like those on high and not like those below.

And she said: “I have got a man from the angel of the LORD.”

My problem with this translation is that the words in italics above are not found in any text of Pseudo-Jonathan. The only surviving manuscript of Pseudo-Jonathan (PsJ), in the British Museum, reads, according to the publication of it by Clarke, “And Adam knew that Eve his wife was pregnant from Sammael, angel of the Lord.” The standard printed text (editio princeps) as published in the rabbinic bible reads: “And Adam knew Eve his wife, that she had desired the angel; and she conceived and bore Cain, and she said, I have acquired a man, the angel of the Lord.”


As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that any version of PsJ (or any other targum) contains these words. However, another text that has some affinities to PsJ, the Hebrew Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, in relating the story of Cain’s conception, says “she saw his likeness that it was not of the earthly beings, but of the heavenly beings.” Is that where these words come from? Or is there a version of the text of PsJ that I’m not aware of?

I’m frankly stumped as to the source of this spurious text of the targum. Do any of my readers have any insight?

I can’t suggest a solution off the top of my head, but I will point out that Etheridge’s translation follows the Rabbinic Bible:

IV. And Adam knew Hava his wife, who had desired the Angel; and she conceived, and bare Kain; and she said, I have acquired a man, the Angel of the Lord. And she added to bear from her husband Adam his twin, even Habel.

(Via Ralph the Sacred River.)

 

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