Monday, March 22, 2010

Melchizedek In The Targums

“In the Targums (Neofiti I, Ps-Jonathan, Fragmententargum) Melchizedek is further identified with Shem, and thereby given a genealogy. It is noteworthy that though the scroll, the Fragmententargum, and Neofiti I call Melchizedek khn [cohen=priest], the Targums Onqelos and Ps-Jonathan avoid this title. The following paraphrases of Gn 14.18 are found: ‘and the upright king, the king of Jerusalem, that is the Great Shem, brought forth bread and wine; and he was a priest serving in the great priesthood before God Most High’ (Neofiti I, fol. 23 verso 18-24, recto 2). Ps-Jonathan (ed. Ginsburger): ‘and the upright king, that is Shem the son of Noah, the king of Jerusalem, went out before Abram, and brought out bread and wine. And at that time he was serving before God Most High.’ Fragmententargum (ed. Ginsburger, p. 9): ‘And Melchizedek, the king of Jerusalem, who was the Great Shem, was a priest of the Most High; he brought out food and wine, and was standing and serving in the great priesthood before God Most High.’”

-Joseph Fitzmyer, The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave I

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