Join Rabbi David Sedley as he explores the life and writings of Onkelos, most commonly know for the Aramaic translation of the Torah called ‘Targum Onkelos.’ Onkelos is said to have been the nephew of the Roman Emperor Titus or Roman Emperor Hadrian. He is also said to have written the Greek translation of the Torah before he converted, and his famous ‘Targum’ after he became Jewish.
Profile: Onkelos: Lives of the Rabbis: Onkelos
In this class we look at stories of Onkelos’s conversion from Roman nobleman to Jewish Rabbi. We touch on his piety and stringencies, and discuss whether Onkelos and Akylus are the same person or two different people (Akylus translated the Torah into Greek and Onkelos translated it into Aramaic. Both are described as nephews of the emperor who converted to Judaism).
And at the end we touch briefly on Onkelos’s theology — particularly the claim of Rambam and others that Onkelos never describes God as having a physical form.
Rabbi David Sedley lives in Jerusalem with his wife and six children. He was born and raised in New Zealand before making Aliya in 1992. He left Israel temporarily (for eight years) to serve as a communal Rabbi in Scotland and England and returned to Israel in 2004. He has translated Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary on Pirkei Avos and is the co-author of Sefiros: Spiritual Refinement Through Counting the Omer (both Judaica Press). Over the years Rabbi Sedley has worked as a journalist, a translator, a video director and in online reputation management. He also writes a weekly Torah blog on the Times of Israel - https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/david-sedley.