There’s an impressive list of proofs that what’s commonly called Targum Yonasan on the Chumash was not, in fact, written by Yonasan Ben Uziel.

Where did the rumor start that it was actually written by him? What’s the earliest source we have which attributes this particular translation to Yonasan Ben Uziel?

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    In my answer to your linked question I brought from Moses Mendelssohn his theory how the misattribution started. Others followed his theory, and he seems to be the first to suggest it, but he doesn't (as far as I know) give a date for when this started.
    – robev
    May 27, 2019 at 20:16
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    The Jewish Encylopedia claims that the earliest source in which this Targum is ascribed to Targum Yonatan ben Uziel is the Recanati, in 14th century Italy (long page; search "Recanati") but I'm not sure what their source is. (Azariah de Rossi as linked in robev's answer mentions Recanati doing so but I don't see that he claims Recanati was the first.)
    – Rish
    May 27, 2019 at 21:45
  • @Rish Certainly a start. Why don’t you post it as an answer?
    – DonielF
    May 28, 2019 at 0:40
  • cc @robev ^^^^^
    – DonielF
    May 28, 2019 at 0:41
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    You have to wonder how many "old references" are just cases of later editions "unpacking" the acronym ת"י incorrectly. cc @רבותמחשבות
    – Double AA
    May 29, 2019 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


I just read this somewhere by chance today, and only later noticed this question! According to Rabbi Refael Binyamin Posen, the author of Parshegen, in footnote 30 here, it was Rabbi Menachem Rekanti.

However, after a bit of searching, this is not necessarily the case. A longer discussion of this is brought in Shem Hagedolim, and although he concludes that it was not authored by Yonasan Ben Uziel, he brings some versions of Tosfos that refer to this Targum as Yonasan, as well as some other sources (Hebrew). However, he also brings the Rekanti, so most likely everyone has been relying on him... Here's his opening paragraph, where he notes some of the sources:

תרגום יונתן על התורה נדפס פעמים. וראיתי למהרש"א בחידושי אגדות ריש מגילה כתב וז"ל ומקמיה אונקלוס הוה יונתן אלא שלא היה יונתן חש לפרש התורה או מטעמא דלקמן דמפרשא מילתא ולא הוה מפרש רק נביאי' דאיכא מילי דמסתמן עד שבא אונקלוס ופי' לדורו גם התורה עכ"ל. וכד הוינא טליא לא ידענא מאי קאמר דהרי יונתן פי' התורה. והתוספות בסוף חגיגה הזכירוהו שכתבו תרגם יונתן כרכושתא וסלמנדרא. וכן הרב הנמקי סוף פ"ב דמציעא כתב סיכויין רב יוסף בני חי תרגם יונתן וכו'. וכן מהר"ם ריקאנטי שהיה בדור הרשב"א מזכירו בספר יונתן על התורה:


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