Martin McNamara, «Melchizedek: Gen 14,17-20 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature», Vol. 81 (2000) 1-31
The essay is introduced by some words on the nature of the Aramaic translations of Gen 14 used in the study (the Tgs. Onq., Pal. Tgs. as in Tgs. Neof. I, Frg. Tgs., Ps.-J.). Tg. Neof. identifies the Valley of Shaveh (Gen 14,17) as the Valley of the Gardens (pardesaya). The value of Tg. Neof.s evidence here is doubtful. Most Targums retain Melchizedek as a personal name (not so Tg. Ps.-J.). Salem of v. 18 is identified as Jerusalem. Melchizedek is identified as Shem, son of Noah, mainly because of the life-span assigned to Shem in Gen 11. The question of Melchizedeks priesthood in early rabbinic tradition and in the Targums (Tg. Gen 14; Tg Ps. 110) is considered, as is also the use of Jewish targumic-type tradition on Melchizedek in such early Fathers as Jerome, Ephrem, and Theodore of Mopsuestia.
Jerusalem"7. There are difficulties with this understanding of the evidence. One is that, given the instability of the reading (the Frg. Tgs. have "the Valley of Hazoza") we do not know if the Tg. Neof. text here represents the original reading. It may be, of course, that irrespective of an "original" Pal. Tg. reading, the compiler of Tg. Neof. opted for the identification pardesaya, "Gardens", of our present text because of his acquaintance with the Jerusalem place-name.
As against this, however, we must recall that the same Tg. Neof. has consistently identified or translated "the Valley of Siddim" (Myd#& qm() of Gen 14,3,8,10 as "the Valley of the Gardens" (h/)ysdrp r#$ym), and the extant texts of Frg. Tgs. (VNL) agree with regard to Gen 14,3 as does a citation from the Pal. Tg. in Masnuts Bereshit Zuta8. Likewise, Tg. Ps.-J. agrees with the rendering pardesaya in all three texts (Gen 14,3,8,10). This understanding of Siddim (Myd#&) in Gen 14,8 as "gardens", "park", may agree with Jeromes understanding of the translation of the word by Aquila and Theodotion, which Jerome takes as "meaning pleasant groves" (amoena nemora significantes)9. It appears, then, that there a solid unity in the Pal. Tg. tradition with regard to the "valley of the gardens", )ysdrp. It is the identification of the MT "Valley of Siddim". And this was not near Jerusalem but near the Sea of Salt, the Dead Sea: "the Valley of Siddim, that is the Sea of Salt" (Gen 14,3). Here, of course, the Pal. Tg. tradition may not be