The Targums were produced in a time when men were fascinated by the transcendence of God and could Targums
The Targums were produced in a time when men were fascinated by the transcendence of God and could think of nothing but the distance and the difference of God. Because of that the men who made the Targums were very much afraid of attributing human thoughts and feelings and actions to God. Now the Old Testament regularly speaks of God in a human way; and wherever they met a thing like that the Targums substituted the word of God for the name of God. Let us see how this custom worked. In Exodus 19:17 we read that “Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God.” The Targums thought that was too human a way to speak of God, so they said that Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet the word of God In the Jonathan Targum the phrase the word of God occurs no fewer than about three hundred and twenty times. It is quite true that it is simply a periphrasis for the name of God; but the fact remains that the word of God became one of the commonest forms of Jewish expression. It was a phrase which any devout Jew would recognize because he heard it so often in the synagogue when scripture was read. Every Jew was used to speaking of the Memra, the word of God. The Greek term for word is Logos; but Logos does not only mean word; it also means reason. For John, and for all the great thinkers who made use of this idea, these two meanings were always closely intertwined. Whenever they used Logos the twin ideas of the Word of God and the Reason of God were in their minds.