Moderated Forums > Faith Issues

"Almah" in Hebrew, "Parthenos" in Greek: The Case of Isaiah 7:14

(1/13) > >>

minasoliman:
So, I had a recent discussion, and I was given a Hebrew lesson on Isaiah 7:14.  The Masoretic uses the word "almah" and the Dead Sea Scrolls also use the word "almah."  According to Jews have said for centuries, the word "almah" really means "young woman," not virgin, which in Hebrew would be "bathulah".  Yet the Jewish fathers who wrote the Septuagint clearly uses the Greek word for virgin, "parthenos."

Why have the Septuagint fathers translated the word "almah" into "parthenos"?

Thank you in advance for your help in this question.

God bless.

Symeon:
It is translated as "parthenos" because that is an accurate translation.

See this paper, "What Does Almah Mean?" by William F. Beck, a Lutheran.
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BeckAlmah.PDF

Some additional resources:
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/fabprof2.html
http://www.oodegr.com/english/ag_grafi/parthenos1.htm

ialmisry:

--- Quote from: minasoliman on December 12, 2008, 04:08:39 AM ---So, I had a recent discussion, and I was given a Hebrew lesson on Isaiah 7:14.  The Masoretic uses the word "almah" and the Dead Sea Scrolls also use the word "almah."  According to Jews have said for centuries, the word "almah" really means "young woman," not virgin, which in Hebrew would be "bathulah".  Yet the Jewish fathers who wrote the Septuagint clearly uses the Greek word for virgin, "parthenos."

Why have the Septuagint fathers translated the word "almah" into "parthenos"?

Thank you in advance for your help in this question.

God bless.

--- End quote ---

Because 'almah had the connotation of virginity.  Maedchen in German had much the same, meaning "girl," "maiden."  Much like "jaryah" "slave girl, servant," in Arabic had the opposite connotation. :o

The translation predates the Church, so they can't accuse us of fixing the text.

As a side note, their is talk of the translation "pais" "boy, slave/servant," being a shift of the suffering servant, etc. to being understood as the child/son of God.

ozgeorge:
Why would a "maiden" becoming pregnant be a "sign" from God?

Fr. David:

--- Quote from: ialmisry on December 12, 2008, 05:48:39 AM ---The translation predates the Church, so they can't accuse us of fixing the text.
--- End quote ---

Right.  This was THE passage that Christians used in attempting to talk with unbelieving Jews.  The Greek Old Testament was translated by Jews, for Jews, several hundred years before the Advent of Christ or the founding of the Church.  Furthermore, it was held by many to be an inspired translation, due to a legend of a miraculous degree of correspondence between translation manuscripts.  It was used by hellenized Jews in the Diaspora -- Jews who had been hellenized LONG before Christianity came around -- and thus was THE Bible of those large sections of Judaism, including those Jews who eventually came to believe in Jesus as their Messiah.

The choice, then, to see "almah" as "virgin" was not ours -- that of Jews who had seen their Messiah and wanted justification for it -- but rather theirs -- Jews who hadn't yet done so and had no vested interest in such a translation.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version