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Author Topic: "Take up this cross and follow me"  (Read 5685 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: April 25, 2005, 12:11:08 AM »

In Mark 8, Jesus commanded, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

In order to gain a better understanding of this commandment, allow us to examine Ezekiel 9:

 "3Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple.[a] And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; 4and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it."
5To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. 6Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.""


In the original Hebrew, the word which translates as "mark" in Ezekiel 9:4 is the Hebrew letter TAU. The TAU is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks very much like the letter "T":
 

Historically, it is very likely that the crosses which the Romans crucified the Jews with were in the shape of a TAU:
 

Just as God commanded those who serve Him in Ezekiel to be marked with a TAU in order that they may be saved from judgement, Jesus Christ was crucified on a TAU for the salvation of those who accept it.
(The typological significance of this is amazing, by the way.)

Jesus' commandment in Mark 8 has a double-meaning; one for the Apostles as they would have understood it at the time and one for us today.
Jesus prophecized that Jerusalem would be destroyed for its denial of Him. Those who accepted the cross (TAU) would be spared from the destruction.
This commenced the end of the age of Judaism and the beginning of the Church age. Since then, we understand the taking of the cross as the sufferings we must endure to follow Christ.
We are saved by the destruction of hell by Christ's atoning blood on the cross.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.



 

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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2005, 04:28:59 AM »

Matthew,

That is the Greek letter tau; the Hebrew tav looks very different from the letter T.



But if you take it as the Greek, not Hebrew letter, it's an interesting thought.

I hope you are having a blessed Holy Week! Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2005, 08:46:57 AM »

And in modern Greek (not, supposedly, Attic or Homeric) these two letters are pronounced the same.
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2005, 12:20:13 PM »

Thank you Aristokles... I did not know that, as while I am certain of what things are in Hebrew, Greek is still fuzzy for me. Cheesy I plan to learn it in college.

Marjorie
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2005, 12:58:59 PM »

Thank you Aristokles... I did not know that, as while I am certain of what things are in Hebrew, Greek is still fuzzy for me. Cheesy I plan to learn it in college.

Marjorie

Then Marjorie, I will doubly pray for your success in Greek studies - this Erasmus reconstructed pronounciation schema for classical Greek is an abomination. I had to unlearn too much to get my A's then relearn everything once out of college. Get some advice from our member pensateomnia.
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2005, 02:38:28 PM »

"The “Tau” letter is very ancient and is common to both Hebrew and Greek. Most of the Scriptures are written in these two languages. In Hebrew it is the last letter of the alphabet, and is pronounce “Taw”. It developed into an “X” shape. In Greek it is pronounced “Tau” and took the form of our capital “T”.
The Hebrew word for “mark” is the letter “X”. The Greek translation of the Bible translated it “T”. In Ezekiel 9:4, the prophet Ezekiel has a vision in which God tells a man to mark a “Tau” upon the forehead of those who are to be saved from destruction. The early Christians saw this as a foreshadowing Jesus’ crucifixion and of the sign of the cross. There are, for instance, first century stone coffins in the catacombs on which the Tau is inscribed."
http://www.franciscanfriars.ca/tau.htm

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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2005, 02:53:40 PM »

Well, Matthew777, we obviously think differently on the pronounciations. My Hebrew courses are older than my Greek studies. I'll wait for MBZ's and pensateomnia's input.

As to the symbolism, perhap, of the crucifixion, remember that the Romans used more than one form of a cross - T's and X's both.
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2005, 02:56:08 PM »

Beware of "Tau" symbols, it is a masonry symbol. I would stay to Cross + .

Masonic Tau:


http://www.freemason.org/cfo/2001janfeb/lectures.htm
http://www.cuttingedge.org/free16.htm
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/6779/apron.html
http://www.2be1ask1.com/library/kabbalah.html
http://johnarthur.tripod.com/leithhistory/tau.htm

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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2005, 02:57:12 PM »

"The reference to the sealing of the servants of God for their protection in Revelation is an allusion to a parallel passage in Ezekiel, where Ezekiel also sees a sealing of the servants of God for their protection:

"And the LORD said to him [one of the four cherubim], 'Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark [literally, "a tav"] upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.' And to the others he said in my hearing, 'Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity; slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the elders who were before the house." (Ezekiel 9:4-6)

Unfortunately, like most modern translations, the one quoted above (the Revised Standard Version, which we have been quoting thus far), is not sufficiently literal. What it actually says is to place a tav on the foreheads of the righteous inhabitants of Jerusalem. Tav is one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and in ancient script it looked like the Greek letter chi, which happens to be two crossed lines (like an "x") and which happens to be the first letter in the word "Christ" in Greek (christos). The Jewish rabbis commented on the connection between tav and chi and this is undoubtedly the mark Revelation has in mind when the servants of God are sealed in it.

The early Church Fathers seized on this tav-chi-cross-christos connection and expounded it in their homilies, seeing in Ezekiel a prophetic foreshadowing of the sealing of Christians as servants of Christ. It is also part of the background to the Catholic practice of making the sign of the cross, which in the early centuries (as can be documented from the second century on) was practiced by using one's thumb to furrow one's brow with a small sign of the cross, like Catholic do today at the reading of the Gospel during Mass."
http://www.4homeschool.info/AshWednesday.htm
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2005, 02:59:14 PM »

Beware of "Tau" symbols, it is a masonry symbol. I would stay to Cross.

Masonry, as a syncretic system, takes many symbols from the ancient world.

tau cross
n.
A cross in the form of a T. Also called Saint Anthony's cross.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2005, 03:04:21 PM »



Masonry, as a syncretic system, takes many symbols from the ancient world.

tau cross
n.
A cross in the form of a T. Also called Saint Anthony's cross.

Regarding Masonry they never used the Cross as it, but only by change it, deleted it over with other symbols.

The T symbol was the symbol of the Knight Templars of St Anthony of Leith.
"... that it means T.H. or Templum Hierosolyma, Temple of Jerusalem; or that it means a treasure, or a place were treasure is buried. The Tau is a figure constructed of five lines and is considered an important emblem or badge in Royal arch Masonry."
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2005, 03:14:20 PM »

"THE TAU CROSS AND THE FRANCISCAN TRADITION

The Hebrew people, like many other ancient cultures, progressively elaborated a theology or a complementary spiritual interpretation proper to each letter of their alphabet.

Because the Hebrew scriptures, and therefore the Hebrew alphabet was not formally codified until almost two hundred years after the birth of Christ, many letters were sometimes shaped in a variety of forms depending on the regions where Jews were living, either in Israel or in the Diaspora: somewhere outside of Israel, usually in the Greek speaking world.

For our purposes, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet represented the fulfillment of the entire revealed Word of God. This letter was called the Tau (or Taw, pronounced "tav" in Hebrew) which could be simultaneously written: / X + T. When the Prophet Ezekiel (9:4) uses the imagery of the last letter of the alphabet he is commending Israel to remain faithful to God until the last, to be recognized as symbolically "sealed" with the mark of the Tau on their foreheads as God's chosen people until the end of their lives. Those who remained faithful were called the remnant of Israel , often the poor and simple people who trusted in God even without understanding the present struggle in their lives.

Although the last letter of modern Hebrew (/), is no longer cross-shaped as described in the variations above, the early Christian writers commenting on the Bible would have used its Greek version called the "Septuagint". In this Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures (which Christians call the "Old Testament") the tau was written as a T.

Naturally, then, for Christians the T came to represent the cross of Christ as being the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. The cross as prefigured in the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, represented the means by which Christ reversed the disobedience of the old Adam and became our Savior as the "New Adam".

During the Middle Ages, the religious community of Anthony, the Hermit, of which Saint Francis was familiar, was very involved in the care of lepers. these men used Christ's cross shaped like the Greek T as an amulet for warding off the plague and other skin diseases. In the early years of his conversion, Francis would have worked with these religious in the Assisi area and may have often been a guest in their hospice near St. John Lateran in Rome. Francis often spoke of meeting Christ disguised in the form of a leper as the turning point of his conversion. It is no doubt then that Francis eventually accepted an adapted the T as his own crest or signature combining the ancient imagery of life-long fidelity to the passion of Christ which carried with it the command to serve the least, the lepers of his day.

Even more specifically intensifying the tau imagery, when Pope Innocent III called for a great reform of the Roman Catholic Church in 1215, Saint Francis would have heard the pope open the Fourth Lateran Council with the same exhortation as the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel: " We are called to reform our lives, to stand into the presence of God as righteous people. God will know us by the sign of the tau, T, marked on our foreheads." This symbolic imagery, used by the same pope who commissioned Francis' new community a brief five years earlier, was immediately taken to heart as his own call to reform. With arms outstretched, Francis often told his brother friars that their religious habit was in the same shape as the tau, T, meaning that they were called to be walking "crucifixes", models of a compassionate God and examples of faithfulness until their dying day.

Today, followers of Francis, as laity or religious, would wear the tau cross as an exterior sign, a "seal" of their own commitment, a remembrance of the victory of Christ over evil through daily self-sacrificing love. The sign of contradiction has become the sign of hope, a witness of fidelity until the end of our lives."
http://www.franciscansofsandamiano.net/Tau%20Cross.htm
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2005, 03:21:43 PM »

Matthew777, why on God's name are you using this picture saying "Historically, it is very likely that the crosses which the Romans crucified the Jews with were in the shape of a TAU" ?
 

This picture comes form a pagan site ?

the picture is from site http://www.menantolstudio.freeserve.co.uk and the actual image is http://www.menantolstudio.freeserve.co.uk/tau.jpeg

I just question your sources brother.
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2005, 03:25:18 PM »



I just question your sources brother.


It was the best picture I could find on Alta Vista. I did not use the site as a source.
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2005, 03:27:16 PM »


"Pictured are three types of crosses commonly used by the Roman army in the first century A.D. Each carried an inscription stating the victim's capital offense and a seat-like projection, not designed for the victim's comfort, but to prolong their agony. Nails and ropes held the victim's legs and arms in place.

The cross on the left was called a "high tau" cross because it was shaped like the capital Greek letter tau ("T"). The middle cross was known as a "low tau" cross, shaped like the lower case tau ("t"). In both cases the central post was generally set permanently in the ground while the cross bar was carried to the site by the victim. The cross on the right was an actual tree still in the ground (dead or alive) with its limbs serving as the cross bar. Jesus was probably crucified on a "low tau" type cross."
http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a013.html
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2005, 03:37:37 PM »

The Cross that Christ was crusified was recovered by St Helen, the mother of emperor St. Konstanine.

Having built several churches in the West, Helen made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 324. Although now 80 years old, the Empress continued to assist the needy and build churches. The pagan emperors had sought to obliterate Christianity by building temples over Mount Calvary at the Holy Sepulchre. Constantine, Helena and Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem saw to it that these temples were razed and Christian basilicas erected on the holy sites. In the process, the very instruments of Christ's passion --the three crosses, the nails, the crown of thorns, and the inscription were found near Mt. Calvary, buried very deep. The story has it that Helen tested which of the three crosses was that of Christ by touching each to a dying woman. When one of the crosses brought about the woman's cure, it was concluded that one was the true cross. The discovery of the crosses was indeed a fact, and segments of Christ's cross were soon sent to principal churches throughout the world. But the account of Helen's role and the miracle is possibly only legendary.

The recovery of the Holly Cross onto which Christ was crusified is accepted as part of Church's tradition, the cross being in the form of +

Now brother Matthew777 if you want to start the search all over again and to include the Holy Grale, be my guest I think I will not follow you in this quest. Bon voyage brother. ( I am not mocking your effort)
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2005, 03:41:48 PM »

And Matthew777 and I MAY not be disagreeing on pronunciation. But this thread is getting too much into weirdo-isms with which we seem obsessed here of late with prophesies and pointless conjecture in general.

Much as it may alarm some members - the Internet is not a solid resource for everything.
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2005, 03:45:08 PM »

And Matthew777 and I MAY not be disagreeing on pronunciation. But this thread is getting too much into weirdo-isms with which we seem obsessed here of late with prophesies and pointless conjecture in general.

Much as it may alarm some members - the Internet is not a solid resource for everything.
I second that my friend.
Amen.
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2005, 04:07:36 PM »


Much as it may alarm some members - the Internet is not a solid resource for everything.

The Catholic sources I've provided are rather reliable.
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2005, 04:19:23 PM »



The Catholic sources I've provided are rather reliable.

I recognise your zeal and genuineness in your intentions brother Matthew777, I just want to share with you that you may have to see things with a wider glance by soaking into tradition rather than by using your creativeness. I nevertheless like your aggressiveness.
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2005, 04:25:09 PM »

This is a Coptic article which makes the same connection between the tav and the cross with a quote from Tertullian:
http://www.suscopts.org/literature/literature.php?subaction=showfull&id=1076632037&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&

As I've shown before, it is the traditional position that the "mark" in Ezekiel 9:4 was cross-shaped. Think of the typology!  Afro
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« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2005, 07:46:04 PM »

Regardless of the pronunciation, which wasn't my point, the Hebrew letter tav (or tau, or taw, or what you will) is not shaped like an X... it is shaped more like a house with a little tail on the left part, and I have seen it like this in ancient writings as well.

That Coptic article refers to the *Greek* letter, not the Hebrew one, as it says itself.

God bless you!

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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2005, 12:23:44 AM »

In the ancient Hebrew, the tav was shaped like an "X".

"In early Semitic tav resembled a simple cross that became the Phoenician symbol. Tav was the last letter of the Greek alphabet until omega was created."
http://www.pamellaneely.com/alpha/T.html

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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2005, 12:38:29 AM »


That Coptic article refers to the *Greek* letter, not the Hebrew one, as it says itself.


TAV means to seal, to covenant (letter value 400)

Literal meaning of the Letter; SIGN OR MARK
Sound of letter t
http://www.solomonstreasurechest.com/Alphabet.html


This is fun stuff. I should study ancient languages more often.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2005, 12:45:26 AM »

Matthew777,
You are going to find if you really study these old languages that there are many variances and variations within each over both time and area. I could probably find several different, but very similar old Greek alphabets - with some not even looking Greek. You will be disappointed if you look for absolutes in everything. You might be assuming that Hebrew itself did not undergo these same type of changes. I am sure it did.
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« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2005, 12:57:42 AM »

According to what I have found so far, the tav appeared in the shape of a cross in the ancient Hebrew. The tav in the modern Hebrew alphabet is a later transformation.
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2005, 01:43:07 AM »

According to my university course booklet Elementary Biblical Hebrew by George Athas and Ian M. Young, the tav which comes closest to a cross shaped form (but not quite...) is that which existed in the pre-Exilic (before the 7th century B.C.) palaeo-Hebrew. It looks more like the "cross" on the right of the image in Matthew777's last post, except with the vertical line more towards the bottom, such that it looks like an upside down lower case 't' tilted at a 45 degree angle. Taking this into account, along with the fact that scholars generally date the book of Ezekiel to the mid-late sixth century B.C., and it seems like Matthew's theory is rather far-fetched, yet nonetheless creative.
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2005, 07:41:03 AM »

I recognise your zeal and genuineness in your intentions brother Matthew777, ...

I recognize loneliness.

It's nice outside - turn off the computer - ask a girl out - and LIVE!
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« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2005, 11:26:47 AM »

Taking this into account, along with the fact that scholars generally date the book of Ezekiel to the mid-late sixth century B.C., and it seems like Matthew's theory is rather far-fetched, yet nonetheless creative.

If it is far-fetched, why did Tertullian believe it?
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« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2005, 11:27:10 AM »



I recognize loneliness.

It's nice outside - turn off the computer - ask a girl out - and LIVE!

Maybe so, maybe so.  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2005, 11:36:40 AM »



The Catholic sources I've provided are rather reliable.
What about an Orthodox source?
Here is St.John of Shanghai and San Francisco's homily: "Cross, Preserver of the Universe"
http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/library/st_john_maximovich/on_the_cross.htm
I read of this long ago when I first was looking through St.John's Homilies. I believe in Typological interpretation of the Old Testament so I believe that indeed this is a type of the taking up of the Cross that we are called by our Lord to do.
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« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2005, 11:47:38 AM »



If it is far-fetched, why did Tertullian believe it?

Whatever Tertullian did or did not say, does not take away from the facts stated in my post, from which my conclusion that I believe your theory to be far-fetched was derived.

In any event, I believe the Tertullian quote in question makes reference to the Greek letter Tau (pronounced taw); and not the Hebrew letter taw (pronounced tav), as was pointed out to you earlier.

I too believe in typological interpretations of the Old Testament, but I think sometimes people get a little carried away, by reading too much into everything (though with good intentions ofcourse).
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« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2005, 01:07:28 PM »

In any event, I believe the Tertullian quote in question makes reference to the Greek letter Tau (pronounced taw); and not the Hebrew letter taw (pronounced tav), as was pointed out to you earlier.

Even if the the tav did not appear in the form of a cross in the original Hebrew, the Septuagint has always been the accepted text of the Church.
The prophecy of the virgin birth does not appear in the original Hebrew either, if I am not mistaken.

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« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2005, 11:12:45 PM »

Quote
Even if the the tav did not appear in the form of a cross in the original Hebrew, the Septuagint has always been the accepted text of the Church.

Well that was not the point of my contention, so this is irrelevant; your initial post concerned the Hebrew text and not the Greek. If you made a case solely out of the Septuagint, I would say you have an interesting point worth considering, especially if it was recognised in early patristic tradition.

Quote
The prophecy of the virgin birth does not appear in the original Hebrew either, if I am not mistaken.

You’re mistaken. The Septuagint does not replace the meaning of the original Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14; it simply refines it.

Peace.
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2005, 12:03:28 AM »

In the Hebrew, doesn't it translate as "young woman" instead of "virgin"?
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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2005, 07:37:34 AM »

In the Hebrew, doesn't it translate as "young woman" instead of "virgin"?
And why would God say that this would be the "sign"? What is so significant about a young woman being with Child?
According to Blessed Theophylact, the original Hebrew does say "virgin",however in the Masoretic Text, this was changed to "maiden". A footnote in the copy of Bl. Theophylact's exegesis of the Gospel I have says that this claim of his is confirmed by a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
When we say "original Hebrew", we refer to the Hebrew Texts which predate the Masoretic.
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2005, 07:44:21 AM »

Very good, ozgeorge.
And even a usual definition of "maiden" as "young virgin" does not belie this in the Masorite version (not that I favor the Masorite renderings).
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2005, 07:53:36 AM »

Very good, ozgeorge.
And even a usual definition of "maiden" as "young virgin" does not belie this in the Masorite version (not that I favor the Masorite renderings).

Yes, and it's quite common for languages to use the same word for both 'young woman' and 'virgin'. Context is everything.

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« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2005, 10:01:23 AM »

Ozgeorge,

Quote
According to Blessed Theophylact, the original Hebrew does say "virgin",however in the Masoretic Text, this was changed to "maiden". A footnote in the copy of Bl. Theophylact's exegesis of the Gospel I have says that this claim of his is confirmed by a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

There seems to be a bit of confusion here, for you imply that the “original Hebrew” used a particular word which was distinct from that which is contained in the Masoretic (MT); in both form and meaning. I don’t think there is any evidence to support this conclusion. I have a photocopy in front of me of Isaiah 6:7-7:15 of “the great Isaiah” scroll (Q /Qa - DDS) which employs the Hebrew word almah, the same word used in the MT. Im not sure of the nature of the Qb scroll, or even if Qb has Isaiah 7:14, but nonetheless ive never heard the word almah being disputed in scholarly circles, in relation to its employment in Isaiah 7:14 of the MT.

The dispute concerns the definition of this word, and how it is best to be understood in its appropriate context. A “Virgin”, “maiden” and "young woman", are not conflicting or mutually exclusive terms (to argue so would obviously be to commit the categorical fallacy, since the first term concerns sexuality, the second concerns marital status, whilst the third concerns age), nor do I believe either of them are necessarily incorrect translations; the first is simply a “better” translation than the latter two. Taking all contextual factors into account, one should generally and objectively arrive at the conclusion that almah refers to a young maiden woman who is most probably (though not necessarily) a virgin.

As I implied In my response to Matthew, the Septuagint usage of parthenos, is not a translation of a differing word to that used in the MT--almah, it is simply an interpretation of it.

Peace.
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« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2005, 11:16:58 AM »

When we say "original Hebrew", we refer to the Hebrew Texts which predate the Masoretic.

That is good to know. Some modern Bible translations say in the footnotes that it didn't really translate as virgin. But then again, perhaps that just goes to show how much we can trust modern Bible translations.
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« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2005, 12:21:04 PM »

The virginity of Mother of God is not to be found in the words of Scriptures.
It's a living reality that the members of the Body of Christ give testification about, them being in relation with her, and while being a bodily manifested fact it actually refers to an Uncreated God’s energy.

If all written Bible’s books were to vanish from Earth then the Saint's of Church would present this Truth of her virginity, as witnesses of this live reality.

He who looks into books he finds words, he who looks into the Life of Church finds the Spirit. In this Spirit he confesses the mysteries of Christ’s conception, gestation, and birth.

Anyone can of course read about life, but real life “comes” into reality by living Persons.
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« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2005, 01:23:58 AM »

During the passover, the Jews took the blood of a lamb and marked their doors with the sign of the TAU so that God would pass over them. Am I right?
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« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2005, 01:28:02 AM »

If all written Bible’s books were to vanish from Earth...

I would agree with you except for this part.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35

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