Mary’s Virginity


#1

HI ALL!
New to posting here, have been reading here for years.
Will most likely change my user name -I’m not happy with it (looking for something that defines my passion for defending my faith)
I hate to bring up a 'dead horse’ topic, but recently wrote a paper for a college class on the ‘Alama’ argument… Thought I’d post it hear for feedback. (sorry for its length)
You’ll notice a lot of regurgitation from old treads and articles cited here (all cited of course). :thumbsup:
Nice being here and meeting you!
Blessings,
CS

…The relevance of this argument still evades me. The word ‘Almah’ is Hebrew for either ‘young maiden’ or ‘virgin’ The argument that is against the word meaning ‘virgin’ most often states that the use of this word in Isaiah 7:14 was in reference to a young married woman known to Isaiah , more importantly a woman in the Davidic line. This is an important point when taken in context with the time and national situation that the prophecy was made. In this century however, the point of almah not meaning virgin seems more an attempt to refute Matthew 1:23 citing of Isaiah 7:14 or to discredit the belief (prophecy) that Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin.
In studying the Hebrew Old Testament, one will find the word ‘almah’ used seven times. These occurrences are Genesis. 24:43; Exodus. 2:8; Psalms. 68:25; Proverbs. 30:19; Song of Solomon. 1:3 & 6:8; and lastly Isaiah. 7:14.ii When taking these occurrences into context of the verse it is obvious that, for (at least) the first six occurrences, the word refers to a sexually pure woman whom has not had sexual relations with a man. As the Hebrew lexicon notes (stongs 5959) “++++ There is no instance where it can be proved that this word designates a young woman who is not a virgin”.
These references occur identically in the Septuagint leaving no question to the meaning, the The Septuagint is the 250B.C. translation of the Hewbrew O.T. performed by a group of 70 rabbis.iv The Septuagint is the oldest translation of the Hebrew text and is invaluable in understanding the original meaning of the accident text. This translation live on in the revised Hebrew Old Testament, which employs Greek names and words such as: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers [Arithmoi], and Deuteronomy. The Septuagint would go on to become the version of the Old Testament used by the followers of Jesus. In fact, if Luke 4:14 is to be believed, Jesus himself taught in the synagogues of Nazareth while reading from the Septuagint where he himself declares a prophecy of Isaiah’s fulfilled (class text, and Dankenbring’s articlevii on archeological evidence support Greek being the dominant language in Galilee at this time).


#2

The Septuagint does not use the Hebrew word ‘Almah’. In it’s translation these 70 rabbis elected to use the Greek word ‘Parthenos’. A study of the wordv parthenos in the Greek lexicon will reveal the word to be found fifteen times in the New Testament. Its meanings are ‘chaste’ once, ‘virgin’ nine times, ‘virgin’s’ once, and ‘virgins’ four timesv. These occurance meet the Hewbrew word “Almah’ every time. In looking at the intent of the 70 rabbis and the Hebrew lexicon, one can clearly see that the intended word is ‘virgin’. Further, it would have been highly unusually for a young girl in the day of Isaiah to be other wise.
In the New Testament, Parthenos never denotes a “young woman”, but refers to a sexually pure person. To that end, Parthenos only translates into ‘virgin’ and its implied meaning is ‘chaste’. While it seems obvious that in the times of Isaiah – or even Mary , a young, unmarried, Jewish, woman would be assumed to be a virgin, the Rabbis creating the Septuagint seem to go a step further in insisting on this by choosing the Greek word not for ‘young maiden’ but the only word for ‘virgin’. And all of this, without the centuries of foresight to know what Isaiah’s present, day prediction would actually come to mean. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the intent of the 70 Rabbis of the 2nd century B.C. was to imply a woman whom has not had sexual relations with a man, no matter what meanings we give to the word ‘almah’ today.
So it would seem that the modern argument that wished to refute the virginity of Mary by attacking the use of the Hebrew word Almah is out of place with the Hebrew lexicon and the 70 Rabbis who died centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. To that end, it is Matthew who quotes Isaiah 7:14 and affirms the prophecy fulfilled. In doing this Matthew displays to us the enigma of it all. It is only in his time, decades after Christ’s death, that man begins to put it togethervi. The followers of Jesus, like the Rabbis of the second century B.C. were unaware of the gravity of the things unfolding before them in the life of their Pharisee friend Jesus. If the argument is about Matthew’s use of Isaiah’s word ‘Almah’, one need go no further than Luke 1:34 to see how precise the term Virgin is. “But Mary said to the angel, ’How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" Luke and Matthew seem to be going out of there way to insist on Mary’s virginity and as the Hebrew lexicon points out there seem to be no basis for an argument otherwise.
The implications of Isaiah 7:14, and many other Old Testament prophecies, on the formation’s of the New Testament’s Gospels are enormous. When considering these prophecies it is important to not loose sight of the immediate implications of many of them. In the case of Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah very well could have been glorifying and predicting a new son in the Davidic line – not Jesus. Indeed no Pharisees were following Jesus around with a litmus test of prophecies to be fulfilled.
It is not until much later, even after the Gospel of Mark that mankind begins to better understand the full implications of the events in Jesus’ life when reconciled against the texts of the Old Testament.
When most of the men who walked with Jesus hear their Rabbi call out from the cross “Father why have you forsaken me?” it is unlikely they all recalled Psalm 22 and understood the full meaning of the moment. The more likely immediate meaning that was understood would have been to see Jesus’ outcry as just that. Only later would the witnesses accounts be compared to the Septuagint and the correlation made.
The apostles related the many miracles they witnessed Jesus perform, these stories would later become documented four times over in the Gospels. In getting to know Jesus, and Mary, they would have learned of the Virgin Birth of Jesus and related it as well. Not until the time of Matthew and Luke would we understand the significance. Likewise, when the apostles first heard of Elizabeth’s (Mary’s sister) words later documented in Luke 1:43 or of the infant John (the Baptist) leaping for joy, they would not have considered King David’s words “Who am I that the ark of the Lord should come to me?” (1 Samuel 6:9) or his leaping before the ark of the convenient as outlined in 2 Samuel 6:14. In Samuel, King David sends the ark into the hills to stay for three months. This parallels the three months Mary stays with Elizabeth in Like 1:43ii v.


#3

However, these correlations would not be made until much later and would become the point behind the message of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.
In summary, a careful examination of the information behind the assertions about the word Almah seem to – at best, do little less than provide a short lesson in Hebrew and call into question the use of the 70 2nd century Rabbi’s and Matthew’s (Greek) words. At worst they seem to discredit the belief (prophecy) that Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin and thereby attack Christian Doctrine. It is unreasonable to select any word from the sacred text without taking the time to consider its use and context. Indeed, it is the growing understanding of man at developed the eyewitness accounts into the Gospels we still study and struggle to understand today.


#4

Wonderful paper. One question, when you used the term “sister” to describe the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. The greek term for kinswoman is used, in actuality they are cousins. Sister used as a broad term may be misleading when used as a specific term to denote specific relations.
My DR uses the term “cousins” of course that still isn’t an accurate translation.
Luke 1,36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: 37 Because no word shall be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. 40 And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.


#5

[quote=Tom]Wonderful paper. One question, when you used the term “sister” to describe the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. The greek term for kinswoman is used, in actuality they are cousins. Sister used as a broad term may be misleading when used as a specific term to denote specific relations.
My DR uses the term “cousins” of course that still isn’t an accurate translation.
Luke 1,36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: 37 Because no word shall be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. 40 And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.
[/quote]


#6

YES!
Cousin. Simply a a mistake. Thinking cousin, typed sister.
Well, perhaps the Prof will take that as a decoy and go easy on me. :smiley:
As you can see the paper is really 4 seperate (HUGE) paper topics. But thanks to all on here for the inspiration and guidance!
Blessings,
CS


#7

I always thought that the Virgin- Young Girl Agrument was a complete waste of time.
Prior to 1965 the two words were Synonymous.
Is shows the decent of man of the last 40 years


#8

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