I heard that in the original hebrew virgin means “young woman” does this mean that Jesus could have been born as an illigetimate child?


Neither “young woman” nor ''virgin" necessitates the mother of Christ being unmarried.


The word you are talking about is almah, which can mean either virgin or young woman. It is obvious that in the prophetic context refering to Mary (Isaiah 7:14) almah should be understood to mean virgin, because Mary says of herself in Luke 1:34 “I have no relations with a man.” Whether almah had some secondary prophetic significance in the time of Isaiah, and if so, whether this secondary prophetic significance refered to virgin or young woman is a matter open to speculation.


this is not a new question, and it holds as little water now as it did when it was first proposed.


                **Q: A friend of mine contends that the Bible nowhere makes the prophecy that Mary would be a virgin, only that she would be a young girl. He says that's what it means in the original Hebrew. Is he correct?**

A: The controversy surrounds the translation of Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.” This Old Testament prophecy is quoted in the gospel of Matthew (Matt. 1:23) and specifically applied to the virginal conception of Christ.

Christians have always cherished this prophecy of Isaiah and its miraculous fulfillment in the virgin birth of Jesus the Messiah. Likewise, non-believers have attacked this prophecy in an attempt to discredit Christ and his Church; the attack is a weak one that is easily refuted.

The Hebrew word translated as virgin, *almah, * can also be translated as “young woman” but as *Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon *notes “there is no instance where it can be proved that almah designates a young woman who is *not *a virgin.”

Additional evidence that the correct translation is “virgin” is supplied by the Septuagint version of the Bible, a Greek translation of the Old Testament made several centuries before Christ. It was translated by Jewish scholars for use by Greek-speaking Jews, mainly in Alexandria.

The Septuagint translates the Hebrew almah into Greek as *parthenos. * This Greek term has the precise meaning of “virgin.” So several centuries before the birth of Christ, before there was any reason to attack his Church, the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 was clear: * almah = parthenos *= virgin.


Here we go again – this is shaping up as the standard attack on Matthew 1, 18-25. The attack makes sense only if:

  1. Matthew drew up a collection of prophesies and wrote a gospel to fit. (He didn’t – he wrote a gospel and included prophesies where appropriate.)

  2. Matthew didn’t understand either the language or the times in which he lived (a young girl was assumed to be a virgin – as in many other languages and customs.)

  3. The translation of “almah” as “parthenos” is inaccurate. But it was made by the translators of the Septuagent, men chosen for their Hebrew scholarship, many of whom spoke Greek astheir mother tongue.


I wasn’t attacking it I was only seeing how to answer other people with the same question.


[quote=film_reilly]I wasn’t attacking it I was only seeing how to answer other people with the same question.

I didn’t say you were – I was simply pointing out that this is a standard anti-Catholic ploy. The response is what I posted – it shows what a nonsensical foundation of assumptions have to be accepted to believe in this ploy.


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