[B-Greek] Looking for a quote

Curtis Hinson curtis at curtishinson.com
Wed Mar 29 23:02:44 EST 2006


I appreciated your thoughtful message, although I'm not sure about a 
couple of your conclusions here.

What makes you think, for instance, that PARQENOS in Judeo-Greek can't 
be read for 'almah instead of betulah?  It's been a while since I looked 
at that but I seem to recall finding PARQENOS, whatever fathers and 
others tried to do (which therefore plays into the modern usage in 
Greece), can simply mean "young woman" about as often as it means 
specifically "virgin".

Lust, Eynikel, and Hauspie have παρθενος as "young woman" in Ez. 9.6 and 
as "a girl of marriageable age" in Gn. 24.24 and they cite Dodd.  NAS 
for the most part goes along with your view, but I would expect NAS to 
go along with the later Christian tradition of rendering, NAS being 
exactly what it is.  Louw & Nida has:

parqevno", ou or a virgin (female) 9.39 [L&N...751]
      b virgin (male) 9.33 [L&N...745]
      c unmarried person 34.77 [L&N...3417]

BDAG starts off with Homer and pointing out the word means "woman of 
marriageable age with or without focus on virginity".

I suspect the trend for rendering this as "virgin" exclusively is 
probably a bias that developed in an isogetical way well after the 
writing of the texts, with particular issue of note in the modern era 
after the first English translations.

I also wonder a bit at the way you have these NT authors thinking about 
their LXX if I understood you well.  I would question whether they 
viewed the LXX tradition merely as a translation as opposed to an 
interpretive tradition, even a commentary or a text in its own right. 
The way the targumim and the peshitta were used (and still are used) 
privately and in public might have something similar to say about how 
the LXX was thought about.  To say they would have by nature chosen the 
implication of the Hebrew rather than the Greek had they been able might 
be a modernist projection, if you will.

There is the matter of pesher to consider in addition.  Can we really 
say that Jesus, James, Jude, and the tannaim always used texts in the 
literal, linear, "corresponding" way?  I question whether the idea even 
fully existed then as we have it now.  So even if writing PARTHENOS with 
virginity in mind, I doubt that demonstrates an ignorance of 'almah when 
it could simply demonstrate a developing theological tradition.

One cannot credibly say the LXX translators didn't know their Hebrew and 
Aramaic, and yet their renderings easily show a technical way of using 
some words (and these shades are some of the distinctions between 
Judeo-Greek and the gentile variety), so if the LXX translators could 
make such distinctions I don't see why the NT authors would be required 
to be ignorant of Hebrew in order to follow the popular work of people 
who obviously weren't ignorant.

I think you might be pushing some shortcomings onto NT authors that 
actually arose in later interpretors.  Therefore, I am not convinced 
your structure as presented on the use of Greek hangs together to 
cohesively demonstrate your idea that these authors didn't know their 
Hebrew.  If my response has wandered from list parameters (I don't 
really know) please forgive the intrusion and correct the course.

Bless the Name
Curtis Hinson

My local weather at the time of this email:
66F (18C), Partly Cloudy

Server status:
  21:00:02 up 6 days, 22:54,  1 user,  load average: 0.01, 0.04, 0.08

Albert & Julia Haig wrote:
> Hello everyone!

> (3) Matthew 1:23: This is the most infamous, and hotly contested,
> example. The problem is that "Matthew" here relies on the LXX
> (PARQENOS), whereas the Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14 reads `almah (young
> woman), not virgin (betulah). In context, the sign is that not just
> that a child would be born, but that before this child grew old
> enough to discern good from evil, Israel and Syria would be destroyed
> by the Assyrians. That `almah does not mean specifically a virgin,
> but that betulah does (indeed the cognate masculine plural noun
> betulim means "virginity" in the abstract), is not merely the opinion
> of the majority of modern scholars. It has been pointed out by Jews
> since at least the second century (see Justin Martyr's "Dialogue with
> Trypho"). Indeed, Jerome wrote:
> “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his
> name Emmanuel.” I know that the Jews are accustomed to meet us with
> the objection that in Hebrew the word Almah does not mean a virgin,
> but a young woman. And, to speak truth, a virgin is properly called
> Bethulah..."
> Again, this fulfilment example seems to have come about by reliance
> on the Greek in ignorance of the Hebrew.
> I think these examples make a cumulative case that the authors of the
> Gospels, or at least parts of the Gospels, or the sources from which
> they drew their material, knew only Greek and not Hebrew or Aramaic.
> All the best,
> Albert Haig, PhD, MDiv
> Send instant messages to your online friends
> http://au.messenger.yahoo.com --- B-Greek home page:
> http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek B-Greek mailing list 
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org 
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek

More information about the B-Greek mailing list