[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, effect on Christianity

Yonah Mishael yonahmishael at gmail.com
Sat Oct 14 23:31:46 EDT 2006

You assume, I guess - though you didn't spell it out, that the Greek
παρθένος PARQENOS means "virgin." In classical Greek, the word does
*not* mean "virgin." It is a common word for "girl," nearly synonymous
with the κόρη KORH. According to the classical definition, the Greek
PARQENOS and the Hebrew עלמה (LMH have nearly the same semantic range.

The question is what the LXX translator intended. Did he intend the
reader to take PARQENOS as "maiden" or "girl" per the older meaning,
or did he intend the meaning "virgin" -- which was taken from a more
religious sphere, as it refered to the Vestal Virgins (who were really
no virgins at all).

My own supposition is that the translator of the LXX did *not* intend
PARQENOS to be understood as "virgin." And the fact that they used
that term does not indicate their belief or disbelief in any "virgin
birth." The term is far more flexible that this.


On 10/14/06, Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz <macnietspingal at airmail.net> wrote:
> This is what happened to me in Chorus Class at Richland Community College,
> Dallas TX.  This education, Music, theory and all, was my very first real
> experience with Christianity.  I was 69 YO and had an Orthodox Jewish ed
> from 7-12 YO.  All my life I blamed the "goyeem" for mistranslating almah
> into virgin.
> With my acquisition of Latin versions of the bible through my music ed, I
> started giving more attention to the Septuagint.  I soon discovered that the
> Septuagint was really a Jewish production.  So I started wondering how they
> translated almah into Greek.  I wondered outloud in Chorus class one day.  A
> fellow student told me her father was a Greek scholar and a retired
> minister.  I could call him and ask.  I did.  He said he never thought about
> that before.  He did his research and said that indeed it was the Greek word
> for "virgin".  That's when I really started rethinking my Jewish experience
> (for almost 3/4 of a century).  Now I'm pretty arrogant about my knowledge.
> First of all it was we Jews who were responsible for "Virgin" Mary:)  I can
> read Hebrew with a dictionary since I have an idea of grammar.  You have to
> understand that in my day you weren't supposed to understand Hebrew, because
> God understood:)  There's a modern primary textbook that has this teaching
> in a Hebrew tale:)  It's fun to read in first year Hebrew because it really
> reflects my Orthodox education.  Since then I've been conservative,
> constructionist and now that reform has reformed itself backwards in time,
> reform.
> Personally, I've been grateful to the Vatican for preserving my entire
> global Jewish ed for me.
> Discussing Talmud Tractate Megillah, I saw with my own eyes that the
> talmudists considered
> Greek a Holy Language second to Hebrew.
> Just three weeks ago I got another tremendous surprise about the creation of
> the Christian bible which deals with the subject exactly.  From my Encyc
> Britannica DVD
>      Vulgate
>      (from the Latin editio vulgata: "common version"), Latin Bible used by
> the Roman Catholic Church, primarily translated by St. Jerome. In 382 Pope
> Damasus commissioned Jerome, the leading biblical scholar of his day, to
> produce an acceptable Latin version of the Bible from the various
> translations then being used. His revised Latin translation of the Gospels
> appeared about 383. Using the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament,
> he produced new Latin translations of the Psalms (the so-called Gallican
> Psalter), the Book of Job, and some other books. Later, he decided that the
> Septuagint was unsatisfactory and began translating the entire Old Testament
> from the original Hebrew versions, a process that he completed about 405.
>      Jerome's translation was not immediately accepted, but from the
> mid-6th century a complete Bible with all the separate books bound in a
> single cover was commonly used. It usually contained Jerome's Old Testament
> translation from the Hebrew, except for the Psalms; his Gallican Psalter;
> his translation of the books of Tobias (Tobit) and Judith (apocryphal in the
> Jewish and Protestant canons); and his revision of the Gospels. The
> remainder of the New Testament was taken from older Latin versions, which
> may have been slightly revised by Jerome. Certain other books found in the
> Septuagint—the Apocrypha for Protestants and Jews; the deuterocanonical
> books for Roman Catholics—were included from older versions.
>      Various editors and correctors produced revised texts of the Vulgate
> over the years. The University of Paris produced an important edition in the
> 13th century. Its primary purpose was to provide an agreed standard for
> theological teaching and debate. The earliest printed Vulgate Bibles were
> all based on this Paris edition.
>      In 1546 the Council of Trent decreed that the Vulgate was the
> exclusive Latin authority for the Bible, but it required also that it be
> printed with the fewest possible faults. The so-called Clementine Vulgate,
> issued by Pope Clement VIII in 1592, became the authoritative biblical text
> of the Roman Catholic Church. From it the Confraternity Version was
> translated in 1941.
>      Various critical editions have been produced in modern times; in 1965
> a commission was established by the second Vatican Council to revise the
> Vulgate.
>           MLA style:
>            "Vulgate."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica
> 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD 14 Oct. 2006 .
>            APA style:
>            Vulgate.Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 14, 2006,
> from Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD .
>            Britannica style:
>            "Vulgate."Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica
> 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD .[Accessed October 14, 2006].
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Yonah Mishael ben Avraham
Joplin, MO
yonahmishael at gmail.com

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