[b-hebrew] virginity

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Mon Jul 16 15:19:58 EDT 2007


Tory,

There is no, and there can not be, any reference in the Hebrew bible  
to physical virginity as it MEANS NOTHING. We know, and the ancient  
Hebrews certainly knew as well, that a girl may inadvertently lose  
her virginity for no fault of her own. Some girls are born non  
virgins, some girls need a certain medical intervention to facilitate  
their blood flow during menstruation which may lead to virginity  
loss, and a good number of girls loose their virginity by some common  
non sexual activities. Lack of physical virginity is surely no  
admissible evidence against any woman. You can rest assured that the  
ancient Hebrews never stoned a woman to death for sheer lack of  
virginity.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 16, 2007, at 2:10 PM, Tory Thorpe wrote:

> On Jul 16, 2007, at 8:51 AM, K Randolph wrote:
>
>> Tory:
>>
>> You are guilty of pushing a particular reading for what historically
>> have been ideological reasons.
>
> I disagree that the reading "young woman" in Isa. vii 14 is
> ideologically driven. In fact, I have never heard or read any modern
> Hebrew scholar make that claim. This reading allows for physical
> virginity.
>
>> It is my understanding that there was no problem among Jews with the
>> understanding of (LMH meaning "virgin" until after the Christian  
>> claim
>> that Jesus was born of such. The belief that Messiah would be born of
>> a virgin continued among some Jews as late as the 1400s AD (mentioned
>> in Rafael Patai "The Messiah Texts", I'm citing from memory having
>> read the book decades ago
>
> I have this book and I've been searching but cannot find where a
> belief in a virginal conception and birth of the Jewish Messiah was
> maintained in Judaism from ? down to the 15th century. And you must
> understand, saying there was "no problem among Jews with the
> understanding of (LMH meaning 'virgin' until after the Christian
> claim that Jesus was born of such" is unfounded and highly offensive.
> It reminds one of a similar libelous claim that Jews altered their
> Bible in response to Christian claims.
>
>> The reasons that I and many others claim that (LMH means "virgin" are
>> both linguistic and ideological:
>
> The reason for reading "young woman" is simply linguistic and does
> not exclude your ideology. That's why the reading "young woman" is
> nonpartisan.
>
>> The claim that Mariam the mother of Jesus was a virgin at the time  
>> she
>> got pregnant and gave birth.
>
> I am not disputing this claim.
>
>> By prior agreement, we are enjoined from pushing the ideologic  
>> reasons
>> (the only reason I mention them above is to admit that they exist and
>> that they are not linguistic), but we can mention the linguistic
>> reasons which, contrary to your claims, is not "pushing our  
>> ideology".
>
> If you translate almah as "virgin" in Isa. vii 14 you leave no room
> for much else. That is why it is a partisan translation. The "young
> woman" is not because physical virginity is not ruled out.
>
>> For you to deny that the linguistic reasons exist can only be
>> understood as pushing your ideology,
>
> I don't think this part of your argument can be taken seriously. I
> have not denied that you have linguistic reasons for your reading.
> However, your reading, which you yourself admit is part ideology,
> denies me mine. I stand by my claim that "young woman" cannot be
> construed as an ideological reading.
>
> Tory Thorpe
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