leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Jul 18 02:19:51 EDT 2007
Dear Tory, Karl and all,
This has gone too far! Please stop the exchange of personal remarks at once.
While I do think that the topic itself is legitimate for discussion on
B-Hebrew, it must not be allowed to turn into an duel of insults. Any
further posts of this type, from any member, will be dealt with according to
the list rules.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tory Thorpe" <torythrp at yahoo.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:08 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity
> On Jul 17, 2007, at 8:50 PM, K Randolph wrote:
>>> > Tory:
>>> > You wrote, "Yes, well, Karl sees christian doctrine forcing
>>> changes in
>>> > the meaning of Hebrew words among native Hebrew speakers, ..."
>>> This is
>>> > libel, take it back. It is libel because it is a deliberate and
>>> > willful broadcast of a falsehood.
>>> It is not a falsehood. It is the claim you made: "there was no
>>> problem among Jews with the understanding of (LMH meaning "virgin"
>>> until after the Christian claim that Jesus was born of such... It can
>>> be an indication that the word changed meaning over time."
>> It's normal that languages change.
> And you really attempting to justify your remarks with banalities
> like that? Your original claim was not simply that normal changes
> have occurred in Hebrew but that Jews changed the meaning of a word
> in their own language as a result of the Christian teaching that
> Jesus was born of a virgin. You do not offer any evidence whatsoever
> to back up this claim. It is repugnant.
>> what's wrong about claiming that the meanings of many Hebrew words
>> may have changed
>> meaning from when Hebrew ceased to be spoken as a native tongue to
>> centuries later when they were again used in the Mishnah and later?
> What's wrong is that you have not offered an ounce of proof that the
> term almah changed meaning among Jews since the advent of Christianity.
>> But I never claimed, not even remotely, that "christian doctrine
>> forcing changes in the meaning of Hebrew words among native Hebrew
>> speakers," and your defense of this libel only compounds this libel.
> I see. I should not have said "native Hebrew speakers" since you do
> not acknowledge any among Jews until the 20th century. Let me correct
> this: "Karl sees christian doctrine forcing a change in the meaning
> of a Hebrew word, namely almah, among Jews." Doesn't sound any less
> offensive to me, and don't let your tendencies to pedantry change the
>>> Who and how do you define "modern Hebrew scholar"? Your definition
>>> > may be too restricted.
>>> That's a long list. And though it includes all of my Jewish American
>>> and Israeli professors, it also includes non-Jewish Christian
>>> scholars like R. E. Brown: "It [almah] puts no stress on her
>>> virginity" (The Birth of the Messiah , p. 147); "two passages
>>> demonstrate how poorly it [almah] would underline virginity: in Cant
>>> 6:8 it refers to women of the king's harem, and in Prov 30:19 an
>>> almah is the object of a young man's sexual attention" (p. 147, n.
>>> 43); "No more than betulah is parthenos so clinically exact that it
>>> necessarily means virgo intacta. The Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon
>>> gives several instances of the secular use of parthenos for women who
>>> were not virgins" (p. 148, n. 45); "the MT of Isa. 7:14 does not
>>> refer to a virginal conception in the distant future. The sign
>>> offered by the prophet was the imminent birth of a child...naturally
>>> conceived" (p. 148).
>> You didn't answer the second aspect of my question, namely, what
>> merits a person to be called a scholar? Would you include someone who
>> has evaluated word meanings so much that he has written a dictionary
>> from Hebrew to English?
> It would depend on the quality of the work.
>> Does it include someone who has read Tanakh
>> through, cover to cover, around 20 times, as he knows Hebrew so well?
> I recall you saying you did this. So what? I've read the holy TNK
> from cover to cover, and much more than 20 times. In fact I know many
> who have (very common actually), and some who have committed the
> entire Torah to memory; but not one of them shares your odd beliefs
> about our language.
>> Or is your list restricted only to those who are professors at secular
>> universities, showing that they have passed a political correctness
>> test of discipleship to their mentors, rather than showing independent
> Sounds like you had a very bad experience at university. Why are you
> wasting your time with scholarship when you aren't prepared to be
> scholarly? Those who I would count as Hebrew scholars should have
> been apparent to you from my own remarks and the citations from Dr.
> Brown's book: it includes secular scholars and anyone of any faith
> who is prepared to be scholarly and work independently of their
> religious or political biases, otherwise they are incapable of being
> useful scholars. You seem willing to fall over your biases.
>> As for the specific passages that you list above, the only one that
>> has not been answered recently is Proverbs 30:19 where there is
>> question whether or not it was pointed correctly by the Masoretes.
> It is not an issue of Masoretic pointing. For b'almah the LXX read
> "in youth" in its vorlage (I personally think the Gk mistakes
> neanis). Thus the less speculative approach is one that questions the
> spelling here in the MT, not the pointing. The only real reason I can
> see for raising doubts about the pointing is because of an ideology
> that seeks to define almah _only_ in terms of a physical virgin even
> if that means accusing the Jews of changing the meaning of almah
> since the advent of Christianity. You're just not interested in what
> happened in the past or with the transmission of the text. You have
> other interests.
>>> >> This reading allows for physical virginity.
>>> > This is like when talking about an old crone you simply call her a
>>> > "mature woman". A mature woman includes any woman from 18 and
>>> > while crone is a subset of elderly women. Yes, you are technically
>>> > correct, but far from accurate.
>>> At what age were girls considered "mature" in preexilic Israel?
>> The example above is drawn from the English language. You should have
>> recognized that.
> I'll take that as "I don't know".
>>> You made reference to a book to back up your claim that Jews
>>> understood almah to mean "virgin" from ? down to the 1400s. The book
>>> makes no such claim, which does not inspire much faith in your other
>> Just because you can't find it doesn't mean that it isn't there. I
>> don't have the book available to me so I could point you to the page,
>> but it was just a small comment that is easily missed, the only reason
>> I noticed it was because I was surprised to find it.
> Well, I am still looking. You sure you have the right book? Anyway,
> you shouldn't really be making a sensational claim, i.e. belief in a
> virgin birthed Messiah held by Jews from ? down to the 1400s, and
> attribute this to an author, when you are not ready to point to the
> chapter and the page number of the book where the statement
> supposedly appears.
>>> Who said the word could not be used in reference to a virgin?
>> You did. Look below at where I quoted you.
>> There is a big difference between "young woman" and "virgin". Not all
>> virgins are young, and only some young women are virgins. If Isaiah
>> intended that "virgin" be understood, then to translate the term as
>> "young woman" is incorrect.
> If Isaiah had intended physical virginity to be clearly understood he
> would have undoubtedly wrote "woman/girl whom no man had known..."
> which is the manner in which the Hebrew author of Jdg. xxi 12
> expresses physical virginity so as to remove any possibility of doubt.
>>> >>> 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.
>>> > It is partisan. First because it is too inclusive, Young women
>>> who are
>>> > virgins are only a subset of young women. not all of them.
>>> > because it is too inclusive, it can then be used for understandings
>>> > that were not intended by the author, understandings that
>>> > have been driven by ideological considerations.
>>> You mean like the birth of Jesus?
>> Yours is a red herring response. If "virgin" was intended by Isaiah,
>> then to translate the term with "young woman" is incorrect and
>> partisan for the reasons above.
> It is not a red herring. You have not provided even a sub-atomic
> particle of unambiguous evidence that Isaiah had in mind physical
> virginity in Isa. vii 14, or that the word almah had this meaning
> among Jews until the advent of Christianity. And you are kidding
> projecting your partisanship onto me and every other serious scholar
> (see definition of serious scholar above) who reads almah as "young
> girl" in Isa. vii 14 and elem as "young man" (not "virgin"!) in 1 Sa.
> xx 22.
>> The word is used too seldom for us to insist that it was restricted to
>> a certain age group.
> But yet it is somehow not used too seldom for us to insist that it
> was restricted to girls who were physical virgins? This is so trivial
> it's silly.
>> Whether you accept those linguistic reasons (I did not invent them) or
>> not is not the question, the question is do those reasons exist and
>> are they linguistic? The answer to both is Yes.
> In a parallel universe, perhaps. But in this world you are light
> years from proving your case.
>> They are not novel because I did not originate the ideas. I first
>> heard about them decades ago in a lecture from someone who was citing
>> others, but I don't remember who he cited.
> Again with the he said she said but I don't remember because it was
> so long ago. If that is how you think scholarship works, you lack the
> basics of how to do scholarship. The idea you champion is outside
> mainstream views, and novel as far as scholarship is concerned, no
> matter if it was introduced years ago by someone whose name you can't
>>> ... But you are certainly
>>> free to believe in this.
>> This is certainly not what you stated in the quote above, where you
>> called such ideas 吹牛皮.
> That was me trying to be kind to your (someone's) theory. You are
> free to believe whatever cow dung you choose. Just because I
> considered it cow dung doesn't mean I deny you the right to entertain
>> In closing, you have not presented a single incontrovertible example
>> that backs up your claim above, i.e. "... as if almah cannot be used
>> to describe a married woman, which is totally false."
> I certainly have. The alamot in Song of Sol. vi 8 were part of the
> royal harem (as is recognized by Dr. Brown et al) which would make
> many if not all of these young girls (lesser) royal wives, "married
> women" forbidden to other men, in the context of the ancient Near
> East. I will not say this again.
> Tory Thorpe
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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