[b-hebrew] virginity

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Jul 19 02:20:58 EDT 2007

We have to be very careful about inferring too much from Ugaritic.  It's a cognate, not a 
precise parallel.  Gordon, Dahood and a couple of others had a tendency to carry such 
things a little too far, and their conclusions have not been generally accepted.  As for Joel 
1:8, first, it's poetry, which takes a lot of liberties in any and every language where it exists.  
Second, the term rendered "husband" is BA(AL, which as the NIV notes, may also mean 
"betrothed."  The Genesis passages actually undermine your case, because both passages 
and terms clearly refer to a girl who is marriage material, clearly virginal.  The PARQENOS 
passages have been severally debated in the literature on ancient Greek, and the fact that 
you choose the one article that supports your idea proves only that you choose the one 
article that supports your idea, nothing more.  You're still not making your case.  Instead of 
taking someone else's word for it, have you read the Ugaritic for yourself?

On 18 Jul 2007 at 23:35, Tory Thorpe wrote:

> On Jul 18, 2007, at 8:49 PM, dwashbur at nyx.net wrote:
> > In addition, Judges 21:12 piles up 3 terms, NA(AR, B:TUWLFH, and  
> > "who did not  know to
> > lie with a man," a rather unusual expression, methinks.  The  
> > previous verse says to kill ever
> > woman "who knows lying-down with a male" (my own literal  
> > rendering).  All this suggests
> > that the language being used here is very intensive and hardly  
> > normative for regular
> > narrative, much less poetry.  I doubt we can infer anything at all  
> > about Isaiah from this
> > verse.
> This feature also appears in Genesis and has already been discussed  
> by Gordon: "In Ugarit, the Betulah Anath is not a virgin... In an  
> Aramaic incantation a woman having difficulty in bearing her  
> (presumably first) child is nonetheless called betulta ( = Heb.  
> betulah). Dr. E. J. Young calls my attention to the fact that the  
> betulah of Joel 1:8 must have been married for she mourns 'the  
> husband of her youth.' Dr. H. S. Gehman informs me that parthenos as  
> early as Homer (e.g., Iliad 2:514) may refer to a woman who is no  
> longer a virgin. All this may explain why Rebecca, who is called an  
> 'almah in Gen. 24:43, and a betulah in 24:16, is (to make matters  
> unequivocally clear) additionally described as a girl that 'no man  
> had known' (24:16). Neither 'almah nor betulah nor parthenos means  
> necessarily what 'virgin' means in English" ("The Patriarchal Age,"  
> JBR 21 [1953], pp. 240-1).
> Tory Thorpe

Dave Washburn
But I can't say Sylvester, George!

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list