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Isaiah translation technqiues. Was: Re: Isaiah 7:14 and theology

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  • Kenneth Litwak
    I have not worked through all of Isaiah in Greek, but I have done enough to be able to say taht the Isaiah translator(s) were not strict literalits, it seems.
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 14, 2004
      I have not worked through all of Isaiah in
      Greek, but I have done enough to be able to say taht
      the Isaiah translator(s) were not strict literalits,
      it seems. Even having gratned that however, it has
      always seemed presumptuous to me for scholars to
      assert that the transaltor of Isa 7:14 was mistaken in
      using PARQENOS. Let's be clear here about what
      translation invovles.

      The source language has a semantic doamin.
      THe traget language has multiple words most likely
      that map to various possibilities in the source
      language's semantic domain.
      A translator reads a statement in the soruce language.
      Assuming the translator understood the source
      langauge, the translator made a coice from available
      terms that best conveyed what the translator thgouth
      the source langauge meant (giving the translator the
      benefit of a doubt) or rendered the text in a way that
      fit the translator's ideology, but presumably still
      plasuible.

      That means that, even if someone now might have
      renderd Isa 7:14 with PARQENOS is totally irrelevant.
      All that matters is that the original translator
      rendered it this way. We must not be presumptuous and
      assume the transalator was tupid just becuase someof
      us might not have made that choice.

      Perhaps the translator read the text without the
      need to attack Christian traditions, and siad "A woman
      giving birth to a baby is supposed to be a sign.
      What kind of sign is htat? That happens all the time.
      Something else must be meant. That's certainly how
      Ir ead the text, but I don't know. We canno access
      the translator's decision process and we should never
      presume taht we know better. THis is not because of
      theology but out of recognition that we know a whale
      of a lot less about the translation theory the
      translator worked with than the original translator.


      Kenneth Litwak



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    • Robert Kraft
      Don t forget to investigate what range of meanings PARQENOS would have had at the time (when?) and place (where?) of the Greek translation of Isaiah 7. Would
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 14, 2004
        Don't forget to investigate what range of meanings PARQENOS would have
        had at the time (when?) and place (where?) of the Greek translation of
        Isaiah 7. Would it have been understood to mean unambiguously a (young)
        woman who had not been involved sexually with a man? At what point(s) in
        the history of the Greek language did that meaning ("virgin")
        predominate?

        Bob Kraft

        > I have not worked through all of Isaiah in
        > Greek, but I have done enough to be able to say taht
        > the Isaiah translator(s) were not strict literalits,
        > it seems. Even having gratned that however, it has
        > always seemed presumptuous to me for scholars to
        > assert that the transaltor of Isa 7:14 was mistaken in
        > using PARQENOS. Let's be clear here about what
        > translation invovles.
        >
        > The source language has a semantic doamin.
        > THe traget language has multiple words most likely
        > that map to various possibilities in the source
        > language's semantic domain.
        > A translator reads a statement in the soruce language.
        > Assuming the translator understood the source
        > langauge, the translator made a coice from available
        > terms that best conveyed what the translator thgouth
        > the source langauge meant (giving the translator the
        > benefit of a doubt) or rendered the text in a way that
        > fit the translator's ideology, but presumably still
        > plasuible.
        >
        > That means that, even if someone now might have
        > renderd Isa 7:14 with PARQENOS is totally irrelevant.
        > All that matters is that the original translator
        > rendered it this way. We must not be presumptuous and
        > assume the transalator was tupid just becuase someof
        > us might not have made that choice.
        >
        > Perhaps the translator read the text without the
        > need to attack Christian traditions, and siad "A woman
        > giving birth to a baby is supposed to be a sign.
        > What kind of sign is htat? That happens all the time.
        > Something else must be meant. That's certainly how
        > Ir ead the text, but I don't know. We canno access
        > the translator's decision process and we should never
        > presume taht we know better. THis is not because of
        > theology but out of recognition that we know a whale
        > of a lot less about the translation theory the
        > translator worked with than the original translator.
        >
        >
        > Kenneth Litwak
        >
        >
        >
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        >



        --
        Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
        227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
        kraft@...
        http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/kraft.html
      • i_love_gods_law
        Well, the Early Church Fathers agreed PARQENOS meant Virgin and showed that early Jewish translators translated it thus. The Jews had good reason to Change
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
          Well, the Early Church Fathers agreed PARQENOS meant Virgin and
          showed that early Jewish translators translated it thus. The Jews had
          good reason to Change this passage or what alma meant. They put it
          in present tense meaning Ahaz was going to see the sign. But the
          Qumran scoll has it in future tense. The Masoteric text has Immanu el
          While scroll has Immanuel. We can obviously see some Jewish
          distortion over this passage in the Masoteric text. Why not the Word
          Almah as well? The early jewish translators of the septuagint had
          much more knowledge of Hebrew than us, so why not trust them when
          they translated it PARQENOS? Which Jew translator is the most
          unbiased? The ones 200 years before christ? Or the ones 300 years
          after?
          ---
          In lxx@yahoogroups.com, Robert Kraft <kraft@c...> wrote:
          > Don't forget to investigate what range of meanings PARQENOS would
          have
          > had at the time (when?) and place (where?) of the Greek translation
          of
          > Isaiah 7. Would it have been understood to mean unambiguously a
          (young)
          > woman who had not been involved sexually with a man? At what point
          (s) in
          > the history of the Greek language did that meaning ("virgin")
          > predominate?
          >
        • David C. Hindley
          Law person, ... that early Jewish translators translated it thus. The Jews had good reason to Change this passage or what alma meant.
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
            Law person,

            >>Well, the Early Church Fathers agreed PARQENOS meant Virgin and showed
            that early Jewish translators translated it thus. The Jews had good reason
            to Change this passage or what alma meant.<<

            And Greek PARQENOS *also* means "young woman." It has a range of meaning
            that is basically "young woman who has not yet bore a child," where "virgin"
            would be a secondary meaning (a subset of "young women" of that kind). If
            you have read the literature and articles available just on the web, you
            surely should know that PARQENOS was used in that era to refer to young
            women who were not virgins *as well as* young women who were virgins.

            >>They put it in present tense meaning Ahaz was going to see the sign. But
            the Qumran scoll has it in future tense. The Masoteric text has Immanu el
            While scroll has Immanuel. We can obviously see some Jewish distortion over
            this passage in the Masoteric text.<<

            I'm not so sure what you say here makes any sense. Hebrew does not have
            future and past tenses like Greek or English. Also, when there is little or
            no spacing between words in a manuscript, how can you say that "Immanu el"
            is any different than "Immanuel?"

            >>Why not the Word Almah as well? The early jewish translators of the
            septuagint had much more knowledge of Hebrew than us, so why not trust them
            when they translated it PARQENOS?<<

            Why should it *have* to mean virgin here? Are you aware that by the 2nd
            century Jews were questioning Jesus' legitimacy (I mean, they suggested his
            father was not his mother's husband). It is not so surprising that the
            Church fathers started to emphasize the meaning "virgin" over "young woman"
            when discussing this passage, which they interpreted as a prophesy about
            Jesus.

            >>Which Jew translator is the most unbiased? The ones 200 years before
            christ? Or the ones 300 years after?<<

            Huh? It almost sounds like you are *really* saying "Which (evil) Jew
            translator is the most unbiased?" You know, if the Jews "changed" the
            prophesies to refute Christians, why do the any of the surviving copies of
            the LXX/OG translations of Jewish scripture, which were preserved by
            Christians, not put them back? That is probably because the fathers who made
            these charges were wrong or engaging in shady rhetoric, as the copyists
            could not find ANY mss that had these "omitted" passages, and did not
            scruple to add what was not in their exemplars.

            Could you possibly cite some secondary sources for your assertions? A fairly
            neutral discussion of this is fund in John P. Maier's _A Marginal Jew_
            (Doubleday, 1991, pages 220-222 "Virginal Conception," and 243n72 & 243n73).
            If a Roman Catholic scholar can accept that the word can mean either
            "virgin" or "young woman," then anyone can.

            Be careful where you go with this ...

            Respectfully,

            Dave Hindley
            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
          • Peter Papoutsis
            Dear David The New Testament as well as the LXX translators knew full well that Parthenos meant virgin and that a virgin conception was truly a sign. Thus
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004

              Dear David

               

              The New Testament as well as the LXX translators knew full well that Parthenos meant virgin and that a virgin conception was truly a sign. Thus Jesus was NO MARGINAL JEW. You should be carefull to distinguish between Roman Catholics and Modernists posing as Roman Catholics when they write their theology on such topics.

               

              Peter



              Peter A. Papoutsis


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            • Chris
              ... I don t see why they would have to emphasize it. Mt 1:25 kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son , can t mean anything other than virgin .
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                David C. Hindley wrote:

                >Why should it *have* to mean virgin here? Are you aware that by the 2nd
                >century Jews were questioning Jesus' legitimacy (I mean, they suggested his
                >father was not his mother's husband). It is not so surprising that the
                >Church fathers started to emphasize the meaning "virgin" over "young woman"
                >when discussing this passage, which they interpreted as a prophesy about
                >Jesus.
                >
                >

                I don't see why they would have to "emphasize" it. Mt 1:25 "kept her a
                virgin until she gave birth to a Son", can't mean anything other than
                "virgin".
              • David C. Hindley
                Chris, ... virgin until she gave birth to a Son , can t mean anything other than virgin .
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                  Chris,

                  >>I don't see why they would have to "emphasize" it. Mt 1:25 "kept her a
                  virgin until she gave birth to a Son", can't mean anything other than
                  "virgin".<<

                  And that is certainly what the author of Matthew thought Isa 7:14 meant. The
                  fathers also believed that was the case. Yet I thought that this discussion
                  was about what the pre-Christian, and Jewish, OG translator of Isa 7:14
                  meant when he used the word PARQENOS.

                  Are you suggesting that we must believe that the Isa 7:14 passage *must*
                  refer to a virgin because Matthew believes the OG meant a virgin? Wouldn't
                  that be a variation of that slogan: "God said it, I believe it, and that
                  settles it"? That will just devolve into arguments about what, exactly,
                  "God" says. There are 4,000 Christian denominations with different takes on
                  this, not to mention the points of view of Jewish critics and secular
                  historian with regard to Isa 7:14.

                  I don't have any problem with folks believing that the meaning of PARQENOS
                  in the OG translation of Isa 7:14 was the same as English "virgin," but I do
                  have a problem with those who insist that this is the *only* interpretation
                  possible, as it seems several people here on the list are doing.

                  Respectfully,

                  Dave Hindley
                  Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                • Chris
                  ... If I respond to a comment concerning the Church Fathers, how could the topic be pre-Christian?
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                    David C. Hindley wrote:

                    >>>I don't see why they would have to "emphasize" it. Mt 1:25 "kept her a
                    >>>
                    >>>
                    >virgin until she gave birth to a Son", can't mean anything other than
                    >"virgin".<<
                    >
                    >And that is certainly what the author of Matthew thought Isa 7:14 meant. The
                    >fathers also believed that was the case. Yet I thought that this discussion
                    >was about what the pre-Christian, and Jewish, OG translator of Isa 7:14
                    >meant when he used the word PARQENOS.
                    >
                    >

                    If I respond to a comment concerning the Church Fathers, how could the
                    topic be pre-Christian?
                  • David C. Hindley
                    ... Parthenos meant virgin and that a virgin conception was truly a sign.
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                      Peter says:

                      >>The New Testament as well as the LXX translators knew full well that
                      Parthenos meant virgin and that a virgin conception was truly a sign.<<

                      I don't dispute that the author of Matthew interpreted PARQENOS as referring
                      to a virgin. I just dispute that the OG translator of Isaiah did so. Are you
                      suggesting that the Lxx (well, actually the Old Greek) translators of Isa
                      7:14 were Christians, or evil Jews who later tried to hide this fact by
                      rejecting the Greek translations of Jewish scripture? So was there some sort
                      of grand conspiracy? Personally I don't like where this kind of argument
                      always leads, and hope the moderators step in quickly.

                      >> Thus Jesus was NO MARGINAL JEW. You should be carefull to distinguish
                      between Roman Catholics and Modernists posing as Roman Catholics when they
                      write their theology on such topics.<<

                      His book received an imprimatur, which I presume does not get issued lightly
                      by the RC authorities. Meier is a moderate critic who happens to be a Roman
                      Catholic priest. He is not even close to someone like J. D. Crossan, who is
                      a modernist of the kind you seem to be thinking of. Crossan is a former
                      Roman Catholic priest whose books do not carry an imprimatur.

                      While I would not have called the book "A Marginal Jew" I think the title
                      was supposed to convey the idea that Jesus did not fit the mold of the other
                      forms of Jewish religious expression of his time, but represented something
                      special or unique. This is the traditional Christian view of their when
                      faith compared to its Jewish roots: Christianity likes to see itself as a
                      quantum leap better than Judaism, something special or unique. While some
                      modernists might also agree with this assessment, most are likely to see
                      Jesus as a product of his time, and the Christian dogma found in the NT a
                      product of the social factors of a later time than that which existed when
                      Jesus was alive.

                      I find Meier's books to be ready starting points for research, although I am
                      disappointed when, every time, he manages to reject everything except a
                      moderate interpretation. However, to get there, he likes to take a thorough
                      look at most all the alternative positions, providing a rather comprehensive
                      bibliography in the process that allows you to follow through to evaluate
                      the arguments of his sources as well as Meier's own interpretation of them
                      for yourself. Don't be so quick to reject him out of hand ...

                      Respectfully,

                      Dave Hindley
                      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                    • i_love_gods_law
                      ... showed ... reason ... meaning ... where virgin ... kind). If ... web, you ... young ... virgins. It should mean Virgin. If it did not the passage would
                      Message 10 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                        --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@c...> wrote:
                        > Law person,
                        >
                        > >>Well, the Early Church Fathers agreed PARQENOS meant Virgin and
                        showed
                        > that early Jewish translators translated it thus. The Jews had good
                        reason
                        > to Change this passage or what alma meant.<<
                        >
                        > And Greek PARQENOS *also* means "young woman." It has a range of
                        meaning
                        > that is basically "young woman who has not yet bore a child,"
                        where "virgin"
                        > would be a secondary meaning (a subset of "young women" of that
                        kind). If
                        > you have read the literature and articles available just on the
                        web, you
                        > surely should know that PARQENOS was used in that era to refer to
                        young
                        > women who were not virgins *as well as* young women who were
                        virgins.


                        It should mean Virgin. If it did not the passage would make no sense.
                        The Lord just asked to man for any sign in the hights above or the
                        depths below and he said a young women would bear a child?




                        > >>They put it in present tense meaning Ahaz was going to see the
                        sign. But
                        > the Qumran scoll has it in future tense. The Masoteric text has
                        Immanu el
                        > While scroll has Immanuel. We can obviously see some Jewish
                        distortion over
                        > this passage in the Masoteric text.<<
                        >
                        > I'm not so sure what you say here makes any sense. Hebrew does not
                        have
                        > future and past tenses like Greek or English. Also, when there is
                        little or
                        > no spacing between words in a manuscript, how can you say
                        that "Immanu el"
                        > is any different than "Immanuel?"


                        And yes the Words are separated and they are different. And yes
                        hebrew does have ways of showing present, future. The 5th word (Call)
                        in the last line is "ve-qar'a" or may be "yiqar'a." This would be an
                        imp. 3ms 2nd stem (his name) "it shall be called." The Masoretic
                        has "qar'atha" which may be a 2ms pf and the context would
                        require "you will call" (his name). Or: Q = "ve-qar'a" cj + pf 3ms
                        (and he shall call) and M = "ve-qar'at" cj + pf 3fs (and she shall
                        call). Or this latter form may be a feminine participle corresponding
                        with the participle earlier in the verse i.e. "yoledeth be:n" she
                        (shall bear a son) From http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/7-8.htm#alma



                        > >>Why not the Word Almah as well? The early jewish translators of
                        the
                        > septuagint had much more knowledge of Hebrew than us, so why not
                        trust them
                        > when they translated it PARQENOS?<<


                        >
                        > Why should it *have* to mean virgin here? Are you aware that by the
                        2nd
                        > century Jews were questioning Jesus' legitimacy (I mean, they
                        suggested his
                        > father was not his mother's husband). It is not so surprising that
                        the
                        > Church fathers started to emphasize the meaning "virgin"
                        over "young woman"
                        > when discussing this passage, which they interpreted as a prophesy
                        about
                        > Jesus.

                        It does not *have* to mean virgin. Common sense tells you that. If
                        someone told me they would show me a great sign and then proceeded
                        to tell me that a young girl would be with child I would be upset.
                        They beleived it to be a prophecy based on the Gospel not their own
                        interpretation of it. It's not surprising to me that Jews would wish
                        to change this passage. Which makes more sense? The jewish or
                        christian rendering?



                        > >>Which Jew translator is the most unbiased? The ones 200 years
                        before
                        > christ? Or the ones 300 years after?<<
                        >
                        > Huh? It almost sounds like you are *really* saying "Which (evil) Jew
                        > translator is the most unbiased?" You know, if the Jews "changed"
                        the
                        > prophesies to refute Christians, why do the any of the surviving
                        copies of
                        > the LXX/OG translations of Jewish scripture, which were preserved by
                        > Christians, not put them back? That is probably because the fathers
                        who made
                        > these charges were wrong or engaging in shady rhetoric, as the
                        copyists
                        > could not find ANY mss that had these "omitted" passages, and did
                        not
                        > scruple to add what was not in their exemplars.
                        >
                        > Could you possibly cite some secondary sources for your assertions?
                        A fairly
                        > neutral discussion of this is fund in John P. Maier's _A Marginal
                        Jew_
                        > (Doubleday, 1991, pages 220-222 "Virginal Conception," and 243n72 &
                        243n73).
                        > If a Roman Catholic scholar can accept that the word can mean either
                        > "virgin" or "young woman," then anyone can.
                        >
                        > Be careful where you go with this ...
                        >
                        > Respectfully,
                        >
                        > Dave Hindley
                        > Cleveland, Ohio, USA


                        Young women in Hebrew society basically was a virgin anyway.
                        Especially in the first time it's used in Genesis. The women it calls
                        alma is a virgin. So if A is the girl. And B is alma. C is virgin.
                        B=C if A=C. I beleive Jews and christians corrupted parts of
                        scripture. So when talking about a particular scripture if I choose
                        to say the Jews or Christians probably changed it to suit their needs
                        That does not mean I am anti-semitic or anti-christian. What should I
                        have said? The Hebrew, The semitic translators? I never called or
                        implied Jews being evil. I simply said they had good reason and
                        evidence shows that they did change this passage.

                        Dave let's not jump the gun so fast on that type of stuff.
                      • David C. Hindley
                        Chris, ... topic be pre-Christian?
                        Message 11 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                          Chris,

                          >>If I respond to a comment concerning the Church Fathers, how could the
                          topic be pre-Christian?<<

                          Because that is what *I* was responding to, and you were responding to me.
                          Are you "i_love_gods_law@..."? Since you did not sign your post, nor
                          did he/she, I cannot be sure.

                          The word PARQENOS in the OG translation of Isa 7:14 does not *have* to mean
                          only "virgin" just because the author of Matthew and the early church
                          fathers interpreted it that way. The author of Isaiah 7:14 uses an Hebrew
                          word for "young woman" when a perfectly good, and quite different, Hebrew
                          word existed for a "virgin." The OG translator if Isaiah 7:14 used PARQENOS
                          because Greek doesn't have separate words for virgin and maiden, at least
                          not without using a phrase with all sorts of qualifiers.

                          The context implies that the author of Isa 7:14 only wished to assure Ahaz
                          that within a year his invasion worries will be removed, and may even have
                          been referring to Ahaz's own wife. I sincerely doubt that the author of Isa
                          7:14 was thinking of anything but Ahaz. To re-phrase someone else's post,
                          "Why on earth would Isaiah direct a prophesy that would not be accomplished
                          until 100's of years later to Ahaz when it would mean nothing of relevance
                          to the king he was addressing?"

                          Respectfully,

                          Dave Hindley
                          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                        • i_love_gods_law
                          ... could the ... to me. ... nor ... No he or she is not i_love_gods_law. That s me. :)
                          Message 12 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                            --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@c...> wrote:
                            > Chris,
                            >
                            > >>If I respond to a comment concerning the Church Fathers, how
                            could the
                            > topic be pre-Christian?<<
                            >
                            > Because that is what *I* was responding to, and you were responding
                            to me.
                            > Are you "i_love_gods_law@y..."? Since you did not sign your post,
                            nor
                            > did he/she, I cannot be sure.
                            >

                            No he or she is not i_love_gods_law. That's me. :)
                          • Chris
                            ... The point is, you ascribed the church fathers with the activity of emphasizing the meaning of virgin. I pointed out that IF there is any emphasizing going
                            Message 13 of 21 , Aug 15, 2004
                              David C. Hindley wrote:

                              >>>If I respond to a comment concerning the Church Fathers, how could the
                              >>>
                              >>>
                              >topic be pre-Christian?<<
                              >
                              >Because that is what *I* was responding to, and you were responding to me.
                              >
                              >


                              The point is, you ascribed the church fathers with the activity of
                              emphasizing the meaning of virgin. I pointed out that IF there is any
                              emphasizing going on, it was the New Testament writers who are responsible.
                            • Matthew Johnson
                              ... What is your source for this claim? Or have you forgotten R. Kraft s _other_ caution about making sure that such an sense of the word was _current_ at the
                              Message 14 of 21 , Aug 16, 2004
                                --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@c...>
                                wrote:

                                > And Greek PARQENOS *also* means "young woman."

                                What is your source for this claim? Or have you forgotten R. Kraft's
                                _other_ caution about making sure that such an sense of the word was
                                _current_ at the tiem of translation?

                                After all, the only LSJ citations with such a meaning are from the
                                poets, and those writing in a particularly archaic kind of Greek.
                                Not good witnesses for LXX/OG Greek.


                                > It has a range of meaning
                                > that is basically "young woman who has not yet bore a child,"
                                where "virgin"
                                > would be a secondary meaning (a subset of "young women" of that
                                kind). If
                                > you have read the literature and articles available just on the
                                web, you
                                > surely should know that PARQENOS was used in that era to refer to
                                young
                                > women who were not virgins *as well as* young women who were
                                virgins.

                                If such literature is on the Web (I haven't seen any), why didn't
                                you give even one URL?

                                > >>They put it in present tense meaning Ahaz
                                > >> was going to see the sign. But
                                > the Qumran scoll has it in future tense. The Masoteric text has
                                Immanu el
                                > While scroll has Immanuel. We can obviously see some Jewish
                                distortion over
                                > this passage in the Masoteric text.<<
                                >
                                > I'm not so sure what you say here makes any sense.
                                > Hebrew does not have
                                > future and past tenses like Greek or English. Also, when there is
                                >little or
                                > no spacing between words in a manuscript, how can you say
                                that "Immanu el"
                                > is any different than "Immanuel?"

                                Here, I think the OP may have been mislead by common Hebrew texts.
                                They stress the need to put a space between words, often without
                                even mentioning that the space is a _modern_ punctuation.

                                > >>Why not the Word Almah as well? The early jewish translators of
                                the
                                > septuagint had much more knowledge of Hebrew than us, so why not
                                trust them
                                > when they translated it PARQENOS?<<
                                >
                                > Why should it *have* to mean virgin here?

                                Because that is the way the Church Fathers unanimously interpreted
                                it.

                                Now I don't consider this the end-to-all-argument the way the OP
                                seems to, but it _is_ quite weighty. It will take more than vague
                                references to on-line articles with no URLs to overturn it;)


                                > Are you aware that by the 2nd
                                > century Jews were questioning Jesus' legitimacy
                                > (I mean, they suggested his father was not his
                                > mother's husband). It is not so surprising that the
                                > Church fathers started to emphasize the meaning
                                > "virgin" over "young woman"
                                > when discussing this passage, which they interpreted
                                > as a prophesy about
                                > Jesus.

                                Well, no, it is not surprising. But it would also not have been
                                _convincing_ if "young, unmarried woman (not nec. virgin)" was still
                                a current sense of the word, would it?

                                Besides: how can you be so sure that they started this only then?
                                Manuscripts from that period are not that well preserved. It is
                                quite possible that they wrote things like this long before then,
                                but none of it survived. Only after Constantinte granted peace to
                                the Church can you "argue from silence" like this. And even then
                                only with caution.

                                > >>Which Jew translator is the most unbiased? The ones 200 years
                                before
                                > christ? Or the ones 300 years after?<<
                                >
                                > Huh? It almost sounds like you are *really* saying
                                > "Which (evil) Jew
                                > translator is the most unbiased?"

                                Now who is doing 'over-interpreting'?

                                > You know, if the Jews "changed" the
                                > prophesies to refute Christians, why do the any of the
                                > surviving copies of
                                > the LXX/OG translations of Jewish scripture, which
                                > were preserved by Christians, not put them back?

                                Because it was not the _text_ that was allegedly changed, just the
                                meanings of ALMAH and BTULAH.

                                And again: I don't agree completely with the OP here: but I do agree
                                that the modern Jewish claim that ALMAH could not have
                                meant 'virgin' sounds weak when you compare the word with other
                                closely related Semitic languages. Too weak to justify their
                                strident insistence.

                                [snip]

                                > If a Roman Catholic scholar can accept that the word
                                > can mean either
                                > "virgin" or "young woman," then anyone can.

                                Hardly;) RC scholars accept a lot of things that even their fellow
                                RCs believe they should not accept.
                              • Matthew Johnson
                                ... [snip] ... Well, yes, it would, but it would be a _good_ variation;) ... And your problem with this would be? How can we get away from this as long as we
                                Message 15 of 21 , Aug 16, 2004
                                  --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@c...> wrote:
                                  > Chris,

                                  [snip]

                                  > Wouldn't that be a variation of that
                                  > slogan: "God said it, I believe it, and that
                                  > settles it"?

                                  Well, yes, it would, but it would be a _good_ variation;)

                                  > That will just devolve into arguments about what, exactly,
                                  > "God" says.

                                  And your problem with this would be? How can we get away from this
                                  as long as we are talking about a Bible translation?

                                  > There are 4,000 Christian denominations with different takes on
                                  > this, not to mention the points of view of Jewish critics
                                  > and secular historian with regard to Isa 7:14.

                                  Ah, so you _are_ familiar with some of the ramifications;)

                                  > I don't have any problem with folks believing that the
                                  > meaning of PARQENOS in the OG translation of Isa 7:14
                                  > was the same as English "virgin," but I do
                                  > have a problem with those who insist that this is the
                                  > *only* interpretation
                                  > possible, as it seems several people here on the list are doing.

                                  Well, get used to it, because such people are legion. Perhaps those
                                  who live their entire lives in intellectual ivory-towers get to
                                  ignore this fact, but the rest of us have to deal with them on an
                                  almost every-day basis. And this list _is_ open to more than those
                                  who dwell exclusively in ivory-towers.

                                  That said, I do have to add that the "God said it, that settles it" -
                                  - and all its variations -- should NOT be expected to carry much
                                  weight on this list. On the contrary: we do have to right to expect
                                  a more 'scholarly' attitude than that.

                                  Finally, I do have to express the hope that this thread can return
                                  to a more balanced discussion of what the Isaiah translator was
                                  probably really thinking when he wrote PARQENOS: if he really
                                  meant 'virgin', then why _didn't_ he use BETULAH? Or did he really
                                  have double meanings in mind (e.g. Isaiah's wife on one level, but
                                  the Theotokos on another), as some commentators have said? If he
                                  did, then he could _not_ have used BETULAH, unless its meaning has
                                  changed since then too (but this change looks less likely).

                                  Let's not poison the discussion by assuming that neither Greek nor
                                  Hebrew has changed at all since that translation was done. Both have.
                                  Let's not poison it by belittling faith, either. For we cannot hope
                                  to understand the mindset of a man of faith -- the translator of Isa
                                  7:14 -- if in our own minds we insist on belittling faith.
                                  Unfortunately, many of the Jewish and secular historians you refer
                                  to have no qualms about doing exactly that -- and then they add
                                  insult to injury by calling it "scientific scholarship".
                                • Matthew Johnson
                                  ... [snip] ... issued lightly ... B-A-A-A-A-D assumption! In fact, although it is only anecdotal evidence, what I was told by an RC priest just after the
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Aug 16, 2004
                                    --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@c...> wrote:
                                    > Peter says:
                                    >

                                    [snip]

                                    > >> Thus Jesus was NO MARGINAL JEW. You should be carefull
                                    > >> to distinguish between Roman Catholics and Modernists
                                    > >> posing as Roman Catholics when they
                                    > >>write their theology on such topics.<<
                                    >
                                    > His book received an imprimatur, which I presume does not get
                                    issued lightly
                                    > by the RC authorities.

                                    B-A-A-A-A-D assumption! In fact, although it is only anecdotal
                                    evidence, what I was told by an RC priest just after the current
                                    Pope came to power illustrates how bad it really is.

                                    What I was told was that many RC bishops (no, he did not name names)
                                    handed out Imprimaturs like hotcakes to authors who were personal
                                    friends -- without even _reading_ the book. This priest claimed to
                                    know of one case where the book contained open contradiction of
                                    official RC theology (but he gave no specifics). He then went on to
                                    express the hope that the new Pope would do something to change
                                    that, so that he Imprimatur would really mean something.

                                    I don't think anything of the sort has happened though, since I
                                    _still_ see such very strange stuff published with Imprimaturs.

                                    [snip]

                                    Now just to show that the evidence is not _purely_ anecdotal, the
                                    book I had in my hand that inspired the question was an odd book
                                    (with an Imprimatur by some bishop in the midwest of the USA) with
                                    some _very_ old-fashioned teachings about Mary and the Rosary --
                                    much of which you will not find in the Catechism (or anything
                                    comparable) today. The specific teaching that contradicts official
                                    RC teaching was on the Scapular, claiming that anyone who wore it to
                                    the day of his death would be saved. Isn't it obvious how _this_
                                    contradicts official RC teaching?

                                    So don't assign too much weight to the Imprimatur.
                                  • Matthew Johnson
                                    ... wrote: [snip] ... Really? For a reader in Isaiah s time, it would make even less sense to think that it refers to something that only occurred hundreds of
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Aug 16, 2004
                                      --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "i_love_gods_law" <i_love_gods_law@y...>
                                      wrote:
                                      [snip]

                                      > It should mean Virgin. If it did not the passage would
                                      > make no sense.

                                      Really? For a reader in Isaiah's time, it would make even less sense
                                      to think that it refers to something that only occurred hundreds of
                                      years after the siege was over.

                                      Remember: the context demands that the sign be about the end of the
                                      siege. This in turn would _seem_ to strongly suggest that it is
                                      about the birth given by a woman alive as Isaiah was speaking.
                                      Unless, of course, you believe that since the king did _not_ ask for
                                      the sign, he got something quite different from what he asked for;
                                      but this is a violent change of context.

                                      > The Lord just asked to man for any sign in the hights above or the
                                      > depths below and he said a young women would bear a child?

                                      So now the discussion hinges on what 'sign' means. And if, as many
                                      Christian commentators have long insisted, it must mean an event
                                      that is itself miraculous, then we still have a problem: the
                                      prophesied miracle took place only LONG after the siege was over.
                                      But the sign was promised to be about when the siege would be over.

                                      [snip]

                                      > > Also, when there is little or no spacing between words in
                                      > > a manuscript, how can you say that "Immanu el"
                                      > > is any different than "Immanuel?"
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > And yes the Words are separated and they are different.

                                      What scroll are _you_ looking at? Scrolls were usually made of
                                      material too expensive to waste on spaces. This is why changing
                                      sense due to different placing of word division is actually _so_
                                      common in both OT and NT textual criticism.

                                      > And yes
                                      > hebrew does have ways of showing present, future.

                                      It has ways, but nothing so simple and clear cut as "present tense"
                                      and "future tense" in Indo-European languages. The Fred Miller
                                      (Moeller?) publication you cite is simply WRONG.

                                      > The 5th word (Call)
                                      > in the last line is "ve-qar'a" or may be "yiqar'a." This
                                      > would be an imp. 3ms 2nd stem (his name) "it shall be called."

                                      One of my big disappointments with the Fred Miller article is he
                                      _says_ things this, but offers no support. He doesn't even say
                                      whether there is any manuscript support, or is this just his own
                                      conjecture. The MT has only the first, with no different Qere listed.

                                      The other big disappointment is that he makes bold, sweeping claims
                                      about how Hebrew expresses Time, without citing ANY of the standard
                                      grammars, such as Gesenius. So when he makes a claim I can't find in
                                      _my_ Hebrew Grammar (Weingreen), why should I believe him?

                                      > The Masoretic
                                      > has "qar'atha" which may be a 2ms pf and the context would
                                      > require "you will call" (his name). Or: Q = "ve-qar'a" cj + pf 3ms
                                      > (and he shall call) and M = "ve-qar'at" cj + pf 3fs (and she shall
                                      > call). Or this latter form may be a feminine
                                      > participle corresponding with the participle earlier in
                                      > the verse i.e. "yoledeth be:n" she
                                      > (shall bear a son) From http://www.ao.net/~fmoeller/7-8.htm#alma

                                      Yes, it _could_ be a participle, but the 'correspondence' between
                                      this and the earlier participle is not so clear. Besides: the
                                      participle _is_ the most common way of expressing "present tense".

                                      But reading it as a participle expressing a present tense _is_
                                      exactly what the Jews do, claiming that it refers to a woman who was
                                      already pregnant as Isaiah was speaking -- so that God is promising
                                      that by the time the child is born, the siege will be over.

                                      > It's not surprising to me that Jews would wish
                                      > to change this passage. Which makes more sense? The jewish or
                                      > christian rendering?

                                      Neither makes complete sense, both have their difficult points,
                                      points that sound embarassing. That is WHY both sides remain so
                                      completely entrenched in their positions, not yielding an inch to
                                      the other. That is also why the more 'rational' arguments of the
                                      secular scholars have not broken the logjam.

                                      I don't expect this thread to break the logjam either. But I am
                                      still holding out hope that it might at least expose what the real
                                      difficulties are.

                                      [snip]
                                    • Peter Papoutsis
                                      Dear Matthew: I agree with you assessment as to the various meanings of Isa. 7:14, but it can mean both. An event that was to occur in Iasiah s time and as a
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Aug 16, 2004

                                        Dear Matthew:

                                         

                                        I agree with you assessment as to the various meanings of Isa. 7:14, but it can mean both. An event that was to occur in Iasiah's time and as a Messianic prediction. The writers of the New Testament (i.e St. Matthew in His Holy Gospel) would not have referenced Isaiah 7:14 in reference to Christ if not for the fact that some messianic association was made with it that was understood as messianic by the Jews of that time.

                                        So the question is not one simply of translation, but also of meaning. What did the people understand it to mean. Why would St. Matthew make such a reference as Iasaih 7:14 if there was not some messianic belief among the people.

                                        This passage, as well as the other passage of Isaiah (i.e the suffering servant passage), must of had some messianic understanding attached to them that the people could understand and identify with.

                                        However, do you think that the Apostles were creating a new belief system about this passage, and others attributed to the coming of Christ, or were they tapping into an existing system, or both. Let me know what you think.

                                        Peter 



                                        Peter A. Papoutsis


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                                      • Sigrid Peterson
                                        Is it by parthenogenesis that our list has spawned the following offspring? First, Mark Goodacre s NT Gateway WebLog discussed almah in Isaiah 7.14, on August
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Aug 16, 2004
                                          Is it by parthenogenesis that our list has spawned the following offspring?

                                          First, Mark Goodacre's NT Gateway WebLog discussed almah in Isaiah 7.14, on
                                          August 12, at the following URL:

                                          http://ntgateway.com/weblog/2004/08/blogwatch-philologos-on-virgin.html

                                          Then Monday, August 15th, the Review of Biblical Literature posted its
                                          second review of the book A VIRGIN CONCEIVED: MARY AND CLASSICAL
                                          REPRESENTATIONS OF VIRGINITY, by Mary F. Foskett (Bloomington: Indiana
                                          University Press, 2002). The reviews are found at the following URL:

                                          http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=2946&CodePage=2946,2310

                                          Both offspring provide further context to the discussion than that of an LXX
                                          translation of a Hebrew word. While neither puts us in the same room with
                                          the author as he or she wrote down ")LMH," or with the translator, as he or
                                          she decided on "parthenos," both websites do broaden the horizon.

                                          Sigrid Peterson
                                          petersig@...
                                        • Matthew Johnson
                                          ... [snip] ... There are difficulties with either explanation. But since you asked me what I think: so now I see it best to answer by starting with citing one
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Aug 22, 2004
                                            --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, Peter Papoutsis <papoutsis1@y...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > Dear Matthew:
                                            >

                                            [snip]
                                            > However, do you think that the Apostles were creating a new belief
                                            >system about this passage, and others attributed to the coming of
                                            >Christ, or were they tapping into an existing system, or both. Let me
                                            >know what you think.

                                            There are difficulties with either explanation.

                                            But since you asked me what I think: so now I see it best to answer by
                                            starting with citing one of the treasures I found on my last trip to
                                            the "Mother of all Russian Cities", the most up-to-date scholarly
                                            Orthodox source I have found on the topic, Protopriest Aleksandr
                                            Sorokin's "Introduction to the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament".
                                            I have used all upper case for both Greek and Hebrew, and even Russian
                                            and Slavonic transliterations.

                                            Begin quote-------------
                                            "Strange and, of course, not accidental was the decision of those
                                            pious Jews who stubbornly put PARQENOS, unexpected for 'mature
                                            woman' (and unexpected for Judaism in general), that is, 'virgin', as
                                            the translation for HA ALMAH. The most direct word in Hebrew for
                                            virgin or virginity is BETULAH. The word ALMAH is wider in meaning; it
                                            denotes 'a mature maiden of marriageable age' and 'a young woman
                                            already in marriage', in Russian, MOLODITSA. Out of the seven
                                            applications of this word ALMAH in the Old Testament, only one other
                                            time, in (Gen 24:43) did the Greek translators render it as PARQENOS
                                            (as demanded by the clear sense of the passage which is about
                                            Rebeccah, Isaac's bride). In the five other cases, it is always
                                            translated as NEANIS, e.g., MOLODITSA, (in Slavonic, OTROKOVITSA Ex
                                            2:8, Song 1:3; young women, Song 6:8, Prv 30:19, youth; Ps 67:25 Slav.
                                            Not precise; Greek: PARQENOS). But here, the eye of the Evangelists,
                                            already reading the Bible usually in Greek, not Hebrew, pierced into
                                            the word PARQENOS and announced to us that this daring, inexact
                                            translation is not accidental, but providential and foreshadowing [or,
                                            prototypical]. It is not for nothing that the entire Alexandrian
                                            translation (called the LXX) was accepted with love by the Church, but
                                            rejected with superstitious dread by the Judaism that prepared it,
                                            replaced by others (Aquila, Symmachus) with an anti-christian re-working."

                                            Kartashev, "Old Testament Biblical Criticism (Vetkhozavetnaj
                                            Biblicheskaja Kritika)" Paris 1947, p 35.

                                            By "anti-christian reworking", I think he means NOT that they changed
                                            the meaning of the language or of the text (as some of the early
                                            Fathers assumed), but that the entire philosophy of translation of
                                            Symmachus and Aquila was heavily influenced by polemical
                                            considerations, much as Rahlfs describes in the preface to his edition.

                                            End quote-----------------
                                            (p149 Sorokin, Protopriest Aleksandr; "Vvedenie B Svjaschennoe Pisanie
                                            Vethogo Zaveta", "Introduction to the Holy Scriptures of the Old
                                            Testament", Prolog, Kiev 2003.)

                                            But I expect that Andrei will have access to a copy of Kartashev's
                                            work, and will be able to verify this better than I can. Perhaps we
                                            can also tell me if the unbalanced parenthesis are in Kartashev's
                                            original, or only in Sorokin;)

                                            Unfortunately, Sorokin says little about the obvious questions the
                                            Kartashev quote raises saying only:

                                            And thus, Isaiah's hopes to see the fulfillment of his Messianic
                                            prophecies in Ahaz's son were not justified (оправдались). Isaiah's
                                            vision is turned to the future. He hopes that God's promises of the
                                            Messianic future must be fulfilled in the Judean kingdom, the Judean
                                            King, and Judean people, whose servant the King must be.

                                            Ιν the beginning, this future is laid out before Isaiah's view in the
                                            historical plan immediately following.

                                            End quote------------

                                            So he seems to mean that the historical events from the seige up to
                                            its liberation are themselves also figures foreshadowing the Messianic
                                            future.

                                            But the "obvious questions" he leaves unanswered are such as: 1) how
                                            do we know that this is what the "pious Jews" who did the LXX/OG of
                                            Isaiah were really thinking? 2) how were the readers of that time
                                            supposed to know that Isa 7:14 foreshadowed the Virgin Birth? Or, if
                                            they weren't supposed to know this, what _were_ they supposed to think
                                            of Isa 7:14? 3) why does he think the history of the next sections of
                                            Isaiah reflect the Messianic future? 4) how does he know that the
                                            Evangelists already usually read in Greek? Most of them were (at least
                                            if you accept the traditional names and Lives) Hebrews living in
                                            Palestine. Indeed: it has often been claimed that they used the LXX
                                            not because it was their own favorite version, but because they were
                                            targeting Greek-speakers with the Gospels, so used the most commonly
                                            available Greek translation.

                                            This last brings up a question I have heard only partially discussed
                                            in this forum: we all know the Alexandrian Jews used Greek both for
                                            study and even for worship, but what _do_ we know about the practices
                                            of _Palestinian_ Jews? It appears at least some of them used Greek,
                                            but which of them and why? And did they use it for study or for
                                            worship? Kartashev's assumption sounds too bold.
                                          • Matthew Johnson
                                            ... Unfortunately, although the display was fine as I was composing my message, somewhere along the line, the non net-ASCII got converted to HTML codes,
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Aug 22, 2004
                                              --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "Matthew Johnson" <mej1960@y...> wrote:

                                              Unfortunately, although the display was fine as I was composing my
                                              message, somewhere along the line, the non net-ASCII got converted to
                                              HTML codes, leaving the following lines of my previous post
                                              unintelligible, even after changing browser encoding the Windows Cyrillic:


                                              [snip]

                                              (оправдались).

                                              This was Sorokin's original, '"pravdalis'", which I translated as
                                              'justified'.

                                              > Isaiah's
                                              > vision is turned to the future. He hopes that God's promises of the
                                              > Messianic future must be fulfilled in the Judean kingdom, the Judean
                                              > King, and Judean people, whose servant the King must be.
                                              >
                                              > Ιν the beginning, this future is laid out before Isaiah's


                                              Oh, the risks of being multi-lingual on the Windows platform, where
                                              internationalization is not uniform! That was supposed to be "In", but
                                              the first letter was typed with the wrong keyboard, and I couldn't
                                              see a difference:-(

                                              So the whole sentence should have been: "In the beginning, this future
                                              is laid out before Isaiah's view in the historical plan immediately
                                              following."

                                              [snip]
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