Jump to navigation. Isaiah says that a virgin will bear a son. The problem is dealing with the Hebrew word for virgin, which is almah.
Its not the only place the Septuagint makes this and similar mistakes. ButMar 12, Luke 1: Mary was a virgin when she coceived Jesus. No mistranslation.
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Question: Why do Christians insist on mistranslating Isaiah and using the word "virgin" instead of "maiden? I know for a fact that the word in Isaiah does not mean virgin. Response: Many non-believers have claimed that Christians are wrong for thinking that Isaiah is a prophecy about a virgin. They say that the key word in that verse, the Hebrew word almah, should not be translated as virgin but as maiden, or young maiden, or young woman, etc.
We all know the story of the Virgin Mary in the Bible, and the Immaculate Conception that led to the birth of baby Jesus. This error in the text begs the question, was it really a mistake? Or was it purposeful?
Moreover, the Septuagint was a Jewish translation, so it would be a very odd charge indeed to accuse these ancient Jews of not knowing Hebrew. Therefore, another word would be needed to make the point indirectly. Because it was the cultural norm that young unmarried girls were virgins, almah was a good substitute.
A few days ago I raised the question of why anyone should think that you have to believe in the Virgin Birth in order to be a Christian. The reality is, of course, that many Christians do not believe in it, but recognize that it is a story meant to convey an important theological point — a point that could be true whether or not the story happened — that Jesus was uniquely special in this world, not like us other humans, but in some sense the unique Son of God. It is interesting, and not often noted, that Matthew and Luke — the two Gospels in fact, the two NT books altogether that recount the story of the Virgin Birth — do so for different reasons and draw different conclusions from it.
O utside the infancy narratives, it is never suggested that Jesus was not Joseph's real son and the full brother of James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. Nor does the New Testament ever state that Mary remained a virgin. In fact, Matthew seems to contradict this when reporting that Joseph abstained from "knowing" her until the birth of Jesus.
For the ancient Hebrews, naming a child was serious business. Often biblical names are prophetic. What does her name signify?
The virgin birth of Jesus to Mary is a cornerstone of Christian belief, and has been for nearly two thousand years. Yet for all its centrality, it remains a matter of controversy not just because of the boldness of the claim that a virgin woman conceived and gave birth, but because of two different kinds of confusion about the text. The truth is more nuanced and more interesting. The literal translation of the language here, from the NRSV, in theory leaves open various possible interpretations: for instance maybe Mary and Joseph were having sex before they lived together.