Almah, virgin and parthenos

If 'almah means "young woman" in Hebrew why did the Jewish scholar who translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek use a Greek word for "virgin," parthenos?


The Septuagint is not necessarily a literal translation. Therefore, the use of parthenos by the Septuagint translator of the Book of Isaiah may have best represented his interpretive understanding of the physical state of the young woman of Isaiah 7:14 at the time of the annunciation of the sign. Thus, its use does not naturally lead to the conclusion that he was also speaking of virginal conception. In fact, the presence of parthenos as the rendering of 'almah, did not give rise in any Jewish community of the pre-Christian era to a belief in the virginal conception of Immanuel.

© Gerald Sigal