(26) As Jewish exegetes had pointed out, the Hebrew word used in Isaiah, 'almah
, refers only to an unmarried girl of childbearing age.
(4.) See Adversus Iovinianum I, 32: "I know that the Jews are accustomed to meet us with the objection that in Hebrew the word 'almah
' does not mean a virgin but a young woman.
But the Hebrew Old Testament speaks of a 'young woman' ('almah
) and not of a virgin (betulah), a fact that would render the statement unsuitable as a reference to a virginal conception.
In our lectionary we hear the words "A virgin will give birth," but the Hebrew text doesn't use the word for "virgin." It uses the term 'almah
for "young woman," which applies to any woman right up until she gives birth to her first child.
The well-known Biblical mistranslation of the Hebrew word 'almah
' (for an unmarried girl) by the Greek parthenos (meaning a virgin) is discussed by Warner in the context of the prophecy of Isaiah, as it was used in Matthew's gospel as an argument for and justification of the virgin birth of Christ (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23).
"The word virgin in Gospel texts was translated from the Semitic 'almah
', which means nothing more than 'a young woman'."
[Hebrew text omitted] 'alamot "young women, girls." The word does not imply virginity, contra the interpretation of 'almah