Margaret Barker defends the reading of "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14; theorizes that the LXX translators, while in Egypt, would have remembered the Great Lady in Ugarit who was both "virgin" and "mother."

Margaret Barker

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy (London: T & T Clark, 2003), 241

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Margaret Barker
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The prophet's sign was that the 'almah (there is a definite article in the Hebrew even though the English translations do not reproduce it) would bear a son to be called Immanuel, 'God with Us'. The king had this title (Isa. 8.8), because he was the divine presence with his people. Who, then, was his mother? There has been endless controversy over the fact that the LXX at this point translates 'almah by parthenos, Virgin, whereas the later (post-Christian) translations have neanis, young woman. Had the LXX, which became the Scriptures of the Church, been altered? Matthew certainly knew 'virgin' as the translation (Matt. 1.23, albeit a virgin) and yet 'almah as known elsewhere means young woman. Why then did the translator of the LXX choose the other word? Perhaps it was because people in Egypt, where this translation originated, remembered the female figure in Jerusalem who had been known as the Virgin, just as the Great Lady in Ugarit had been the Virgin and the mother of the earthly king. She was the unnamed woman in the oracles of Micah, Isaiah's contemporary, the One who was about to give birth to the ruler and great shepherd of Israel (Mic. 5.2-4). Literally, 'almah means 'the hidden one': the root 'lm means conceal, and a derived noun, t'lmh means a secret, as in Job 11.6, 'the secrets of wisdom', or Job 28.11 'the thing that is hidden he brings to light'. when the woman clothed with the sun appears in the Book of Revelation, she had been hidden in the holy of holies which opened to reveal her and the long lost ark (Rev. 11.19-12.2)

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