Is. 7.14

On Sun, 25 Sep 1994 rod.j.decker@uwrf.edu wrote:

> Re. Isa. 7:14, I don't have the time to pursue the linguistic 
> ramifications just now, but I will suggest one hermeneutical 
> factor that ought to be considered. If Matthew's citation is 
> viewed as asserting the fulfillment of a _prophecy_, then there 
> are some difficult questions to answer. That is not, however, the 
> only option. I think that it would be extremely difficult to 
> justify an exegesis of Isa. 7 that attributes to Isaiah explicit 
> reference to Messiah's birth. 

To begin with, an interpretation of Is 7.14 in situ has nothing to do 
with a discussion of how Matt used Is 7.14-they are very different issues.
> I would suggest that we should view Matthew's reference 
> typologically. I.e., he identifies the Immanuel prophecy and its 
> fulfillment as an appropriate type of Jesus' birth (types, as well 
> as direct prophecy, can be fulfilled). This obviates Isaiah's 
> understanding the technicalities of the virgin birth and the 
> resulting discrepency (in word meaning &/or translation choice) 
> between the immediate and prophetic contexts. In the context of 
> Matthew's citation, as has been pointed out already, there is no 
> question that he intended Jesus' conception to be understood as 
> virginal.

Well that depends on your goal.  If you are attempting to describe and 
explain Matthew's theology then your distinction here is an invalid one.  
The ancient world doesn't know typology in the way that we do, so to 
attempt to describe Matthew in typological terms is to introduce modern 
ideas to an ancient author-reading backwards.  However, if your goal is 
to attempt to provide a hermeneutic of the passage to a modern, educated 
audience, the distinction you introduce may have validity.  I myself come 
down on the descriptive side-I ask myself "what is Matthew saying and 
what evidence is there to reach such and such conclusion" rather than 
making it meaningful to a modern audience.  Just where I come from.
I would also agree with Gary's comments in this regard.

Larry Swain
Parmly Billings Library