Re: PARQENOS (again)

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 07:21:51 EST

<x-flowed>To: Vince Endris,

<< I may be bringing up a question that has already been answered, but I
must have missed it. This is concerning the question of PARQENOS at the
time of Septuagint translation. One answer that was given, I must admit I
did not understand it all (I am a little greeker), is that it may refer to
"unmarried women who are not virgins". This seems like it would make more
sense unless there were legends of a virgin birth at the time of Isaiah
(question mark). >>

I suspect that "virgin birth" stories have been popular since the beginning
of time. My wife (who is an OB-GYN) tells a story where she was having a
very young pregnant woman (girl?) wheeled down to the delivery room and in
the hallway this "young woman" yells out to her mother (something to the
effect): "I don't care what these doctors tell you, I've never had sex with
any man." Shortly after making that statement, she gave birth to a
child. Most OB-GYN physicians can tell a couple stories like this.

"Virgin birth" stories were common in Roman and Greek circles, I don't know
how common they might have been in early Jewish circles, but I suspect that
they had heard of some. As for PARQENOS, like many words it has more than
one meaning, it can be used merely to refer to a "young woman," or it can
be used in a technical sense to refer to a "virgin." This word by itself
cannot tell us if the LXX translator(s) understood the Hebrew text one way
or the other.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
FWIW: I'm neither a clergy-person, nor an academic (and I have no post-grad

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