In his letter Robert T. Rock (The NEWS, Aug. 27) infers that Biblical details are full of contradictions.
For example, he wrote: “It was later Christian writers who substituted virgin for the original word ‘almah’ which means only a young woman.” However, if he had done more thorough research, he would have found that it could only denote a virgin.
The author Tom Harpur, in his book The Pagan Christ, also made a claim questioning the virgin birth of Jesus. Harpur claims that the virgin birth story was adapted from an ancient Egyptian god. His book relies heavily on the work by Alvin Boyd Kuhn whose work on the subject has been fully discredited by prominent Egytologists.
Harpur does not understand that the Hebrew word ‘almah’ means virgin, young woman of marriageable age or a maid or newly married. Note that there is no instance where it can be proved that this word designates a young woman who is not a virgin. The word ‘almah’ is rare, usually translated as ‘maiden’ and it appears only 10 times in the Hebrew Scriptures.
In the few verses where ‘almah’ appears, the word clearly denotes a young woman who is not married but is of marriageable age. Although ‘almah’ does not implicitly denote virginity, it is never used in the Scriptures to describe a young, presently married woman.
It is important to remember that in the Bible, a young Jewish woman of marriageable age was presumed to be chaste.
Anthonie den BoefNanoose Bay