Interpretation of "Parthenos"

by Laurie Hall
(Valley Center, CA, USA)

"Later, that prophecy was translated into Greek by the Septuagint using a word that can only mean virgin, not young lady."

This is not an accurate statement; the word in question, "parthenos", was used in Genesis 34 to describe Dinah, AFTER SHE HAS BEEN RAPED! AFTER her rape at the hands of Shechem, Dinah is described as a "parthenos". Clearly, at the time this was translated, the word "parthenos" had an alternate meaning of "damsel" or "young lady", or perhaps that was the ENTIRE meaning at that point, and the word "parthenos" took on a different definition, that of "virgin" later, the way "maiden" did. We cannot deny that the usage with regard to Dinah invalidates the statement that "parthenos" can ONLY mean "virgin".

It is said that, of the Septuagint, only the Pentateuch is reliably translated; that the rest of the books are not as reliably translated. As Genesis is one of the reliably translated books and Isaiah is not, caution is required in evaluating the usage of that specific word in Isaiah 7:14.

Comments for Interpretation of "Parthenos"

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Nov 04, 2017
Context
by: Paul

Thanks for telling me what you were talking about.

I think the issue is just context. Genesis 34:3 is tied together with the rape in the previous verse. I know that's an awful act, but I think it's simply a matter of timing that parthenos is used. I think it is used because they are still right there together in 34:3.

Nov 04, 2017
Verse
by: DM

Gen 34:3 I would say - my LXX uses parthenos.
Thanks for the note.

Dec 14, 2016
Where in Genesis 34?
by: Paul

Hi Laurie,

You have to tell me what verse you found parthenos in. The only place in Genesis 34 that I find "young woman" used is in v. 12, and the Greek word there is paida, not parthenos. The Greek text I looked at is at http://en.katabiblon.com/us/index.php?text=LXX&book=Gn&ch=34.

Where are you getting your information from? I might have missed something, as I don't read Greek well at all. I need either a verse, or I need a reference letting me know who claims parthenos is in Gen. 34:12.

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