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Is the Virgin Birth Based on a Mistranslation of the Original Text?

by Sean McDowell

If the virgin birth of Jesus cannot be traced to pagan myths, as the evidence shows, then how did it arise? One common naturalistic attempt is to claim the story was based on a mistranslation of the Greek translation of the New Testament (the Septuagint).

For instance, in Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris claims that the Gospel writers only knew the Greek translation of Isaiah 7:14 and therefore did not know that it mistranslated the Hebrew word ‘almh as virgin instead of “young woman.” On the basis of this mistranslation, Gospel writers came up with the idea that Jesus’ mother, in order to fulfill the prediction of Isaiah 7:14, needed to be a virgin—and so simply made it up.

Although creative, this claim has three significant problems…

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Is the Virgin Birth Based on a Mistranslation of the Original Text?

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