August 04, 2004

Virgins, grapes, not a big difference

Kristof briefly discusses some work re-interpreting the Koran -- how those 72 back-eyed virgins might actually be grapes instead, how the veil covering the face might be a belt secured to the hips. One of the big areas of similar controversy in Biblical textual translation is the messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 -- the word translated in the KJV as `virgin' might be better translated as `young woman'. There's a good little introduction to this issue here. I find it amusing to compare this answer to the question with this evangelical answer to the question.

`Evangelical', incidentally, refers to a Christian who beliefs revelation comes primarily through the Bible, and that a good Christian pursues a thorough understanding of the Bible (as opposed to, say, a Unitarian, who emphasizes personal revelation over textual, and is liable to be less concerned about, for instance, what the Bible says about gay people than what they see by considering their gay friends and family).

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