Virgin בתולה
(703 words)

I. Name

In Hebrew two nouns occur which traditionally have been translated with ‘virgin’: ʿalmâ and bĕtûlâ. A convincing etymology of the noun ʿalmâ has not been given. The word has cognates in various Semitic languages; Ugar ǵlmt, ‘girl’; Phoen. ʿlmt;Aram. ʿljmt. The exact meaning of these words, however, is not easily established. The proposal of Dohmen (1987:172–173) who sees a relation—via Ugar ǵlm—between Heb. ʿalmâ and Akk./Semitic ṣlm, ‘image’ and proposes a semantic field in…

Cite this page
B. Becking, “Virgin בתולה”, in: Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online, Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. van der Horst. Consulted online on 20 January 2019 <>

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