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The JPS (1917) reads:

Therefore the L-rd Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

But the ESV reads:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Which one of these is closest to the Masoretic Text (MT), and which is closest to the Septuagint (LXX)? How do textual critics decide which of these is the most likely reading?

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  • @curiousdannii for introductory works, I recommend starting with Wegner's A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods and Results and Jobes' & Silva's Invitation to the Septuagint
    – Dan
    Jun 3, 2014 at 19:21
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    @curiousdannii I made an edit to focus on a specific text. Concerning the basics of textual criticism and LXX studies, users should learn that elsewhere before asking here (see book recommendations) or at least ask narrow enough questions so that introductory material need not be regurgitated. See How can we attract high-quality Biblical scholars and still be welcoming to interested amateurs? If the edit is acceptable, I will reopen the question. This will provide a specific example of what you were originally asking about. Let me know
    – Dan
    Jun 4, 2014 at 1:07
  • Okay thanks for the edit. I'll try to find another example of the different-vowels hypothesis to ask separately.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 4, 2014 at 1:14
  • I'm not too sure what you mean by different vowels since the LXX is in Greek while the MT is in Hebrew, and the vowel pointings in the MT weren't added until after the LXX was translated (in fact, the Hebrew vowel pointings probably weren't added until the 5th century CE or later). This is why it is important to first read introductory material before asking here. This has not always been the case here, but this is the way other SE sites work.
    – Dan
    Jun 4, 2014 at 1:22
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    @Daи My understanding is that some of the differences are because the LLX translated a word with the same consonants but different vowels than those that were later added to the MT. People have probably argued that the vowels are uninspired interpretations and are sometimes poor interpretations. You're right that questions like this are better served with specific examples.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 4, 2014 at 1:27

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