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A Hebrew signifying a "young woman ", unmarried as well as married, and thus distinct from bethulah , "a virgin" (see Hebrew Lexicons ). The interest that attaches to this word is due to the famous passage of Isaiah 7:14 : "the Alma shall conceive", etc. We can only mention some of the various opinions with regard to the meaning of Alma in this verse. She is said to be

  • the wife of Achaz;
  • the prophetess mentioned in Isaiah 8:3 ,
  • any young married woman, who on account of the promised victory of Judah, could at some near date call her child Immanuel ( God with us),
  • metaphorically, the Chosen People;
  • the Virgin Mother of the Messiah . This last view is the one adopted by St. Matthew 1:23 , and after him by Christian tradition. (See EMMANUEL; MESSIAS.)

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Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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