Junia, the Apostle: Part 1
This post covers some historic translations of Romans 16:7 and a bit of history about how Junia's name became Junias.
- salutate Andronicum et Iuniam cognatos et concaptivos meos qui sunt nobiles in apostolis qui et ante me fuerunt in Christo Vulgate
Grete wel Andronyk and Julian, my cosyns, and myn euen prisouneris, which ben noble among the apostlis, and whiche weren bifor me in Crist. Wycliffe
Grüßet den Andronikus und den Junias, meine Gefreundeten und meine Mitgefangenen, welche sind berühmte Apostel und vor mir gewesen in Christo. Luther
Salute Andronicus and Iunia my cosyns which were presoners with me also which are wele taken amoge the Apostles and were in Christ before me. Tyndale
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. KJV
salute Andronicus and Junias my relations, and fellow-prisoners, who are distinguish'd among the apostles, Mace 1729
Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow-captives, who are of note among the apostles; who were also in Christ before me. Darby
Salute An-dro-ni'cus and Junia, my kinsmen, who were prisoners with me, and wellknown among the apostles, and who were believers in Christ before me. Lamsa translation - Peshitta
Greetings also to Andronicus and Junia, fellow Jews who were in prison with me; they are well known among the apostles, and they became Christians before I did. Good News Bible
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (Note Junia fem.) New American Standard
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. NIV
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. TNIV
Greet my relatives Andronicus and Junias, who were in jail with me. They are highly respected by the apostles and were followers of Christ before I was. (Note: or Junias fem.) CEV
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. NET
- Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. ESV
Evidence from the early church fathers indicates that Junia was considered both a woman and an apostle.
- Greet Andronicus and Junia . . . who are outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7): To be an apostle is something great. But to be outstanding among the apostles—just think what a wonderful song of praise that is! They were outstanding on the basis of their works and virtuous actions. Indeed, how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle.
John Chrysostom (344/54-407)(2)
An article by Bernadette Brooten records that the first time that the name was considered masculine was in the 13th century by Aegidius. Luther made this understanding popular.
- If Aegidius started the ball rolling, it really picked up momentum in the Reformation period. The commentary which Martin Luther heavily relied upon, that by Father Stapulensis (Paris, 1512, p.99b), took the accusative ’IOUNIAN to be Junias (m.). Luther’s lecture on Romans (1515/1516: Weimarer Ausgabe 56, p. 150) followed Faber Stapulensis on this and other points. Through Luther the Junias interpretation was assured of a broad exposure for centuries to come.
Precisely because the Church Fathers took the name to be feminine, Catholic exegetes of the past were generally slower to accept the innovation of Junias.
- Epp shows that earlier editions of the UBS actually gave the unattested name Junias an A rating, claiming majuscule support for that ruling (when majuscules are unaccented!). Epp reveals (on p. 54) that, by Bruce Metzger’s own admission in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd ed), the UBS committee made their ruling based on the gender assumptions imposed by some members of the committee (Textual Commentary, p. 475). Also notable is the persistence of lexicons and other reference works in locating the name under the nominative masculine.
- An indictment is made: “In broad terms, it is fair to say that to a large extent our modern lexica, grammars, and many commentaries, especially during the past century, have carried forward—indeed, have aided and abetted—the tradition of ‘Junias,’ masculine” (p. 58). Chapters 9 and 10 provide helpful charts (pp. 62, 63, 66) which offer appalling visual confirmation that an arbitrary shift away from seeing Junia as a woman took place in the histories of Greek texts and English translations. (Regrettably, Epp does not mention the TNIV's correction of the NIV's masculine mistake.)
Now the discussion centres around whether she was 'among the apostles', rather than 'known to the apostles'. This is a very recent attempt in the last few years at reading the Greek grammatical construction in a new way.