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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Junia, the apostle: Part 15

I was asked in a comment last week if there was further data regarding how Junia was regarded throughout church history. Here is some information from an article by Linda Belleville. I will not claim to have done any primary research on this.

    The consensus of patristic scholars is that Junias is a corruption of Junia, for Origen acknowledges early on in this section that Andronicus and Junia are 'notable among Christ's apostles' (et in his apostolis qui ante nobiles eos in apostolis dicat) and 'apostles before him' (et in his apostolis qui amte eum fuerunt). And he speculates that they were among the group of 72 that Jesus commissioned (quod fortassis ex illis septuaginta duobas qui et ipsi apostoli hominati sunt [PG 14.1280]; cf. Luke 10:1-20). ...

    Not catalogued in TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) but found in J. P. Migne's Patrologiae Graeca (PG) are sixth-century Oecumenius (Junia: PG 118, cols. 629-32 and eleventh century Theophylact (Junia: PG 124, cols. 5551-2). Both pay tribute to the fact that a woman is not only named 'an apostle' (μέγα μὲν καὶ τὸ εἴναι ἀποστόλους) but also 'notable among them'(τὸ δὲ καὶ ἐπίσημους ἐν αὐτοῖς, μέγιστον [maximum vero inter how esse insignes]. Also to be observed is the unbroken tradition among the Latin fathers from Ambrose in the fourth century through to Lombard in the twelfth century of a female Julia (Ambrose, Jerome, Rabanus Maurus, Hatto of Vercelli, Bruno of Querfurt, Peter Abelard) or Junia (Jerome, Primasius, Sedulius-Scotus, Claudius of Turin, Rabanus Maurus, Haymo, Lanfranc, Bruno of Querfurt, Peter Lombard, Guillelmus Abbas, Herveus Burgidolensis) who was 'notable among the apotsles' (insignes or nobiles in apostolis). There is also the common speculation among the Latin fathers that 'notable among the apostles' refers to the group of 72 that Jesus commissioned and sent out (quod fortassis ex illis septuaginta duobus apostolis fuerint et ipsi nobiles; Haymo, Rabanus Maurus, Hatto of Vercelli, Bruno of Querfurt, Herveus Burgidolensis).

Belleville includes the following information in her footnotes.

    Origen (Junia PG 13.1279-80, 1289-90) Chrysostom (Junia: PG 60.669-70) Theodoret (Junia: PG 82.219-20) John of Damascus (Junia PG 95.5565) Oecumenius (Junia PG 118.629-32) Theophylact (Junia PG 123.551-2) Ambrose (Julia: PL 17.179B) Jerome (Julia: PL 26.617-18; Junia: PL 23.895; 29.744A 30.715B) Primasius (Julia: PL 68.505) Sedulius-Scotus (Junia PL 103) Claudius of Turin (Junia: PL 104) Rabanus Maurus (Junia: PL 111.1607D; Julia PL 112) Haymo (Junia: PL 117.505) Hatto of Vercelli (Julia PL 134.282A-B) A Lanfranc (Junia: PL 150.153-4) Bruno of Querfurt (Julia: PL 153.119; Junia PL 153. 120) Peter Abelard (Julia PL 178.973B-C) Guillelmus Abbas (Junia PL 180) Herveus Burgidolensis (junia: PL 181) and Peter Lombard (Julia: PL 191.1527; Junia PL 191.1528). The variation between Junia and Julia reflects the textual variation among the Vulgate manuscripts.
Even more convincing is the fact that Wallace and Burer offer no evidence that throughout church history that en tois apostolois was understood as 'to the apostles'. In fact, this is how W & B present the issue in footnote 13,

    We have already noted that the patristic authors are preoccupied with whether Iounian is male or female, giving little substantive attention to what Paul has to say about this individual’s relation to the apostolic band. That they seem to assume a particular view, without interacting over the force of the Greek, is hardly a sufficient reason to adopt their view, as Lightfoot, Fitzmyer, et al. have done.
So Wallace and Burer seem to be saying that the church fathers, native speakers of Greek, did not interact over the force of the Greek. Neither did any of the great exegetes of the past. And this is hardly sufficient reason to adopt their view!

This expression, en tois apostolois has always been understood as 'among the apostles'. Only now that text critics have agreed that Junia is a woman, has this new grammatical quibble achieved prominence.

I have to admit that I began this study with curiosity and hoped to prove that the expression 'among the apostles' was ambiguous. However, I now have seen so little evidence on the side of an exclusive reading, implying that Junia was not one of the apostles, that I have given it up. Junia, a woman, was almost certainly an apostle, whatever that title meant.

Just as Piper and Grudem in their book, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, many years ago opened the door for me to egalitarianism, so have Wallace and Burer demonstrated to me that Junia was indeed an apostle.

Index

4 Comments:

At Mon Nov 13, 05:09:00 AM, Blogger teknomom said...

"I have to admit that I began this study with curiosity and hoped to prove that the expression 'among the apostles' was ambiguous. However, I now have seen so little evidence on the side of an exclusive reading, implying that Junia was not one of the apostles, that I have given it up. Junia, a woman, was almost certainly an apostle, whatever that title meant."

Very important statement. It shows that you didn't go into the study with an agenda, unlike Wallace and, uh, the other guy. ;-) Also that things like this don't raise an eyebrow until someone wants to twist the Bible to fit patriarchalism.

Just a side note on 'apostle, whatever that title meant': good question. It appears to me that there were many, but that The Twelve were set apart as being in an 'inner circle' and were specially and personally trained by him. So also was Paul, albeit in a unique way. As you mentioned, others like Junia could have been among the 72, yet not in Jesus' inner circle of 12.

But one thing they all seem to have in common, 72 or 12 or Paul, is that they went where the Gospel had never gone before. They were trailblazers, church planters, who travelled to many places. In this regard, I would suggest that they are fundamentally the same as our modern term "missionaries".

Yet we really don't know if every one of all those called apostles in the NT had seen Jesus with their own eyes. Certainly the 72 and 12 and Paul did, but were there any others called apostles who did not? If there were, then I think we could just equate apostle with missionary. If there weren't, then there have not been any apostles since the first century.

Sounds like that would be another interesting study.

 
At Mon Nov 13, 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks. My agenda was simply this. Does the data support Wallace and Burer's conclusion?

I had no intention of writing about apostleship. However, some interesting things have come up and I will write more on this topic, but under another title.

 
At Mon Nov 13, 10:22:00 PM, Blogger Kenny said...

Hmm... It seems (having read only your posts - I haven't had time for anything else still), then, that while the Patristic writers regarded the statement as unambiguously saying that Junia, a woman, was one of the apostles, the word apostle is taken in a broad sense to mean something like "one who has received a special commission directly from Christ (presumably in the flesh)." This doesn't challenge the complementarian interpretations of other verses (at least, it doesn't challenge any versions of complementarianism that I regard as reasonable or defensible - I suppose there are some extremists who might object), since it doesn't specify what they were commissioned for or sent to do. If she was one of the 70, she was sent to preach the Gospel, and certainly any reasonable complementarianism recognizes that women are permitted (even commanded) to preach the Gospel to the unsaved just as men are. My next question (which it seems you have already decided to answer) is whether the word apostle every means in Scripture what it is commonly taken to mean today (roughly, either "one of the Twelve or Paul" or "one of the top authoritative leaders of the early Church"). The interpretation here is more consonant with the literal meaning of apostolos ("one sent out"). Of course, the more common meaning is "emissary" or "ambassador" and for that reason I had previously viewed the apostles of Scripture as exercising God's authority in the Church, as an ambassador speaks for a foreign head of state, even though he may not have been given specific instructions for the exact situation. Perhaps this is not the meaning of apostle after all...

 
At Mon Nov 13, 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kenny,

This doesn't challenge the complementarian interpretations of other verses (at least, it doesn't challenge any versions of complementarianism that I regard as reasonable or defensible

Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I didn't write this to disprove complementarianism. I wrote this to disprove W & B's article - that's it.

Of course, it has been hard on women over the centuries that they have been able to be missionaries but once a congregation is established they have had to step down. That happened so often in pioneer communities in Canada. In fact, I know a man who left the church over this. A woman came and evangelized and started a small congregation and when it was considered large enough the church authorities sent a man who could administer the sacraments, and the woman had to leave and move on. Some families left because they were so distressed at how she was treated. Some people never went back to church again in their life. A true story.

 

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