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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Burer responds

Michael Burer has responded here to my comments on Adrian's blog about the article which he wrote with Dan Wallace. Wallace, Daniel B. and Michael H. Burer. Was Junia Really an Apostle? A Reexamination of Romans 16:7. Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. JBMW 6/2 (Fall 2001) 2.

Burer has responded to my original comment that the phrase from Psalm of Solomon

    ἐν ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν
was provided in a truncated quote only.

    ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν
Read his retraction here and his suggestion that this reference is still useful.

Here is my comment posted on Adrian's blog,

    I appreciate the fact that you have cleared up this point.

    Certainly, I felt that the original truncated quote was inappropriate, especially since this particular quote is listed as a close parallel to Romans 16:7. By truncating the quote, it was made to appear closer than it is.

    I still do not understand fully how this verse is a parallel to Romans 16:7. First, you originally wrote that it was a parallel to Romans 16:7 because 'people' are the referent of the adjective επισημος, but later you provide a translation for this phrase, εν επισημω 'in (a place) notorious/ visible'.

    If, in fact, it is επισημος, and not επισημον, then it is an adjective refering to 'place' understood, and it is not an adjective refering to 'people', and therefore it is not by your criteria, a parallel.

    I understand you to be saying here today that this verse is both a) ambiguous and b) not a "close parallel" to Romans 16:7. Perhaps I have misunderstood.

    I was very surprised to read about the translation of Romans 16:7 proposed in your article since it directly counters the understanding of the early Greek speaking church fathers, and the understanding of the modern Greek Vamva version, translated by a native speaker of Greek.

    I understand that native Greek speakers and, in fact, the entire translation tradition up until a few years ago, have understood this phrase to mean "among the apostles" but you introduce a very novel translation. When something this novel turns up, all evidence must stand up to scrutiny and it cannot be simply assumed.

    Since this verse is not the close parallel that it was claimed to be, the discussion must rest on the sum of your other quotes.

    However, I have questions of equivalent value regarding each of the quotes that you provide in your article. I do not feel that this issue is resolved.
My second comment is as follows,

    I think that it is significant that Dr. Burer has not acknowedged the NETS translation of either Psalm of Solomon 2:6 or 17:30.

    In fact, since this is a highly literal translation, I note with surprise that it is not mentioned and that Dr. Burer remarks that,"This is the way the standard translations render Ps. Sol. 17:6."

    Is Dr. Burer claiming that the recent NETS translation is not 'standard'?

    Given the NETS rendering 'with a mark among the nations' this verse can only be ambiguous at best, it cannot be used as supporting documention to disambiguate other ambiguous phrases.
Adrian himself opens the post with a comment that Romans 16:7 is used as a 'critical argument by egalitarians'. However, I would like to point out that we have not done this on our blog.

Contrary to what some people think, every post on this blog must promote accurate translation of the original text first, and let the chips fall where they may. My difficulty is that when certain scholars write a quantity of text with the express purpose of restricting women, their vision regarding the Greek text may be blurred.

On a further note, three Greek church fathers regard Andronicus and Junia as apostles, first Chrysostom,

    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. (In ep. ad Romanos 31.2; PG 60.669-670)
then Theodoret (ca. 393 - 458), bishop of Cyrrhus,

    Then to be called "of note" not only among the disciples but also among the teachers, and not just among the teachers but even among the apostles. (Interpretatio in quatuordecim epistolas S Pauli 82.200)
and finally, John of Damascus, (ca. 675-ca749)

    And to be called "apostles" is a great thing ... but to be even amongst these of note, just consider what a great encomium this is. (Commentary on Paul's Epistles 95.565)
There is no evidence among church fathers supporting Wallace and Burer's hypothesis.

Addendum: Dave Warnock gives a third party view of the action on Adrian's blog. He remarks,

I want to thank Dave for recording this as there is no way that I can go to Adrian's site and protest this.

Addendum #2 Since I wrote this post Adrian has posted my comments on his blog, including my protest here,

    For my part, I feel that I have stayed with telling the truth and quoting books. I feel that others who comment on this blog have said some very unpleasant things both about me and to me.

    As I said, I don't, as a women, feel very comfortable here. Complementarian men and egalitarian men may be equal, but women are not. I feel very hurt by the way I have been treated.
Thank you, Adrian.

I think, for the most part, women, myself included, either protest too angrily, or put on a brave front. It is about time somone said out loud that "permanent subordination" is a very icky thought.


At Tue Dec 19, 08:33:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Contrary to what some people think, every post on this blog must promote accurate translation of the original text first, and let the chips fall where they may.

Amen, amen, amen!

Thank you for repeating that, Suzanne. It needs to be repeated many, many times. Text *must* trump interpretation. Exegesis *must* trump ideology.

Thank you, again.

Did I say "amen" yet?!!

At Tue Dec 19, 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks Wayne,

I just realized that Adrian did not allow my second comment to be posted. Maybe it will be there by morning.

I do try to post factual comments on his blog.

At Wed Dec 20, 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Here is my comment posted to Adrian's blog, repeated here largely in case it is not accepted there; of course my point about mother tongue Greek speakers is the same point that Suzanne has made in this post, and the link is to this post:

I would like to thank Dr Burer for giving his attention to this matter, and especially for withdrawing "people as the referent of the adjective ἐπίσημος", which was the specific error of fact in Burer and Wallace's article which I pointed out on in a post at Better Bibles Blog. I appreciate that the correction of this error is not in itself sufficient to falsify Burer and Wallace's basic hypothesis. Nevertheless, what they had claimed as their most important piece of evidence has in fact been seriously weakened.

I also note that Burer continues to ignore the evidence from mother tongue speakers of Greek, Chrysostom and other church fathers, about the meaning of this passage. Although it was embarrassing to their theology, they accepted what they considered to be the plain meaning of the text, that Junia was a woman who was called an apostle. Much has been written on this blog recently about the need to accept the plain meaning of the text rather than find clever ways to get around it. Those who apply such arguments to for example 1 Timothy 2:12 should accept that similar arguments can be applied to Romans 16:7, and reflect on whether they want to accept the logic of such arguments.

At Wed Dec 20, 04:10:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am using this space to store my comments on Adrian's blog since I am never sure whether he will approve them or not. Please see Adrian's blog, the post referred to above, for the context of this comment.



I did not mean to imply anything other than this. That you and I have often been able to agree on a matter of Greek.

I personally hold that there ought to be room for translating a passage which is ambiguous in the Greek, into something which is ambiguous in English. That way we could all read the same Bible and agree to disagree about its interpretation.

I am personally comfortable with the KJV except on a few text critical matters.

I feel that the interpretation adopted by the NET Bible, the ESV and CEV for Romans 16:7 is unwarranted. It is without historic precedent and without firm support. The KJV "of note among the apostles" is more acceptable and, might I say, irenic.

I personlly do not find it ambiguous but I am happy to have fellowship with those who do.

I wonder if the readers of this blog are aware that the ESV translation of Romans 16:7 has no historic precedent in 2000 years in any language.

And yet, feminists are accused of bringing novel understandings into the church!

On the service of women - up until the last century there were always places to go where there was no established church. Now there are fewer of those places. I hope that no one is implying that a woman can be a church leader of men who are not of her race, although she cannot be a leader of men of her own race.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the first woman who was ordained in the Anglican church, Florence Li Tim Oi. This story is personal to me.

I wish readers would understand that I myself have no interest in an ordained ministry but I have been deeply influenced by some great women church leaders and I hope the church will benefit from continued female leadership.

I also want to say that I often feel threatened personally talking to complementarians, simply because I read of their belief that women are born for permanent subordination. That makes me feel very sad and unequal.

I don't know it this is the place to express this feeling, but I am a bit tired of some of the things that people are writing about me, some of it is very nasty and entirely without reference to fact.


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