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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Suzanne is Elsewhere

I got to thinking that I should write up the Junia posts and I have been procrastinating - I have not done it. I confess. So I wanted to fly below the radar for a while.

However, I drifted over to check out Adrian's blog. Oh dear. I remember that I never did get an answer to some of my questions from last year so I decided to have another go.

I read this post here and commented. Well, I really overcommented, I admit. However, Dr. Grudem responded very kindly and this gave me the opportunity to get my breath and assemble some facts instead of just sounding off (fun though that was).

In Wayne Grudem replies to a critic, Dr. Grudem presents his position and in the comments I present a more factual and, I hope, less personal critique of many points in Dr. Grudem's older books. I am not yet prepared to read his current book when he has not defended certain positions in his earlier books.

Here is the text of one of my comments about Junia. I include some additional information from Junia, the First Woman Apostle by Jay Eldon Epp.

    In Ev. Fem. & Biblical Truth, page 227 Dr. Grudem writes,
      "In conclusion, the feminist claim that there was an apostle named Junia is built upon one uncertainty (the gender of the name) on top of another uncertaintly (the meaning of apostle" in this verse) on top of an improbable meaning of a phrase ("well known among" rather than "well known to").

      This is a highly speculative and flimsy foundation upon which to base any argument. It carries little weight against the clear teaching of exclusive male eldership and male apostleship in the rest of the New Testament."
      Let's break this down.
      1. Chrysostom claimed that Junia was an apostle. Was he a feminist?
        "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)"
        2. There is actually no solid evidence for a masculine gender name Junias. According to J. E. Epp,
            "The clear result of this lengthy discussion of "Junias" (masculine) is that, at least to date, this presumably male name is nowhere attested in the Greco-Roman world." page 43

            "It is therefore appropriate and prudent, I think, no longer to place Iounian (Masculine accent) in any New Testament critical edition, either in the text or in the apparatus unless it is marked "cj" (for conjecture)..." page 44.
          3. Whatever apostle means, it should not be denied. This point seems irrelevant.
            4. With reference to the fourth point, Dr. Grudem's choice, "well-known to" is by far the more unusual interpretation, only appearing in a few translations, and is much more improbable, given the Greek.
              In fact, I would say, very remote, going against the Greek church fathers, about whom Wallace has this to say.
                "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,..." page 9 JBWM
              So Wallace is actually saying that the church fathers, native speakers of Greek, did not interact over the force of the Greek, so they should not be credited with having anything to say on this. That is very odd. Is native speaker understanding irrelevant? I simply don't understand this.
              A modern Greek translation also supports the understanding "among" replacing εν with μεταξυ among. So Wallace goes up against native Greek speakers, both ancient and modern. Dr. Grudem calls the standard understanding of the Greek church fathers and modern Greek scholars, "improbable"!
              In fact, I find that speculative and flimsy is a very accurate way to describe one side of this argument - the side with less scholarly support.
              In fact, I don't like the expressions that Dr. Grudem uses about egalitarians calling them unattractive wimps, with flimsy, improbable, and speculative ideas. I don't see why some of us egalitarians are being labeled as snarky when the fact is that we read these books by Dr. Grudem with his own language and terminology. I believe that Dr. Grudem himself sets the tone for how these discussions evolve.

            Oh well, there you have it, some of us don't like being labeled. I should add that Peter and I were the egalitarians under discussion here. Somehow we got labeled. I can't imagine how that happened. ;-)


            At Sun Dec 10, 07:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

            Just a thought...

            I couldn't help but wonder how many patriarchialists just swallow the pronouncements of Grudem et al without chewing, hearing only one side of the debate and being closed to the other. For such people I'd highly recommend a reading of Proverbs 18:17--

            "In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines." (TNIV)

            Given Grudem's mischaracterizations of what egalitarians actually believe, and his slanted appraisal of the sources we cite, it's no wonder his followers seem to suffer from the same blindness.

            At Sun Dec 10, 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Molly said...

            Thanks for providing the links. This was an interesting conversation to follow. I come from a big CBMW background (have the books, bought the t-shirt)...and am in the process of rethinking everything. Lately, I've been looking into the Trinity (and my previously held belief that it was concretely heirarchal in nature), and blogged about it recently. It's such a huge topic, but forms the core foundation for the complementarian belief that Scripture *must* be saying women are permentantly subjected (while being permenantly equal). In other words...I'd love to hear thoughts from any of you fine folks at the BBB. :) (Not at my blog, persay, but if you would ever consider writing some posts of your own on the topic...I'd love to hear your perspective...not like you have anything else to do, of course--lol).


            At Mon Dec 11, 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Kansas Bob said...

            Suzanne, I enjoyed your response at Adrian's blog and referenced it.

            Blessings, Bob

            At Mon Dec 11, 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

            I am disappointed that Dr. Grudem and Adrian have completely disregard my extensive questions about factual issues in Dr. Grudem's books.


            I have to thnk about your question. I still have a few more comments for Adrian and Dr. Grudem.

            At Mon Dec 11, 11:35:00 PM, Blogger Molly said...

            Thanks, Suzanne. Whether it's in a week or a few years, I'll look forward to your thoughts. The interview and it's fall-out inspired me to start poking around myself, and I've been blogging about it. I would not say that Grudem is being purposely misleading, by any means, but it would appear he's misunderstood historic creedal positions on the Trinity, all to support the complementarian view of fully equal, fully subjected. It's been really interesting. Thanks for stirring the pot for me. :)

            At Thu Dec 14, 06:43:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

            Suzanne, I noted in a comment you recently made in "another place" you referred to the accentuation of Junia in Greek texts of Rom 16:7. I had no desire to "enter the fray" there, but I repeat below a comment I made on part 1 of your Junia series in case it's of interest.

            As regard editions of the Greek text, my copy of Nestle-Aland (27th edition 1993; corrected 1998; reprinted 2001) has the feminine accentuation. So too does the reference to the text in Metzger’s 'A Textual Commentary …' (2nd edition, 1998) –- described as the companion volume to the UBS 4th revised edition. In his notes on Romans 16:7 Metzger also makes explicit that, 'The "A" decision … must be understood as applicable only to the spelling ... not the accentuation'.

            So I guess that the feminine accentuation came in as one of the "corrections".

            [I also note that my (recently purchased) copy of "The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament" (Tyndale House), which is based on "the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies' Fourth, Corrected Edition", also has the feminine accentuation. Although the publication date is given as 1993, perhaps subsequent printings have updated the text.]

            At Sat Dec 16, 03:27:00 PM, Blogger 2e's said...

            Given Grudem's mischaracterizations of what egalitarians actually believe, and his slanted appraisal of the sources we cite, it's no wonder his followers seem to suffer from the same blindness.

            Slanted... as in the use of a biblical text that renders the reading gender neutral? Blindness could also be a commitment to biases rather than an accurate reading of how God revealed HIS word.

            At Sun Dec 31, 05:48:00 AM, Blogger karen said...

            Grudem keeps insisting that the TNIV, and I'm sure he would attack the Source as well, as being gender neutral.
            These texts are gender ACCURATE.

            Ditto to Teknomom....I agree that many just take Grudem at his word, whtn it's relatively easy to research some of these issues.

            This was a great post.


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