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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Junia, the apostle: part 17

I did not previously write at any length about why it was thought that Junia might have been Junias, a man. I had understood, perhaps wrongly, that Junias, the male apostle, had been laid to rest some time ago. Evidently not! Let me do that, by quoting Epp on this subject.

However, Eldon Jay Epp, in Junia, the First Woman Apostle, discusses not so much whether Junia could have been Junias, a man; no scholar is attracted to that possiblity at the moment, that I am aware of. No, Epp is fascinated by how it came about that something which is evidently not so, could have been considered so. How on earth did this happen, how did a non-existant name Junias, enter the text and the lexicon (BADG) and why has Junias now been removed without an all-out confession of male bias?! That is what fascinates Epp. Are the men responsible simply going to sweep the male Junias under the carpet? So it seems.

If you dislike my rhetoric, here is Epp's take on this,

    Moreover, in the 1998 Jubilee N-A and the 1998 printing of UBS, where Ἰουνίαν properly but inexplicably appeared in the text, the clearly masculine form Ὶουνιᾶν is not even in the apparatus, quite the contrary of what normally happens when a critical edition undergoes a change in its text: one reading moves up to the text as another moves down to the apparatus. In this case, however, suddenly the emperor has no clothes!
    Apparently this masculine form Ὶουνιᾶν, disappears altogether from the textual scene! Of course, it should disappear, even though, as we shall discover in a moment, the clearly masculine form had been a Nestle fixture for three-quarters of a century and a UBS constant since the first edition in 1966. Yet in a flash it is gone, and neither the Jubilee Edition nor the 1998 volumes of N-A and UBS contains a list of changes made in its text as it moved through several printings between the 1993 and the 1998 volumes of N-A and UBS, nor is the reason for the change otherwise transparent.

    One astounding fact (and disturbing, if one thinks about its implications) requires emphasis again about the UBS and the Nestle-Aland editions: to the best of my knowledge, never was the definitely masculine form of Ὶουνιαν (namely Ὶουνιᾶν), either when it was designated as the text or after it had been replaced in the text by the Ἰουνίαν reading, accompanied by any supporting manuscript or other evidence (except when UBS listed the support of eight early unaccented majuscules, which of course were impotent for determining accentuation.)
    In fact, for the greater part of four centuries, as far as I can determine, no apparatus in a Greek New Testament cited Ὶουνιᾶν as a variant reading to the Ἰουνίαν in the text - not until Weymouth in 1892 (who cites Alford's text - though neither in Alford nor Weymouth is any munuscript attestation provided) - and never again after that. The reason is simple enough: no such accented form was to be found in any manuscript or anywhere else. Moreover, when Ὶουνιᾶν was interpolated into the New Testament text and became a regular feature of the post-1927 Nestle and Nestle-Aland editions and all of the UBS editions until 1998, no viable manuscript support could be garnered for there was none. (page 47)
So let me state that there never has been textual evidence for a male Junias. This is an invention of the imagination, pure and simple.

Men need to realize that they will not be trusted to seek out the best interests of women unless they create a strong track record first. For a biblical scholar, part of this track record is recognizing Junia, paying a simple courtesy to this woman in the scriptures. I recommend to you Eldon Jay Epp's Junia, the First Woman Apostle.

On this one simple item, I find that the complementarian ethic demonstrates itself to be a house of cards. Left to themselves, many men will not seek woman's best interests, they will edit woman out.

Note: I am aware that at the beginning of the second paragraph I have written a sentence which contains 'so much' but no following and corresponding 'that'. I am assured by Jespersen that it is the custom of women to use 'so' in this fashion, as in "I love you so much!" Apparently a man would not use 'so' as an intensive but only to introduce another clause, as in "I love you so much that ... " Very awkward being a man, I should think.

The use of 'so' as an intensive is due, according to Jespersen, to women breaking off without finishing their sentences. (page 250) Jespersen gives me much latitude in my writing. I am so grateful! I shall take greater liberities, now that I have Jespersen's backing, in writing as a woman. I am no fan of hypotaxis in any case.


At Sun Jan 21, 03:40:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Suzanne, I appreciate what you write so much!

So let me state that there never has been textual evidence for a male Junias.

I think it would be better to say that there was no textual evidence before 1892, if that really is the date of the first printed edition to have the male accentuation. I say this because printed editions are just as much textual evidence as manuscripts. In a sense this strengthens your case because it clarifies that scholars like Weymouth who make such "emendations" are doing just the same as manuscript copyists who make deliberate changes to introduce their non-biblical presuppositions into the biblical text. Also giving a variant reading a date as late as 1892 emphasises quite how spurious it is.

By the way, have you seen this post at Evangelical Textual Criticism, and the review of Epp's book (in German, a language which seems to have a word "Apostolin" meaning female apostle!) linked to there?

At Sun Jan 21, 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I have read a few reviews of the book but not that one. Thanks.

I continue to be puzzled about whether Junia is considered male or female in the Coptic Synexarion.

Here she is a woman, Yoana (Joanna) as Bauckham believes her to be.

And here Junia is a man.

I have been asked to accept the Coptic synexarion as on par with ancient evidence.

At Sun Jan 21, 10:13:00 PM, Blogger daniel reed said...


Thank you so much! I really appreciate this Junia series!

At Sun Jan 21, 10:41:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Looks like you guys are trying hard to prove Jespersen wrong! Good work.

At Mon Jan 22, 02:24:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

But is "Yoana (Junia), the virgin, the daughter of Philospheron" the same Junia? The way Paul pairs her name with Andronicus suggests that she was his wife, and so not a virgin. And Junia would have been rather old by the reign of Hadrian, at least 50 years after Romans was written. But "St. Junia, one of the seventy disciples" is explicitly the one mentioned in Romans 16. And he is apparently male, at least in this English translation; but I wonder if the original Coptic of this text actually specifies his gender, given only by pronouns in the English.

At Mon Jan 22, 03:51:00 PM, Blogger Isaac Demme said...

See also John Thorley's 1996 article in Novum Testamentum where he expresses something akin to outrage that the UBS comittee preferred a reading found in no manuscript.

Yes the critical texts compiled by scholars can be used as textual evidence of a sort, but if Epp is right, the reasons for textual critics from Weymouth to the UBS commitee to prefer a reading not found in any manuscript was due to their exegesis of the passage, and if they had not believed the two premises that the individual in question was an apostle and that no women were apostles, they would not have proposed the contracted name theory.
(As a side question, Epp seems to suggest that the longtime UBS acceptance and recent rejection of the contracted-name theory is due to Kurt Aland, who died before the 1998 printing. Does anyone know if this is the case?)

As for the coptic evidence, this is very interesting indeed and I hope someone who can read the coptic can comment on the pronouns for us.

Personally I'd take it as indirect evidence for the feminine reading, similar to the Index Discipulorum (which refers to Junia, Prisca, and Aquila as three men, and assigns them to three different bishoprics) ... one which attaches a later masculine hagiography to an earlier name which only makes sense as feminine (I don't see how Synaxarium or the Index could be used as good evidence for a Junianus).

At Mon Jan 22, 05:22:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

similar to the Index Discipulorum (which refers to Junia, Prisca, and Aquila as three men, and assigns them to three different bishoprics)

Thanks for this Isaac.

I'll admit that the conversation about the Coptic Synexarion goes back to this exchange. I don't feel that I put in a stellar performance but it was the holidays and I was out of town without my reference books.

I won't balk at being called a feminist, but I don't like being accused of "femininst revisionism" when I am only standing up for time-honoured tradition. Who are the real revisionists concerning Junia?


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