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Friday, June 22, 2007

Wiki vs the NOAB

Forgive me - I know it is time to let Junia sleep but this has got to be one of the oddest items in Bible interpretation. The other day, Iyov contributed excerpts from these volumes, New Interpreter's Study Bible (NISB), The 2nd edition of the Harper Collins Study Bible (HSB), The Augmented 3rd edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB), to the comment section

    The NRSV has footnotes at Rom 16:7 giving alternatives of "Junias" or "Julia" for the name and the alternative of "compatriot" for "relatives."

    The NISB says "If Junia, a common Latin name for females, is indeed a woman, she is the only woman in the NT who is called an apostle Special Note: The best available mss of Romans have Junia, a feminine name. Several later mss substitute 'Junias,' a masculine name. Some early Christian scribes evidently altered the spelling from Junia to 'Junias' in order to make the individual a male apostle."

    The NOAB has: Junia, a woman; many manuscripts read 'Junias,' an otherwise unattested male latin name; our earliest manuscript reads 'Julia.' Relatives, fellow Jews (vv. 11,21; 9:3). The apostles, Paul uses the term to mean more than the twelve (see 1 Cor 15:5,7; Phil 2:25)."
Now I confess that in the past I have made fun of wikipedia. However, more recently I used it as a reference after checking several other sources first. I simply found that the wikipedia entry had information in it that I knew was reliable from cross-checking with books.

Now here is part of the wikipedia entry for Junia.

    Epps gives a tedious but thorough textual critical evaluation of the history of Junia in the Greek text and also the search for Junias (the alleged masculine form of the name, which doesn't seem to be found in New Testament times and rarely there after) in non-Biblical Greek literature. He points out that the earliest copies of the Greek texts for Romans 16.7 are majuscules (the Greek is letters are all capitals). There are no accent marks in them. The importance of this is that the gender of the name depends on the accentuation. Hence, the earliest texts are inconclusive and we are very dependent on Patristic interpretation for the gender of Junia.

    When the minuscules (using lower case Greek letters) appeared, Junia was accented with a character which indicates the feminine form of the name. Despite the Roman Aegidus, the feminine form of the name was in the Greek text of Erasmus' critical text in 1516 and in all critical Greek texts, with the exception of Alford's 1858 edition, until 1928 when Nestle inexplicably (read, he didn't explain it in the apparatus) went to the masculine form. This remained the case until the 1998, when the edition just as inexplicably went back the other way and the masculine is dropped as even an alternative (not in the apparatus). Hence, the textual weight is for the feminine name Junia, which most scholars accept.

However, the study Bibles depended on the older, 1966, 1968, UBS text which clearly and explicitly stated that the name was accented as a masculine name, when, in fact, it wasn't. This was corrected in 1998. You can see in the image above from this page that it wasn't. It is ἰουνίαν feminine. Also note the diaeresis over the ï to show a syllable/word break between "kai" and "iunia". The image reads ἀνδρόνικονκαιϊουνίαν -Andronikon kai Iounian.

You can now look at some of the manuscripts online here, #676 image 250, top left hand corner second line. and see for yourself. So the primary sources are the manuscripts themselves, as well as the lexical evidence found in other literature archived in Perseus and elsewhere. Neither the critical text nor the lexicons constitute primary sources, but secondary sources. What does that make the study Bibles and wikipedia?

This isn't so much about Junia as it is about what constitutes a primary source and what is likely to be a reliable secondary or tertiary source. What are those things which we can agree on?

It is nice that some of us have an agreed upon a fallback with the King James Bible as a consensus text, even if it is not always the most accurate.

PS This isn't really supposed to be a post about Junia. Maybe it is more interesting to note the use of the diaeresis. Choose what you like out of this post and discard the rest. I don't want to be contentious.



At Sat Jun 23, 04:51:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

In fact the Nestle-Aland and UBS texts even before 1998 did not claim that the masculine form was in the original manuscripts, although they did put the masculine accent in their text. In my 1994 printing of the UBS 4th edition and my Nestle-Aland 27th also printed in 1994, it is clear from the apparatus that all unaccented manuscripts have the feminine form.

But, astonishingly, in the UBS text the apparatus quotes the unaccented forms as evidence for the masculine, and gives this reading an A rating which "indicates that the text is certain"!

At Sat Jun 23, 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

In my 1968 UBS text the miniscules are quoted as evidence for the masculine accented Ἰουνιᾶν.

UBS 1968 and UBS 1998 actually quote two different sets of miniscules but six of these are the same ones. So in 1968 these miniscules are quoted as evidence of a masculine accent, 33, 81, 88. 104, 181, 326, 330, 436, 451, 614, 629, 630, 1241, 1739, 1877, 1881, 1962, 1984, 1985, 2127, 2492, 2495, then the lectionaries. And no miniscules are quoted for the feminine. In fact, in 1968, no feminine form is acknowledged to have existed at all.

In the UBS 1993, these miniscules are explicitly given as evidence of the feminine accent, 0150, 33, 81, 104, 256, 263, 365, 424, 436, 1175, 1241, 1319, 1573, 1739, 1852, 1881, 1912, 1962, 2127, 2200, etc. And no miniscules are quoted for the masculine.

Six of these are the same manuscripts. So what is it - they are accented, the accents are entirely unlikely to be ambiguous, as my image of miniscule 676 shows. It is easy to read. 676 was the only one that I could find online yesterday. I haven't actully seen the other manuscripts myself.

Hοwever, in Metzger's commentary to the UBS, 1994, he writes,
"when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes write the feminine Ἰουνίαν."

This is in direct contrast to previous commentaries which supported the opposite, as you can see in the NOAB and NISB.

My concern here goes way beyond women's issues. My concern is - how do we believe anyone at all. Either you look at the primary evidence yourself or you just don't bother doing biblical scholarship. That is why I redid Linda Belleville's study of "known to the apostles" and "authentein". It simply is not worth actually believing anything you see in print - the critical text, the study Bibles, whatever. Call me jaded.

So until ALL the manuscripts go online, we should all go out and work in the garden.

People think this is only about Junia, but I have found so many misquotes in other articles and books with reference to other details, that it is hard to imagine who there is left with an adequate reputation for accuracy.

I remember in Bible school many years ago looking at a variant that related more to the cessationist issue, that a book by a very famous author misquoted the critical text. Now I have to wonder who was right - the critical text or the book.

I quoted from the critical text in the oral exam and I was docked for misquoting because it disagreed with the book read in class. However, the examiners attributed the mark to me on the basis of the critical text. I will have to look up this reference. It takes the issue away from women and into other areas of controversy.

At Sat Jun 23, 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

What I meant to say was that when I showed the examiners the critical text, they reversed their decision that I should lose a mark on the question about cessationism.

At Sat Jun 23, 11:53:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Suzanne, thanks for the details. Clearly the UBS editors changed their position towards greater accuracy between 1968 and 1993, as represented in the 1993 apparatus and in Metzger's commentary, but didn't actually change the text until 1998. Part of the problem was that they were committed to the text being the same as Nestle-Aland, although I am not sure if that commitment extends to the accents - it certainly doesn't apply to punctuation, paragraphing and capitalisation, which are different in the two texts.

At Sat Jun 23, 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Iyov said...

I'm well out of my depth here -- I know very little about textual analysis of the New Testament. However, I'm confused on several points:

(a) I understand that the evidence is overwhelming in favor of the reading Junia. This is the reading found in the translations I use.

(b) Nonetheless, my understanding was that there were some very late (13th c.) readings of "Junias". Certainly I have a number of modern Greek New Testaments which read Junias. And I notice that Metzger writes in his 1994 Textual Commentary, 2nd ed.:

16.7 Ἰουνίαν {A}

On the basis of the weight of manuscript evidence the Committee was unanimous in rejecting Ἰουλίαν (see also the next variant in ver. 15) in favor of Ἰουνιαν, but was divided as to how the latter should be accented. Some members, considering it unlikely that a woman would be among those styled “apostles,” understood the name to be masculine Ἰουνιᾶν (“Junias”), thought to be a shortened form of Junianus (see Bauer-Aland, Wörterbuch, pp. 770 f.). Others, however, were impressed by the facts that (1) the female Latin name Junia occurs more than 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name Junias is unattested anywhere, and (2) when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”).... The “A” decision of the Committee must be understood as applicable only as to the spelling of the name Ἰουνιαν, not the accentuation.

This suggests to me that there was a minority view on the topic -- and the study Bibles are unanimous in pointing out that it is a minority view.

(c) From the point of view of reception theory, I think it is important to note both forms.

(d) On a deeper level, I don't see why this is an important issue. Were a new "definitive" proof found that attested to the form Junias, it would not in the least cause me to believe that women must accept a secondary role in the church: there is sufficient evidence elsewhere in the NT of women's roles. Alternatively, if the "definitive" proof pointed to the form Junia, it would seem to me that many would still reject many roles for women in the church: indeed, it seems this is the case today, where a number of textual critics acknowledge the more likely form of Junia but still, for example, restrict pastoral roles to men.

I do think the post raises fascinating questions about who we can trust. I must say that it is rare for me to find a book in biblical fields I take a greater interest in that is not full of citation errors.

At Sat Jun 23, 09:33:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I'll start with the bottom.

d) This is not that important theologically. However, it is an example, along with others, of how certain things in the text have been altered to make it easier to prove a certain point about women. The authentein debate has much the same problem. A long history of translation tradition with no lexical basis.

c) Yes, it might be valid to note that Luther was the first to translate Junia as Junias. It is an historically interesting point, as long as it is entirely clear that Junias is without any kind of evidence.

b) There was a "view" that the name was Junias, sometimes a majority view and sometimes a minority view. There was, however, never any evidence for Junias. No one has ever come up with any.

Here is the rundown.

1. The oldest manuscript, P46, has Ioulian - Julia.

2. The other early manuscripts have Iounian, no accents, and in the accusative, so it could technically be Junia or Junias. However, Junias is unknown as a man's name.

3. The later manuscripts, the miniscules, are accented and look as you see in my image - the accent is clear and it marks a feminine name.

This is what Meztger said, when the text was accented it was feminine.

So there are no manuscripts, none that I have ever heard of, let me say this, absolutely none, that are marked as a male name, Junias.

Here is the commentary evidence.

1. There is Epiphanius, 4th century, writing in Index Disciplulorum, that both Junia and Prisca are male. However, no one actually thinks that Prisca was male, so it is not considered evidence.

2. There are two 12th century copies of Rufinus' Latin translation of Origen's commentary on Romans which have a male Junias, but all earlier copies have the female form.

3. Then there is Aegidius in the 13th century who wrote in Latin, calling Junias a man.

So that is about it. No manuscripts at all. And yet the UBS text quotes the miniscules as evidence for a masculine Junias. This is what is hard to explain. The UBS text provided a male accented Iounian supported by manuscripts which had a female accented Iounian.

So a study Bible cannot say that late manuscripts support a male Iounian. They can only mention the three commentaries mentioned above, and none of them are considered evidence of anything at all.

Then Luther, who was influenced by some 14th century commentaries.

But all early Patristics have a feminine name.

So the study Bibles make a claim which is in direct conflict with the evidence because the UBS and N-A critical text directly contradicted its own evidence.

When all the manuscripts go online, then we will all have to look for ourselves.

Think of the difference one word, letter or accent makes. I suppose everyone has heard this joke but just in case -

A new monk arrived at the monastery. He was assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He noticed, however, that they were copying copies, not the original books. The new monk went to the head monk to ask him about this. He pointed out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

The head monk said, 'We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.' The head monk went down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.

Hours later, nobody had seen him, so one of the monks went downstairs to look for him. He heard a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar and found the old monk leaning over one of the original books, crying.

He asked what was wrong.

The word is 'celebrate,' not 'celibate' sobbed the head monk.

At Sat Jun 23, 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

PS I forgot to post this link to Brooten's article.

At Sun Jun 24, 11:33:00 PM, Blogger 2blikehim said...

This "what source do you trust" question is exactly the reaction I had in following the entire WLBA series.

What does a translator do since Primary Texts are not readily available? We have relied on Secondary Texts and Secondary Sources knowing they were produced by human beings under the influence of culture, opinion, politics and the Holy Spirit. We depend on a great breadth of Tertiary Texts and Sources to compare and contrast our understanding of the Secondaries. And now we have indeed deepened our well of resources by adding the "wiki" level to our bookshelf.

It is both amusing and scary to find that so many Secondary Sources and even Secondary Texts have purposefully chosen to mislead, exagerate confidence and-or sweep-under-the-rug various lexical controveries.

Could it be that they were all working under the same burden? As Suzanne McCarthy said, "I feel that they should be translated in accordance with the critical text and lexicons, in accordance with the best scholarly research and the consensus. If that were done then we would have a translation that those of us on both sides of the debate could share. This would bring us together. We would have a Bible we would be happy to share and experience fellowship and reconciliation. Perhaps with a common text, we could still talk and share even if we disagreed on other things."

So, in order to agree on a common translation don't we have to put all our texts, lexicons, notes, dictionaries, commentaries and theological backgrounds on the table? We can reliably find the meanings behind the manuscripts. Though, if we are continually open and honest, we will continue to revise and improve our Secondary and Tertiary Texts and Sources.

Perhaps it is a good topic to explore in depth:

How does the publishing date on the text, lexicon, note, commentary, consensus, etc. contribute to its reliability and/or bias?

How does the publishing date on the original laguage texts add to or detract from their reliability?

Where do we find a reliable reprint of the original manuscripts?

Is it "safe" to assume that newer Lexicons and older texts are more reliable? (A.T. Robertson worked from this premise.)

Even our personal reliance on our favorite notes, lexicons and texts influences our judgement when it comes to agreeing on a common translation. Can the BBB open the pandora's box of criticism and comparison of the major works and sources that translators rely on both for modern language text development projects and newly emerging 1st generation translations?

At Mon Jun 25, 05:41:00 PM, Blogger teknomom said...

Just before reading this post and comments, I finished reading Bushnell's "God's Word to Women". Her motivation for writing it had been her discovery of willful mistranslation of the Bible into Chinese. The excuse given was that "We had to be sensitive to the culture". She was apalled and set out to learn Greek and Hebrew herself, since she realized that if one translation had been compromised to bend to culture, then what about English translations?

Now I read here about deliberate and inexplicable alterations of the Greek NT text, and I too wonder, "Who can be trusted? If Christian scholars are not above knowingly inserting their biases into the original language texts that they know will be used by translators, then what hope do we have of finding a Bible that is truly God's Word and not somebody else's?

The scary thing is, even if we all could read the scriptures in their original languages, we still would have to become researchers in history and a dozen other disciplines just to check up on the people who are supposed to be doing the job.

Where does it end? What hope does the average believer have of knowing they haven't been lied to? I had been trying to learn some Greek, even at my age, but now I have to stop and wonder what good it would do.

Yet, we are starting to see some hope. Bushnell was one of the pioneers in uncovering scribal tampering, and others have been encouraged by her example. I can only pray that God will grant more people the aptitude and opportunities to get to the truth and spread it to everyone else.

Those who have deliberately put culture over truth have a very severe judgment coming, since their work is foundational and thus far-reaching. "To whom much is given, from the same shall much be required."

At Mon Jun 25, 09:03:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I appreciate these comments and some of the very big questions they pose. I haven't read Bushnell but I probably should. I do enjoy many of the articles I find on the God's Word to Women website.

I'll try to respond at greater length in a post.


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