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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Junia, the Apostle: Part 1

This story is so long it will have to be blogged in parts and I hope that commenters will contribute further detail. There is absolutely no way this is going to be exhaustive but with help I hope it will be instructive.

This post covers some historic translations of Romans 16:7 and a bit of history about how Junia's name became Junias.

    salutate Andronicum et Iuniam cognatos et concaptivos meos qui sunt nobiles in apostolis qui et ante me fuerunt in Christo Vulgate

    Grete wel Andronyk and Julian, my cosyns, and myn euen prisouneris, which ben noble among the apostlis, and whiche weren bifor me in Crist. Wycliffe

    Grüßet den Andronikus und den Junias, meine Gefreundeten und meine Mitgefangenen, welche sind berühmte Apostel und vor mir gewesen in Christo. Luther

    Salute Andronicus and Iunia my cosyns which were presoners with me also which are wele taken amoge the Apostles and were in Christ before me. Tyndale

    Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. KJV

    salute Andronicus and Junias my relations, and fellow-prisoners, who are distinguish'd among the apostles, Mace 1729

    Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow-captives, who are of note among the apostles; who were also in Christ before me. Darby

    Salute An-dro-ni'cus and Junia, my kinsmen, who were prisoners with me, and wellknown among the apostles, and who were believers in Christ before me. Lamsa translation - Peshitta

    Greetings also to Andronicus and Junia, fellow Jews who were in prison with me; they are well known among the apostles, and they became Christians before I did. Good News Bible

    Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (Note Junia fem.) New American Standard

    Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. NIV

    Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. TNIV

    Greet my relatives Andronicus and Junias, who were in jail with me. They are highly respected by the apostles and were followers of Christ before I was. (Note: or Junias fem.) CEV

    Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. NET
    Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. ESV
The name under discussion appeared in the earliest manuscripts without accents and was in the accusative case, hence Iounian. It could be read as the accusative of either Junia, fem. or Junias, masc. Because Junia was a common name for a woman and Junias is not attested to as a male name, early translations reflect the understanding that the text refers to Junia, a woman. Today, it is all but unanimous, the name is Junia, a woman.

Evidence from the early church fathers indicates that Junia was considered both a woman and an apostle.

    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)

An article by Bernadette Brooten records that the first time that the name was considered masculine was in the 13th century by Aegidius. Luther made this understanding popular.

    If Aegidius started the ball rolling, it really picked up momentum in the Reformation period. The commentary which Martin Luther heavily relied upon, that by Father Stapulensis (Paris, 1512, p.99b), took the accusative ’IOUNIAN to be Junias (m.). Luther’s lecture on Romans (1515/1516: Weimarer Ausgabe 56, p. 150) followed Faber Stapulensis on this and other points. Through Luther the Junias interpretation was assured of a broad exposure for centuries to come.

    Precisely because the Church Fathers took the name to be feminine, Catholic exegetes of the past were generally slower to accept the innovation of Junias.

From a review of Epp's book.

    Epp shows that earlier editions of the UBS actually gave the unattested name Junias an A rating, claiming majuscule support for that ruling (when majuscules are unaccented!). Epp reveals (on p. 54) that, by Bruce Metzger’s own admission in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd ed), the UBS committee made their ruling based on the gender assumptions imposed by some members of the committee (Textual Commentary, p. 475). Also notable is the persistence of lexicons and other reference works in locating the name under the nominative masculine.
    An indictment is made: “In broad terms, it is fair to say that to a large extent our modern lexica, grammars, and many commentaries, especially during the past century, have carried forward—indeed, have aided and abetted—the tradition of ‘Junias,’ masculine” (p. 58). Chapters 9 and 10 provide helpful charts (pp. 62, 63, 66) which offer appalling visual confirmation that an arbitrary shift away from seeing Junia as a woman took place in the histories of Greek texts and English translations. (Regrettably, Epp does not mention the TNIV's correction of the NIV's masculine mistake.)
    In brief, the early church fathers considered Iounia a female apostle, later commentaries suggested that the name was Iounias, a male, and an apostle. Recently there has been consensus that the name is Iounia, female.

    Now the discussion centres around whether she was 'among the apostles', rather than 'known to the apostles'. This is a very recent attempt in the last few years at reading the Greek grammatical construction in a new way.


    At Sat Oct 28, 05:16:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    Suzanne, you quote Chrysostom as saying "she was even deemed worthy of the of apostle". But it looks as if you have omitted a word here. What is it?

    Sadly it is not just "earlier editions of the UBS [Greek New Testament]" which accent the word as a masculine name, but the current 4th edition, and the Nestle-Aland 27th edition which has the identical text. It seems that even Metzger was not able to overcome the prejudices of his fellow committee members on this one. But I suspect that the A ("certain") rating given here relates to the unaccented reading Iounian rather than Ioulian, rather than to the accenting.

    You might want to consider also the rather parallel example of Nympha(s) in Colossians 4:15, where there is textual evidence, not just in the accents but in a pronoun, for both masculine and feminine readings, and also for something which looks rather like a singular "they"!

    At Sat Oct 28, 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

    The missing word is 'title'.

    At Sat Oct 28, 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    Thanks. So this clarifies that even Chrysostom thought she was an apostle. How do those Eastern Orthodox justify restricting priesthood to males?

    At Sat Oct 28, 05:14:00 PM, Blogger Mathew Sims said...

    Besides John Chrystom is there any other early church fathers that attest their belief to the same?

    Also, there is still the issue of whether "she is known among the apostles" or "as an apostle." I'm sure you'll cover that.

    Further, (and I think most importantly) how do you classify "Apostle"? Can anyone be an apostle? Is it restricted to the 12 plus Paul?

    After Judas kills himself the other 11 cast lots for the other apostle, but why if more would be added to the 12? Of course, Paul says he is one born out of season and is the exception not the rule. I don't think there is Scriptural evidence that other saw Christ and were taken up into the 3rd heaven like Paul.

    Just a couple thoughts. I'll be looking forward to your future posts.

    Soli Deo gloria

    At Sat Oct 28, 06:15:00 PM, Blogger Trierr said...

    Okay, help a beginning greek student out on this one. (And fyi, I am taking Greek, due in a small part to this blog!)

    In both UBS and TR, I see an accent on the iota. Does this mean that Iouni'an is acc masculine and Iounian is acc feminine? Where would the accent be (if any) for feminine?

    And since the majuscules were un-accented, what do the early miniscules show? Or should this question move over to the Evangelical Texual Critism blog? :) Admittedly, Chrystom's understanding is telling. That and the assertion that there is not a single reference to anybody named Iounias anywhere in antiquity.


    At Sat Oct 28, 07:26:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

    Excellent questions. This could keep me busy till Christmas. I will try to address most of the issues raised.

    At Fri Nov 03, 05:56:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

    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”.

    At Sat Nov 04, 06:22:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    That's interesting, John. My Nestle-Aland 27th edition, printed in 1994 on facing pages with the RSV English, is apparently the original 1993 text; and it has the masculine accent. So this must indeed have been one of the 1998 corrections. My UBS 4th edition text, also printed in 1994, also has the masculine accent.


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