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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Junia, the Apostle: Part 2

There are a dozen major questions about Junia. I will not be presenting any original material but am using secondary internet resources and Richard Bauckham's book. I hope to get Epp's recent book as well. I intended to write only about the grammatical issue of 'among' versus 'to' the apostles. However, I soon realized that it is better to follow as much of this story as possible.

This is from Lampe in the Anchor Bible Dictionary
    JUNIAS (PERSON) [Gk Iounia]. The only woman who is called an “apostle” in the NT (Rom 16:7). She was born a Jew, and is closely associated to Andronicus. Her name was the Lat name of the gens Junia. Women were often called by the name of their gens without cognomen (similar examples are Mary [Rom 16:6] and Julia [Rom 16:15]). Two groups carried the name of the gens Junia: the noble members of the famous gens, and the freed(wo)men of the gens with their descendants. The second group outnumbered the first.

    The chances therefore are that the Christian Junia was a freed slave of the gens. Either way, she probably had Roman citizenship: slave masters with famous gens names like “Junius/ia” possessed Roman citizenship and in most cases passed it on to their slaves on the occasion of their emancipation; the freed slaves bequeathed the gens name and the citizenship to their freeborn children.

    Without exception, the Church Fathers in late antiquity identified Andronicus’ partner in Rom 16:7 as a woman, as did minuscule 33 in the 9th century which records iounia with an acute accent. Only later medieval copyists of Rom 16:7 could not imagine a woman being an apostle and wrote the masculine name “Junias.” This latter name did not exist in antiquity; its explanation as a Greek abbreviation of the Latin name “Junianus” is unlikely.
And this is from Brooten,

    John Chrysostom was not alone in the ancient church in taking the name to be feminine. The earliest commentator on Romans 16:7, Origen of Alexandria (e. 185-253/54), took the name to be feminine (Junta or Julia, which is a textual variant), as did Jerome (340/50-419/20), Hatto of Vercelli (924-961), Theophylact (c.1050-c.1108), and Peter Abelard (1079-1142). In fact, to the best of my knowledge, no commentator on the text until Aegidius of Rome (1245-1316) took the name to be masculine.
If you read further information given in the pages which I have linked to, the evidence is overwhleming that early church fathers invariably believed that Junia was a woman.

I was able to read Wallace and Burer's article "Was Junia really an Apostle" on the internet some time ago. Unfortunately I cannot find it now. If anyone has a copy and can confirm or correct anything reference I make to their article that would be much appreciated. My understanding is that these authors made a considerable effort to prove that the Greek translates into English as 'known to the apostles' for the simple reason that modern scholarship has reached a consenus that Junia was indeed a woman.

More later.


At Sat Oct 28, 09:23:00 PM, Blogger Rebecca Stark said...

This probably isn't exactly the same one you read, but here's one by Daniel Wallace on the subject.

Strangely, in this article, he says that there are no instances of the name Junias as a man's name in Greek literature, and yet the notes in the NET bible say there is one instance of the masculine name Junias in extant Greek literature. I wonder if there's been a recent discovery, or what?

At Sat Oct 28, 11:39:00 PM, Blogger Chuck Grantham said...

The Wallace and Burer article is available at

in volume 6.2

At Sun Oct 29, 10:12:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks for this info.

Pray for me as I scan articles in the Journal of biblical manhood and womanhood. I handle poorly such statements as 'now with sin the husband is challenged and he is faced with the necessity to rule,' and woman's 'willingness to embrace the provision and protection of her God-given head...'

I hurt for all those single women who are told they need a 'head', as well as for those married ones who do have a 'ruler'.


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