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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Junia, the apostle: Part 10

I was very surprised to see that the quote which I discussed yesterday, "a mark among the nations" had found its way into the NET Bible notes. There is no reason why the editors of the NET could not check the complete reference and context of this quote, since it is from the Septuagint, not from some arcane and hitherto unknown work.

Tonight I am going to look at another example from Wallace and Burer's article. They write,
    The inscriptions can likewise be examined quickly. An idiom noticed in several inscriptions is even more relevant. In TAM 2.905.1 west wall. coll. 2.5.18 we read the description of a man who is “not only foremost in his own country, but also well known to the outside population” (οὐ μόνον ἐ]ν̣ τ̣ῇ [π]α̣τρίδι πρώτου, ἀλ̣λὰ [καὶ ἐν τῷ ἔθ]νει ἐπισή̣μου ). 54 Here the person who is ἐπισή̣μου is called such only in relation to outsiders (πρώτου is used in relation to his own countrymen). It is not insignificant that en plus the dative personal noun is used: the man is well known to a group of which he is not a member.

      54 ἔθνει here evidently refers to outsiders—that is, a group to which this man does not belong. This is evident from the strong contrast between the two phrases (οὐ μόνον. . . ἀλ̣λὰ καὶ,), with the man’s fame receiving the laudatory note with the ascensive καὶ, hinting that such a commendation is coming.

                  Wallace and Burer have furnished their own translation for this example along with their own definitions for words, and they did so without the benefit of a lexicon. Going to the BAGD, I was able to make a literal translation of this line, using actual entries from the lexicon, and not inventing any additional terms. Here it is,

                    Καλ[λιάδου οὐ μόνον ἐ]ν̣ τ̣ῇ [π]α̣τρίδι πρώτου, ἀλ̣λὰ [καὶ ἐν τῷ ἔθ]νει ἐπισή̣μου καὶ διαπρεποῦς TAM II:905, 2:15
                    Not only first in his own part of the country (in his own native city), but also outstanding and eminent in the nation.
                  This translation accounts for the use of 'not only... but also' very nicely AND depends on a lexicon. Wallace and Burer's translation depends on making ethnos mean 'the outside population.' This new meaning is 'evident' to Wallace and Burer, possible by special revelation. Actually a brief glance at the epigraphy in question allowed me to identify the nation as Lycia only 5 lines lower down - ἐν δὲ τῷ Λυκίων ἔθνει. (Um. I am actaully in the Lycian epigraphy database. The country is Lycia, I guess this fellow was prominent in his own country, not the outside population.)

                  In fact, when I got to the TAM database and started reading, I was overwhelmed at how many expressions were formed by using an adjective and en + dative. Here is another,

                    φ[ιλοτειμίαις ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι κα]ὶ ἐν τ[ῷ ἔθνει]
                  At this point I realize fully that Wallace and Burer did not read this epigraphy themselves. Are they justified in concluding,

                    episemos followed by en plus personal datives does not connote membership within the group, but simply that one is known by the group. Thus, the inscriptions, like biblical and patristic Greek, supply a uniform picture of episemos with personal nouns: when followed by en, the well-known individual is outside the group.
                  I would welcome it if others would just jump in and read this epigraphy with me. What am I missing?

                  The Packard Humanities Institute TAM II 905

                  Index to the Junia Series.


                  At Wed Nov 08, 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Kenny Pearce said...

                  Suzanne, I haven't had time to follow this closely (still swamped with school work and theater), but I just caught up on the posts so far. I haven't had time to read the article you are critiquing. I currently stand here:

                  (1) I still don't see why this can't be equivalent to the English sentence "Tacitus is a notable writer among classicists," which clearly doesn't imply that Tacitus is a classicist. If we say "Tacitus is notable among classicists" it sounds a little weirder (the first one was a bit unnatural to begin with, in my opinion), but it still doesn't imply that Tacitus was a classicist. The dispute seems to be over whether Greek ever does this. As far as the en ethnei line, if this was a Jewish inscription I might be inclined to agree with W&B, since ethnoi normally means "Gentiles" in the Jewish subdialect, but since it doesn't appear to be a Jewish inscription (?) I would say you are almost certainly correct. This means that the evidence for Greek doing this is rather flimsy (if it exists at all).

                  (2) General agreement among native speakers near the time that Junia being an apostle is implied by this verse would be, in my view, quite decisive, and you have rightly come back to this. However, as far as I can see you have only cited Chrysostom. You have been speaking as though there was agreement that Junia was a woman and an apostle up until the Reformation. Can you show any more evidence of this? I'm not sure what else would provide truly decisive evidence that episemos cannot have this kind of construction, but I am (as you seem to be) something of a reductionist about lexical categories - that is, I don't think we should postulate extra categories where we don't need them (as, for instance, some lexicons and most translations have dia + gen. meaning "among" or katargeo meaing "to abolish," but all of the passages cited work just fine with the normal sense of "through" or "to make idle," respectively). Koine is also almost always perfectly straightforward; it doesn't use unusual constructions like Attic often does. For these reasons, a 'normal' reading is preferable. However, the grammatical position of en tois apostolois still seems ambiguous to me.

                  If you can establish that Junia herself is en tois apostolois, and the sentence is not analogous to my example from (1) above, then I will be forced to reject one of three beliefs which I currently hold: (a) that Junia was a woman, (b) that the word apostle is here used as an ecclesiastic office, in the same sense as Paul uses it elsewhere, and (c) that Paul's instructions on gender and church government preclude female apostles. I do not find it easy to reject any of these, so I am still holding on to my previous interpretation at present, because I still don't think it's that implausible. I will try to keep up with your future posts as well, as I find this very interesting. (I assume you are not done yet?) Thanks for this fascinating series!

                  At Wed Nov 08, 05:44:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


                  As far as the en ethnei line, if this was a Jewish inscription I might be inclined to agree with W&B, since ethnoi normally means "Gentiles" in the Jewish subdialect, but since it doesn't appear to be a Jewish inscription (?) I would say you are almost certainly correct.

                  The main point is that ethnos means 'nation', and can be used for the Jewish nation. It is the plural that means the Gentiles! I don't quite know why Wallace assumed that 'the nation' meant outsiders. Possible because of alla kai? Not enough.

                  This is Acts 10:22

                  οι δε ειπαν κορνηλιος εκατονταρχης ανηρ δικαιος και φοβουμενος τον θεον μαρτυρουμενος τε υπο ολου του εθνους των ιουδαιων

                  "And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation..."

                  So here ethnos is the Jewish nation. And the expresssion for 'well spoken of by' another group of which one is not part, is expressed by υπο.

                  As for your initial proposal, you had me a little confused. I would have assumed by your sentence about Tacitus that he was a classicist, except that I know he isn't. It is a little awkward.

                  However, I am quite happy with the KJV for this verse. My main point is that the ESV and the NET have made a mistake in the interests of removing a woman from a prominent position. If they had done it honestly, that would be another matter.

                  The real problem here is that there is too much material to cover. Now that I am into the grammar, I think I will stick with it for a while yet. I am having too much fun discovering all the internet resources available these days. I am enjoying the process too much to worry about the outcome.

                  I will go back and add Brooten's article to the bibliography. That gives evidence throughout church history.

                  At Thu Nov 09, 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

                  In 1977 Brooten wrote "virtually all modern biblical translations have Junias (m.) rather than Junia (f.)." I am glad to say that since then the position has more or less reversed.

                  Belleville notes more patristic evidence than Brooten does for a female Junia. I don't have time to copy all the details, but here are Belleville's Greek fathers: Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, John of Damascus, Oecumenius, Theophylact; also a 5th century Catena and the 7th century Chronicon Paschale. The Latins start with Ambrose and Jerome; the latter certainly knew Greek well. Belleville provides quotes from Chrysostom, Theodoret and John of Damascus stating that Junia was both a woman and called an apostle.

                  There is in fact one piece of 4th century evidence for a male Junias, from Epiphanius, but he also calls Priscilla a woman, Priskas, so his evidence cannot be relied on. That is the only evidence from the whole first millennium for a male Junias.


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