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Friday, November 10, 2006

Junia, the apostle: Part 13

This is the last example which Wallace and Burer offer to support their argument. It is from Lucian. Harmonides. 1.17,

    ἡ δόξα ἡ παρὰ τῶν πολλῶν καὶ τὸ ἐπίσημον εἴναι ἐν πλήθεσι
    glory before the crowds and fame among the masses
    They write,

      Lucianus speaks of Harmonides the pipeplayer craving fame for his musical abilities to the extent that he wants “glory before the crowds, fame among the masses”. He clearly sees himself as set apart from 'oi polloi'!63

        63 The text goes on to indicate his desire for distinction: Harmonides wants “to be pointed at, and on putting in an appearance anywhere having everyone turn towards me and say my name, ‘That is Harmonides the oustanding piper’” (LCL translation).
    I will take this line and retranslate it first literally, and then according to Wallace and Burer.

      ἡ δόξα ἡ παρὰ τῶν πολλῶν καὶ τὸ ἐπίσημον εἴναι ἐν πλήθεσι
      glory which is from the many and to be distinguished (outstanding) among the multitude
    That is about as literal as one can get. However, W & B are sure that Harmonides sees himself as 'apart from' the crowd so for them this line reads,

      ἡ δόξα ἡ παρὰ τῶν πολλῶν καὶ τὸ ἐπίσημον εἴναι ἐν πλήθεσι
      glory before the many and fame from the multitude
    However, the line contrasts para (from) and en (among) , so it only makes sense to read en (among) with an inclusive meaning. This line will not prove anything in itself, that I can see. Once again, Wallace and Burer must depend on reading into the text information which is not there. So this example cannot be considered evidence for their hypothesis.

    There remains to be presented about 10 texts which support the understanding that Andronicus and Junia are outstanding among the apostles. I realize that the minute detail of this study may have lost many, but it must be remembered that the literal understanding of God's word has been altered to suit the article written by Wallace and Burer. Surely this makes it worthwhile.

    The King James Version presents a somewhat ambiguous translation, "of note among the apostles". I am concerned that any Bible would depart at this point from a literal and ambiguous reading. To be so sure as to read into the text information which is not there on the basis of evidence in Wallace and Burer's article is surely a misjudgement.



    At Sat Nov 11, 06:19:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    Suzanne, there are all sorts of good reasons why any Bible should "depart ... from a literal and ambiguous reading", at this point and at any point where a literal reading would be ambiguous. Firstly, it is highly unlikely that Paul intended any ambiguity at this point (the ambiguity, if there is any, comes only from our partial understanding of what he wrote), and so it would inaccurate to translate it as ambiguous. Also it is extremely difficult, indeed often impossible, to reflect supposed ambiguities of the source text in a translation. The KJV reading here may just about succeed, but does it preserve the correct balance of probabilities between the two alternatives? I guess that you would disagree with Wallace and Burer on that.

    A much better translation strategy, in cases where there is real uncertainty, is to translate according to the interpretation which the translator considers more probable, and (where the matter is significant, as this one is) put the alternative in a footnote.

    However, I think you and I are edging towards a position of being almost certain that Wallace and Burer's understanding is incorrect, which would justify us in accepting NIV's "outstanding among the apostles" with no need for a footnote.

    Indeed I think if it were not for the issue of whether a woman could be an apostle this interpretation would be accepted as more probable by everyone. And it is in fact a highly dubious translation procedure to adjust one's translation of one work to make it consistent with other works, even by the same author. Paul writes nothing in Romans which could possibly be understood as disqualifying a woman from being an apostle. So the translation of Romans should not be forced into consistency with an interpretation of 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy.


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