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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Junia, the Apostle: Part 4

I admit that I forgot the obvious. I have just looked up Romans 16:7 in the Greek Vamva version, and here it is,

    ᾽Απάσθητε τὸν ᾽Ανδρόνικον καὶ ᾽Ιουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτνες εἴναι ἐπίσημοι μεταξὺ τῶν ἀποστόλων οἵτνες καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἦσαν εις τὸν Χριστόν
It seems clear to me that the author of this version, a native Greek speaker, found Junia to be a woman, and among the apostles. I don't think it could be much clearer - μεταξὺ means 'among' in Modern Greek, last time I checked. (μεταξύ= amid, among, between, inter) I wonder if Wallace and Burer asked a native Greek speaker what they thought this verse meant. So far, I have not found any Bible version prior to the last 5 years which translated ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις as 'to the apostles'. I would discuss this history if I could find it but I can't.

In fact, here is Lorimer's translation from the The New Testament in Scots. Lorimer was a Greek scholar of repute.

    Andronicus an Junias, my kintramen, an ae time my fallow-prisoners, faumous apostles baith, an langer in Christ nor me,
I simply have no evidence for the translation 'known to the apostles' preceding the 21st century. In the next few posts I intend to show that this verse uses a Greek expression which is normally translated into English as 'among', and that Wallace and Burer's article has numerous inconsistencies in it. And the phrase won't read as 'well-known among the apostles' in an ambiguous sense, because ἐπίσημοι simply doesn not mean 'well-known'.

As far as I can see, Wallace and Burer claim grammatical and semantic insight into the scriptures unavailable to anyone else in the last two millenia.

Of course, Greek Orthodox Church does not have women priests. But Greeks don't let that cloud their sense of grammar.


At Thu Nov 02, 01:13:00 AM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

In the Orthodox tradition, both Andronicus and Junia are saints, but I've been trying to nail down through an Orthodox friend Junia's status in regard to apostleship.

I do know that the Orthodox church has a separate class called "equal to the apostles" that certain prominent women fit into such as Junia, Mary Magdalene, and Photina (the woman at the well). Regardless, the Orthodox church is much less hung up about her status that some conservative moderns.

At Thu Nov 02, 01:47:00 AM, Blogger GimWAnderson said...


Bring it on. Let's hear the grammatical argument, we've already read the Wallace article. You can't answer a grammatical argument from a modern Greek translation. Bring on the critique.

At Thu Nov 02, 06:43:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Both the Wallace article and the Wallace and Burer article are full of logical holes, and they also ignore or malign evidence which does not support their conclusions, sorry, their "working hypothesis". If you can't spot the problems for yourselves, wait for Suzanne's critique.

At Thu Nov 02, 06:49:00 AM, Blogger BJ Mora said...

Forgive me if I am jumping the gun here, but isn't the use of apostle in Rom 16.7 broader than the "original" Apostles?

And even if someone is trying to make a case that a woman was an Apostle, how does that jibe with, say, 1 Tim 2.12?

At Thu Nov 02, 07:39:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

The Modern Greek translation, is, I think, very relevant. The opinions of the Greeks about their own language ought to be considered evidence at least as commentary.

But there is more. And I won't get to what an apostle is until later.

At Thu Nov 02, 08:54:00 AM, Blogger Spiritual StarScaper said...

Thanks for this series! There needs to be more people out there teaching the truth about what man-made traditions and worldly culture has done to oppress women. I did a similar Bible study series discussing the poor English translation against women including the Junia issue on my blog, Women in Church Leadership.

Someone commented to Part 1 of "Junia, the Apostle" as saying that they understood only Paul to be the exception to there being more apostles than the 12 (with the church electing Matthias to replace Judas) - however, there were a few other "apostles" besides the 12 and Paul found named in the New Testament: Barnabas, Andronicus, Junia, and James (Jesus' half brother), besides the fact that Ephesians 4:11-13 implies that apostles along with prophets, teachers, pastors, and evangelists are given to the church body until we all reach unity of the faith and maturity, and become the fullness of Christ (paraphrasing). That gives as much limit in number to apostles as there is to pastors or teachers.

In comments on my blog, I discussed briefly the debate about Junia being "well known TO the apostles" or "well known AMONG them" since the revelation of a woman there begs some people to nit-pick about her relationship to the apostles in that verse. As I said there, the word is "among" as in "one among them" or "one of them" in comparison with how the verse is translated in other letters of Paul's. Of all the apostles, Junia was well known or exceptional. How sad that people have to fight to give the woman the credit that Paul openly gives her in plain black and white.

At Thu Nov 02, 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

BJ asked:

And even if someone is trying to make a case that a woman was an Apostle, how does that jibe with, say, 1 Tim 2.12?

Important question, BJ. I find nothing in 1 Tim. 2.12 about the spiritual role of apostle. I don't know of any other biblical teachings that connect apostleship with the teaching of 1 Tim. 2.12, either, but I might have forgotten something.

Do you see any connection between the two issues?

At Thu Nov 02, 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

This study is going to be broken down into at least a dozen steps!

At Thu Nov 02, 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Spiritual Starscraper,

I have looked at your posts from last June. You represent an experience common to many women. I hope others will follow your link and read back several posts to read about your personal journey out of bondage from sexism.

One hundred years ago women were proud to be at the forefront of mission work as equals and coworkers. It breaks my heart to read about women staying home to choose china patterns and other such tasks. This is in the blogsphere but I won't link to it.

If someone gives you a china set, love it. If you need a china set, buy one. But, for goodness sake, don't consider this a woman's role in the kingdom of God!

At Thu Nov 02, 04:56:00 PM, Blogger Bill Combs said...

Wayne said:
"I find nothing in 1 Tim. 2.12 about the spiritual role of apostle. I don't know of any other biblical teachings that connect apostleship with the teaching of 1 Tim. 2.12, either, but I might have forgotten something."

If an apostle is not an authoritative teacher, what in the world is an apostle?

At Fri Nov 03, 08:19:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

An apostle is first and foremost a planter of new churches, in my understanding.

At Fri Nov 03, 11:27:00 AM, Blogger Bill Combs said...

Peter said:
"An apostle is first and foremost a planter of new churches, in my understanding."

That description would hardly fit most of the apostles in the NT, though I am certainly not denying that Paul was a church planter.

At Sat Nov 04, 06:12:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

The twelve apostles planted the church in Jerusalem, and then gradually moved on to plant them in other places. Peter and John, together with James the brother of Jesus who was not one of the Twelve, stayed in Jerusalem for a long time, but tradition has them both moving on to found churches elsewhere. In fact, according to tradition I think everyone one of the Twelve, except for James the brother of John who died early and of course Judas Iscariot, planted a church somewhere. That tradition may not be entirely accurate, but it does at least suggest a very early view of what an apostle was expected to do.

At Sat Nov 04, 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Bill Combs said...

If the primary role of Peter and John was to be church planters, it appears they failed to do their duty. By the time of the end of Acts (ca. A.D. 63), thirty years after Christ's death, they do not appear to have planted any churches. The studies I have read of the office of apostle describes the office as a special representative of Christ himself here on earth. As such they were here to speak for him and as such were primarily authoritative teachers, not missionaries or church planters, though in the case of Paul that was clearly the most important part of his ministry. I would connnect the ministry of church planting with the evangelist. So

At Sat Nov 04, 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I think the definitions of apostolos are relevent and I hope we can give them more attention later.

I will continue to read and think about your comments here and come back to them later.

I am myslef a little reluctant to place authority in a person rather than in the word, so this is not really what I was thinking. I am not writing this series to prove that women can have teacing authority, although I do believe they can. However, I don't see that as something that can be 'proved'.

Rather, I am considering whether the translation 'well known to the apostles' is valid. That is really my point. Where do people get these novel ideas from? And why?

At Sat Nov 04, 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Bill wrote, "By the time of the end of Acts (ca. A.D. 63), thirty years after Christ's death, they do not appear to have planted any churches." But, even if you ignore the Jerusalem church which was planted by the apostles, this is an argument from silence, in fact from the silence of just one book. In fact there are plenty of other sources which indicate that several apostles did plant churches in various places. Note that there is no sign of any of the original apostles being in Jerusalem after Acts 15. What happened to them? There is plenty of extra-biblical evidence that they went to various parts of the world to plant churches. Peter may well have gone to Rome and planted the church there, as stated by many ancient traditions; Paul wrote Romans to a church already planted by others, although presumably Peter was not in Rome at the time Paul wrote as he is not mentioned in Romans 16. Perhaps Andronicus and Junia worked with Peter in planting the church there and that is why they became known as apostles. The details are speculative, but tradition gives us a clear general picture.

At Mon Nov 06, 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Spiritual StarScaper said...

To the discussion on I Timothy 2:12...

Please see the Bible study on my blog: Women In Church Leadership • Part 3. It addresses a key factor in understanding God's Word on this topic. Thanks!


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