Al Wolters article on Junia which I blogged about earlier on the Better Bibles Blog, has appeared and was linked to by Mike. He writes,
- It’s a model of careful scholarship, and argues quite forcefully that Iounian is a retroversion of a Hebrew or Aramaic MALE name.
- Finally, although the Hebrew name yëhunnï is attested only for men, both it and the assumed longer form yëhunnïyàh(û) could in principle be women's names as well, since Hebrew sentence names are used indiscriminately for both genders.68 However, the case is different for Greek names like Νικίας. To the best of my knowledge, they are used exclusively of men, in both secular and biblical Greek.69 If the ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ of Rom 16:7 belongs to this declensional type, then it is almost certainly a mans name.
This conclusion still leaves open the question whether it is more likely that the IOTNIAN of Rom 16:7 reflects a Hebrew masculine name or a Latin feminine one. The answer to that question depends largely on how one assesses the likelihood that Paul would have considered a woman to be "prominent among the apostles" (see Metzger, Textual Commentary, 475). To some, probability will still favor the quasi consensus of recent scholarship that IOTNIAN in Rom 16:7 refers to a woman. To others, the epigraphic and philological evidence for the existence of a Hebrew name Yëhunnï/Ίουνιας will tip the scales in favor of a male apostle. In my own opinion, a plausible (but not a decisive) case can be made for either position.
There are a few things that Wolters does not explain. In fact, he writes,
- It is likely that this widespread interpretation of the name at least partially accounts for the fact that all accented manuscripts of Rom 16:7 have the reading Ίουνίαν (with acute accent)It would be a mistake to conclude from this that the scribes of these manuscripts all interpreted IOTNIAN as a feminine name
- Many patristic exegetes understood the second person mentioned in Rom 16:7 to be the wife of Andronicus, such as: Ambrosiaster (c. 339-97); Jerome (c. 342-420); John Chrysostom (c. 347- 407); Jerome; Theodoret of Cyrrhus (c.393-458); Ps.-Primasius (c. 6th cent.); John Damascene (c. 675-749); Haymo (d. 1244); Hatto (?); Oecumenius (c. 6th cent.); Lanfranc of Bec (c.1005-89); Bruno the Carthusian (c.1032-1101); Theophylact (c. 11th cent.); Peter Abelard (1079-1142); and Peter Lombard (c. 1100-1160).39.
Another thing to note is that the variant Julia also existed in P46, so this manuscript copier also thought she was a woman. Once again there is no secondary evidence preceding the 13th century that Junia would be male. Therefore, I fail to see the relevancy of discussing the accents.
It is, on the other hand, interesting that there is a remote possibility that this could be the transliteration of a male Hebrew name. That appears to me to be technically possible although there is no contemporary evidence for a masculine Junias. It is an interesting article and I always enjoy Al Wolters' writing, but I do not feel that his argument is forceful.
I would comment on Mike's blog but I can't remember my wordpress password, so I will have to let it pass.