Wednesday, April 22, 2009

McCarthy vs Wallace 3

I am continuing this series. I hope it will contain some new information. I also want to make it comprehensible to at least a few readers. In his post on Adrian's site on Wallace and Burer's article on Junia, Grudem wrote,
    5. The Brenton English translation of the Septuagint from 1844/1851 (which comes up in Bible Works as LXE) translates as an adjective, saying the Jewish sons and daughters among the captives were "in (a place) visible among the gentiles." This supports Burer and Wallace's claim because the place was not a gentile, but it was "visible" or "well-known" to the gentiles. This is very similar to Romans 16:7, where Junia was "well known to the apostles" but was not herself an apostle. This again argues that McCarthy is wrong to say "they mistook a noun for an adjective." Did Lancelot Brenton also mistake a noun for an adjective? One begins to wonder who has made the mistake.
For the sake of argument, I will deal with episemos as an adjective for the remainder of this post, and demonstrate why this cannot relate to Junia in Romans 16:7. In order to do this I need to go back to Grudem's point #3, where he says,
    (The construction is somewhat strange, but en does not decide the question of whether it should be taken as a noun or adjective in any case. For example, Psalms of Solomon 17:30 provides a close parallel where en episemo means "in (a place) visible ...")
Wallace and Burer did cite Pss. of Solomon 17:30 in their article. They wrote,
    In Pss. Sol. 17:30 the idea is very clear that the Messiah would “glorify the Lord in a prominent [place] in relation to all the earth” (τὸν κύριον δοξάσει ἐν ἐπισήμῳ πάσης τῆς γῆς). The prominent place is a part of the earth, indicated by the genitive modifier.
By explanation the phrase πάσης τῆς γῆς - of all the earth - is in the genitive. And this is what they wrote about Pss. of Solomon 2:6,
    When, however, an elative notion is found, evn plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon. In Pss. Sol. 2:6, where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that “they were a spectacle among the gentiles (ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν)

    Semantically, what is significant is that (a) the first group is not a part of the second—that is, the Jewish captives were not gentiles; and (b) what was ‘among’ the gentiles was the Jews’ notoriety.
What Wallace and Burer have hidden from the readers of the article - by removing the preposition en from their analysis - is that there is no Greek word episemos in Pss. of S. 2:6 which means "notoriety." There is only the expression en episemo, which must mean then "in a prominent place." The place itself was among the gentiles. To say that the "Jewish captives were not gentiles" does not relate in any way to the Greek being discussed.
    P.Oxy. 1408 “the most important [places] of the nomes” τοῖς ἐπισημοτάτοις τῶν νομῶν
    P. Oxy. 2108 “the most conspicuous places in the villages” τοῖς ἐπισημοτάτοις τόποις τ[ῶ]ν κωμ[ῶν]
    P. Oxy. 2705 “the well-known places of the nome” τ[οῖς ἐπι]σήμοις τοῦ νομοῦ τόποις
In the latter two, the word topos, meaning "place," has not been elided. This now gives us four examples of the expression en episemo/ois [topo/topois] followed by the genitive case, which all mean "in a prominent place within a certain place or region." Term A is within term B.

We are left then with the single example of the Jewish captives which are en episemo en tois ethnesin and the idiom is followed by en plus the dative. The question is whether the place where the Jewish captives are, is within the gentile nations, or is only "in a place that is visible to" the gentile nations.

Wallace and Burer argue that because the previous four are followed by the genitive they support the meaning "among/within" and for the instance with en tois ethnesin which has en plus the dative following, the meaning must be "visible to the nations, but not in the nations."

However, logically, and by context, we must assume that the Jewish captives actually were in a place among/within the nations. The Pss. of Solomon says they were. In addition to this, there is not one occurence of en episemo in which topos (place) is unambiguously not a part of the place following.

Fortunately we can test from looking at examples from the New Testament to see if there is a significant difference between using the genitive case or en plus the dative case. Do these two make a difference of meaning, or not?
Consider these instances.
    ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν Matt. 23:11 (genitive)
    the greatest among you

    ὁ μείζων ἐν ὑμῖν Luke 22:26 (en plus dative)
    the greatest among you
In view of these examples I cannot give credit to an argument which proposes a difference based on the fact that the adjective episemos is followed by ἐν plus dative rather than by the genitive. These two constructions can be used synonymously.

However, here Wallace asks,
    would we not expect ἐπίσημοι τῶν ἀποστόλων if the meaning were “outstanding among the apostles”?
No. Here are a few examples of the comparative form of an adjective followed by ἐν plus dative, but there are more in the Greek NT.
    καὶ σύ Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα οὐδαμῶς
    ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα Matt. 2:6

    'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; ESV

    ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν οὐκ ἐγήγερται ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν μείζων Ἰωάννου τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν Matt. 11:11

    Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. ESV

    Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαββᾶν καὶ Σιλᾶν
    ἄνδρας ἡγουμένους ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς Acts 15:22

    Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas,
    leading men among the brothers ESV
The Greek of the New Testament indicates that using en plus the dative is very common for expressing when one person is among (and a member of) a group of other people, as Junia was.

There is every indication that ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις actually means "prominent among the apostles." She is a member of the group.

The Greek NT of the 19th century, the Vamva version, updated Romans 16:7 to say,
    ᾽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 is unequivocally "among the apostles." It stuns me that Wallace and Burer's article has influenced several Bible translations and its premise is used to inhibit Christian women in leadership.

This is a contination of my response to Grudem's post on Adrian's blog, which googles so highly to my name.

What does Burer say to all this?

    Important to mention are two other critiques of our work, ..... My schedule has not permitted me time to develop an in-depth response to any of these reviews. What I can say at this point is that I have not read anything in any of them that has dissuaded me from the viewpoint Wallace and I advanced in the original article. (In the next few years I hope to develop a suitable response to these critiques.)
Once again, this is the level of scholarship used to keep Christian women out of leadership positions in the church.

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