Sunday, April 26, 2009

McCarthy vs Wallace 6

I have been thinking that this example given by Wallace and Burer from the epigraphy collection is a very close parallel to Romans 16:7. Here it is again.
    οὐ μόνον ἐ]ν̣ τ̣ῇ [π]α̣τρίδι πρώτου,
    ἀλ̣λὰ [καὶ ἐν τῷ ἔθ]νει ἐπισή̣μου
    Not only in the hometown first
    But also in the nation prominent (My literal translation)
Now I want to look at some of the basic problems with how Wallace and Burer treated this citation.

They translated ἐ]ν̣ τ̣ῇ [π]α̣τρίδι as "in his own country," and not "in his hometown." By translating as "country" they set up a false contrast between the home country and the nation. I think that somehow there is an assumption that patris (patridos) means "homeland." Well, it sort of does, but in ancient literature this usually means "home town." I don't know on what basis they suggest that the nation is a population of outsiders but they do.

But we can see from New Testament usage what these two phrases mean. First, ἐ]ν̣ τ̣ῇ [π]α̣τρίδι, and then [καὶ ἐν τῷ ἔθ]νει ,
    εἶπεν δέ· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν
    ὅτι οὐδεὶς προφήτης δεκτός ἐστιν
    ἐν τῇ πατρίδι
    αὐτοῦ. Luke 4:24

    And he added, “I tell you the truth,
    no prophet is acceptable
    in his hometown.
    NET Bible

    τὴν μὲν οὖν βίωσίν μου [τὴν] ἐκ νεότητος τὴν ἀπ' ἀρχῆς γενομένην
    ἐν τῷ ἔθνει μου ἔν τε Ἱεροσολύμοις
    ἴσασιν / ἴσασι πάντες [οἱ] Ἰουδαῖοι Acts 26:

    Now all the Jews know the way I lived from my youth,
    spending my life from the beginning among my own people
    and in Jerusalem. NET Bible
In fact, we can see that en plus the dative does refer to being a member of the group, of one's own hometown, or one's own people. There is no justification for Wallace and Burer's translation which goes,
    not only foremost in his own country,
    but also well known to the outside population
In fact, it appears that the translation of patris as "own country" is not well-founded at all, and not a very good translation of the Greek. It seems to be a simple misunderstanding that patris means home country in Greek. This does not look like an error that someone who is familiar with Greek would make.

Further exploration has lead me to read an article by David Jones, posted on the CBMW site. He also might have hoped to prove that Junia was not an apostle, I don't know. However, he writes, about the construction en plus the dative,
    Second, even though many of the 42 occurrences of this construction in Romans are instrumental uses of the dative (e.g., 1:9, 10, 27; 3:4; 5:9, 10; 10:9 [x2]; 13:9; 15:30), only two refer to persons rather than things (2:24; 16:7). In the former reference, Paul quotes Isa 52:5, ... Even if we were to take Rom 2:24 instrumentally to denote human agency, it still would not apply perfectly to Rom 16:7, where an adjective is used instead of a verb. Thus, Paul's use of this construction elsewhere in Romans suggests that the locative rendering, "among" is most likely correct in 16:7.
In fact, Jones could not find more than this one other occurrence of en plus dative where it might not have the meaning "among." Jones reviews the rest of the New Testament and then concludes his section on this topic, writing,
    Thus, the locative understanding "among the apostles" is by far the best understanding of the construction en tois apostolois, whatever Paul might mean by the term "apostles." It is very unlikely that Paul expects us to read "by the apostles" or "in the eyes of the apostles" here, for he could have used hupo ton apostolon with much less ambiguity. Therefore, regardless of whether Iounian is a man or a woman, and apart from whatever Paul means by the term "apostles," Andronicus and his partner are envisioned as being prominent members of the group which Paul refers to as "the apostles."
It is interesting to note these authors do not refer to each other. But then what made Wallace and Burer suppose that en tois apostolois could mean "known to the apostles?" Here Wallace wrote, first that there was a consensus that Junia was female, and then explained,
    There is an even stronger consensus that ejpivshmoi ejn toi'" ajpostovloi" means “outstanding among the apostles”—i.e., that Andronicus and Junia were apostles and were excellent examples of such. But the expression seemed odd: would we not expect ejpivshmoi tw'n ajpostovlwn if the meaning were “outstanding among the apostles”? On the hunch that that was the case, two of the editors did some research in extra-NT Greek on ejpivshmo" followed by (ejn +) dative and ejpivshmo" followed by the genitive.
But, the fact is that if you read Greek, then you would NOT expect to see twn apostolwn if it meant "outstanding among the apostles." You might see it, or you might see exactly what you read in Romans 16:7.

Among the many articles on Junia, posted on the CBMW site, there is one, by David Jones, that says Junia is possibly a woman, among the apostles, but without authority. There is another by Wallace and Burer that Junia was most likely a woman but not among the apostles. And Wolters writes that Junia was possibly not a woman after all.

The case of Junia raises some serious questions surrounding the validity of exegesis in general, in my view.

*TAM 2.905.1 west wall. coll. 2.5.18

Sorry to bore all you people. I know this should be in a journal, and I should move on. However, I needed to transfer this data from the BBB over here in an improved form, and now I have done it.


Kate Johnson said...

Actually, I do not find it boring, but fascinating... thanks

Kristen said...

I find your studies on these matters to be a terrific resource. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love your studies. Keep going!

Don Johnson

Michael said...

What they said. Getting ideas into journals takes too long and besides a blog is a great way to do a first draft and get feedback.

Anonymous said...

I apologise if I'm dragging up again an issue which you must have got really tired of! I'm only now looking at the issue of an apostolic Junia. My own readings of Ps Sol 2:6 would concur with your own. However, with regard to the verse in Romans and the use of "en" + dative, I don't have access to Linda Belleville's work and nothing I've read online has indicated whether or not she has recognised and dealt with the semantic difference between these two locative usages.

"the Ritchies are still conspicuous among our landed gentry"

"The red convertible was conspicuous among the parked limousines".

In the former, the Ritchies are identifiable as landed gentry and are therefore among them in quality. In the latter, the convertible is not identifiable as a limousine and is therefore not among them in quality.

As will be obvious to most English speakers, it is not the case that one of these two usages is wrong as they are both quite commonly used. The following two constructions would rarely be considered bad English.

"she is well-known among her colleagues for..." "She is well-known among her clients for..."

Could you advise on whether or not she has examined her linguistic examples of "en" + dative, to see if they discriminate in quality in this way?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

As will be obvious to most English speakers,


The NT was not written in English, so it doesn't make the least bit of difference what is obvious to English speakers.

The Greek word meant "outstanding" or "marked upon." It could also mean "infamous."

I wonder if Paul means that these two people, Andronicus and Junia are infamous among the apostles. I have never heard that suggestion.

In some way, they stand out among the others, whether for good or bad. But the Greek can hardly say that they stood out TO the apostles. That doesn't really work.

There is no word of perception in the Greek. It does not actually mean "well-known" in spite of the note in the NET Bible.

I hate to say it but most articles on exegesis have a certain amount of fiction in them.

And yes, Belleville reviewed each example of episemos put forward by Wallace and Burer, and I also looked each one of them up in the Greek databases, to view their context. I could not find one example in which the meaning was not to stand out among the others.

There was no other meaning at all.

I could give you references to blog posts where I wrote about that if you like.