Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mike Bird on Junia

I think some people are still interested in Junia, especially now that Mike Burer has put her on the shelf for years, and the ESV and NET Bibles have just decided to leave her there. Here is a comment from Mike Bird made on July 30, 2008, on the Sola panel,

Thanks for a great post on Romans 16 and it certinly gives much pause for thought on women in church based service. Keep in mind that I’m not an egalitarian, but I have a few quibbles with your handling of Rom. 16.7:

1.There are over 200 inscriptions of Junia and in every single one it is feminine and in every single manuscript of Romans (except two) it is feminine as well. This is hardly ambiguous, it is overwhelming.

2. “Outstanding ... apostles” is certainly ambiguous in the Greek, but in most translations Andronicus and Junia are regarded as apostles. Chrysostom has an excellent comment about how great she must have been to have been counted worthy of the designation apostle. See also Linda Belleville’s article on this against Dan Wallace.

3. Apostle here could mean apostle in the sense of a delegate of a church, much like Epaphroditus from Philippi, but usually the name of the sending church is also given or some kind of qualifier (e.g. your apostle). I surmize that A & J were either the founders of the first Jewish Christian ekklesia in Rome, or else they were among the extended witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection.

An excellent read on this verse is the book by Eldon J. Epp.

My comments are motivated by the fact that I cannot believe the violence done to the text by the ESV translators. Junia is no longer a women and no longer an apostle. This is the clearest case of agenda-driven textual tinkering that I’ve ever seen.

What is really nice to know is that when it comes to caring about good scholarship many complementarians and egalitarians are on the same page.


believer333 said...

This was an excellent read and to know it was said by a complementarian is so very hopeful. So, the question arises in my mind ... does M. Bird still think that women are forbidden from teaching men by Paul?

CD-Host said...

Yeah I concluded when I saw the ESV remove a footnote that this translation is worse than the New World. The New World at least has KIT where they indicate where they did theological overrides. The ESV pretends there material is the bible.

Don said...

The PRIMARY meaning of the Greek is that Priscilla is within (en) the apostles, any translation that translates it in some other way cannot justify it from the Greek text, as they are translating away from the primary meaning of the words.