Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What happened to Junia?

Mike Burer had commented about a year and a half ago that he would try to respond to my posts on Junia. He made an initial attempt here. However, it did not really do justice to the case as presented by myself, based on an article by Linda Belleville. He admitted as much and told me in an email that he would be working on a response.

Recently a short article by him was published in the JBMW journal on this topic. He writes,
    Epp spends some space demonstrating that all of these issues—the gender of the name, the nature of "apostle," and the relationship of this person to the apostolic group—are intertwined in the history of interpretation and create something of a domino effect, depending upon the point of view of the interpreter. Then the majority of the chapter is spent in a refutation of the aforementioned article that I coauthored with Wallace, "Was Junia Really an Apostle?"

    Important to mention are two other critiques of our work, which Epp refers to often: Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 165-80; and Linda L. Belleville, " vIounian ... evpi,shmoi evn toi/j avposto,loij: A Re-Examination of Romans 16.7 in Light of Primary Source Materials," New Testament Studies 51, no. 2 (April 2005): 231-39.

    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.)
Clearly it is not worth my publishing any challenge to this kind of writing. There is no interest whatsoever in defending a thesis. Several Bibles translate Romans 16:7 to the effect that Junia is "well known to the apostles" and no one feels the need to defend this. Belleville and Bauckham defend the notion that the church fathers, Greek speakers themselves, considered Junia to be a woman apostle. The modern Greek Vamva version is also unequivocal.

When will the general public realize that much of the Bible scholarship on women in the Bible has little credibility?


Anonymous said...

Not soon enough, I fear.
Listen to some of the statements of our church "fathers" and it is no wonder the views are so skewed.

Statements Supporting Misogyny

You (woman) are the devil’s gateway. You so easily destroyed God’s image, men. Tertullian (140-230 AD)

Woman together with her husband is in the image of God… but when she’s referred to separately, then she is not the image of God. St. Augustine (354-430 AD)

Man is the beginning and end of woman, just as God is the beginning and end of every creature. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD)

“A woman is not fully the master of herself.” “When Katie gets saucy, she gets nothing but a box on the ear.” [Katie was his wife]
Martin Luther (1483-1546 AD)

We do not find ourselves permitted by the Word of God to advice a woman to leave her husband… not even when he beats her. John Calvin (1509-1564 AD)

Lindon said...

"When will the general public realize that much of the Bible scholarship on women in the Bible has little credibility?"

Sue, We realize it more and more as you point it out. You do a great service and have taught many of us quite a bit.

you might be interested in this response to a refutation about Junia being an apostle:


Lindon said...

Sombody else gets it. I saw this in the comments section by Dr. Dennis Swift:


"Wallace does not deny that Junia is a woman. He cannot slip out of the fact that she was a woman. Wallace tries a very unique usage of Greek grammar that is not endorsed by Greek scholars of whom Wallace is not noted by or outstanding among them.

Secondly, he conveniently leapfrogs over 1293 years of texts, miniscules, translations, including a patriarchal favorite, KJV that says Junia was “outstanding among the apostles”. Whoever translated it “by the apostles” or “with the apostles” for 1890 years–no one–Wallace has a very novel invented usage of the Greek.

I wonder if some of this doesn’t come on the heels of the Southern Baptist Conventions thundering proclamation against women in the ministry at the 1998 meeting. Wallace teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Bauckham and Belleville gave a scholarly critique of Wallace’s article that caused him to lapse into a profound and prolonged silence-a deafening silence! They convincingly exposed his flawed research and demonstrated that Andronicus and Junia in Paul’s description were outstanding apostles.(3)

Nice try, Wallace, but I’m not ready to ignore 1293 years of the Patristic Fathers’ writings, translations, and modern translations until the 1890’s. They were conclusive, “outstanding among the apostles”.

Sue said...

This is why I cannot recommend the ESV or the NET Bibles. Not only do they include this very irregular translation of Roamns 16:7 but they don't even bother to defend their translation in a scholarly way. They don't need to because they are feeding people's natural desire to subordinate women.

Bill Heroman said...

Keep at it, Suzanne.
Just keep at it...

believer333 said...

Another interesting fact about Romans 16 .... Almost everyone mentioned was a leader in ministry. They were either named as to their ministry or said to be co-workers in the gospel. A careful read in context also reveals that the most important (larger ministries) are spoken of first which was a common practice of the era. This would put Andronicus and junia to be very important team workers in the ministry of the gospel.

i've a list of everyone named with whatever i could dig up about them historically posted on the equalitycentral.com/forums under the Bible Study board. its the Romans Study and the near to last post i think. its an interesting read.