Sunday, December 05, 2010

Junia in manuscript GA 1424

The question of Junia has been brought up again on the Better Bibles Blog, where Iver wrote, in regard to the wikipedia article on Junia,

It is misleading to say that the accented form Ἰουνιᾶν has no support as such (?) in the ms. tradition, since the early mss did not have accents and the majority of those who do have accents, in fact do have the form. (Another move towards p/c is to change from Jewish to Judean, but that is a different topic.)
I am not sure what to make of this statement given that it makes no reference to any manuscript or source. I have never seen any manuscript mentioned as having the masculine accented form Ἰουνιᾶν. But that is just me. I have only looked at a facsimile of a few of the accented manuscripts, but that may be more than others have looked at.

I also have to ask myself if Iver is suggesting that there is some p/c reason why wikipedia says that the masculine form has no support. My understanding is that the reason why it says that the masculine form has no support in the manuscripts is because it doesn't. Iver attributes motive to wikipedia here, bringing in the suggestion that it is p/c. In the comment zone on the BBB, however, mentioning motives is not allowed for us commenters.

In spite of that, John Hobbins takes a broadside against me. While many other comments have been edited and deleted, this one was not. Perhaps it will be gone by now. Who knows.

Anyway, my major contribution in the comments on the BBB is that those manuscripts with accents, accented Junia as a feminine name. Above is GA 1424. Others are GA 676 and 909. There are only a few accented manuscripts online which contain Romans. Of the several which I have looked at, only the feminine accenting occurs. I have never been given the number of any manuscript which is supposed to contain the name accented as the masculine, and until then I see no reason to accept any exist. In spite of some weaknesses in the wikipedia article, I believe that it rightly indicates that Junia was a female, and an apostle. I leave the theological discussion of what an apostle is to others.


Stephen C. Carlson said...

Reuben J. Swanson’s edition of Romans lists over 60 medieval manuscripts with the paroxytone Ἰουνίαν (feminine) and none with the perispomenon Ἰουνιᾶν (masculine). There is one manuscript, 1837, that reads the properispomenon Ἰουνῖαν, which I interpret to be feminine as a case of the wrong accent on the right syllable because distinctions in the pitch accent and vowel length were lost in Byzantine times.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thank you very much for this confirmation. This is what I understood, but did not have a good reference.

Donald Johnson said...

The translators of the ESV do not think a woman can be top church leader and Junia being an apostle puts a giant hole in their thesis.

So they make translation choices that go along with their thesis. There are 3 basic ways to do this, all have been promoted by CBMW:

1. Junian does not refer to a woman Junia.
2. en does not mean within.
3. apostolos does not mean apostle like the other apostles.

The ESV went with 2, but that does not mean that CBMW denied the other 2, as the verse MUST not indicate Junia was an apostle for their thesis to hold.

G said...

I appreciate your tenacity. I am sad that some must insist on lowering themselves to the level of making personal insults in their discussions, such as we see over on BBB. I have never considered myself or called myself a feminist, even though it seems John is doing that over on BBB as he has done elsewhere. Yet, if I am given that title, I have no problem with it. However, I do think that the issue of titles is part of the problem. I made the comment about the translation of the word apostle on BBB knowing that there is a risk of being misunderstood. Since the misogynists can’t stand the idea of a woman being named by Paul as an apostle, I think we need to better understand Paul’s opinion on apostles. I think it is difficult to read Acts and Paul’s letters without understanding that there was a significant conflict in the early church about who were to be considered apostles. I would push the issue so far as to say that the Jerusalem church and the more conservative Jewish element of the Church wanted to emphasis the Twelve and reject those like Paul. Paul on the other hand is not willing to limit the function of the apostle to the Twelve, but sees it as one of the ministry gifts being distributed to the church beyond the Twelve. Paul uses the term deacon to refer generally to all servants/ministers, naming himself as one deacon. At least in the earlier and material that is accepted by most to be authentically Paul, there does not seem to be any hierarchy in the Church. The elders or overseers seem to be selected people to guide the local bodies in which there are in addition those who may not be named overseers, but are ministering according to their ministry gifts. (I don’t see any reason that Paul would oppose anyone according to gender to be named among the overseers either.) Apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers are all gifts given to members of the body to minister. We have no indication that Paul as any hesitation with women ministers, but on the contrary we see him calling a good number of women co-workers, minister, and yes, even apostle. The interpolation of 1 Cor 14:34 need not be considered, since even if accepted as original to the text, would have to be understood in light of the female prophesying(ministering with authority) and praying in the assembly spoken of in 1 Cor 11. So when we approach Rom. 16 with this understanding, we see Paul accepting these women co-workers, starting with Phoebe the minister to Junia the apostle without hesitation. Since Paul is not stuck on any titles but is emphasizing ministry function and gifting, we see a beautiful picture of not only women and men ministering together, but one lacking of institutional structures that have proven so often throughout history to limit peoples’ ministry opportunities especially pertaining to that of women.

Nevertheless, if I am wrong about my view on Paul and the ministry positions and functions, and someone proves to me that an Apostle is indeed a very unique position high in the early church hierarchy, with great authority over other leaders, I have abosolutely no problem with Junia being that either.

Ms. Jack said...

I, too, am frustrated with that thread. I feel as though everything Sue and I were saying was in one ear and out the other.

I'm also pretty baffled as to why my final comment there was deleted. It did not break any rules and was just a civil note to Sue.

G said...

My comments were edited/deleted by the moderator because I violated their posting rules. The problem with deleting my comments to that particular blog entry, is that the title of the BBB blog,"What drives a translation?" implies motive in itself. So I think it best they delete the whole entry in order to maintain their integrity. Sorry, Sue, I know this is not in direct line to this post, but since this post is in relation to the one on BBB, I think you understand my venting my frustration here.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ms. Jack,

Thanks for coming here. I saw your comment in my email and was wondering how to answer it. I did have a look at your blog and I see that you have recently written on Junia. I have written a little too much on this topic, but if you have a specific question, I will try to look up my research on that.

Regarding the thread on the BBB, I really think the moderator, I assume Iver, just did not know how to respond.


I also noted the peculiarity of telling commenters not to mention motive, but attributing motive on wikipedia to p/c.

I am stunned by the persistence among some people that Junia was accented as a male name. This is an urban legend which is difficult to bury.

Donald Johnson said...

I just read the latest bleeped comments and the whole thing seems pretty funny.

To ask "What drives ... ?" and then deny the ability to even point out what the translators claim denies the question itself.

EricW said...

What started out as a promising and interesting thread at BBB turned into a joke, esp. after the person who suffers from Suzanne Derangement Syndrome entered the conversation.

I greatly appreciated what you had to share, Suzanne.

Donald Johnson said...

The BBB posting guidelines are:

Posting Guidelines
Blog posts and comments should focus on Bible translation issues, not theology, or personalities.

1. Support claims with evidence.
2. Do not question anyone's intelligence, spirituality or motives.
3. Do not tell someone what they believe. Instead, ask them.
4. Avoid sarcasm.
5. Comments should be concise and relate directly to post content.

The moderator in this case is MISUNDERSTANDING #2. Apparently, he thinks that motives cannot be discussed, even when they are admitted. What it actually says is to not QUESTION another's motives, which is an entirely different thing.

Ms. Jack said...

Sue, your blog is a powerhouse for responding to arguments for Christian patriarchy and I have been deeply grateful for it for a long time, even if I have not been commenting much. I am in awe of the research you have put into some of these topics, especially on Romans 16:7 and 1 Tim. 2:12.

I don't much enjoy arguing with complementarians online, and that thread is a pristine example of why. It just seems too often that they ignore devastating counter-arguments and plod along as though nothing has changed. If we applied the standards they're using to try and salvage man-Junia to other areas of the New Testament, we'd never be able to say that things like the Johannine Comma and ending of the Gospel of Mark are suspect passages that probably weren't original to the Gospel. We could also reverse the gender of dozens of New Testament names by positing an otherwise unattested abnormal hypocorism. It's ridiculous.

We weren't supposed to talk about bias on that thread, but the history of the Junia debates is pretty much a textbook case of presuppositions leading to translation gymnastics.

EricW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EricW said...

I used to like BBB, but the latest thread has caused me to lose respect for those who manhandled (pun intended) the thread the way they did.

I hope the egalitarians at BBB stand up to and rebuke the kind of sexist bullying and censorship that was exhibited and permitted in that ill-fated thread.

J. K. Gayle said...

[sorry to keep posting, but there seems to be a technoglitch for me]

Thanks for allowing conversation here and for encouraging any and all to look at evidence.

In contrast, there's the silencing and the phallogocentricism that runs through history right up to now. It's subtle power sometimes:

(1) At BBB, the men there cannot or won't practice what they preach. (2) John Hobbins makes claims he cannot or won't warrant. (3) This is the very sort of thing that drives the erasure of Junia's femaleness in the first place.

J. K. Gayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. K. Gayle said...

(1) As you point out, BBB's Ivers Larson wants to discuss "What drives" and suggests a motive for a wikipedia entry author; but then the hidden BBB moderator comes in to strike Jay's allusions to likely misogyny and my use of the S-word (i.e., "sexism") when getting at what drives mistranslation of the Bible. It takes my pointing out that Hobbins has attacked feminists before the moderator even sees it.

(2) Hobbins baits the conversation at first with his note of the "superior" ESV footnote, knowing full well how the male-only ESV team is not interested in gender-inclusive language. Hobbins also uses misquotes of Carolyn Osiek to form fallacious logic that Don gets trapped in: "If Osiek is right, then 'biblical egalitarians' are wrong." Hobbins does suggest that Osiek is for some patriarchy of love (she's not); but he won't, as you pointed out, even say what he means by "biblical egalitarians." (Well, what he says that she says so "famously" is his excerpt from an online interview book-review where he makes her and Jesus and Christianity sound pro-patriarchy; for the record, Don, Osiek is actually just saying that the egalitarianisms before and around and after Jesus "were not directly inspired by Jesus." If Hobbins would read this whole interview -- -- and anything that Osiek has published related to Jesus and to egalitarianism in Christianity, I think he might see that.)

J. K. Gayle said...

(3) Suzanne, When you were at BBB as a contributor, you wrote something very profound: “My concern here goes way beyond women’s issues. My concern is – how do we believe anyone at all. Either you look at the primary evidence yourself or you just don’t bother doing biblical scholarship.” What drives the erasure of the femaleness of Junia is the subtle power for control of knowledge. This is why silence is really not an option; and the encouragement to individuals to do scholarship and to investigate for themselves is imperative.

Donald Johnson said...

Thanks for the info.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I notice in retrospect that the main thrust of Iver's post was that the new BDAG entry was influenced by p/c motivation. He somehow had the impression that Junia was accented as a masculine name, when that is not true.

So the question is how did Iver get this impression. There are certainly many sources of this information still around. The UBS Greek text of the NT up until recently gave this impression, for one.

I really don't know whether the mess made of the Greek language can ever be mopped up.