Re: Junia EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS (and Andronicus too)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jun 25 1997 - 20:49:21 EDT

At 5:39 PM -0400 6/25/97, Robert J. Petry, C.L. wrote:
> Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Roma 16:7 (NASB) Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow
>prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ
>before me.
>If Junias is female, then she is a female apostle.
> My question is this. Does the Greek actually include Junias "among" the
>Apostles, or as Wuest translates it, "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my
>fellow countrymen and my fellow prisoners who are of excellent reputation
>among the apostles, ..." Being of reputation, and being an Apostle are
>certainly two different things. And "among" here is EN I believe. Does EN
>really mean "among" here, or "in", as a possible implication of "in
>fellowship with" the Apostles?

We've had this thread twice in the last year and a half (not about
inclusive language, but about women in positions of authority in the early
church). It is a volatile issue and one that I think list-members have
strong and varied convictions; it's also one that seems difficult to
discuss without bringing to bear one's theological convictions.


(a) The form IOUNIAN here must be the accusative of the Hellenized form of
a Latin feminine name, Junia. You might want to check the critical
apparatus here: it says that several major MSS have a masculine form
IOUNIA=N, but says that these MSS don't show the word with accents; I fail
to see how it can be asserted that the form is masculine in these MSS if
the word is unaccented. It used to be argued that this was the accusative
singular of a first-declension masculine proper name, the Hellenized form
of a Latin Junianus with the -NU- syncopated out so that the nominative
would be IOUNIAS. Only problem is: the name IOUNIAS and the Latin JUNIANUS
are unattested. The burden of proof that this is a masculine rests upon
those who want to assert it, and one ought to have more to ground that
assertion upon than theological conviction that a woman could not have held
the title of APOSTOLOS.

(b) The phrase under discussion here, "distinguished among the apostles"
is,to be sure, interpretable as masculine, although as a compounded
adjective it has only one set of endings-- the O-declension ones -- for
both masculine and feminine nouns. The relative pronoun with which it
agrees, hOITINES, is masculine, but it must unquestionable refer to both
Andronicus and Junia, since it is plural; the explanation for the masculine
pronoun is that the masculine pronoun is used to represent a compound
inclusive of masculine and feminine elements or persons. So: hOITINES and
EPISHMOI don't serve to indicate that Junia must be a masculine Junias.

(c) EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS is within a relative clause; should it construe with
EISIN or with EPISHMOI. I'm not sure that it really makes that much
difference, but my preference would be to take it with EPISHMOI. So how is
EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS to be understood? Hardly, I think as an instrumental
usage of EN which is rare in classical Attic but not uncommon in NT Koine;
it must be locative. It is certainly not a dative proper such as might
suggest "distinguished in the eyes of the apostles." The ordinary way of
taking it is "among the apostles." One might theoretically suppose that
Andronicus and Junia are persons surrounded by apostles although not
themselves apostles--i.e. that EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS means something like "in
the midst of the apostles"--they are distinguished because there they are
at the center of things and they have apostles all around them. Some may
persuade themselves (middle/reflexive) that this is what the phrase means,
but that seems tantamount (in my view) to swallowing a camel.

(D) For what it's worth to anyone, Fred Danker has assured me that (if and)
when the next edition of BAGD comes forth from U. of Chicago Press, it will
identify IOUNIAN in Rom 16:7 as a feminine name, Junia.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243

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