Re: Junia EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS (and Andronicus too)

From: Robert J. Petry, C.L. (
Date: Wed Jun 25 1997 - 23:32:00 EDT

Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> At 5:39 PM -0400 6/25/97, Robert J. Petry, C.L. wrote:
> (snip)
> 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.

I did not know this had been discussed twice. Possibly everything in the
future we discuss will have been discussed before. But, if this topic
had not returned I never would have had the opportunity to read your
excellent responses to this list. Though, as you say, this can be a
volatile topic, it appears that most if not all are handling it quite
well to this point. I think this list is a perfect example of being
"dogmatic" with our understandings until proven incorrect, but not
stepping into the realm of "legislating" our understandings on others.

> (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:

Bullinger, among others make comments like this: "Junia, The Acc. case
may indicate either masc. Junias, or fem. Junia. Although Bullinger has
not written a grammar to my knowledge, his comment seems to relate what
many commentators understand or believe.

> it says that several major MSS have a masculine form
> IOUNIA=N, but says that these MSS don't show the word with accents;

Do they really matter, the accents, since the "oldest" texts did not
have them. When then, did the accents begin to determine whether
masculine or feminine was being discussed?

> 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
> 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.

My premise or understanding here would be this. If there is no pure
grammatical security here to 100% state that IOUNIAN is definitely
feminine, then internal evidence should have some weight. Where, within
the Koine New Testament is there evidence without doubt that there was
another feminine Apostle. This one possible instance that is
questionable is not proof that Junia, Junias, Junius, is female.

> (snip)
> (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.

My thought, though obviously weakened by your information listed above,
was something along these lines. "President Clinton is a person of note
among the B-Greek list (but he is not a B-Greek subscriber)", at least,
I don't think he is. However, several translations actually say these
two were "Apostles of note" or similar wording, not just individuals, as
you show, that were only "esteemed by the Apostles."
My final thought is this. If IOUNIAN turns out when the final proof is
in to be female, wonderful. If IOUNIAN turns out to be male, wonderful.
The final say is in the Scripture, but coming to the full understanding
is the challenge, and an exciting one at that. And, didn't someone once
say that "without some resistance there can be no growth."?

Robert J. Petry, C.L.
"Procrastination takes time."

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