Re: Junia EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS (and Andronicus too)

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Jun 26 1997 - 08:40:55 EDT

At 08:32 PM 6/25/97 -0700, Robert J. Petry, C.L. wrote:

I know this a little off the subject, but what does C.L. mean?

>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."?

I think that's a great way to approach it! (Of course, since nobody on this
list has to subscribe to any particular theology, not everybody would agree
that the final say is in scripture, but I hope it is OK to share that it is
for you and me, because I think that will help others understand why this
issue is so important to us.)

>Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>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.

If I understand what Carl said, if IOUNIAN is a name that occurs anywhere
else in the Greek corpus, then it is a common feminine name. Strictly
according to morphological laws, it is could also be Junias, but this is a
name that does not occur anywhere. Because of this difficulty, it used to be
argued that the name was Junianus, and the 'nu' part disappeared somehow. I
note in my GNT that P46 and a few other manuscripts changed IOUNIAN to
IOULIAN, perhaps to resolve the same difficulty.

Look, let's say we didn't have any opinion whether apostles could be women,
and didn't even know that this was an issue. If we came across this passage,
we would simply assume that a woman named Junia was counted among the
apostles. This does raise some question in my mind, and makes me wonder what
the rest of the GNT says about the issue. When you ask for "pure grammatical
security here to 100% state that IOUNIAN is definitely feminine", you seem
to be pretty sure that the rest of the GNT clearly states that a woman can
not be an apostle. I really don't know whether it does; I'm constantly
bumping into things that make me realize that the Bible doesn't say what I
thought it says, no matter *what* I thought it says, so I have to keep
reevaluating with an open mind.

It also seems to me that at least some people who *are* sure that women
can't be apostles also felt the need to translate the Greek in an unnatural
way, or to change IOUNIAN to IOULIAN. This latter change might be some
indication that native speakers of Greek felt that IOUNIAN must have been a
feminine form, and changed it.

For what it's worth, I'm also not sure that I believe in the doctrine of
"grammatical security" ;->
>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.

I just did a "who", and although three of the addresses have .gov domains,
none are from Of course, it is possible that he subscribes
from an account on a different machine, has a Mindspring account, or
whatever. If he *is* subscribed, I hope he'll identify himself to clear all
this up!

>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."

When you raised this question, I wasn't sure whether it could be construed
both ways, but Carl has convinced me that to say Junia wasn't an apostle
*would* be tantamount to "swallowing a camel". (Do you know that I never
realized that Jesus was being humorous when he said that until Elton
Trueblood pointed it out in "The Humor of Jesus"? My minister had always
intoned it without a twinkle in his eye...)


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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