Re: Romans 16:7/Junias

From: Michael Holmes (
Date: Mon Aug 10 1998 - 13:14:48 EDT

At 12:38 PM 8/10/98 -0400, Ted Mann wrote:
>I believe that Jonathan, in a recent post, indicated that the rationale
>is weak for sustaining the view that hIOUNIAS is a masculine name. I
>deleted his message, so I hope my memory is accurate. I apologize if it
>1. Both the GNT and GTR have hIOUNIAN, and my parsing guide indicates
>2. Some translations use Junias, and some have Junia (which I assume is
>3. Vincent, Thayer, Robertson and BAGD indicate that it could go either
>way. BAGD says that ancient commentators viewed Andronicus and Junia as
> husband and wife.
>4. My commentaries indicate masculine.
>Judging from my limited resources, it sounds as if the evidence is pretty
>evenly divided. But what is the evidence? Does the evidence favor one
>view over the other?

This same question came up two years ago; forgive me the liberty of
repeating what I said at that time:

>At 02:45 PM 7/10/96 EDT, Jonathan wrote:
>>While we're on the subject of Phoebe, how about Junias, as in, "Greet
>>and Junias...they are outstanding among the apostles..."
>>This verse raises two significant questions:
>>1. Is Junias male or female? I have seen both assertions, as well as an
>>assertion that it could be either. BAGD says that a female Junias is "a
>>possibility", Robertson's Word Pictures says that Junias could be either
male or
>>female. Is anybody familiar with the arguments here? What does BAGD mean by "a
>>lexical possibility"?
>>2. How are we to interpret "outstanding among the apostles"?
>Richard Cervin ("A Note Regarding the Name 'Junia(s)' in Romans 16:7," New
Test. Studies 40 [1994] 464-470) concludes: "A proper examination of the
linguistic evidence regarding the name _Iunia_ shows that the name is
feminine, not masculine. The masculine form of the name is _Iunius_ in Latin
and IOUNIOS in Greek (accusative forms: _Iunium_ and IOUNION respectively).
There is thus no ambiguity in the morphology of the masculine and feminine
forms of this name in either language. The theory that the name is
_Iunias_, and may be a shortened form of the masculine name _Iunianus_, is
groundless because there is so far no empirical evidence to support such a
theory." (p. 470).
>As for the second question, Lightfoot understood them to be apostles;
"Except to escape the difficulty involved in such an extension of the
apostolate [i.e., beyond the number 12], I do not think the words OITINES
EISIN EPISHMOI EN TOIS APOSTOLOIS would have been rendered 'who are highly
esteemed by the Apostles.' The Greek fathers took the more natural
interpretation" [i.e., 'among the apostles'] (Lightfoot, _Galatians_, 96).
The issue in his day [an argument about the meaning of apostle--just twelve,
or a larger group] was different than our argument [is the woman Junia an
apostle or not], but his observation--"except to escape"--may yet be to the
>Mike Holmes
>Bethel College

Mike Holmes

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