Re: Junia an Apostle or Junia considered prominent by the Apostles?

From: D. Charles Pyle (
Date: Wed Apr 05 2000 - 02:13:30 EDT

<x-charset iso-8859-1>Eric Weiss asked:

> But ... what about, e.g., John Chrysostom's statement/understanding that
> this phrase meant that Junia was an apostle? (see *** below) At least some
> of the Early Church Fathers, including Chrysostom, tended to view this
> phrase this way, did they not? Does their understanding of the meaning of
> the phrase have any weight?

Just my opinion, but I would be very careful how I read the Fathers. From
what I have read, Patristic Greek differs from First-century Koine in a
number of ways. I almost would see it as being similar to the differences
between modern English and Jacobean English. Greek has undergone several
significant changes in grammatical usage over time. Some of the vocabulary
was shifted during the great theological debates and councils, while some
differences purely were dialectic. Today Koine Greek, while intelligible to
large degree to modern Greeks, still is different in grammatical form. I
learned this while comparing Patristic Greek with Koine and while perusing
my own copy of the 1956 BIBLIKH ETAIREIA Greek New Testament that I use in
my nightly reading. This edition of which I speak contains two columns; one
Koine and one Demotike (often called Koine today). There is much that is
identical. There is also much that differs grammatically and in the forms
of many of the words, while trying to convey the meaning of the Koine to the
reader using a more modern dialect.

In a conversation with a native Greek in Boston, I asked about a number of
things. I was flatly told that much of what is in the Koine is not as well
understood as Demotike, and that it is easier for many to read the NT
rendered into the grammatical forms and sentence structure of Demotike than
in "archaic Koine"--(his words, not mine). I would hazard that it might be
possible to understand the passage in question in more than one way,
including the manner in which Chrysostom did. On the other hand, is it not
possible that Chrysostom may have misunderstood what Paul wrote? His
writings are almost Attic in style. Even Attic Greek grammar differed in
usage from Koine in somewhat significant ways.

In addition, there may be other factors that influence the readings of the
Patristic texts. Origin made more of the use and non-use of the article
based upon his own understanding of the time than studies of the texts he
used have shown he should have. (Of course, much of what Origin wrote was
rewritten by a Latin translator of his texts if what Jerome said be true, so
one wonders whether the writings of Chrysostom were not rewritten in some
way. This is indeed what happened to the writings of Ignatius, now being
found in at least three recensions). There is much that we do not know.

Other questions that I would have would be whether common tradition would
hold to or support what Chrysostom taught with respect to Romans 16:7. How
common was this view? Was it common to the whole Church and widespread in
nearly all geographical areas from which theological writings have been
recovered, like the doctrine of QEOPOIHSIS or QEOSIS, or only a tradition
held in but one or two quarters? Did only Chrysostom hold this view? Did he
change his mind later? How many others held the selfsame view and where were
they in relation to geography and time of writing? I know that these
questions are probably not fully within the scope of this list, perhaps
belonging to another list, but I feel that questions like the above are
important to ask at all times when one consults the writings of the Fathers
for their interpretations of various NT texts.

Just my two centavos before turning in for the night.
D. Charles Pyle

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:41:04 EDT