Was Junia A Female Apostle? A Reply to J.R. Ensey

This blog post is a response to a recent blog article[1] by J.R. Ensey. Ensey is former President of Texas Bible College and a well published Oneness Pentecostal theologian and author. Typically, I do not find myself disagreeing with Ensey but on this subject we take differing views. Nobody agrees all the time on everything so this is no surprise. However, a good Biblical discussion can only help clarify the respective positions. Another reply to Ensey’s article by Jason Weatherly can also be found here[2].

Is Junia a Female Name?

“The best available mss of Romans have Junia, a feminine name. Several later mss substitute “Junias,” a masculine name. Some early Christian scribes evidently altered the spelling from Junia to “Junias” in order to make the individual a male apostle.”[3]

To this point Paul has greeted several people in the church and among them are women and married couples. For example, in verse 13 Paul refers to Prisca and Aquila who are a married couple: woman and man. Even if we did not know that Junia was a female name, we would still suspect that Andronicus and Junia were husband and wife given this indication. This is not decisive in itself but part of the accumulative case.

We can say with a degree of certainty that Junia is female name. There is no word for “man” or “male” in the Greek text to indicate otherwise. This is not really needed to understand who Junia might be. As we progress we will see that the context may contain indicators to help us see this more clearly. In the fourth century John Chrysostom refers to Junia as a female apostle. Another fourth century witness, Epiphanius, does use the noun in the masculine form but this is not convincing especially since he also refers to Prisca as a male as well.

Michael Burer and Daniel Wallace note, “The majority of patristic commentators regard this as a feminine name.”(4) The evidence, then, is actually against Junia being a male. Those in doubt should be those who would suggest she is not female. That seems to be the more tenuous position at this point. J.D.G. Dunn notes:

"But the simple fact is that the masculine form has been found nowhere else, and the name is more naturally taken as Ἰουνίαν = Junia … as was taken for granted by the patristic commentators, and indeed up to the Middle Ages. The assumption that it must be male is a striking indictment of male presumption regarding the character and structure of earliest Christianity…The most natural way to read the two names within the phrase is as husband and wife."(5)

Andronicus and Junia are referred to, by Paul, as though they were package deal and gives no hint of separate designations. Therefore, our hint may not be wrong. Paul and this couple seem to have had a long standing association with each other, since both were “fellow prisoners”, and both were “in Christ” before him. Romans 16 in particular has almost as many women mentioned as men: Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Tryphena and Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus's mother, Julia, Nereus's sister. And 9 of the 26 people greeted by Paul in Romans 16 were women. The probability for Junia being a female is significantly high.

Was Junia an Apostle?

If one assumes that only males are apostles then this text has been decided, however if apostles are not only males then this text presents no problems. An apostle isn’t just a part of the original twelve. Texts such as Galatians 1:17; Acts 14:4; 14; 2 Corinthians 8:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:6; Romans 1:1; Philippians 2:25 offer a wider sense. Roberston Nicoll cautions that “Paul’s use of the word Apostle is not such as to make it easy to believe that he thought of a large class of persons who might be so designated, a class so large that two otherwise unknown persons like Andronicus and Junias might be conspicuous in it.”[6]

Romans 16:7 also indicates that Andronicus and Junia were “outstanding” (NASB) or “prominent” among the apostles. The Greek word for “outstanding” here or “prominent” (KJV) is episemos which occurs twice[7] in the Greek New Testament and nine times[8] in the Greek Old Testament (LXX). In Romans 16:7 this adjective is used in a plural form. This word can refer to bearing a mark or being notable. The following lexical sources indicate:


“excellent, distinguished; infamous…Rom 16:7: distinguished among the apostles (ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις)”[9]


“splendid, prominent, …outstanding ἐ. ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις outstanding among the apostles Ro 16:7.”[10]

Wallace and Burer suggest that this word, instead of here meaning prominent, suggest it is possible to translate Andronicus and Junia as esteemed by the apostles. Therefore, although Junia is female she may not necessarily be an apostle. Burer and Wallace’s study seem to hinge primarily upon pseudipigraphal works (Psalms of Solomon). However, more convincing that pseudipigrhaphal works is the apocryphal 3 Maccabes 6:1 which indicates the sense of “prominent among” as well. In addition, typically one who is esteemed by another is the one who is outstanding. Or, stands out above the others as in 3 Maccabes 6:1 which reads, “Then a certain Eleazar, famous among the priests of the country…”[11] Eleazar was, quite literally, an outstanding priest.

Greek scholar Mark Goodacre from Duke disagrees[12] and even suggests that Mary Magdalene is the first apostle. Goodacre also cites Eldon J. Epp[13] who argues that Junia is a female and apostle. He also suggests that “the apostles” is being used as a descriptor about the status of Andronicus and Junia. He further notes,

“It makes sense and is perfectly Pauline. In the NET translation, on the other hand, "the apostles" is used in a less obviously Pauline sense. Now he is appealing to the authority of an external group labelled as "the apostles". He does not say that Andronicus and Junia are esteemed by "us apostles" (cf. 1 Cor. 4.9) or by "all the apostles, including me", as we might have expected if this were the sense of the passage. He continually refers to himself in Romans 16, and three times in this verse, 16.7, "my relatives", "my fellow prisoners", "in Christ before me", yet on the NET translation, he appears to give authority to a group called "the apostles" that does not obviously include him.”[14]

Episemos is used to describe the ones to whom Paul refers. J.R. Ensey in a recent blog article[15] suggests that we cannot really know if Junia was a female or even if she was an Apostle. The latter is probably more debated than the former but this does not keep us from being able to make good conclusions. Ensey notes:

“In the broader context of the New Testament record, it is highly unlikely that Paul would be naming Junia[s] as an apostle. Even if this reference were to a woman, she would be the lone and solitary example of a female apostle.”

Paul never suggests that ministry is limited to a particular gender. In fact, the first preacher of the Gospel was planned by God to be a female.[16] Yet, here Ensey assumes, that Paul would never name a female as an apostle but since the Old Testament God has had plans to use females in his plan for believers. Ensey assumes his view and does not prove it. Unless one has an a priori assumption that an Apostle refers exclusively to males or only the original twelve the text can be read to suggest that Junia is a female and an Apostle. Perhaps, we will see further posts from Ensey concerning this.

Notice the below renderings of the final clause in Romans 16:7. The latter rendering, the NLT, seems to leave room for either interpretation.

“of note among the apostles” KJV
“outstanding among the Apostles” NASB
“of note among the apostles” NKJV
“prominent among the apostles” NRSV
“well taken among the apostles” Bishops, Tyndale
“which are ancient apostles” Coverdale
“outstanding among the apostles” Pickering
“prominent among the apostles” ISV
“highly respected among the Apostles” NLT

The UBS Handbook on the Book of Romans suggests that this last clause should refer to those counted as “as apostles and were well known”.[17] J.D.G. Dunn further notes,

"The full phrase almost certainly means “prominent among the apostles,”…The straightforward description “the apostles”, and the following clause, together strongly suggest that Andronicus and Junia belonged to the large group (larger than the twelve) of those appointed apostles by the risen Christ in 1 Cor 15:7 …That is, they belonged most probably to the closed group of apostles appointed directly by the risen Christ in a limited period following his resurrection and would include Andronicus and Junia within the select group of “premier” apostles (Eph 2:20), along with Barnabas (Gal 2:9; 1 Cor 9:5–6) and probably Silvanus (1 Thess 2:6–7). …We may firmly conclude, however, that one of the foundation apostles of Christianity was a woman and wife."(18)

Ensey also cites Albert Barnes. Barnes in his commentary suggests they were not apostles. He offers the following points against this interpretation of Romans 16:7. A reply will separate each point.

(1) There is no account of their having been appointed as such.

This is simply not sufficient. Outside of Paul’s reference in chapter 16 we do not even know the account of Andronicus and Junia being imprisoned as Paul. He simply recounts the historical experience as here. Are we to assume that Andronicus and Junia were not fellow-prisoners? No evidence is needed apart from Paul describing them as such.

(2) The expression is not one which would have been used if they “had” been. It would have been “who were distinguished apostles”; compare Romans 1:1; I Corinthians 1:1; II Corinthians 1:1; Philippians 1:1.

This is not decisive, but interesting. Differing constructions can be offered for almost any reading we choose. Likewise, if Andronicus and Junia were not apostles then we could expect something like 2 Corinthians 8:18: “We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches;” However, this is not what we have in Romans 16:7.

(3) It by no means implies that they were apostles. All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them, as Paul immediately adds, before he was himself converted. They had been converted “before” he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honored with the friendship of the other apostles.”

This is to assume what he has yet to prove. As noted, episemos can refer to one who is outstanding among the apostles. But, an apostle nonetheless. Ensey also cites Jamieson-Faussett-Brown Commentary.

J-F-B Commentary states: “…where the connection or some qualifying words show that the literal meaning of ‘one sent’ is the thing intended, understand by the expression used here, ‘persons esteemed by the apostles’ [Beza, Grotius, De Wette, Meyer, Fritzsche, Stuart, Philippi, Hodge]. And of course, if “Junia” is to be taken for a woman, this latter must be the meaning.”

Ironically, the JFB commentators actually believe the feminine Junia is “more probable” at Romans 16:7. One cannot merely presume that the operative phrase “the apostles” cannot include one who is a female. This has yet to be proven. It well may be the case, I personally do not believe that it is, but that has not been proven. Therefore, interpretation is a primary factor no matter how we slice it. Ensey also notes:

"An interesting observation is that the Greek preposition “en” (en) can be translated in numerous ways. In Romans alone, the term is translated 156 times as “to” and only 9 times as “among.” It was a choice made solely by the translators. Tyndale, Cranmer, and the Geneva Bible translators rendered the term “well taken among the apostles.” Romans 15:9 may shed some light on the matter: “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy: as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” The use of “among” here did not mean that the one glorifying God, confessing Him, and singing unto His name (Christ) among the Gentiles was one of them. He was born a Jew and died a Jew, but He did these things among the Gentiles."

Words have various meanings depending upon their contexts. Perhaps, alternate readings are possible, as Burer and Wallace have demonstrated, but that does not mean it is being used in such a way here. In Luke 22:26 this same preposition is used in the dative and rendered “greatest among you” (ESV). Therefore, translating “en” as “among” seems to be a perfectly valid way of translating it in Romans 16:7 where it is also used in the dative. In summary Ensey notes:

"It is entirely possible to find those in academia who may feel pressure to say absolutely that Junia was a woman and an apostle, giving a nod to political correctness. Since the language chosen for the KJV seems to leave a small loophole in some minds, it has become the culturally popular position to take. However, looking at the whole of Scripture, and the preponderance of scholarly analysis, the conclusion most apparent is that these two individuals were faithful saints of God—perhaps ministers, although not stated—and were early converts well known to the apostles, having a reputation for faithful, outstanding service in the body of Christ. Beyond that, speculation takes over."

In his November blog contribution J.R. Ensey suggested that short pants on men has never been a part of the Apostolic Christian’s wardrobe. In the July blog post he states, “No one can deny that the vast majority of colleges and seminaries have been consigned to irreversible liberalism.” There is no question that believers are to be modest and we should spend our education dollars wisely. Neither of these follow to Ensey’s conclusions about short pants and neither does it imply we shouldn’t seek higher education. Even implying such a thing is dangerous to the development of the Christian mind. Using Ensey’s logic could he garner anyone in “academia” that would agree with him on his views of short pants or seminary? This type of logic can quickly come full circle.


[1] JRENSEY Blog: http://jrenseyblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/
[2] The Weatherly Report: http://theweatherlyreport.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-response-to-was-junia-romans-167.html
[3] Edwards, James. "Romans 16:7." Ed. Walter J. Harrelson. The New Interpreter's Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha. Nashville: Abingdon, 2003. 2033
[4] Daniel Wallace and Michael Burer, "Was Junia Really an Apostle?: A Re-examination of Romans 16.7", Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 6/2 (Fall 2001), http://www.michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/Was%20Junia%20Really%20an%20Apostle%20A%20Re%20examination%20of%20Rom%2016%207.pdf
[5] James D. G. Dunn, Romans 9–16, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998). 894.
[6] Nicoll, W. Robertson. "Romans 16:7." The Expositor's Greek Testament. New York: Dodd, Mead,
[7] Matthew 27:16; Romans 16:7
[8] Genesis 30:42; Esther 5:4; 1 Maccabes 11:37; 14:48; 2 Maccabes 15:36; 3 Maccabes 6:1; Psalm of Solomon 2:6; 17:30
[9] Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990-). 33
[10] William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature : A Translation and Adaption of the Fourth Revised and Augmented Edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch Zu Den Schrift En Des Neuen Testaments Und Der Ubrigen Urchristlichen Literatur (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979). 298.
[11] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989). 3 Mac 6:1.
[12] Goodacre, Mark. Associate Professor of New Testament Dept. of Religion, Duke University. http://podacre.blogspot.com/2009/09/nt-pod-12-junia-first-woman-apostle.html
[13] Eldon Jay Epp, Junia: The First Woman Apostle (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005)
[14] Goodacre, Mark. Associate Professor of New Testament Dept. of Religion, Duke University http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/andronicus-and-junia-prominent-among.html
[15] Ensey, J.R. http://jrenseyblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/
[16] Ps 68:11 The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host:; Matt 28:5, 10 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”; Mark 16:11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. Luke 24:10, 11 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
[17] Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1973). 292.
[18] James D. G. Dunn, Romans 9–16, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998). 894-95.


LysaDulle said...
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Unknown said...
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Jason Dulle said...

You raised the point that given other male-female pairs in Romans 16, we might “suspect” that Junia is a female. You acknowledged that this is not decisive, but I wanted to point out that in v. 12 the name pair refers to two women, so we can’t just assume that a name pair most likely refers to a husband-wife pair. If Philologus and Julia (16:15) are a husband and wife pair, then of the three name-pairs two are husband and wife and one is probably twin sisters. I’m not sure that’s enough to argue that the presumption is that Junia was the wife of Andronicus.

While the early fathers thought of Junia as a female name, why did they do so? As Wallace indicates, the only difference in Greek between the male and female version of the name was an accent mark, and there were no accent marks in the NT Greek manuscripts until the 9th century. So what reason did the Fathers have for thinking this to be a female?

As for the male form, you say it has been found nowhere else besides Romans 16:7. The study note in the NET Bible, however, says there is “one instance of the masculine name… in extant Greek literature (Epiphanius mentions Junias in his Index discipulorum 125).”

You cited 3 Mac 6:1 as more decisive than pseudopigraphal works cited by Wallace and Burer, implying that Wallace didn’t deal with this passage. He actually did. He cited it as an example of how episemos is used with the genitive to indicate comparison (outstanding among). But in Rom 16:7 episemos is not used with the genitive. It’s used with the dative, which is why Wallace thinks an elative sense (well-known by) rather than a comparative sense is intended there.

After reading your post, I’m not clear on what your position is. Clearly you think Junia is a female, but do you think she was an “outstanding apostle” or “well-known to the apostles”?

BTW, your last paragraph looks like it was being written for a separate blog post.

JN Anderson said...

Jason, I'll try to respond to each of your paragraphs in order.

I wasn't referring to vs. 15 but vs. 13, as I clearly noted in the post, which contains a reference to Prisca and Aquila. Therefore, your first point is somewhat skewed.

What reason? Because she was a female? There are many reasons. Junia being a popular Latin name at the writing of Romans should be a good indicator. Hebrews usually dropped their Hebrew name and went with a Greek or Latin one. Luther's Bible calls her a famous apostle and Erasmus's Greek text accents Junia in the feminine. The Greek Orthodox Church holds Junia as a saint to this day. Perhaps, because she was really a female. That's usually why we refer to females as females.

I believe critical texts started (19th Cent) accenting the name as male but as far as I can tell the only accented form attested in the mss is the feminine. Maybe you can double check. but, as you note they aren't really good evidence since they are late. They simply prove that scribe x or scribe b believed it was masculine or feminine.

Junias is in the acc case so it could be male or female at first blush. Given the patristics, like Chrysostom and all early Latin writers, the evidence is against it being masculine. Origin, has a female and male reference but the latter, male reference, is a late corruption (as Wallace agrees). Yes, the uncials had not accent marks just as pre-Masoretic texts. However, P46 does contain Ioulian the Greek feminine name for Julia. Possibly the scribe saw it as interchangeable. Also, Byzantine mss accent it in feminine.

I've already mentioned Epiphanus in the post. Besides Epiphanus what else do you have? I mentioned Epiphanus within the first three paragraphs. Epiphanus also refers to Prisca as Priscus, a male, that is why even Wallace doesn't think much of it. Unreliable witness.

I see your point on 3 Macc 6:1. It is probably false to suggest, though, that en plus a dative cannot refer to one being a member of a group. The en plus dative is used in my cited example to mean "among". See Luke 22:26. You've ignored this so far.

I wouldn't say, either, that I suggested Wallace didn't deal with that passage. That is reading too much into what I wrote. In fact, what gives you that impression? I don't think I even implied such a thing. I referred to 3 Macc 6:1 to indicated how one stands out from another within the same group. Genitive or dative it can be "among"

Rom. 16:7 is used with dative and I clearly referenced that in my post. That's why I also cited Luke 22:26.

I believe Junia is a female Apostle. As I clearly stated in my blog post I do think Burer and Wallace offer another possible interpretation. But they do not negate the other possibility which seems more likely. I do not believe it is the one Paul goes with here in Rom. 16:7.

Bauckham and Wolters have argued from other directions. Suggesting that Junia is a transliterated Hebrew name. Yet, even this name could be feminine or masculine and Hebrews typically dropped their Hebrew name. Common usage suggests Junia is feminine.

Yes, I believe she was a female Apostle. However, I do think that Wallace and Burer do show other possible way of translating this verse. They are not without critics so I don't see their position as final nor convincing to me. Language is versatile and it is now wonder that certain words do have flexibility and other meanings can be derive. The mere existence of either however doesn't demand its usage. I think theology and presupposition have much to do with interpretation here also.

My last paragraph was not written for a separate post. It was written specifically for this post.

Jason Dulle said...


You never referred to verse 13. I imagine this is a typo and you meant to say verse 3. And I realize you didn’t refer to verse 15. I brought that verse up. You were arguing that the husband-wife pair in verse 3 should make us “suspect” that the name-pair in verse 7 is also a husband-wife pair, with Junia being the wife. I was simply making the point that there are other name-pairs in this passage, such as in verses 12 and 15. One of them is probably a husband-wife pair, but the other are two females (and likely twin sisters). From this observation I made the point that we cannot just assume that a name-pair must include one man and one woman, or even presume the relationship of the two people in the name-pair.

Your answer isn’t getting at my question. I am asking why the early church fathers thought she was a female since the Greek texts they would have been reading would not have distinguished the male from the female version of the name. Unless they knew of this “couple” personally to know that “Junia” was a female, I don’t see why we should give the Fathers much weight. About the only reason I can think of for their conclusion that Junia was a female is that they had reason to believe this was a Latin name written in Greek, and Junia was the female form of that. Since Paul was writing to the Romans we would expect for several people to have Latin names.

As for the mss, you seem to be saying that the majority accent the name as female, but according to Wallace the bulk of the mss have the circumflex, indicating that the scribes thought it was a man’s name, not a female.

You wrote, “I see your point on 3 Macc 6:1. It is probably false to suggest, though, that en plus a dative cannot refer to one being a member of a group. The en plus dative is used in my cited example to mean "among". See Luke 22:26. You've ignored this so far.” Ignored what? Luke 22:26? If so, I wasn’t ignoring anything. It wasn’t relevant to my comments. But I don’t see how it’s relevant to the discussion since the primary word is not found in that passage: episemos. Wallace wasn’t addressing how en+dative can be used in the abstract, but specifically how episemos is used with en+dative vs. en+genitive.

As for 3 Macc, yes, it means “among” precisely because it is used with the genitive. But in Rom 16:7 it’s not the genitive that’s used, but the dative. That was my point. I don’t see how citing a dissimilar construction supports your view. If Rom 16:7 was also in the genitive, then that would be a different story. But what Wallace shows is that the genitive was used to mean “among” while the dative was used to mean “well-known to”. While the data is sparse, I don’t see how you can import the meaning of the genitive into the dative.

What gives me the impression that you were saying Wallace did not deal with that passage is the fact that you wrote, “Burer and Wallace’s study seem to hinge primarily upon pseudipigraphal works (Psalms of Solomon). However, more convincing that pseudipigrhaphal works is the apocryphal 3 Maccabes 6:1 which indicates the sense of “prominent among” as well.” By saying, “however,” you are contrasting what follows with Wallace’s study. You seemed to be saying that Wallace drew his conclusions from pseudopigraphal works, whereas you are drawing yours from apocryphal works (it’s not clear to me why one set of works has more merit over the other anyway). But his study involved this passage, so he wasn’t just looking at pseudopygraphal works. Indeed, it seems to me that his conclusion was greatly informed by 3 Mac because it showed that the genitive, and not the dative, was used to mean “among.”

I agree that language is versatile, which is why we cannot make too much of the grammatical case. Indeed, I think that’s good reason not to bank too much on this verse when it comes to formulating our views on women ministers.

You intended that last paragraph? What does short pants have to do with Junia? Did she wear short pants?

JN Anderson said...

Jason, yes that was a typo. I made the corrections. Thank you.

I would not discount the patristics too much on this one. They actually spoke Greek. They didn't learn it as a secondary langauge.

Concerning the name couplets: personally I find the coupling of two females as being sisters or some kin. That would not imply marriage and so I wouldn't have a legitmiate reason to supsect this. However, with Prisca and Aquila it's clear. And with Andronicus and Junia it seems clear that we have a husband and wife. With both of these couplets there is no separate designations. I would agree that we can't just presume but I don't agree that's what's actually happening. Andronicus and Junia being brother and sister is not likely and given that husband and wife teams were know in other professions such as doctors or lower-class merchants here it's also no surprise.

A presupposition against female apostles has militated against this interpreation nothing else. I think Metzger's comments below are clear. Those who opposed did so and with reasoned arguments (e.g. Junia occurs 250x in Greek/Latin. Junias found nowhere. When accenting was started it reflected fem not masc.) Grammar doesn't seem to make a compelling argument against Junia being a female apostle.

Given the fact that scholars (Craig S. Keener, R.H. Mounce, F.F. Bruce, Ed Sanders, E.J. Epp, J.D.G Dunn) do support the view that en plus the dative can refer to "among". F.F. Bruce notes this of Andronicus and Junia here, "they were not merely well known to the apostles but were apostles themselves" (TNTC). Also, R.H. Mounce suggests "means outstanding “among the apostles” rather than “in the eyes of the apostles."" (NAC) As mentioned prior, Newman and Nida also affrim "They are well known among the apostles has been understood by some to mean “the apostles know them well,” but a far more acceptable interpretation would imply that these men were counted as apostles and were well known, for example, “as apostles they are well known.”"

That means such scholars recognize en plus the dative can mean among here. Unless, one wants to presume these scholars are oblivious to the case of that preposition. I seriously doubt that is the case. Obviously with or without being enjoined with episemos. I don't think Wallace presented a challenge which eliminates the alternate view. But does offer a possible interpretation. En plus a plural dative may not be uncommon in apocryphal or pseudepigraphical lit. but that doesn't mean that's what Paul has went with there. However, I don't agree that it's the one Paul is going with at the end of the day. I could leave it completely open here but I am making a choice. Given the data, not speculation.

JN Anderson said...

Bruce Metzger, in his Textual Commentary, notes,
On the basis of the weight of manuscript evidence the Committee was unanimous in rejecting Ἰουλίαν (see also the next variant in ver. 15) in favor of Ἰουνιαν, but was divided as to how the latter should be accented. Some members, considering it unlikely that a woman would be among those styled “apostles,” understood the name to be masculine Ἰουνιᾶν (“Junias”), thought to be a shortened form of Junianus (see Bauer-Aland, Wörterbuch, pp. 770 f.). Others, however, were impressed by the facts that (1) the female Latin name Junia occurs more than 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name Junias is unattested anywhere, and (2) when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”). (For recent discussions, see R. R. Schulz in Expository Times, iic (1986–87), pp. 108–110; J. A. Fitzmyer, Romans (Anchor Bible Commentary, 1993), pp. 737 f.; and R. S. Cervin in New Testament Studies, xl (1994), pp. 464–470.)
The “A” decision of the Committee must be understood as applicable only as to the spelling of the name Ἰουνιαν, not the accentuation.

Perhaps they did know of this couple personally. Perhaps, in a tradition unkown to us until this point. It seems they had a motivation for using it in the feminine and I doubt they would have used it over 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions without some reason.

I think Metzger also answers your second objection that the bulk of mss have the circumflex to indicate the scribes thought it was a man's name, not female. I think the form used of both nouns (Andronicus and Junia) are accusative or such that they can be either female or male. Other textual factors or textual cues, or word usage might push us in the right direction from there. As Metzger notes above the decision is applicable only to the spelling "not the accentuation". Perhaps I am wrong here and await your reply.

It seems you looked it over in your reply (Luke 22:26). You are mistaken to suggest it is irrelevant given that the same preposition with the same case is indicated there. It may not have been what Wallace was aruging for, and I didn't suggest he did. Episemos is not in that text but it establishes grammatical precendent for that prepositional usage. Other instances such as Matt 2:6; 11:11 and Acts 15:22 support en plus the dative as meaning "among" in a comparative sense.

JN Anderson said...

You wrote, "As for 3 Macc, yes, it means “among” precisely because it is used with the genitive. But in Rom 16:7 it’s not the genitive that’s used, but the dative." That's the presupposition, I think. That it cannot be because it's genitive not dative. And that a comparative contruction must always have a gentive construct. That's what hasn't been proven. Since you are relying on the preposition here, and its case specifically, then Luke 22:26 is very relevant. Also, how dissimilar could 3 Macc 6:1 be? It's not even referring to Andronicus and Junia or a fellow kinsmen of Paul? How about Wallace and Burer's use of Psalm of Solomon 2:6? Is that really a parallel? Or, is dissimilarity somehwat relevant at some point? Also, in the final clause of 1 Cor 6:4 en plus dative is used to reference those despised in the church.

You wrote, "Indeed, it seems to me that his conclusion was greatly informed by 3 Mac because it showed that the genitive, and not the dative, was used to mean “among.” Just showing the genitive can mean among would not rule out the dative being used as among. Episemos (can be adj or noun) is modifying those nouns and by the nominative referring back to those subjects to describe something about them. I also provided the data from the EDNT which cites the only two NT Greek examples of episemos. In both instances they seem to refer to the same group: Rom 16:7 and Matt 27:16. For example, in the latter " At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas." (NASB) In context, both Jesus and Barrabas belong to the same group: prisoners. In this verse there isn't the identical prepositional usage. Matthew mentions that Barrabas is notorious amongst the prisoners so it's definitely functioning as an adjective modifying the noun. The semantic range they refer is: excellent, distinguished and infamous. Distinguished among the apostles is their selection and could mean something described of Andronicus and Juna, not merely thought of "by the apostles" or "in the perception of the apostles".

JN Anderson said...

Glosses of this type and similar ones seem to refer to the apostles as esteeming Andronicus and Junia. It seems odd to say that they are esteemed by the apostles since Paul is a member of that group and usually includes himself in that group typically. Not something done by an external group. It is unclear to me how episemos can be a word of perception as Wallace and Burer indicate. No, I don't see a valid reason why an adj. plus a genitive and an adj. plus the dative cannot ever have similar meanings. It would seem common in language for there to be more than one way to say the same thing.

You wrote, "I agree that language is versatile, which is why we cannot make too much of the grammatical case. Indeed, I think that’s good reason not to bank too much on this verse when it comes to formulating our views on women ministers." Agreed. Completely. You should bear in mind too that Wallce and Burer obviously offer their alternative translations in their paper which also, no surprise here, support their theory. If we are considering Romans 16:7 in a vacuum it would not be a go to text to support women in ministry. Although, in Romans 16 Paul doesn't seem shy about pointing out the women used in ministry starting with Phoebe. I certainly wouldn't bank on it. I am replying to a specific article with a narrow focus. But if I were to make a case for women in ministry it would be much more comprehensive and would include, among others, Romans 16:7.

No, I don't think Junia wore short pants. I found it ironic and probably circular for Ensey to suggest the fact that no one in Academia would support Junia, absolutely, as a woman and an apostles. That's actually false on its face besides the fact that he holds other positions and interpretations of Scripture that many or most in Academia would not agree with. This is word candy but at the end of the day isn't decisive. It would seem a stronger case for those who think as Ensey to affirm that Junia is a female apostle but use the latter term in a much wider sense.

Anonymous said...

JN Anderson,

Respectfully, what is your purpose for this post? What is the relevance of the gender of Junia to theology? Is there something deeper that I'm missing here, or is this a interesting diversion from more important theological discussions? It seems petty to me and a detour from more important doctrinal matters. Granted, I did not read Ensey's article. Just wondering what compelled you to write this; it seems like a lot of research to little benefit.

John M

JN Anderson said...

Perhaps, beauty is in the eye of the behold John M. What topics would you like to see discussed on my blog? I am open for suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Re-reading what I wrote, my statement seems a bit critical. I didn't intend it that way. Sorry for that.

It's my view that Trinity doctrine is the greatest deception in the history of Christianity. I greatly appreciate the work you've put in on that topic.

Reading the various reviews of the subject book in your more recent posting ("Are You a Christian?"), I read a mentioning of a point that I struggle with as an apparent paradox (an apparent quote of the author): "Since we recognize as Christians that we are still striving for perfection... we must confess to the world our solidarity with their moral plight."

God's children are redeemed, washed, sanctified, justified... yet we're still sinners. Sin separates, right? Garments are spotted by sin, right? We are commanded to "cleanse ourselves", "mortify our members", "purify ourselves", etc. Christ will return for those who have made their garments white. All sorts of scriptures single out sinfullness as leading to eternal death, yet anyone who claims to be without sin "is a liar and His Word is not in us". How can our garments be white if we all sin, even after an Acts 2:38 experience?

That's a topic that seems seldom discussed. Not to give you a writing assignment. :) Just a thought.

Keep up the good work, sir. I sincerely enjoy your blog.

John M

JN Anderson said...

From Excerpted from The Apostolic Life (2006) by David K. Bernard pgs. 235-237

In Romans 16:7, Paul wrote, “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me” (NKJV). Here he identified a man and a woman, probably a married couple like Priscilla andAquila, as apostles. While it is possible to interpret the phrase as meaning that they were well-known to the apostles, the more natural reading is that they were well-known as apostles. In the New Testament, the term “apostle” identifies a larger category than the original twelve, including such people as Paul, Barnabas, and James the Lord’s brother. Literally meaning someone sent with a commission, it refers to significant leaders and missionaries.

There is some question about the name Junia. The Greek text has Iounian, in the accusative case. This word could be masculine or feminine, depending on the accent. ’Iouniân (circumflex accent over the alpha) is masculine, referring to the name Junias; ’Iounían (acute accent over the iota) is feminine, referring to the name Junia. Some manuscripts have the masculine form, while others have the feminine. The masculine form seems doubtful because Junia was a common female name, while Junias was unknown. The Chester Beatty Papyri have the similar feminine name ’Ioulían, and so do some Old Latin, Coptic, and Ethiopian manuscripts. The traditional text (KJV, NKJV) and the current scholarly text (United Bible Societies, 4th ed., and Nestle-Aland, 27th ed.) both choose the feminine name Junia. Thus, most ancient commentators interpreted the name as Junia and held that she was the wife of Andronicus. In the fourth century John Chrysostom remarked, “Oh! how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!”

Bauer et al. explained that in the New Testament and early Christian literature the Greek name is “not found elsewh., prob. short form of the common Junianus. . . . The possibility, fr. a purely lexical point of view, that this is a woman’s name ’Iounía . . . (ancient commentators took Andr. and Junia as a married couple . . . ) deserves consideration.” Among major translations, the KJV, NKJV, NRSV, and NLT translate the name as Junia (feminine). The RSV, NIV, and NASB translate the name as Junias (masculine). Margaret MacDonald stated of the name Junias: This supposedly masculine name never occurs in ancient literature, and the earliest Christian interpreters of New Testament texts (commonlyknown as the Church Fathers) took the name to be feminine. . . . Some have proposed that Andronicus and Junia may have been prominent among the apostles in the sense that they were valued by apostles, but without actually being apostles themselves. Although this interpretation is possible based on the Greek text, the most straightforward reading is to understand Paul as calling both Andronicus and Junia apostles.

Bernard, David K. (2010-01-12). Apostolic Life, The (Kindle Locations 2065-2068). Word Aflame Press. Kindle Edition.

JN Anderson said...

John M, I sent the author your comments. He said he'll be by here to reply sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

JN Anderson, thanks for following up. I look forward to his and your wisdom on the matter.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)