Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Case For Junia, The Lost Apostle

"Greet Andronicus and Junia(s), my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me."--Paul, Romans 16:7

The story of Junia is a sad one. Beginning in the 13th century, her memory was not only diluted, but the fact that she was an "outstanding" female apostle was hidden by medieval copyists who changed her name to the more male-sounding "Junias." Since the truth has been recovered that Junia was clearly a woman, modern-complementarian translators and scholars now try to strip Junia of the title "apostle," by concluding that she was merely known by the apostles or favored by the apostles, but could never have been deemed an apostle herself. This is a NEW interpretation. The fact that Paul was commending two apostles was never debated, only whether Junia was female or male, and even that debate did not start until the 13th century. The historical reading of this verse has always been that Junia was both a woman and an apostle. It's important to note that the early church fathers who conceded to these facts were by no stretch of the imagination "egalitarians." Many held degrading beliefs about women and their "divinely designated" position in life. But even they could not deny that Paul deemed this woman Junia to be an apostle, and an outstanding one at that.

Two Complementarian Views

1. Junia was really a man

The more hardcore-complementarians still refuse to admit that Junia(s) is a woman, even though for the first 1300 years of church history, ALL commentators of Romans 16:7 believed Junia to be a female AND the male name "Junias" did not even exist during Paul's era. On the other hand, the Latin/Roman-female-name "Junia" is found in ancient literature of Paul's time and found nearly 250 times in ancient Roman inscriptions.

The first person to expound on Romans 16:7 was the early church father, Origen of Alexandria (185-253), who understood the name Junia to be feminine. Other prominent church fathers and theologians recognized "Junia" as a woman: Jerome (340), who translated the Latin Vulgate; Hatto of Vercelli (924-961), a bishop and Greek scholar; Theophylact (1050-1108), and Peter Abelard (1079-1142), a French theologian and philosopher. Not a single commentator on the text until Aegidius of Rome (1245-1316) assumed the name to be masculine. Aegidius offered no textual or historical evidence to support his belief that Junia was a man. He simply made the passing comment about how "these two men" must have been honorable.

John Chrysostom, church father from the 4th century, made it crystal clear that Junia was both a woman and an apostle:

"To be an apostle is something great. But to be outstanding among the apostles—just think what a wonderful song of praise that is...how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle."


Even though the historical and textual evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of rendering "Junia" as a feminine name, complementarians like John Piper and Wayne Grudem cling to the writings of the notoriously disturbed church father, Epiphanius, to "prove" that Junia could have been a man. Epiphanius (315-403) wrote the "Index of Disciples," in which he lists Junia as one "of whom Paul makes mention [and] became bishop of Apameia of Syria." Since Epiphanuis wrote the phrase "of whom" as a masculine relative pronoun, Piper and Grudem conclude that Epiphanius believed Junia to be a man. Regardless of what Epiphanius believed about the gender of Junia, it should be noted that he also believed Priscilla was a man! He once wrote that "the female sex is easily seduced, weak and without much understanding. The Devil seeks to vomit out this disorder through women... We wish to apply masculine reasoning and destroy the folly of these women."

Needless to say, Epiphanius is hardly a credible source. His own writings prove he succumbed to the worst brand of degrading patriarchy. He so despised women that he sought to edit influential ones right out of the scriptures.

New Testament scholar Bernadette Brooten comments on the fictitious male-name Junias:

"To date not a single Latin or Greek inscription, not a single reference in ancient literature has been cited by any of the proponents of the Junias hypothesis. My own search for an attestation has also proved fruitless. This means that we do not have a single shred of evidence that the name Junias ever existed. The feminine Junia, by contrast, is a common name in both Greek and Latin inscriptions and literature. In short, literally all of the philological evidence points to the feminine Junia."

It's important to note that not only is the male name "Junias" nonexistent within the New Testament manuscripts, but it does NOT appear even once in ANY ancient manuscripts, sacred or secular.

The feminine name Junia, however, is found in ancient Greek literature AND appears nearly 250 times in ancient Roman inscriptions.

Bible Scholar Richard Bauckman links the Latin/Roman name Junia to the Greek name Joanna. This would explain the title of apostle. In "Women in the Heart of God" by writers from Christian Thinktank, Bauckman's theory is elaborated upon:

Recent argumentation by Bauckham makes a strong case that not only is this word-noun-name feminine, but also that it is the Latin-ized version of Joanna (one of Jesus' traveling companions/disciples—cf Luke 8.3 and 24.10)! Joanna was the wife of Herod's steward, and would have had a Latin/Roman name for purposes of administration. This identification would make the most sense of the name, her relation to Rome, her being 'in Christ' before Paul, and of her apostolic status (as a witness of Jesus' deeds and resurrection—Acts 1).


2. Junia was merely known by the apostles


This interpretation asserts that Junia was most likely a woman, but was simply well known to the apostles or highly favored by the apostles, but was not an apostle herself. However, if this was the correct and most natural understanding of Romans 16:7, then copyists would not have stooped so low as to blatantly changing the text. This was a desperate and theologically-motivated alteration to change the gender of Junia without any textual or historical warrant. If the verse simply meant that a woman was well known by the apostles, there would have been no controversy, no deceptive tactics to mask Junia's gender in male trappings in the first place. No one on either side of the debate ever questioned whether Paul was deeming these two apostles, but only whether or not Junia was male or female. So, this new interpretation emerged as a last ditch effort in the face of indisputable evidence that Junia was, in fact, a woman. It aims to disprove the notion that a woman could ever be a rightful apostle.

A report from BBC on Adronicus and Junia pointed out:

"The most natural way to read the Greek phrase is that both were apostles; some modern interpreters have rejected this reading mainly because they presuppose that women could never fill this office."

The original Greek (nor the historical reading) does not support this complementarian interpretation. It's basically grammatical gymnastics employed to cast flimsy doubt upon the validity of a woman apostle.

The fact that Junia was imprisoned with Paul should tell us that this woman was a public figure who was considered a leader in the church. The whole point of Romans arresting and killing christians was to make an example of the boldest ones and most influential ones, so other christians would be deterred from following suit. Had this woman remained "silent" in the assemblies and never dared to preach/teach the gospel to men, it hardly makes sense as to why she would find herself behind bars. History bears witness to the fact that the large majority of christians captured, imprisoned, and martyred were public figures and leaders within the early church, men and women alike (more on that in an upcoming post).

Below are two excellent articles on Junia. Both examine the evolution of Junia's name from feminine to masculine and the original wording of this passage in the Greek. I highly recommend reading both articles to get a better grasp on the implications of the original language and the ugly reality of how Junia's gender was masked for nearly 8 centuries. These two articles take a more in depth look into the original language. They have done such an excellent job, that I feel no need to regurgitate their findings here. :)

Junia, A Woman Apostle By Dianne D. McDonnell
Junia, The Female Apostle: Resolving The Interpretive Issues of Romans 16:7 by Dennis J. Preato

41 comments:

Michelle said...

My pastor and I were talking about this not long ago. Of course he affirms that she was undoubtedly a woman and an apostle. I'd not heard the connection with Joanna, that's interesting if so.

Stuff like this really makes me want to learn Greek and Hebrew. Would the world stop for a year so I can do that, please? Seriously? Not going to happen...

Tia Lynn said...

I've been seriously considering taking Greek classes. It's all so fascinating. It opens up new possibilities that aren't so new, but at the same time its scary how "set in stone" we've made certain verses, when a wider range of meaning really exists. Things aren't so cut and dry as we'd like. But maybe that's the point. We need to rely more on God's spirit to teach us, to be living, untame, and unleashed.

Peter said...

Many, many, many moons ago I went to a church where the pastor gave a "sermon" on "Junias," and how it had to be a man's name and anyone who said otherwise was part of wicked Jezebel plot. The entire spiel was based on twisting other passages that "forbade" women from doing anything besides procreating. He conveniently ignored the text itself or the 1000 years of history that contradicted him. I didn't last long there.

Greg Anderson said...

Tia and Michelle,

Kudos to both of you for wanting to learn the ancient languages the Bible was originally written in! You're in good company though, Katharine Bushnell did it over a century ago amidst terrific hostility and opposition.

It has long been known that women have greater affinity and therefore greater ability for learning languages than men do. Although there are exceptions; in general, the data supports this trend.

So how is it that the very God who called existence itself out of nothing (Hebrew - thick darkness) is opposed to women uncovering what he has to say in writing?

Me thinks the opposition comes only from a dying breed of theologians who want to protect their delicate egos and phallic sensibilities.

Carlos said...

Amen Greg...

You know Tia, I'm still puzzled on the huge silence on one of my first questions when I first started commenting on your blog, which had to do with what is there to fear if we Egalitarians are wrong?

Oh, some of the answers were well I don't agree with Tia's position, or this or that...mostly along the lines of the "Doctrinal Police' answers, but nothing along the lines of what the consequences of our wrongness as egalitarians would be; W. Webb at least had the cojones(it is not co-jones)to devote a whole chapter,titlled "What if I'm wrong" at the end of of his book (previously quoted elsewhere in this blog)..

Bring's to mind the answer one of the four Narnia kids(forget which one) gave to the Witch when they were deep in the underground cave and the witch was trying to persuade them that sunlight and sky were all a figment of their imagination, and he said that even if were so he'd rather hold to that belief than accept the reality of their present darkness conditions of the underground; ergo my preference to erring on the side of the egalitarians that continue to support patriarchalism, however soft a version complementarian still is...

Great post as usual Tia. Peace....

Tia Lynn said...

Greg, you always make me smile.

Carlos, I am not sure what people think the consequences will be. Since the "crowd" at my church is moderate for the most part, I think most see it as a gray issue or personal preference, no fire and brimstone for egalitarians. :) But I have heard more hardcore complementarians question an egalitarians "eternal security" or merits of "orthodoxy." So, I guess a few possibly think that if one ascribed to egalitarian interpretations of scripture, then one may not "really" be saved. WHo knows? I'm sure each individual person has their own take on what the consequences will be for holding any belief that runs contrary to their own.

I can answer the reverse question. I obviously think complementarians are "wrong" since I believe egalitarianism is right. However, I don't think hell fire is the consequence for belief in complementarianism. THe only consequence I BELIEVE is that complementarian churches miss out on the full or ideal picture of leadership. That's not to say their aren't wonderful complementarian churches (I go to one), it's just the since I believe the ideal picture of leadership is both men and women working alongside each other and fully operating in the each one's gifts, I naturally think that any church the prohibits that is missing out on a better way.

Oh Greg, I am reading Katherine Bushnell's God's Word To Women right now. It is amazing. She is bringing out points I never thought of before. She was so ahead of her time. :)

Carlos said...

Tia, thanks and I'm with you...

I'm off to drive down to St. George Island tonight and contemplate on these and other issues as I vege out and stare at the ocean....:-)

Michelle said...

Carlos, I'm answering from my past personal point of view...

I think it comes from a genuine desire to be faithful/loyal/not compromise... if you operate in that mindset and you see others around you compromising, compromising, compromising (from your point of view) then something within you longs to drive a stake in the ground and say "No! I will not compromise".

Carlos said...

Michelle,

Thanks for your response. However I don't think this is an issue to be viewed as compromises (BTW your statement zing Tia and her supporters as not trying to be faithfull and loyal:-) and I know you didn't mean it). Someone stated before that "no matter how well developed an interpretation one has of Scriptures, that interpretation is never perfect and always in need of fine tunning"; so Tia's blog and the exchanges is about what is the most tennable interpretation in light of new facts being uncovered and each of us as individuals making adjustments and fine tunning our interpretation; this puts it in a different light than comprimising...

BTW, did anyone notice the blurb this week by the Vatican about the excommunication of women paricipating in women ordination, and the main reason they give, as the catholics rely heavily on it, is "church tradition"...

Anyway Michelle, we are not asking anyone to compromise, but to evaluate the new facts and make adjustments to their interpretation and most of the time this is extremely hard, especially after years of the teaching we have received..

BTW got to St. George safely today after a harrowing 100 miles in the storm last night out of St. Louis... the ocean water is spot on on our first dip...

Michelle said...

Carlos, I think you misunderstood me - I said my PAST PERSONAL point of view. I can't say this is anyone's current point of view, I can only speak from my own past. Yes, in those days I would have seen Tia as compromising and flirting with truth that did not come from scripture and toying with the "ways of the world" rather than the set forth principles of God... I genuinely would have felt that way, not with any ill intent, just being honest.

I do NOT feel that way now. Not because of anything Tia has said or done differently but because of my own personal journey that God has had me on for about 6 years now.

I've been pondering this issue for some time (since our church did a series on male/female about a year ago and then Tia brought my attention back to it). I hate labels and don't like to join a camp, it's just so against me after having joined some that I now wish I'd never "joined"... but I agree more with Tia than I don't. Where I don't it's more a matter of, "that makes sense but I'm not fully convinced" rather than, "No, I'm certain that is wrong". Make sense?

Your comment on church tradition is fascinating to me because Protestants love to bash Catholics for that very point, even though they can't see that they are often just as guilty. The way its "always been done" or the way "so and so" taught on a certain issue seems more important than someone who desires to delve into the original meaning of scripture. Amazing...

Michelle said...

oh, Carlos - by the way - enjoy the beach!!!!!!!!! :)

Carlos said...

Michlle, Thanks for your clarification, and I agree that it is a personal journey as God continues to transform us...Pondering is good and not many do that now adays.....

We had a glorious day at the beach today and it started with a ~5 mile run on the beach..barefoot ala Chariots of fire minus the cut off sleeves T shirt and white shorts and then just vegeing out all day...we're getting ready to do a shrimp boil and y'all are welcome:-)

Thought this was interesting and frankly, I don't see any difference from the complementarians..am I too harsh?
"
KUWAIT CITY - Muslim hardliners in Kuwait's parliament walked out of the body's inaugural meeting on Sunday to protest two female Cabinet ministers who were not wearing headscarves."

Terry said...

Yes, Carlos, you are being too harsh. I think it best to try and avoid unnecessary exaggerations. Comparing Christian complementarians to Islamic hardliners? Not only is it hyperbolic, it's insulting!

Tia Lynn said...

I tend to think extreme complementarianism does have the same sort of spirit that is found in the harsher side of Islam, but most of those complementarians are fringe. I don't think they are the norm at all. "Mainstream" Complementarianism has evolved into "women can participate in the most secotrs of church life, even speaking and ministering (gasp), but cannot teach adult men and cannot fill the 'highest' offices."

Many healthy complementarian marriages are complementarian in name only. Male-headship becomes a figurehead proudly displayed on the theological mantel, to which much lipservice is paid, but the actual marriage functions in a more egalitarian model. Male-headship is kind of like the Queen of England. She's there, she wears a crown and sits on a throne, she's honored with a lot of lofty words and ceremonies, but she's not really the one in charge. :)

The fact that in many cases male- headship is talked about but ignored in practice suggests to me that deep down the idea of mutual submission and co-leadership really is ideal and makes for best marriage. But we'll see how that goes once we get to that segment of the study.

Wilyn said...

Just how dim are you? Junia, man or woman, has to be only highly esteemed by the apostles. Jesus only had twelve apostles. Matthias was appointed by the eleven and Paul was made an apostle by Christ himself. So, we know THE NAMES of all the apostles and Adronicus and Junia are not in that list. This entire post is moot.

Terry said...

My husband is wise enough and secure enough to take advantage of the very wise and intelligent woman the Lord has blessed him with ;-). That does not mean that male headship is ignored or that our marriage is complementary in name only. On those rare occasions when we cannot reach a concensus, he has the final say so-and I go along with, sometimes kicking and screaming internally, but I remember that I am ultimately obeying the Lord and that reality gives me peace. I don't understand why the idea of a complemtarian marriage must, in your minds, by definition be contentious or must mean the wife has no input. That is not at all how I interpret or read Biblical complemntary roles in marriage. My husband is not a figure head like the Queen of England- he is the unquestionable head of this family. And we all know that any leader worth his salt is one that takes advantage of the wisdom he's surrounded with and listens to the perspective of others. Male headship does not translate into male tyranny. Sheez, people, get a clue!!

Tia Lynn said...

I don't think complementarian marriages MUST be contentious or even oppressive. I know plenty women who are relieved from having to make major decisions. All I am saying is that many men (unless they are hardcore command men) will defer to the wives when the situation most affects them or when they have the most expertise in a situation. Other times husbands won't "make a final decision" unless their wives are on board, not wanting to proceed without having a peaceful resolution and mutual certainty and convinction, because of that whole oneness thing. I was actually trying to complement complementarian marriages, because most of the ones i've witnessed do not reflect the hierarchy that is often preached. Not from you Terry, I see you as a moderate. But can you admit that how complementarian marriage is "preached" sometimes, it does sound much different then how you just described your own marriage.

Really, in most good marriages, whatever the label, both husbands and wives lead in different areas and defer to each other in different areas. I see that as a good thing.

Tia Lynn said...

Hey Wilyn, I skipped your comment by accident. Although I am pretty dim, so you can see how that might have happened. :)

Umm.. ofcourse Junia was not one of the twelve. But the 12 are not the only apostles. The are the first apostles, unique in that they represented the 12 tribes of Israel to usher in the new covenant. Bu Others received the special gift/calling of apostleship--Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Silvanas. The NT calls them all apostles. Based on ACTS 1:21-22, it is supposed that the requirements for apostleship are to be a witness of the ressurrection and ascension and invovled in His earthy ministry. 1 Corinthians 12:28 suggests apostleship remained a spiritual gift for the church. If Paul called Timothy and Silvanas apostles, there is no reason why Adronicus and Junia cannot be deemed apostles, either ordained by Paul or Christ Himself. Especially if Junia is the latin version of Joanna, who was with Christ and presumably witnessed his ressurrection and ascension.

Regardless, there are no set requirements anywhere in the bible that demand that apostles be men. Here's an interesting article about why jesus chose 12 jewish men as his first apostles....


http://www.godswordtowomen.org/Apostles.htm

Allison said...

"Male-headship becomes a figurehead proudly displayed on the theological mantel, to which much lipservice is paid, but the actual marriage functions in a more egalitarian model. Male-headship is kind of like the Queen of England. She's there, she wears a crown and sits on a throne, she's honored with a lot of lofty words and ceremonies, but she's not really the one in charge."

I initially was angry at this statement, but then I laughed because when I really thought about it, all decisions in our household really are made together. I cannot think of one time where one of us proceeded without the consent and support of the other. I can think of plenty of times where decisions have been left up to me. Does that mean I am the leader?

Michelle said...

Allison, I think it just means you are ONE, as you should be. There isn't supposed to be a leader. This isn't a playground game. :) :)

Tia Lynn said...

Hey Allison. Glad your anger was cured by laughter. :)

My only point was that I personally know people who are complementarian in belief, but in practice, each spouse treats the eachother as a partner with equal say to form a collabrative vision for their lives and family. It's not merely the husband's dreams, goals, and calling in the forefront while the wife follows along. Both support the other and together create the blueprints for their family and lives.

kevin said...

It's amazing to me that people still want to silence women in church. If a woman is learned, cannot she not impart wisdom upon an unlearned man?

If Junia, and women like her, was actually one of the few that saw the risen Christ or interacted with him while He was on earth, do you think the apostle Paul would command them to be silent in church? Wouldn't you want to hear from those who experienced Christ face to face, whether they were men or women? Would Paul deprive those who believed without seeing from hearing first hand testimony from those who have seen? The same goes for today. Though we have not seen christ face to face, He gave us His Spirit. And if we believe the Spirit is our teacher and is alive, continually speaking to whomever she chooses, why would we bar gifted people from imparting their gifts to their church body? Faith is never private. When God speaks to a person, it should be celebrated, tested and shared, whether its a word of knowledge, a teaching, a prophecy, or a word of encouragement. When the BODY comes together in church, it should be the natural outlet for all believers to communally use their gifts. Not only has the church deprived women of this, but church has become a one man show, where the same person gets up week after week and is depended upon to be God's mouthpiece. We have gotten so far from the spontaniety and mutual participation of the early church, where service and leadership meet in a revolutionary nexus.

Tabitha said...

Stumbled upon your blog through blogrush. This is just fantastic. I have never even heard of Junia, let alone the atrocity committed against her for centuries! After I finished reading this post, I researched her all day. It's unbelievable how far people will go to keep women from operating in their gifts.

musicmommy3 said...

Okay I'm still following this study but those of you who read my blog know why I've had little time to comment.

However, I do want to answer Carlos' question which was: "...what is there to fear if we Egalitarians are wrong?"

Don't flame me or misunderstand me but my second thought was the same as Michelle's. My old understanding had something to do with the fact that God's Word was being compromised. This is not a criticism. This is an honest answer of how I felt. My new answer is actually similar to Tia's. I think that if egalitarian's are wrong in this particular issue that they are CERTAINLY not in danger of "losing their salvation" or any such nonsense but they just won't receive some blessings that God gives those who are following His order of things. It would be the same in reverse as Tia stated. If the complimentarians are wrong then we are missing out on the blessings of how things are supposed to function in the Body. Neither "camp" is missing out on eternity (based on THIS issue) but those who are not interpreting the Scripture correctly (whomever they may be) are just missing out on something in the here and now.

p.s. I cannot even BEGIN to tell you Carlos how jealous I am that you are soaking up the sun and having a ball jogging on the beach. :) (Will I go to hell for coveting? Just KIDDING!)

Oh and Tia. I have never even heard this preached about ever so this one was especially interesting. Thanks!!

Greg Anderson said...

Hey Tia,
I forgot to comment on the artwork at the very top of this post topic.

The boldness of color and style reminds me of Van Gogh.

Way cool.

Carlos said...

Hey musicmommy, thanks for your thoughts and answer; you know I grew up pretty much being taught Patriarchalism/Complemtarianism (didn't know that's what it was then) and was there for a long time and I must say from my own personal experience of being on on both sides, it is my humble opinion that the risk of missing blessings and quenching the H.S. is greater for those who hold to the Ps and Cs positions than for Es...and let me acknowledge that it is very hard to change when you have those teachings ingrained in you...but one must when exposed to newer facts and exegesis....BTW, no one has the perfect interpretation of Scriptures; if anyone ever tells you they do, run as far away as you can from them...

So you don't covet, I will say that our time at the beach is horrible....NOTTT :-)if y'all are ever by Apalachicola, FL you must stop by at Tamara's La Floridita; the chef there does wonderful magic wih his sauces and everthing is so delicious...one of my top 5 restaurants in the world (and I've traveled much )

musicmommy3 said...

"BTW, no one has the perfect interpretation of Scriptures; if anyone ever tells you they do, run as far away as you can from them..."

I agree with you on that for sure. :):)


I will stow away the restaurant recommendation for future use. Being a foodie I DO SO appreciate excellent cuisine.

Have a great time on the rest of your vacation.

Blessings!

donnav said...

Good Morning...or afternoon now I guess to you east coasters!! It was fun for me this morning to open your page and see Junia. I love her story and that in spite of efforts to wipe her from history it's just not happening. Don't know if I'll ever get caught up with the rest of your blog, between travel and life at home, but I hope to soon!! Hope you have a great weekend!!

Tia Lynn said...

Thanks Donna. We've missed you. I wished I liked the name Junia more, because I would consider naming my first daughter that. It be kinda cool to be named after the only woman apostle recorded in the bible. Maybe my hubby will let us slip it in as a middle name. :)

musicmommy3 said...

TIA!

Did I possibly read that right? Did you not only say, "my daughter" (as in you're not pregnant now but are thinking about it) but MY FIRST daughter (as in you want more than one daughter)???!!!!

Sorry I just couldn't resist ribbing you a little.

You know I love you!

-Ang :)

Tia Lynn said...

Teehee. It's no secret. When I finally start having kids I want two boys and a girl. Not sure about more girls though. I'll get what I get! :)

Tonya said...

I've been too busy to check in lately so I missed this discussion, but I have a quick comment anyway:):):).

If you are really interested in what John Chrystotom thought about women teaching in the assembly, I offer this.

"John, the "golden-mouthed" bishop of Constantinople provides plenty of commentary and discussion on the matter of gender based ministry boundaries. He preached a complete homily on the text of 1 Corinthians 14:34. In setting the context for his exposition, Chrysostom notes that Paul had just addressed a disturbance which arose from tongues and prophesy. Those who speak in tongues should do so in turn, and they who prophesy should be silent when another begins. Next, Paul addresses "the disorder which arose from the women."

Chrysostom's homily makes it quite clear that silence is expected of women in the assembly. He points out that if those who have the gifts are not permitted to speak, even when moved by the Spirit, then certainly this would apply to "those women who prate idly and to no purpose." Chrysostom notes that Paul is "not simply exhorting here or giving counsel, but even laying his commands on them vehemently, by the recitation of an ancient law on that subject." Paul, taking the law along with him, thus "sews up their mouths."

Raising the obvious question, Chrysostom queries, "And where does the law say this?" Chrysostom is the first of the church leaders whose comments on this subject are preserved for us. The text he directs us to is Genesis 3:16, "Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (NASB). According to Chrysostom this text "not only enjoins on them silence, but silence too with fear." He argues that if they should so respect their husbands, how much more should this apply in the context of teachers, and fathers, and the general assembly of the church." In commenting on verse 35, Chrysostom points out that if the women are not even to ask any question in the church, "much more is their speaking at pleasure contrary to law."

So I don't see how John Crystotom, whether he thought Junia was an apostle or not, would have advocated her speaking in the assembly. Neither did Tertullian or Origen. Maybe she was a companion to her husband sort of like Priscilla and Aquilla??? Who knows, but the one mention of her in the Bible isn't enough to make a case for women preaching in the assembly. Especially since the greek makes it SO possible to interpret the passage that she was outstanding in the eyes of the apostles. An great honor either way. She was certainly a woman of God!

I didn't get to read the rest of the comments so maybe someone already mentioned this but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case no one did.

Love ya:) ~T

Tia Lynn said...

I've read Chrysostom's sermons on women. That was kind of the point. Chrysostom was no egalitarian, as I mentioned in the post. The point was that EVEN these men who had horrible things to say about women, could not deny the fact that Junia was both woman and an apostle. They did not emply any foreign thought that Junia was simply well known by the apostles. Paul knew them best, as we was related to them and was in prison with them, why would he appeal to other apostles to verify them? He never appeals to the opinions of other apostles to support a teaching, idea, or other people. In other passages, Paul says "us apostles." The way this passage is worded, he would be excluding himself from the group of apostles who supposedly thought highly of them. The word for "by" is a completely different word in the Greek.

What sort of role do you think a woman apostle played?

Chrysostom's assertion that Genesis 3:16 is "the law" that Paul is referring to in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is absurd for a few reasons. One, Genesis 3:16 can easily be read as descriptive truth, not prescriptive. It's the reality of what will happen as a result of sin, not what should happen. Secondly, that verse has nothing to do with wifely silence, let alone public silence. There are examples of women speaking in public all throughout the Old Testament and no "law" barring women from speaking in the presence of men, privately or publicly.

Christy Fritz said...

The NIV cross-references Gen 3:16 in my bible for "the Law" , for that Corinthians passage as well. I found that really interesting, as IMO it implys Paul is quoting the consequence of sin for how believers living in grace,after Jesus death on the cross, with no condemnation, should live and worship together. It doesn't settle in my spirit. It seems to take one back to law, which is NOT what Paul preached. That was a big "what in the world" moment for me when we were back in that passage.

Tia Lynn said...

Yes Christy. The interesting thing about Gen 3:16 is the "will" vs. "shall" interpretation. It's like how some versions of the Bible record Jesus saying to Peter "You shall deny me three times..." Obviously we know Jesus is not commanding Peter to deny him, but only prophesying what will happen, not making a mandate as to what should happen. The same is true of Genesis 3:16. God is telling Eve what will happen as a result of sin. God does not command Adam to rule, but tells Eve that if she turns (not "desire" as most translations mistakenly translate) after her husband, then he will rule over her. To set this up as some sort of all-time binding mandate completely misses the redemptive work of Christ and unity men and women can experience in Christ. And it's even worse to use it as a way to silence women in the presence of their brothers when the entire church gathers together, when all of God's children are to come together and share their gifts for the benefit of the entire body. Just the fact that women speaking is associated with usurping male authority shows how far track our perspective is on all christians are suppose to relate to one another.

Melody Joy said...

Tia Lynn, my dear, I have the textbook for William Mounce's greek course, and you can hear lectures for a full semester of Greek on biblicalstudies.org.

Very well written, and very good points. I'd not heard much about Junia before.

Melody Joy said...

PS: This made me giggle -

"Male-headship is kind of like the Queen of England. She's there, she wears a crown and sits on a throne, she's honored with a lot of lofty words and ceremonies, but she's not really the one in charge. :)"

Although I'll agree that many of the healthy "complementarian" marriages I've seen are not really all that complementarian.

Tia Lynn said...

Thanks Melody.

I hope it's clear that I wasn't advocating "female-headship" as if the man just thinks he's in charge, but really the woman is. I was alluding the more collabrative leadership effort of the Parliament and that supreme governing authority does not rest with the Queen. :)

Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Tia Lynn said...

Anonymous 1, I have never been accused of not being opinionated enough! LOL That was a first.

Check out my post on mark driscoll, you'll get all the opinion you are looking for. haha.