Did Paul Call Andronicus An Apostle In Romans 16:7? -- By: David K. Huttar

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 52:4 (Dec 2009)
Article: Did Paul Call Andronicus An Apostle In Romans 16:7?
Author: David K. Huttar

Did Paul Call Andronicus An Apostle In Romans 16:7?

David Huttar*

* David Huttar is professor emeritus at Nyack College and resides at 1501 Meadow Hunt Lane, Newtown Square, PA 19073.

I frame the topic in this way in order to bypass the thorny question of whether Andronicus’s companion was male or female. That issue can be separated from the significance my question has for a proper understanding of Paul’s concept of the extent of apostleship.

Modern scholarship has tended to follow Lightfoot’s opinion that Paul’s statement about Andronicus (and his partner) does not mean “who are highly esteemed by the Apostles” but that “they are called distinguished members of the apostolate, language which indirectly implies a very considerable extension of the term.”1 Thus, to quote just a few of the modern authorities following Lightfoot, Dunn says, “The full phrase almost certainly means ‘prominent among the apostles,’ rather than ‘outstanding in the eyes of the apostles.’ ”2 Cranfield makes a similar point: “It is much more probable—we might well say, virtually certain—that the words mean ‘outstanding among the apostles,’ that is, ‘outstanding in the group who may be designated apostles.’ ”3

In spite of this modern consensus, however, when one begins to examine the basis on which this conclusion is drawn, one realizes that the argumentation is not as solid as it is supposed. Therefore I intend to conduct a fresh examination of the question under the following three heads: Lexical-Grammatical, Contextual Considerations, and Interpretive History.

First, however, I should lay out more clearly the framework within which I will conduct the discussion. I will use some such term as inclusive to represent the view of the passage that sees the person being discussed as included in the category designated in the following prepositional phrase. In this specific case the inclusive interpretation is that which has Andronicus being thought of as an apostle. I will then use a term like non-inclusive to speak of the interpretation that in this case would not see Andronicus called an apostle.4

This distinction between inclusive and non-inclusive is related to another difference between the two interpretations. For it is inherent in the non-inclusive view of the passage that the apostles stand in a relationship to Andronicus whereby they are observers or evaluators of Andron...

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