Junia, A Female Apostle: An Examination Of The Historical Record -- By: Dennis J. Preato

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 033:2 (Spring 2019)
Article: Junia, A Female Apostle: An Examination Of The Historical Record
Author: Dennis J. Preato

Junia, A Female Apostle: An Examination Of The Historical Record

Dennis J. Preato

Dennis Preato earned an MDiv from Bethel Seminary in San Diego, California. He has published and presented various articles on gender-related topics. He wishes to thank his wife, J. B. Preato (MDiv Summa Cum Laude from Bethel Seminary, MBA from Arizona State University), for her time reviewing and editing this article.

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. (Rom 16:7 NIV)

Romans 16:7 presents two interpretive issues. First, was the person named Iounian, the form of the name in Rom 16:7, a man or a woman? Second, what is the meaning of episēmoi en tois apostolois: was Iounian counted as “highly regarded among the apostles” or only “highly regarded by the apostles”? This article serves two main purposes: First, to summarize in one place the arguments regarding Junia’s sex and apostleship. Second, to update the data relating to these arguments, especially regarding the several English Bible translations made available since scholars such as Bernadette Brooten, Linda Belleville, and Eldon Epp brought the issue to the fore.1 Over the last few decades, many Bible translations have been published and older ones revised to improve accuracy, replace obsolete words, correct translation errors, or appeal to different audiences. These newer translations, along with a careful examination of the historical record, provide conclusive evidence that Junia was indeed a female apostle.

Support For Junia Being A Woman

Part of resolving the first issue is that the name translated Junia(s) appears only once in the Greek NT. Further, the Greek form used in Rom 16:7, Iounian, depending on how it is accented, has been understood as referring either to a woman named Junia or to a man named Junias. More specifically, Iounian ends with an “n” because in Rom 16:7 it is a direct object and therefore in the accusative case, and no NT occurrence of the name gives us an example in a different case. As a result, accentuation is an important factor. But the oldest Greek NT manuscripts contained no accents (accents did not become common until the ninth century). Paul himself certainly did not include accents in his letters.

Bible Translations Historically Render Iounian As Female

Bible commentators prior to the ...

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