Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chrysostom on Rom. 16.7

"Greet Andronicus and Junia ... who are outstanding among the apostles": To be an apostle is something great. But to be outstanding among the apostles - just think what a wonderful song of praise that is! They were outstanding on the basis of their works and virtuous actions. Indeed how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that that she was even deemed worthy of the title apostle. (In ep. Ad Romanos 31.2).

For an alternative perspective on Rom. 16.7 see the post at CBMW.


tony siew said...

I am a great admirer of Chrysostom but on this point I beg to differ. Most church fathers of the same period thought Junia was a man. Chrysostom holds the minority view.

Good post on Chrysostom's prayer. I was just thinking of introducing another mid-week prayer meeting and somewhat discouraged if too few turned up. But when two or three gather in His Name, Jesus is present. If 2 or 3 are good enough for Jesus, then it is fine with me. Thanks, Mike.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Tony, that's wrong. In the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, Junia has always been a woman. Chrysostom represents the ancient majority. In fact, I've never seen an ancient eastern writer even suggest that the female Junia, accented as feminine in all such Greek texts, was a male Junias, a name which doesn't exist at all in ancient prosopography. The difference lies in the understanding of the word apostle, which the Orthodox understand more along the lines of "missionary." There were 70 (or 72) apostles sent out, male and female, after all, of whom Andronicus and Junia are traditionally just two of. "Apostles" is not taken as equivalent to "The Twelve Apostles." It's much more a modern and seemingly, frankly, Protestant issue than an ancient one.

tony siew said...

Thank you Kevin. Point taken. Yes, there are other apostles or apostolic delegates (those sent out by churches or apostles) in the NT not deemed to be equal to the 12 apostles.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

There's a good discussion of the Junia(s) issue here. To summarize:

• There are only two references in Greek from the first century. One is the Romans text. The other is certainly a woman. There is one other probable reference, but the text is only preserved in part; again, it refers to a woman.

• In Latin writings, Junia (female) appears fairly commonly and Junias (male) is "virtually non-existent."

• Many of the church fathers assumed Junia was the wife of Andronicus: Ambrosiaster, Jerome, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and five others, taking the data only up through the 6th C.

• Chrysostom is particularly noteworthy because he was against women bishops, yet he assumed Junia to be a woman.

• Origen assumed Iounian was a man. Similarly, Epiphanius.

The author of the article argues that names of slaves were often shortened. Hence, if Iounian was a man (i.e. the name is a contraction of Iounianus), he was likely a slave. Slaves didn't get much mention in literature, accounting for the under-representation in our sources.

In my view, the evidence tilts in favour of Junia; but one can't rule out the possibility that it's a contraction of Iounianus, a slave name.

slaveofone said...

It is my understanding that what made someone an apostle was having personally witnessed (saw with their own eyes, talked to him with their own mouths, or touched him with their own hands) the ressurected Yeshua and then felt obliged to spread the word of his ressurection. The Spirit then accompanied the message and messanger with signs and wonders. Anyone could go around telling people about Yeshua's resurrection, but not everyone witnessed it first-hand--those were the apostles.