Monday, February 27, 2006

Junia: The First Woman Apostle

The latest edition of the Review of Biblical Literature contains a generally descriptive review by Tobias Nicklas of Eldon Jay Epp's book Junia: The First Woman Apostle—obviously an exploration of the significance of Rom. 16:7 and a popularisation of something from the Delobel Festschrift.

Also in the same issue is Kristin De Troyer's review of Michaël van der Meer's Formation and Reformulation: The Redaction of the Book of Joshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual Witnesses. According to the review, this substantial book (nearly 600 pages) seems to have some original arguments in favour of MT against the LXX, and also involves a new reconstruction of 4QJosh-a. In RBL Steven McKenzie also writes a review of the same work saying, 'Thus, van der Meer concludes, the MT represents the oldest extant text of Joshua, and the other textual witness do not reflect earlier stages in the formation of the book. Literary criticism and textual criticism must remain separate endeavors.' He notes that Van der Meer studied under Arie van der Kooij.

Van der Kooij has been at times a lone voice in OT textual criticism generally arguing for the chronological priority of the textform of MT. He has argued this for MT of Job against the shorter LXX text (I think Peter Gentry would go with him here), and has argued it for parts of Jeremiah. I remember a breakfast conversation with him at the IOSOT congress in Oslo (1998) in which he said that he thought that the LXX Jeremiah could result from deliberate shortening in translation from something rather like MT (of course, I'm simplifying his position).

Anyway, I'm sure Van der Meer's volume deserves lengthier review than the 2 or 3 page evaluations in RBL.


  1. Epp, according to Nicklas, makes a compelling case from history that among the apostles there never was a man named Junias--only a woman named Junia. He brings TC into play by demonstrating that the only variant to Junia is Julia, thus preserving the gender if not the spelling of the person's name (but isn't Julian a man's name too?). What Nicklas doesn't mention being covered in the book are the exigetical implications of being "notable among the apostles" or the TC of the diacritical marks that emerged to identify IOUNIAN as masculine.

    Has anyone here read the book?

  2. PJW,
    Yes, I am sure Peter Gentry would agree!

  3. I see that ESV, NET, and CEV have all capitulated to the interpretation that Junia was highly esteemed by the apostles, rather than as an apostle. I suppose this comes as the direct influence of Michael Burer and Daniel Wallace's article "Was Junia Really an Apostle."

    Epp, in his Delobel festschrift article discusses the data presented by Burer and Wallace at length. No doubt this comes up again in his monograph.

    What I wonder is whether there now really is "overwhelming agreement among recent exegetes" that Junia was, in fact, said to have been an apostle, so much so that a discussion of the topic "need not delay us long" (Epp, "The Junia/Junias Variation in Romans 16.7," p. 284).

    Jim Leonard