Episode 18: Junia

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ἀσπάσασθε Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ

"Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinspeople and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding/prominent among the apostles, and who were in Christ before me."

"Oh how great is the devotion of this woman Junia that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!” -John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans.

In this episode, Nick and Allison tackle the issue of whether or Junia is a woman or a man, and her status among the Apostles. As we shall see, both the grammar and nature of the language itself supports the standard conclusion that Junia was a woman and was indeed counted among the apostles (contra the ESV and some modern scholars). We also speculate about her role in the early formation of the church of Rome, and Nick suggests some ideas about her status and relationship to a certain Joanna of Luke's Gospel (8:1-3 and 24:9-11).

There are a wealth of resources about this woman. Of specific prominence among them (see what I did there?) are the excellent books by Eldon Jay Epp (Junia: The First Woman Apostle) and Richard Bauckham (Gospel Women). Other commentators that have accepted the fact that Junia is an apostle in Romans 16:7 include James Dunn, Robert Jewett, Ben Witherington, Grant Osborne, Stanley Porter, and Richard Longenecker among others. One can fairly say that this conclusion is essentially the standard view in New Testament evangelical scholarship.

Ben Reynolds has a really good blog post with specific citations that is worth your time if you want to see how all of this flows together. Other New Testament experts like Scot McKnight and The Junia Project and Christians for Biblical Equality have written on the subject. Similarly, see Philip Payne's broad case for women in ministry and Mark Reasoner's explorations of Romans 16 as a whole in Priscilla Papers.

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In Christ,