Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

... in Rom 16:7 as "Well Known to the Apostles": Further Defense and New Evidence

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

... in Rom 16:7 as "Well Known to the Apostles": Further Defense and New Evidence

Article excerpt

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I. INTRODUCTION

In 2001 Daniel B. Wallace and I published an article on the person of Junia in Rom 16:77 There we argued that the more likely meaning of the adjective ... with the prepositional phrase ... is "well known to the apostles" instead of the more commonly accepted "notable among the apostles." In other words, we argued that Paul identifies Junia as an exceptional person in the opinion of the apostles, not that he recognizes her as an outstanding apostle.* 1 2 Three substantive rejoinders to our work were soon published by Richard Bauckham, Eldon Jay Epp, and Linda L. Belleville.3 In the present article I respond to the objections raised in these rejoinders and offer new evidence to prove that our original hypothesis still stands as a reasonable interpretation of Paul's statement. In short, this article demonstrates three things. (1) The argument and evidence from our original article withstands critique. (2) Seventy-one new texts demonstrate that Paul could have readily used ... plus the genitive to show that Andronicus and Junia were "notable among the apostles." (3) Thirty-six new texts, all but one of which parallel Rom 16:7 exactly in grammatical structure, provide further evidence that Paul intended ... to mean that Andronicus and Junia were "well known to the apostles."

II. RESTATEMENT OF CENTRAL THESIS

Our central argument viewed the adjective and the prepositional phrase as a semantic unit. "The thesis of this article is that the expression ... is more naturally taken with an exclusive force rather than an inclusive one."4 By exclusive we meant that the person described by the adjective was not considered part of the group referred to by the prepositional phrase; this is the interpretation we advanced for Rom 16:7. By inclusive we meant that the person described by the adjective was part of the group referred to by the prepositional phrase; this is the more traditional interpretation of "notable among the apostles." After noting that the lexical data for the meaning of ... could support either the inclusive or exclusive view,5 we then stated our thesis:

As a working hypothesis, we would suggest the following. Since a noun in the genitive is typically used with comparative adjectives, we might expect such with an implied comparison too. Thus, if in Rom 16.7 Paul meant to say that Andronicus and Junia were outstanding among the apostles, we might have expected him to use the genitive (tmv) .... On the other hand, if an elative force is suggested-i.e. where no comparison is even hinted at-we might expect ev + dative.6

III. RESPONSE TO CRITICISMS

The criticisms of our work among the rejoinders can be reduced to four basic arguments: (1) Our view cannot be sustained lexically or (2) grammatically. (3) The paucity of evidence cited does not support the sweeping nature of the conclusion we drew. (4) The particular texts cited do not support the meaning for which we argued. I will respond to each of these arguments in turn.

1. Response to lexical arguments. Belleville offered a lexical argument against our conclusion that was short and crisp. She first reviewed glosses for ... given by standard lexica. Then she simply stated that we were wrong: "Junia then is a 'distinguished' or 'remarkable' member of (and not simply known to) the apostles (LSJ s.v.)."7 Her point is that ... must be understood to have inclusive force from a lexical standpoint. In response, the thesis we advanced cannot be disproven with a simple recitation of the lexical possibilities for this adjective, as it was not solely a lexical argument. Many of the definitions Belleville cites, which are simply glosses for ..., could be exclusive or inclusive. A closer examination of the lexical entries she cites in support shows that her contention does not hold; examples given in these lexica can be understood as exclusive even when they do not have a genitive or dative following. …

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