Scot McKnight, North Park University’s Karl A. Olsson
Professor in Religious Studies, visited a full Travis Auditorium for a lecture
entitled "Junia Is Not Alone in the Church" on October 26, sponsored
by the Lowell W. Berry Center for Lifelong Learning.
The lecture offered a narrative history of Junia, one of two
apostles mentioned in Romans 16:7. After hundreds of years of Greek texts
translating the name as feminine, McKnight noted that early twentieth century
Greek texts changed an accent to turn the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”) into the masculine Ἰουνιᾶν (“Junias”). McKnight indicated this was done
to protect the idea that "apostles were men, and Junia was an apostle, so
Junia was a man." McKnight joked, "This is called a 'sex-change
operation by redaction.'"
For McKnight, it is clear that Junia was a woman and not a
contraction of "Junianas" as some have claimed. It is also clear, he
said, that Junia was an apostle and that this was not a problem for the author
"Paul was not snickering with a mischievous look in his
eye because he had just pulled off an incredible act of calling a woman an
'apostle,'” McKnight affirmed. “He didn't have a moment's afterthought, because
Junia was not alone [as the only female apostle].”
"Junia was in essence a church-establishing, probably
miracle-working, missionizing woman who preached the gospel and taught the
church," McKnight said. Further, Junia is not alone in her importance in
the Bible, McKnight noted, citing women like Debra, the prophet Huldah, and
McKnight went on to mention the role of other important
women in the history of Christian mission—women like Marie Dentiere, a reformed
pastor in France; Phoebe Palmer, one of the founders of the Holiness movement;
and Mary McLeod Bethune, one of the founders of Bethune-Cookman University.
"Junia is not alone," McKnight concluded. "She is accompanied by
a host of women today who have been gifted by God to teach, preach and
The traditional translation of Ἰουνίαν ("Junia") was restored in influential
Greek texts in 1998, but has still not been reflected in all Bible
David Moore is
coordinator of continuing education programs at Fuller.