Junia - mystery Apostle woman, one of many, but one of a kind! What else patriarchal priests do not say to the world?



To write this text led me a certain incident, and because I do not believe in coincidences, I decided to share with you some discovery, which is not mine, but about which, I bet, many of you have never had occasion to hear.

Not so long ago I discovered very interesting website (interesting in light of the information which deviate from common knowledge). I copied some text from there (Link*), promised to myself that I will return there again later, but when I did, I noticed that page has been blocked, although the address still been seen in Google. 

You see, I didn't know then who created this website. I am an agnostic, who however, is interested in many religions, mythologies, cultural studies, etc. This post isn't any confirmation or denial of Christianity as a religion, just aroused my curiosity, because for years I study a former, pre-patriarchal matriarchy, and gnostic female principle. I hadn't much time earlier to read more, but there were texts (on this website - Link*) such as: "Jesus was a feminist" or "The Apostle Junia" (where some lady - Rev. Kathryn Riss, proves that the Junia was a woman and an apostle). That's why I tried a second time to enter this link. But I couldn't... then, cuz now this website is available again. When I discovered it, I was a little bit confused, but I said to myself: "perhaps it was just a technical malfunction?", but it is not so simple. I was looking for this particular text, this particular female pastor and couldn't find it. I mean: "The Apostle Junia" by Kathryn Riss, you see... suddenly all info about her work (but most of all about this text) vanished from the net, as if they were never written by her, though many forums writes on this subject of her work, and as you can see, even on this reactivated portal there are several articles about Junia Apostle. That's weird, isn't?

So... I'm beginning to suspect that the secret for blocking the website lies in one specific article, and this person. Were written many books and texts about this NT-hypothesis, although I heard about it for the first time (why it is so secret?), yet other books and texts are available on net (I found many publications, most of them very critical) and no one deletes them from the internet with such meticulousness... maybe that's the point, huh? Because other sources are "citical". Yet the most sources which investigated this "myth" are based solely on intuition and private opinions ... So I wonder: What if -- only "if" -- that woman had a real proof? Damn, I regret that I didn't copy this text when I could, for the first time. Do you understand what this could mean? Both with regard to the reliability of transfers of early Christianity and for the church hierarchy, not just in the Catholic rite?

Life has taught me and decades of studying, that sometimes - regardless of the conspiracy of silence - some information come to light sooner or later. Therefore, I will post today a mixture of information from various sources available to me. These are both sources in support of this thesis, as well as critical. Links you may found at the end of the text.

So get to work!
 
 
"Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives/countrymen who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was"
 [Romans, 16:7]


The most important argument (which, however, is questioned all the time) raised in support of women being an authority in Church is the case of Junia in Romans 16:7. It is said that Junia, a woman, was an apostle.  Since apostles are in place of authority, then Junia demonstrates that women can be in authority over men in the Church.  There are several issues involved here.

First however, there is debate on whether or not Junia is a feminine noun or not (such issue is routinely point out by the priests-men, although men have been edited centuries ago the New Testament and was proven, it is highly likely that they intentionally adulterated certain information).

"The church father Chrysostom (died A.D. 407) referred to this person as a woman (Homily on Romans 31.7; NPNF 1, 11:555) but the church father Origen (died A.D. 252) referred to Junias as a man (MPG 14: 1289), and the early church historian Epiphanius (died A.D. 403) explicitly uses a masculine pronoun of Junias and seems to have specific information about him when he says that "Junias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria" (Index disciplulorum 125.19- 20)*.

Alright, so we can see that there is disagreement even among early church fathers on the gender of Junia. But it seems strange that in the fourth century, when the Church began to reject all female stuff, it was claimed that Junia could be a woman, while earlier - when women enjoyed great respect - no. And what if at The First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD someone deliberately changed a little bit these info, somehow manipulated them? But, what do others have to say?

* AV translates as “Junia” once. 1 a Christian woman at Rome, mentioned by Paul as one of his kinsfolk and fellow prisoners.

* Junias, a Christian to whom Paul sends greetings in Rom. 16:7. It is unclear whether a masculine (Junias) or a feminine name (Junia) is intended (cuz the masculine is not found elsewhere).  If a woman, Junia may be the wife of Andronicus (but there is no evidence for that too). It is significant that the two are perhaps referred to as ‘apostles', persons highly placed in the hierarchy of the early Christian commune.

*
Junia is feminine -- affectionately, with deep respect, greeted by Paul, as (1) ‘kinsmen’, i.e., probably fellow-Jews, as in Rom. 9:3.

Different sources see Junia as male and a female.  But, if we look at the word strictly as being masculine or feminine, it appears that it is feminine.


In Table above, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament gives the interlinear parsing of Junia as "noun, feminine, singular, accusative." On the other hand, when the same word is analyzed in Gramcord (a Biblical language analysis program attached to that same interlinear), it shows both Masculine and Feminine parsing.  So, which is it?

The majority of references support the feminine form--though we cannot say it is conclusive.  Alright, if Junia(s = artificially added over a thousand years ago) is feminine, then what does it mean and how do we translate the words mentioning the apostles?  This is important.  Let's take a look at how different Bibles translate the relevant part of Romans 16:7.


So, different translations show this verse differently. Que? Priests for centuries repeat that every word of Holy Bible is sacred, that you can not change a single word or a comma, then how come so many different versions may be telling the truth? We have to ask not if Andronicus and Junia are known among the apostles but are they realy were the Apostles, cuz so many attempts to change translation and write the story again by different people for centuries, indicate clearly on inconvenient truth, which someone tried to adjust to the change male-centric paradigm, that till today privilege men on priestly functions, although most Christians (in various rites) in the world are - women!

According to Scot McKnight, author of e-book "Junia is not alone", he says that he bases his view of Junia’s gender almost entirely on Eldon Epp’s book Junia: The First Woman Apostle, and McKnight agrees with Epp’s conclusions that:

(1) Junia was a woman.
(2) There is no evidence that any man had the name “Junias.”
(3) Junia is not, as some have argued, a contracted name of Junianus.
(4) “Among the apostles” means Junia herself was an Apostle and not simply that the apostles thought she was a good egg/pupil.

McKnight says, a female Apostle would have been totally uncontroversial in the egalitarian communities of first Christians (who were more like Gnostics with open mind), that Paul corresponded with. It is only subsequent generations of patriarchy that have silenced her and have given her a “sex change” by transforming her name into a masculine one.


“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” declared John Dalberg-Acton who made this remark after extensive studies of both secular and religious history. When James and John went to Jesus (according to NT) and requested the two most prominent seats in His kingdom, Jesus rebuked them for their preoccupation with “power” and told them they were thinking like Gentiles/Pagans, like people who did not know God. He then presented to them a new and radical model of leadership that would be characterized, He said, not by power, but by humble service (Mark 10:35-45). They must have been shocked when He told them they were to function as diakonoi, a Greek word that referred to a lowly “servant” who waited on tables and with no connotations of status, importance or power. 

This type of ministry in early Christianity, in which, according to the oldest texts was complete equality of all believers, was present in many diasporas even to the thirteenth century AD. When the Catholic Church order to kill the last of such communities, the Cathars of the Languedoc (France), described them as a sect, Infidels, just because they didn't recognize the hierarchy of the Church, the Pope's superiority over other followers of this religion. In my opinion, Cathars had in many issues right because the very essence of any hierarchy in terms of spirituality is absurd, because we are all the same mortals.

During the first century while apostolic ministry was characterized by “service,” women freely functioned in leadership, including apostolic ministry. It was only after the Church institutionalized and began to think of the apostolic in terms of “office" and “power” that women began to be excluded from leadership by men who believed their gender gave them the sole right to lead and rule. This ungodly association of the "apostolic" with "maleness" and "power" is still used today as a justification for excluding women from leadership in the Church. The exceptions are some of the reformed protestant churches, but even there, approach women-pastors, their dignity often interferes with a humble conviction that man by the very nature, stands higher in the hierarchy than a woman.

The popular Spirit Filled Life Bible, for example, without a shred of evidence, explains the prohibition toward women in I Timothy 2:11-12 as referring to “the authoritative office of apostolic teacher in the church.” The truth is that I Timothy 2:11-12 was written to address a particular situation concerning Timothy and the church in Ephesus and was never meant to be a universal rule for all churches everywhere.


The Choosing of Twelve Was Never Meant
to be a Pattern for Leadership in the Church

(Especially that the number 12 is derived - by Coptic rite - from the circle of paganism of Middle East, it is a Mesopotamian sacred number for the Patriarchate, which, together with a new male-social order, spilled over the ancient Israel, Greece, Rome and eventually became a sacred number - the symbol - of the Church. Before the patriarchal era, more than 6000 years ago, a world was ruled by another system - matriarchal, so the zodiac was so. Formerly signs of the zodiac (constellations) was 13, the same as the months in calendar).


Nonetheless, the fact that Jesus chose twelve men as apostles has, throughout history, been used as the basis for excluding women from authoritative roles of leadership in the Church. This line of reasoning, however, ends in absurdity if followed to its logical conclusion. Consider the fact that the twelve whom Jesus chose were not only men, they were Jewish men. Should only Jewish men be leaders in the churches? Furthermore, these twelve Jewish men were instructed by Jesus to preach only to Jews. Which is not true, because such claims allegedly directed Paul (Saul) Zealot. But somehow in most of today versions of NT instructed them: Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 15:24). If we follow this line of reasoning, we must conclude that all Church leaders must be Jewish men and they can preach only to Jewish people. Why then Church is not rule by Jewish Rabbis, huh?
In fact - based on all available sources - we see that Jesus was open to every human being, not just on men. The New Testament shows him mostly surrounded by women, with whom he led a scholarly discourse. Where at that time were these so-called. special apostles (men)? The most common were settling for him errands, like: food, drink, accommodation, tolls or entrance to a city. In the end, as the NT teaches Jesus not closed the door to anyone.

Very often those who oppose opening up the episcopate to another, more then 50% of the human race treat "apostolic succession" as a knockdown argument on their side. All so-called Jesus's 12 apostles were men, they point out helpfully, therefore all bishops should be men, always, everywhere. There's a problem with this argument. Strictly speaking, the 12 apostles were not the 12 apostles: they were the 12, who happened to be apostles. Their chief purpose was to be 12, not apostles – because they were a sign that Jesus was instituting a New Israel with its 12 tribes, as the world drew to its end.

I don't think that the promoters of an all-male episcopate would wish to say that 21st-century bishops should spend their time proclaiming the imminent end of the world. Apostle simply means messenger and there was and is quite a lot else to say about Jesus than announcing the end of the world. There were other apostles who were not in the 12, some of them chosen directly by Jesus, some not. Is it why beyond the four major gospels we have nearly 30 other? In the latter category was a man who nevertheless spent a lot of time emphasising that he was an apostle of Jesus, and indeed went on to make something of a splash in Christian history: Paul of Tarsus.

Paul continues this revolution begun by Jesus. In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul sends personal greetings to 24 people in the latter part of the letter, i.e., chapter 16. These individuals are friends and co-workers who are dear to his heart. Of the twenty-four mentioned by name, ten are women. Many of these obviously functioned in roles of leadership in the churches. One woman named Junia is specifically referred to as an Apostle. In Rom. 16:7 Paul says, Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles who also were in Christ before me. Junia is a feminine name and was universally recognized as a female apostle for the first several centuries of the Church’s existence. The famous church father of the 5th century, John Chrysostom, exclaimed, "Oh how great is the devotion of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle", so how come - now - so many hierarchs deny that fact and still excludes women from important functions in the Church?*
* John Chrysostom, “The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series I, 11:555; William B. Eerdmans, 1956). 35.

Earlier doubts by the presence of a female Apostle, have attempted to argue that the name should be translated Junias, which is male. There are insurmountable facts, however, that militate against this argument. First of all, without exception, all ancient Greek manuscripts have the feminine form of Junia, not Junias. Secondly, the female name Junia was quite common in the first century whereas the male name, Junias, is unknown. Junias, therefore, is a hypothetical name. Thirdly, as mentioned above, Junia was universally recognized as a female apostle for the first several centuries of the Church’s existence.
Why then have some modern translations, rendered the name Junias instead of Junia? Dr. N. Clayton Croy, Professor from Columbus, Ohio, says, “It is hard to see any reason other than the translators’ bias against the possibility that a woman could be an apostle.”*
*  N. Clayton Croy, “A Case Study in Translators’ Bias,” Priscilla Papers (Spring 2001): 9.

Well-known New Testament scholar, James G. D. Dunn, says, “The assumption that the name must be male is a striking indictment of male presumption regarding the character and structure of earliest Christianity.”*
 *  James G. D. Dunn, vol. 38B of Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word Books), 894.

You see... The same idea of a female Apostle is obviously too revolutionary for some modern exegetes. But what if already centuries ago hierarchs had agreed that they erased from the chronicles all the records on women's presence in the early structures of the Church, as was done with the a semi-mythical Pope Joan? Nonetheless, the evidence is conclusive that Junia was a female apostle and recognized as such by Paul himself. Her example clearly demonstrates that women exercised apostolic leadership in the New Testament churches. But she is not alone, for a careful perusal of Scripture reveals other women who functioned in leadership roles in the New Testament.



That women can serve as apostles, as any other person, is also made clear from Paul’s discussion of the leadership gifts in Eph. 4:7-12. The apostle heads this list of gifts followed by the prophet, the evangelist and the pastor and teacher (Eph. 4:11). Paul begins the discussion of these gifts by pointing to the risen Christ as the One who bestows these gifts. In vs. 8 he says, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men, as = people. The Greek word translated “men” in this passage is the plural of anthropos which is gender inclusive and refers to both men and women. If Paul had wanted to restrict these leadership gifts to men (male) only he could have used the gender specific andras, which is the plural Greek word for man as male. He purposely uses language that makes it clear that the risen Christ bestows these gifts on both men and women

Apart from these two, there is perhaps other reference to a person named Junia in all extant first-century Greek literature. It is found in a partially defaced inscription, which reads: "[ ]ia Torquata." This inscription may refer to a woman whom Tacitus mentions (Annals, 3:69), Junia Torquata, a Vestal Virgin who lived during the reign of Tiberius (c. A.D. 20).
I found very interesting info, which are not very well known to Western-bible researchers (This is a strong sign that Junia is not a fictitious character): Ukrainian Orthodox Church mentions about Andronicus and Junia, who were traveled the roads together – the ancient, cobblestone roads of a region that would one day include such countries as "Austria", "Hungary" and "Slovakia" (interesting isn't? although the Orthodox patriarchs claim that Junia was a man). On horseback and on foot, they moved endlessly back and forth among the mud­-walled towns and the tiny farm villages of their immense region, located to the south and the west of the Danube River. On the hot days of summer, they sweated profusely as they climbed the steep hills of the Balkans; in the dead of winter they shivered their way across the windswept, snowy wastes of the vast Pannonian plain. The region was known as "Pannonia" and Andronicus and Junia, both disciples who belonged to the large group of Evangelizers known as The Seventy – had been sent here from the Holy Land to risk their lives for the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pannonia in those days was a wil­derness of swampy bogs and fog-covered flatlands where fierce Celtic tribes­men (? rather to Germans and Slavs I guess) on horseback could emerge at any moment from the swirling mists to kill defenseless travelers without a second thought. More about their travels here*.

Nearly all the people whom Paul mentions in his writings are just names to us, with a fact or two attached, but the names and facts are significant. Amid the large number of folk whom Paul lists as sending greetings in his Epistle to the Romans are Phoebe, the ,deacon or deaconess' (administrative officer or assistant) in the Church of Cenchreae (a port near Corinth); Prisca, a "fellow-worker"; and Tryphaena and Tryphosa, "workers in the Lord" – descriptions which Paul applies both to women and to men.

Biblical translators and therefore historians have also tended to view Phoebe's status as that of a "deaconess"; yet this is probably reading back from the third and fourth centuries, when female deacons were restricted to roles necessarily reserved for women, such as looking after scantily clad females in services of baptism. There is no good reason to suppose that first- and second-century Christians made such a distinction. Everything changed with The First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Then after 1000 years there was a sudden contrary turn in the writings of Giles of Rome, in the 13th-century western Church; now Junia was a man and biblical commentators didn't correct that until today in many version of NT.

Summary


Name Junia was a popular Greek female name in the first two centuries AD. While its male version ,Junias' is hard to find elsewhere. In commenting on Romans 16:7, John Chrysostom (347-407) states: "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 she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle." Chrysostom was not alone in confirming the gender of Junia as female. Earlier commentator Origen of Alexander (185-253) understood the name to be feminine.  Others included Jerome (340-419) who wrote that Junia was a female.  (Liver Interpretationis Hebraicorum Nominum 72,15.), Hatto of Vercelli (924-961), Theophylack (1050-1108), and even Peter Abelar (1079-1142).

External evidence from writings of early church leaders testify that Junias was a woman apostle.   Also current scholars provide additional insight. Commenting on the gender of Junia, Leonard Swidler states, "To the best of my knowledge, no commentator on the Text until Aegidus of Rome (1245-1316) took the name to be masculine."  Douglas Moo agrees that commentators before that 13th century were unanimous in favor of a female rendering. Stanley Grenz maintains that "the gender of Junia was not an issue before that time" ...  Origen assumed that Paul's friend was a women... Even Chrysostom, who wasn't supporter of women bishops, expressed high regard for Junia.  Ray R.  Schulz states the Church Fathers agreed that Junia was a female apostle. From the very earliest times, the attitude of the "church fathers" toward women could be described as negative at best. Origen, Chrysostom, and Augustine, Thomas, Ambrose  -- who openly despised women -- and others were no exceptions to the prevailing attitudes.  Yet despite their negative attitudes towards women they gave testimony that Junia was female.

But somehow still for many theologians, scholars of the New Testament and laity, the early church fathers are not in agreement about the gender of Junia. Oh, really? What an amnesia, don't you think? They claim that all info seems to be evidence strongly suggesting that Junia was a male. Wow! Taking all of the above evidence, surprises so categorical aberration, isn't? Or maybe I missed something? Well... It's true that commentaries differ on the gender (but the reason for this becomes clear when we compare the habits of the young church before the Council of Nice and till the thirteenth century, when the Catholic Church finally dealt with the last first-Christians (Gnostics) and the massacre of all the so-called. heretics had place). Another argument against Junia as 13-Apostle is such silly that: "If they were so noteworthy as apostles, why don't we know anything else about them?" ~ Well, such question is very naive if we recall how many texts not fit through the centuries to the Church's teaching were destroyed or hidden. This argument is not really any argument in the light of religious works that only today, after so many centuries, slowly starting to be declassified by the Vatican (Link*).

Some critics say also that story about Junia may give the wrong-impression that there is a big cover-up when it comes to the identity of Junia and of women leaders in the Bible more generally. But ... Not the first time like the Church (or generally Patriarchs) conceal or falsify our history, you know ... So if that would be true, I wouldn't be surprise at all.

I will not dwell on the causes of great resentment Patriarchate (not just in Christianity) to women on priestly functions. Let me just say that as a person who was for almost 30 years a Christian, I felt personally offended by the fact that although women from the very beginning are the majority in this religion (+ in all religions too, cuz women are more then half of the people on this planet), they are still seen by the hierarchy and ordinary believers as beings of the second category. Yet the reluctance to both gender equality is just one of many reasons why I no longer confess this religion, why I became an agnostic. According to me, no religion / cult is not the voice of any deity until puts some people above the others, what did not - according to the text - do even Jesus, allegedly God himself. More... You should read this Link*.

What is more important for present Christians I guess, that the early Christians believed in: ‘Egalitarianism/Egalitarian’ = means understanding men and women as equal in every way in Christ. It means “equal without difference of any kind or with respect to any role”.  Practically speaking it means getting rid of any notion of male headship in the home and ordaining women preachers in the church.  Increasingly this is becoming the dominant viewpoint among Evangelicals, despite that the Bible seems to teach the precise opposite.  The traditional position is known as the “complementarian” position which roughly defined means believing that men and women are “equal but different with respect to responsibility”.

What is totally bullshit. Women and men are different biologically, but not the slightest difference - contrary to what racists and chauvinists claim - between people of every gender and race in the: mind, intelligence and spirituality. These divisions were artificially created by the dominant since 6,000 years in most parts of the world, male-Patriarchate and effectively rooted in the minds of millions. Is because of such teachings world unlearned a religious wars? Social inequality? Corruption and exploitation? We are closer or farther from Heaven? I wonder... ;]-

Links that were helpful in compiling this post:


 

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