Fortress Press

Junia: The First Woman Apostle


The First Woman Apostle

Eldon Jay Epp (Author)


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The name "Junia" appears in Romans 16:7, and Paul identifies her (along with Andronicus) as "prominent among the apostles." In this important work, Epp investigates the mysterious disappearance of Junia from the traditions of the church. Because later theologians and scribes could not believe (or wanted to suppress) that Paul had numbered a woman among the earliest churches' apostles, Junia's name was changed in Romans to a masculine form. Despite the fact that the earliest churches met in homes and that other women were clearly leaders in the churches (e.g., Prisca and Lydia), calling Junia an apostle seemed too much for the tradition. Epp tracks how this happened in New Testament manuscripts, scribal traditions, and translations of the Bible. In this thoroughgoing study, Epp restores Junia to her rightful place.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800637712
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 156
  • Publication Date September 22, 2005


"Eldon Epp [shows] that the greetings of Romans 16 contain one more woman's name than those of us educated in the twentieth century were led to believe. Her name is Junia, and Paul applies to her and her partner, Andronicus, the name 'apostle. ...For those Christians whose concern about women in leadership roles is tied to the question whether women actually served as leaders during the church's earliest generation, this book is an eye-opener."
— Beverly Roberts Gaventa, from the foreword

"Completely persuasive and definitive, Junia rectifies the slighting of women by many exegetes. A real contribution."
— Walter Wink, Auburn Theological Seminary, New York

"Not only is Epp's fundamental thesis about textual criticism and exegesis meticulously documented and persuasively argued; his examination of the particular case of Romans 16:7 pulls together, sorts out, nails down, and illuminates the issues, assorted evidence, and often confusing arguments that have come to the fore in the last few decades. Thanks to this excellent book, I can affirm with renewed confidence both Junia's distinguished place among the apostles and her freedom to speak in the church!"
—Victor Paul Furnish, Southern Methodist University, Dallas

"If anyone could say the 'last word' on a matter of New Testament interpretation, Epp certainly has, Junia covers all bases, including the history of interpretation, lexicography, grammatical analysis, and text criticism."
— Edgar Krentz, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago


Table of Contents

    Part I: Contemporary textual criticism
  1. Textual criticism and exegesis
  2. Variant readings in passages concerning gender issues

  3. Part II: Junia/Junias in Romans 16:7
  4. The lexical form and introductory matters
  5. Junia in early Christian writers – and beyond
  6. The contracted-name theory
  7. Junia/Junias in current Greek New Testaments
  8. Junia/Junias in past editions of Nestle, Nestle-Aland, and UBS
  9. The accentuation of [Ioynian] in reference works – and the attendant cultural bias
  10. Junia/Junias in Greek New Testaments and their influence on exegesis
  11. Junia/Junias in English translations
  12. Adronicus and Junia as "outstanding among the apostles"

  13. Conclusion: there was an apostle Junia