Skip to comments.One of Apostles was a woman, Church is told
Posted on 07/05/2002 7:21:05 PM PDT by aculeus
EVIDENCE that one of the Apostles of Jesus was a woman is being examined by leaders of the Church of England, who are debating whether women should be ordained bishops.
Joanna, who was close to Jesus during His ministry, changed her name to Junia and was recognised by St Paul as an Apostle, research to be published later this year found. Her role was ignored for centuries because medieval scholars altered the name to Junias to make it masculine.
Joanna, who was with Mary Magdalen when the empty tomb was discovered and taken as proof of the Resurrection, changed her Hebrew name to a Latin name to fit in with the Romanised culture of Tiberias, where she lived, Richard Bauckham, Professor of New Testament Studies at St Andrews University, says.
As Junia, she was described by St Paul in a letter to the Romans as prominent among the Apostles. She was a wealthy woman from King Herods court who turned to Jesus after seeing Him heal a friends wife, he says.
The defection of the powerful courtier to the new Christian movement was seen as even more scandalous because she was married to Chuza, one of Herods most influential stewards. Joanna converted her husband, changed the way she dressed and used her own money to support the mission.
Although it has been previously suggested in theological circles that the Apostle Junia was a female, she has never previously been linked to Joanna and the Herodian upper class of Tiberias.
The discovery suggests that not only was society far less patriarchal than previous research has shown, but that women such as Joanna may have used their wealth and standing in society to convert others to their cause. Joanna and Chuza were among the large numbers of disciples who gathered when Jesus appeared to rise from the dead. She witnessed the Crucifixion and Chuza later changed his name to Andronicus, Professor Bauckham says.
Professor Bauckhams paper, Junia the Apostle, will be discussed during the meeting of the General Synod. Its presentation to a bishops working party on the theology of women in the episcopate will challenge the perception of the apostles that has dominated the Church since AD400.
Although Jerome, regarded as the most important religious scholar of that time, considered Junia to be a woman, subsequent translations in the Middle Ages and the King James Bible changed her name to the male Junias.
Robert Bartlett, Professor of Medieval History at St Andrews University, said: If a name like Junia was a little ambiguous, the medieval scribes were quite likely to make mistakes. Certainly the medieval Church was male-dominated and wanted it to stay that way, but whether someone was cooking the books to make it appear that the Apostles were all men is not yet certain. Medieval scribes were known for their inaccuracies, he said.
The assumption that the leading Apostles were all men has been one of the most unassailable arguments against the ordination of women bishops.
If the claim that Joanna and Junia were the same person, and that Junia was a woman and an Apostle is accepted, the argument for women bishops will have been all but won.
The greatest surprise, Professor Bauckham said, was that St Paul knew one of them and considered her an outstanding Apostle. Her high status would have conferred social legitimacy on the new religious movement.
After witnessing the Resurrection she left for Rome with her husband. Both were imprisoned for their beliefs and never heard of again.
I don't buy it.
Why? What purpose would it serve?
There's more going on over than we realize, else there wouldn't be so many momma's boys among them!
I disagree with you on a number of counts.
1. The New Testament refers to ALL believers as priests...but that there are offices for ministry (giving of oneself for the Body of Christ as a servant leader)...apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers...commonly called 'the five-fold ministry'.
2. There is no New Testament justification for Church leaders to be forced into a life of celibacy. It recognizes that a very few from all walks are called to it (pointing out that a single individual has more of himself to give to the ministry than one who is married)...but it is clear that the vast majority of people are NOT.
3. The Word clearly shows women extensively involved in ministry...but that men are called to lead...this in spite of the fact that in the kingdom of God, there is absolutely no difference before God between men and women.
My two cents worth...
Many Protestant denominations did so in past centuries.
My exact thoughts as I read the article -- down to my favorite perjorative: "priestesses." Great minds...