Junia Is Not Alone (In Review)

Derek Ouellette —  December 2, 2011 — 2 Comments

Junia Is Not Alone (ebook)
Scot McKnight
4 Stars (out of 5)

Scot McKnight is no newbie as an advocate of the egalitarian position. I felt when I read The Blue Parakeet that the books said purpose – how to read the bible – was a cover for its real purpose of defending an egalitarian reading of 1 Timothy 2. In fact, while making his egalitarian defense explicit in most of his work may sound lopsided to some, he says in this book, “if we want real historical balance, it would mean we would tell nothing but women’s stories for the next two millennium.”

This is a short and easy to read ebook. I’m a slow reader and had it finished in one sitting. But for $2.99 it’s certainly worth its buck. It’s got good information and lays a strong argument.

The ebook argues that “Junia” in Romans 16:7 was both a woman and an apostle. It explores the history of how Junia underwent a sex-change to Junias by way of deduction since, as the argument goes, apostles could only be men, therefore “Junia” must have been a man. The ebook explores the history of Junia in the Greek Text, showing in she was “buried alive” in the 1927 Nestle NT, but then how she was resurrected in 1998 in the Nestle-Aland NT and the UBS NT.

The book follows by giving examples of women throughout church history who did great things for the gospel of Christ, things that rival or are sometimes greater than that done by men, but whom’s name’s we have forgotten about because they have been suppressed. Like Junia, these women have been silenced too. A fascinating part in the ebook, though (not that all of it isn’t fascinating), is when it turns to some of the earlier church leaders such as John Chrysostom and others who said plainly enough that Junia was both a woman and an apostle. These voices standing up for the apostleship of Junia in church history is all the more remarkable considering the extent that Catholics and Orthodox take against women in the ministry, which is more sharp and pronounced than most Protestant wings (I think).

The ebook ends with a passionate plea for influencers to find “Junia’s” and to give them a voice.

Assessment:

I admit my struggle in this area. Scot would not approve of my agnosticism here. Was Junia a woman? Sure, I buy that. Was she an apostle? Yah, I accept that too. But I also struggle with other Biblical passages that weigh in (heavily in my opinion) on the “egalitarian/complimentarian” debate. Like N.T. Wright says, complimentarian is good word, we should not let them over there keep it to themselves (paraphrased). I would suggest the same thing goes for the word “egalitarian”.

I have friends who are strong complimentarians. When a woman enters the pulpit, they leave the room. I do not. I’ve challenged them about this, since they will read books by women but they won’t listen to a woman preach. This seems terribly inconsistent to me. On the other hand I have been challenged by a particular woman not long ago who herself is a strong complimentarian (head-coverings and all), and I found myself stumbling over bible passages in an attempt to explain to her why I don’t share her view.

I appreciate what McKnight does here in this book. It’s really motivating. Yet while it is often the case that imbalance is seen as the necessary evil toward a balanced history, I feel his angst, but think that we should strive for a “balanced” today.

Still, all in all a really good ebook. Highly acclaimed, challenging and motivating.

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Disclaimer:
I’m new to the ebook genre. I just installed the kindle app for my mac last week and this happens to be my first ebook. So I’m not sure how to cite this book since the normal way of siting page numbers don’t seem to apply.
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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.