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Denny Burk’s Complementarian Cover-up

December 8, 2011

Denny Burk is happy to acknowledge that Junia is a woman. But he makes no progess whatsoever in resolving the fundamental controversy. It is simply this. Two pieces of information regarding Junia have been misrepresented to the reading public.There has been a cover-up.

First, the Nestle Aland 1927 text of the Greek New Testament accented the name Junia as if it were masculine when not even one manuscript had ever displayed this accent pattern. Not even one. The form of Junia in the NA 1927 text was a complete fabrication ex nihilo.

Second, the data used by Burer and Wallace to create what they called a “parallel” construction to Romans 16:7, never was parallel, never will be parallel. Here is the data as presented by Burer and Wallace,

In Pss. Sol. 2:6, where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that ‘they were a spectacle among the gentiles’ (ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν). This construction comes as close to Rom 16:7 as any we have yet seen.

But this is the citation from Pss. of Sol. 2:6.

οἱ υἱοὶ καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ἐν αἰχμαλωσίᾳ πονηρᾷ,
ἐν σφραγῖδι ὁ τράχηλος αὐτῶν, ἐν ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν

The sons and daughters were in harsh captivity
their neck in a seal, with a mark among the nations
Psalm of Solomon 2:6 NETS

I hope that it is clear that in the phrase as presented by Burer and Wallace, episemos is treated as an adjective which modifies a personal noun. But in the original passage episemos is either a noun itself, or it is an adjective modifying an elided impersonal noun (At least this latter suggestion was made to me by  Mike Burer.)

In Pss. of Solomon 2:6 episemos is contained within a prepositional phrase, forming an entirely different construction from that found in Romans 16:7. One has to ask why Dan Wallace did not disclose this fact in the article. I am disappointed that there has never been an adequate response from either Mike Burer or Dan Wallace and to this day the note for Romans 16:7 in the NET Bible, which provides Pss. of Solomon 2:6 as a parallel for Romans 16:7, stands uncorrected.

Denny Burk says,

There’s no Complementarian cover-up—just a difference over interpretation,

The error in the NA 1927 text has been corrected. The footnote for Romans 16:7 in the NET Bible has not been corrected. The translation of Romans 16:7 in the ESV (well known to the apostles) has not been corrected. Until this is done, there is most certainly a complementarian cover-up. This must be addressed and trust must be reestablished. At this point, I do not trust the NET Bible notes, or the ESV, since there has been no attempt to deal with the inaccurate information regarding Romans 16:7 .

It doesn’t much matter to me what the word apostle is supposed to mean in this passage. What matters to me is that the information regarding episemos is misrepresented. This is a cover-up.

In closing, let me note that Denny Burk often moderates me out of discussions on his blog. On Parchment and Pen, Mike Patton states clearly,

Do not call authors out for debate. You must count the cost (Lk. 14:31). You don’t want to get whipped up on anyway.

I seem to remember being moderated out of the discussion there after Dan Wallace called into question a perfectly accurate Latin citation that I provided. In any case, Patton never allowed the topic of Junia to be raised with Dan Wallace. It was never open for discussion. That’s a cover-up. There really is no way to engage these men on the basics of Greek grammar.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2011 3:25 pm

    Some things need to be resolved. Here is the data as presented by Burer and Wallace,

    “In Pss. Sol. 2:6, where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that ‘they were a spectacle among the gentiles’ (ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν). This construction comes as close to Rom 16:7 as any we have yet seen.”

    But this is the citation from Pss. of Sol. 2:6.

    οἱ υἱοὶ καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ἐν αἰχμαλωσίᾳ πονηρᾷ,
    ἐν σφραγῖδι ὁ τράχηλος αὐτῶν, ἐν ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν

    The sons and daughters were in harsh captivity
    their neck in a seal, with a mark among the nations
    Psalm of Solomon 2:6 NETS

    There is, in fact, no evidence to support “well-known to.”

    And the issues regarding 1 Tim 2:12 date back to the Vulgate, 4th century, where we can read “dominari” and in Calvin the Latin equivalent of “assume authority.”

  2. December 8, 2011 3:31 pm

    I have posted this comment here since Denny Burk often does not allow my comments. In addition to that, his blog does not support Greek font. It is to be regreted that there is no forum for getting to the bottom of these issues.

  3. December 8, 2011 11:01 pm

    Burk, of course, is consistent in his principles to silence a woman. What’s puzzling is that, after all of his scholarship in Greek and all of his blogging too, he would not allow Greek font. (I’m being silly with this last statement, you know.)

  4. December 8, 2011 11:08 pm

    Thank you for posting, for speaking up, for posting your censored comments. You have no idea how powerful, how valuable — now and someday for somebody — this is!

    Did you read McKnight’s book? It’s also powerful. Burk “reading” it claims: “McKnight argues at the popular level in favor of an egalitarian reading of scripture (though he prefers to call his view ‘mutuality’).” Well, as a matter of fact, McKnight seems to have gotten over this softer view. He nowhere in the Junia and other women book uses the word, “Mutuality,” and he much uses the word and the notion of “egalitarian.”

    (It was in a blogpost comment nearly three years ago that McKnight did say this:

    I’m nervous about labels like “complimentarian” and “egalitarian.” Those have political agendas attached to them. I prefer to use “mutuality” instead of “egalitarian.” Complimentarian turns into defined roles that rule out what I think the Bible says; egalitarian turns into a Western sense of rights and justice. I’m a mutualist. That term evokes Genesis 1-2 and Gal 3:28 for me.

    Yes, I suppose it is a matter of how we view Scripture, but perhaps it is a matter of a difference of whether or not we view all of Scripture. I am convinced, utterly convinced, that many completely … [are failing] to ask if they are permitting women to do now what they did in the Bible. Forget “ordain” and forget “elder” (and it never says only men can be elders; the text assumes the elders are men; there’s a difference). Deal simply with women like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Mary, Priscilla, Junia, and Phoebe. There are others, not the least of whom are Esther and the woman figured in Song of Solomon or at the end of Proverbs 31. We are not talking about conservative vs. liberal view of Scripture but full use of Scripture or the silencing of … passages about women…. The question is do we let women do now what they did in the Bible? Do women pray publicly in our gathered assemblies? Do they prophesy? Do they teach? Do they lead like Deborah? Do they sing prophetic songs like Mary? I could go on.

    Now, yes, we can lose friends over this.

    That doesn’t sound like a “popular” stance, then or now. Maybe Burk noticed how Rachel Held Evans several days ago wrote her very nice “Open Letter to Scot McKnight” in which she said (her bold font emphasis):

    I’ve returned to your books… many times because they speak so well to the concerns of … even disenfranchised, black-sheep evangelicals like me. You were the first to introduce me to Junia, the woman praised by Paul as an outstanding apostle.

  5. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 8, 2011 11:19 pm

    Mutuality – that is just nonsense. I am a single mom, and if I go around talking about “mutuality” with men, that sounds flirtatious or something involving intimacy. Really!

    I much prefer to acknowledge the fact that in most conversations with men we are discussing equal concerns, from an equal standpoint, whether parenting issues, investments and retirement, elder care, plumbing, whatever, I have the same relationship to these problems as most men do. There is no mutuality, just equal concerns and responsibility, and equal need for agency to respond to these concerns.

    I hope to read McKnights book some time next week. Too many deadlines at school, reports etc. this week.

  6. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 8, 2011 11:21 pm

    “Plumbing” was definitely a bad choice of words LOL, how about drains and fences. Trimming the 100 foot tree, keeping raccoons out of the garbage. These are our day to day concerns, and mine vary little from the concerns of most men.

  7. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 9, 2011 12:05 am

    “What’s puzzling is that, after all of his scholarship in Greek and all of his blogging too, he would not allow Greek font. (I’m being silly with this last statement, you know.)”

    A few years ago, when Denny allowed me to comment more freely, he asked me how to put Greek font on his blog and I explained it to him. But over the years he has changed his blogging format and he needs help again. However, since he will not allow me to post certain facts about how “to assume authority” in the NIV comes from Calvin’s commentary, our friendship has waned.

    But the truth is I don’t know why his blog won’t post Greek font at the moment. But that is one guy who won’t ask a woman for help twice in a row!

  8. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 9, 2011 12:06 am

    Probably you or Peter or Theo could help him out, but he hasn’t asked. Perhaps he really doesn’t want to discuss Greek on his blog.

  9. December 12, 2011 10:04 am

    Suzanne,

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m working through these two examples and I’m still not quite sure I see the cover-up. I think you’re absolutely right about the grammatical construction being different in the two examples. In Rom 16.7 ἐπίσημος looks like a predicate adjective and in Pss. Sol. 2:6 it’s part of an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying an implied predicate.

    But I don’t see what difference this makes. In Pss. Sol. 2:6 the Jewish captives are clearly not marked among the Gentiles as Gentiles themselves, right? If so, then perhaps “well known among the apostles” in Rom. 16:7 also means that they are known by these apostles though not counted among them, just like the Jewish captives were not themselves Gentiles. If this is right, then Andronicus and Junia would be people who worked with the apostles enough to be closely identified with them (thus “among them”) but were not technically considered part of them.

    Pss. Sol. 2:6 at least shows that ἐπίσημος can be used with ἐν τοῖς in such a way that does not entail strict identification.

    The NET and ESV translations are at least plausible ways of making this clear. For my money I’m still not sure. But I don’t see warrant for ruling the ESV and NET out as possible and even probable.

    What do you think?

  10. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 12, 2011 10:51 am

    More later. However, the main point is that in Pss of Solomon episemos does NOT modify the word captives. It is not an adjective modifying the noun captives, or Jewish or anything like that. It is a noun meaning brand. It doesn’t related to the jewish captives at all.

    The NET Bible and ESV contain an inaccurate translation. I will get back to this this evening.

  11. December 12, 2011 11:30 am

    Suzanne, there is no word “captives” in Pss. of Sol. 2:6. Is that why you’re saying ἐπίσημος does not modify it? I’m a bit fuzzy on what you’re saying.

    Also, the prepositional phrase with ἐπίσημος could well be substantival functioning as a predicate nominative. That would put the last line in synonymous parallelism with the first: (a) the sons and daughters [were] in wicked captivity, (b) their neck [was] with a seal, (c) [they were] in a notorious [place] among the Gentiles. I could see taking the last line as “[they were in wicked captivity] with notoriety among the Gentiles,” as NETS does, but seems like a lot of text to be elided. Just a thought.

    Regardless, there is no way of making ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν inclusive of the Jewish captives. This text may not be the slam dunk Wallace-Burer made it out to be, but after spending a few hours with it, it looks like support for their position nonetheless.

    Thanks.

  12. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 12, 2011 7:49 pm

    1) I was using captives refering to the “sons and daughters” who are in captivity. The word episemos does not refer to them, it is not in grammatical agreement with them. The sons and daughters are plural nominative and episemos is singular dative. There is exactly zero chance that episemos refers to the sons and daughters, or to people. But the Burer and Wallace article based its conclusion on the fact that episemos refered back to the sons and daughters.

    2) “substantival functioning as a predicate nominative” This is not a parallel to Romans 16:7 in any way. Nobody has ever suggested this as a solution. If you think it will fly you should email Mike Burer on this. So far he has not proposed any defense of the article in emails to me.

    3) The fact that the Jewish sons and daughters are not Gentiles is of no relevance to this discussion because episemos is NOT an adjective modiying the sons and daughters.

    I await further clarification of your thoughts on this but so far, in extensive exchanges that I have had nobody has proposed a defense for the article, and yet the information has not been removed from the NET Bible, nor has the NET and ESV Bibles been revised at this point.

    The principle stands. You cannot just reduce the status of women on a whim and expect to retain the trust of women.

    Question – You wrote,

    “[they were in wicked captivity] with notoriety among the Gentiles,” as NETS does,

    Is this a footnote in the NETS. I can’t find it. Thanks.

  13. December 13, 2011 2:25 am

    It’s not in NETS, sorry. I’m not sure “mark” is accurate, but “noteriety” is. So I adjusted.

    Also, Mike has defended his conclusion about Rom. 16:7 and discussed Pss. of Sol. 2:6 further here: http://adrianwarnock.com/2006/12/michael-burer-enters-the-junia-debate-to-support-the-article-he-wrote-with-dan-wallace

    I emailed you this link yesterday so maybe you’ve already seen it.

    Also I don’t see why Mike-Wallace’s argument is the only legitmate way to see Pss. of Sol. 2:6 as a parallel to Rom. 16:7. You seem to rest too much on the referential parallel with episemos when the real parallel is with episemos (regardless of referent) followed by en tois + noun.

  14. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 13, 2011 3:47 am

    1) “It’s not in NETS, sorry. I’m not sure “mark” is accurate, but “noteriety” is. So I adjusted.”

    Is noteriety in the NETS?

    2) “Also, Mike has defended his conclusion about Rom. 16:7 and discussed Pss. of Sol. 2:6 further here: http://adrianwarnock.com/2006/12/michael-burer-enters-the-junia-debate-to-support-the-article-he-wrote-with-dan-wallace

    I emailed you this link yesterday so maybe you’ve already seen it.”

    Yes, I read it at the time he wrote it. Mike emailed me and said that when he had something that defended the article he would publish it. Then he later emailed and said that he did not have the time. This means that there is no scholarly defense for the translation option of NET and ESV. The blog post that you read is an interesting piece of writing but at no point does it defend the notion “well-known to.”

    3) Here is the critical statement regarding his further evidence, Burer wrote,

    “In each of these instances, that which is ἐπίσημος is compared to its environment with a partitive genitive; it is a part of the entity to which it is being compared.”

    All writing past this point, is speculative and based on his rearrangement of a non-literal translation of the phrase. Burer does not cite the NETS transation, which is recognized as the most scholarly.

    More than anything, this is not published as a peer reviewed article and should not form the basis of the NET and ESV translation. This is an interesting piece of evidence. If it actually said what he claims, the could have published it.

    However, the original Burer and Wallace article was critiqued by Linda Belleville,
    http://www.michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/Belleville%20Romans%2016-7.pdf
    and Jake Epp.

    4) “You seem to rest too much on the referential parallel with episemos when the real parallel is with episemos (regardless of referent) followed by en tois + noun.”

    If you find any examples of en tois + noun that are exclusive rather than being partitive then you should email those examples to Mike Buere. His blog post on Adrian’s blog do not include any.

    5) Peter, let me reiterate, the Greek of Pss of Solomon does not say “well-known to” or any variation on that. It says either “in a mark” or “in a prominent place among the nations.”

  15. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 13, 2011 4:26 am

    PS I think that you have misunderstood about noteriety. Episemos could mean notorious, as an adjective because its base meaning is “outstanding.” As a noun, to episemon, it does not mean noteriety. That is not an option as far as I know. I would be interested in why you cited “with noteriety” as that is not a possible translation of the Greek.

  16. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 13, 2011 12:59 pm

    to episemon doesn’t mean “notoriety’ either.

    Mike Burer has presented a complex response with no support for “well-known to.” But if you want to work through it section by section, I think it would work best to break his post into 3 parts and go from there.

  17. December 13, 2011 2:52 pm

    Thanks, Suzanne.

    Actually, BDAG gives “notorious” as a gloss for ἐπίσημος. So as a substantival adjective, that would be “notoriety.” I can see taking it as “mark” as the NETS does, I just don’t think it works as well contextually. The ἐν in ἐν ἐπισήμῳ should be taken as locative rather than as means, in parallel with the ἐν in the first line (“in wicked captivity”). That makes more sense than taking it as means (“with a mark”) as the NETS does.

    Also, the parallel you mentioned of en tois + noun that is exclusive is Pss. of Sol. 2:6. The Jewish captives are not included in the Gentiles. But maybe I’m answering a question you’re not asking.

    My own take is that Rom. 16:7 is best translated “among the apostles” which can, in English, be inclusive or exclusive (e.g., “the Jews were well known among the Gentiles”). Given Pss. of Sol. 2:6, I’m inclined to take it as exclusive, but there is more evidence I need to weigh before I’m willing to criticize the ESV and NET.

    Thanks.

  18. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 13, 2011 4:37 pm

    Peter,

    “Actually, BDAG gives “notorious” as a gloss for ἐπίσημος. So as a substantival adjective, that would be “notoriety.””

    No, this is exegeting the English. Can’t be done like that – ever. Sorry. Actually Pss of Solomon is thought to be a translation from an underlying but lost Hebrew, so what could this be a translation of?

    Perhaps these are two parallel contructions,

    ἐν σφραγῖδι ὁ τράχηλος αὐτῶν ἐν ἐπισήμῳ

    Their neck in a seal, in a mark

    meaning branded as slaves, as captives were at that time.

    Among the Gentiles is locative and not a useful parallel for Romans 16:7.

    In fact, we do have many other examples of epesimos en plus dative and they are all inclusive and partitive. I will list a few. in another post. Too many for comments. It is just a list, but it shows how en plus dative is typically partitive and refers to being a member of the group. Anyway, later this evening.

  19. December 13, 2011 5:02 pm

    Suzanne, I’m not sure how using the cognate English noun can be describes as exegesis of the English but the change certainly strikes me as a legitimate gloss. If you think I’m suggesting that the full semantic range of the English “notoriety” can be mapped onto ἐπίσημος, then you’re reading me quite wrong. BDAG says that one meaning of ἐπίσημος is “notorious.” How would you propose putting BDAG’s “also in a bad sense: notorious” into English as a noun?

    Yep, I looked at line two being parallel with line three. Definitely possible but then I would expect to have a nominative in the third line like we do in the second. The syntax of the third matches the first more than the second, hence my taking the third ἐν like the first (as locative). What would it mean for their neck to be in a mark among the Gentiles? I guess I’m still not clear what you think has been elided from the third clause in Pss. of Sol. 2:6. I take it that οἱ υἱοὶ καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες [εἶσιν] is the most likely candidate.

    Look forward to your examples.

  20. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 13, 2011 8:05 pm

    1) First, you cannot map the meaning of the English cognate noun into this translation. You can only consider that the Greek is the cognate noun and then work from the meaning of that Greek cognate noun.

    Consider these two phrases in English.

    “That word is marked”

    “The word with a mark”

    Now look at the meaning of mark and marked in the English dictionary,

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marked

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mark

    “with a mark” and “marked” do not have the same semantic range in English. Just the same, episemos and episemon do not have the same semantic range in Greek. Believe me, if this could have been done, then Burer and Wallace would have done it. Or you can email it to Mike Burer and suggest it. But my bet is that he would not want to publish that.

    2) “Yep, I looked at line two being parallel with line three. Definitely possible but then I would expect to have a nominative in the third line like we do in the second. The syntax of the third matches the first more than the second, hence my taking the third ἐν like the first (as locative).”

    In my view, this is translation Greek, with a Hebrew original. So we have to think of patterns of Hebrew parallel structures. They are not usually completely parallel. But we do have to accept that the NETS translation is the most literal translation that we have.

    3) This business of an elided word was Mike Burer’s idea. He things that the word place has been elided, and that the sons and daughters were in a “place” that was visible to the Gentiles. You would have to ask him about this.

    I don’t really agree with it, because I think this is a case of underlying Hebrew and I think this is a mark, in parallel with a seal. This is the possible Hebrew original.

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7085&t=KJV

    So my interpretation actually originates with teh Hebrew. If it is a translation from Hebrew, then the notion of an elided word “place” is not possible. That’s my theory. That is why a literal translation is best.

  21. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    December 13, 2011 8:10 pm

    I think that these sons and daughters, taken into captivity among the Gentiles have an iron band around their neck and a cutting or a brand on their shoulder, as was the custom for slaves, and captives taken from one place to another.

    This is how I envisage this passage. Then episemos, and among the gentiles have nothing to do with each other. So, in this case, among the Gentiles is purely locative and is not a parallel for Romans 16:7. But I wll post some other examples later this evening.

Trackbacks

  1. The Science of Sexists: where its heart isn’t « BLT
  2. The Junia Evidence: I « BLT
  3. The Junia Evidence: II « BLT
  4. The Junia Evidence: III « BLT
  5. The Junia Evidence: IV « BLT
  6. The Junia Evidence: V « BLT
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  8. The Junia Evidence: VII and Syriac as commentary « BLT
  9. The Junia Evidence: VIII what Sherlock Holmes had to say « BLT
  10. The Junia Evidence: IX what the trial lawyer said « BLT

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