Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Analyzing Six Bible Translations: Part 29-Romans 16:7

Romans 16:7
ESV Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
NIV84 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
NIV Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
HCSB Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners. They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles, and they were also in Christ before me.
NASB Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
NET Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

Check a: “outstanding among” or “well known to”
                Were Andronicus and Junia well known to the apostles or outstanding among the apostles? The argument for the former has convinced me, but it is not an easy decision. Therefore, the best way to handle this passage is to put something like “well known to the apostles” in the text and place the alternate translation in the footnotes (cf. NET, HCSB). The ESV gives the superior translation, but provides no footnote. The NIV84 and NASB give the inferior rendering with no footnote. The NIV has the inferior translation in the text and a footnote for the better translation.

Part 2 running totals:

ESV
NIV84
NIV
HCSB
NASB
NET
Josh 15:18
1
1
1
1
-1
1
2 Sam 20:20
1
1
1
1
1
-1
Isa 6:5
1
1
1
1
1
-1
Isa 7:14
1
1
-1
1
1
-1
Ezek 21:7
1
1
1
1
1
-1
Mal 2:16
1
-1
1
1
-1
0
Telling Time
0
1
1
1
0
1
Negative Particles
0
1
1
1
1
1
Textual Variants
1
1
0
-1
0
1
Matt 6:13
-1
1
1
1
-1
1
“the Jews” in FG
-1
0
1
0
-1
1
“signs” in FG
1
-1
1
1
1
-1
Gender issues
0
-1
1
1
-1
1
Matt 13:32
1
-1
1
1
-1
1
John 1:5
1
-1
1
1
-1
1
John 3:3
0
0
0
0
0
1
John 3:16a
0
0
0
1
0
1
John 3:16b
-1
1
1
1
-1
1
John 3:16c
0
-1
1
0
-1
1
Romans 3:22
1
1
1
1
1
-1
Romans 16:7
1
-1
-1
1
-1
1
TOTALS
9
4
14
16
-3
8

6 comments:

Sandy Grant said...

David, thanks for these posts. Interesting even when one makes a different choice as being best in an individual case.

On Romans 16:7, surely there's a good case for there being two issues, the second being the name of Junia or Junias. The name is grammatically ambiguous: it could be male (Junias) or female (Junia) — although the historical evidence is strongly in favour of it being a feminine name, since almost all the references in other literature from the time suggest Junia was a common female name, but Junias appears virtually unknown. On this basis, NIV84 and NASB would lose another point, and the other four gain a point, or perhaps you might rate NIV84 and NASB as zeroes on that one?

Sandy Grant said...

Just thinking a bit further... if the decision on the issue you highlighted is so close, why did NIV get -1 rather then zero, for reversing your preference on translations in text and footnote.

There is an argument that KJV does it well - "of note among the apostles" - since this preserves the ambiguity. Are they of note within the group of apostles or are they of note in the eyes of the apostles.

Even with the matter of these two comments, Rom 16:7 does not give any great comfort to an egalitarian mindset, since there is not certainty 'apostles' refers to the Twelve or a similar narrow group ('capital A' Apostles), or to a wider group of 'messengers'/'representatives' ('small A' apostles), as in 2 Cor 8:23 or Epaphroditus in Phil 2:25.

David Croteau said...

Sandy, wonderful comments! First, regarding the male/female name issue, I lean toward female, but I think Wallace's conclusion is judicious: "In the least, the data on whether jIounian is feminine or masculine are simply inadequate to make a decisive judgment, though what minimal data we do have suggests a feminine name" (from www.bible.org). So it seems to close to divide translations on. You might have a point with the -1 ... I'll have to think about it again. Most Bible readers don't hardly ever look at the footnotes, so I'm rethinking how helpful those are. Regardless, you are right about the KJV being ambiguous. If you like the translation theory that favors ambiguity (ESV) then this is good; if not (NIV), then it's not good.

Thanks for the dialogue!

Sandy Grant said...

No worries, David, you may or may not know I have been blogging also on the issue of the new translation options for those of us who have used NIV84 over at Matthias Media's Briefing website.

In case of interest, you could start here.

On 'Junia/Junais', when I blogged on women in Romans 16, Michael Bird suggested, he suggested the manuscript evidence for the female understanding is overwhelmingly in the female direction. I wonder if you or others can provide any examples from the ancient Greek corpus (apart from some manuscripts of Romans itself) which make it male?

David Croteau said...

Sandy,
I would simply refer you to Wallace's article. I don't disagree with what you've said either: http://bible.org/article/junia-among-apostles-double-identification-problem-romans-167

Dave

Sandy Grant said...

Hi Dave, yep, the evidence is not so strong as to be dogmatic about masculine or feminine.

For me, I think it is strong enough for me to score those who translate it feminine in the text with +1, and those who put it masculine in text with a footnote that it could be feminine as zero.

Happy to leave it there!