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The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth…

The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia

by Rena Pederson

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I liked it. She clearly and very carefully lays out the case that Junia played a very significant role in the early church and then her story was lost for several centuries as the church became more mysogynist in the process of becoming more established. I learned several things about the roles of women in the first three centuries of Christianity that I didn't know before. I was a little thrown by how cautious and gentle and gradual she was and felt she over explained in places. It seems very much as if she was afraid of alienating her audience with revolutionary conclusions they were not ready for. Since I don't find the conclusions particularly revolutionary I was often left with the feeling that I wasn't really the intended audience for this one. I sometimes got a little impatient with how careful the tone was. But it was still an interesting book. ( )
  bunwat | Mar 30, 2013 |
Pederson is an able writer which shouldn’t be surprising given her background as a journalist. Her style of writing is similar to Lee Strobel, perhaps not accidentally. Unfortunately, her ignorance of historical method and biblical studies means that this book actually detracts from her ultimate purpose which is to answer the question "What happened to the female founders of the early church?" One can overlook small insignificant errors but when she makes procedural errors and doesn't really seem to understand the issues under discussion it undermines her good intentions. She desires to use Junia as a springboard to promote female participation in current church leadership and she believes that if she can demonstrate that the name “Junia” is indisputably that of a woman the case is closed. However, for most of church history Junia was considered a female, as she must realise from her discussion of the Church Fathers. However that does not mean she was considered an Apostle. Unfortunately, it is arguable whether Paul even meant to refer to her and Andronicus as apostles or rather as well known to the apostles. What is clear is that neither are ever mentioned again which seems strange is they truly were “outstanding among the apostles.”

Methodologically Pederson errs in “counting noses” rather than examining the quality of sources (In comparing translation she lists the NRSV translation four times and doesn’t include Catholic translations NAB and D-R). She mixes and matches sources from throughout history and pulls out tidbits she thinks useful for her ultimate purpose regardless of whether there is any connection to Junia. She refers often to the changing of Junia’s name to “Junias,” something which only applies to the Latin translation used by the Roman church. She does not mention that in the original Greek of Romans the male and female names are spelled the same. It was only later when ‘accents’ were added that a choice needed to be made between signifying her as a man or woman. Although she mentions that Nestle-Aland changed to the male name in 1927 [and back again in 1998] she doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a critical edition of the original Greek text and a translation “What most churchgoers may not know is that a very small number of companies produce the master translations of the Greek New Testament…the two most influential publishers of critical texts today are Nestle- Aland and United Bible Society (UBS)” (165). Pederson obviously doesn’t realise that both share the same publisher (German Bible Society) and have an identical text, only the apparatus differs. However, English translators are free to use any Greek text they want and to diverge from the NA/UBS text if they desire (e.g. the NKJV)

This book only deserves one star because Pederson has 1) used poor methodology; 2) failed to deal with the issues of textual criticism and the actual Greek text which has identified Junia as a woman for all but sixty of the last 2000 years; 3) does not address the issue of whether Junia being a woman means that she is an apostle in the sense of Paul or the Twelve– is she an Apostle or merely a precious woman well known among the apostles for her ministry? and 4) ranges all over history with no regard for whether the information is relevant, or sound and helpful to our identification of Junia as a woman and possible apostle. ( )
  True54Blue | Dec 4, 2010 |
Women in New Testament, early church
  sjmonson | Feb 25, 2008 |
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To my parents, Rudy and Doris Pederson,
who shared their faith with seven children.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0787984434, Hardcover)

In The Lost Apostle award-winning journalist Rena Pederson investigates a little known subject in early Christian history—the life and times of the female apostle Junia. Junia was an early convert and leading missionary whose story was “lost” when her name was masculinized to Junias in later centuries. The Lost Apostle unfolds like a well-written detective story, presenting Pederson’s lively search for insight and information about a woman some say was the first female apostle.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

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