Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romans 16

     It was customary in a first century letter to identify all of the connections that you had with a place. That is why Paul always concludes his letters with this extensive "say hi" to all the people I know in your town section. There are some curiosities on the list. The most interesting is verse 7 and 8 "and greet Andronichus and Junia who are prominent among the Apostles and were in Christ before I was". Junia is the Latin version of Johanna (remember there was a Johanna at the tomb on resurrection day). The Greek here is a bit obscure but it can (and has) been argued that Paul is identifying Andronichus and Junia as prominent among the Apostles (that is to say they are apostles and are prominent). Some early English translations to fight this even modifing Junia to the masculine form. It is possible that Paul is saying "they are esteemed by the Apostles" but the idea of a first century women being held in high esteem and, perhaps, considered as an Apostle is quite intriguing.
    After sending greetings to Rome from all of Paul's travelers (as well as a hand note from the scribe -- Tertius in verse 22) the letter ends with a doxology and blessing.
     Tomorrow we will begin 1 Thessalonians -- I will post a brief introduction in the morning.

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