Review of 2011 edition of the NIV

July 28, 2011

The pdf file below is a copy of a paper that I’m presenting this evening at the Bible Faculty Summit in Ankeny, Iowa. At 50 pgs. (sg.-spaced), it is far too long, but I still think it is inadequate to explore adequately all the issues involved. Please note that the review reflects the conference setting very directly at a number of points. The BFS meets every summer and we have a good time together with a dozen or so academic papers, plenty of good-natured ribbing, and good fellowship. (There’s a news article about the conference here, a Picasa album here, and at the moment a “headline” photo of some of the participants here—though that’s a rotating headline, so it will scroll off in due time as other articles are posted.) There will likely be a revised version of this review which will be published in due time; that revision will not reflect the conference setting as does the present edition. More on that later.

NIV2011evaluationJust.pdf

9 responses to Review of 2011 edition of the NIV

  1. Well done, Rod. Thanks for serving us so well with this excellent review.

  2. Hi Rod,

    Thanks for your excellent review. I had a few comments about Junia however. I have the impression that Ἰουνίαν could also conceivably be a first declension masculine name, although none has been found in Greek or Latin. Wolters suggests that the Hebrew Yehunni could be transliterated in this way, although once again, Yehunni is not a common name and could be masc. or fem. So, hypothetically, it could be masculine but there is no evidence for this name as masculine.

    I was wondering what the arguments are which support the form Ἰουνιᾶν. I realize that the NET Bible note says that Epiphanius cited Ἰουνιᾶν, but, in fact, he also says that Prisca is a male called Priscas, so he is usually not used as evidence. I had forgotten that the NET Bible uses Epiphanius in a positive way. This is a detail which might be edited. I don’t think there is any other evidence for Ἰουνιᾶν.
    So, I have the impression that a masculine name is simply hypothesized, based on a belief that there could not be a female apostle. Whereas, Junia was a rather common Latin name for a woman, and does occur for other women in Greek. Certainly, all church fathers and the Greek church up until today speak of her as a female apostle.

    On the second point, once again the NET Bible note gives a rather curious impression that Pss. of Solomon 2:6 provides a parallel to Romans 16:7 when this is far from the case. In addition, there is no collocation with a word of perception, since episemos is not a word of perception. I have appealed to Dr. Wallace repeatedly to clear this up but there has been no editing of the NET Bible note. It would be good to have this resolved as Pss. of Solomon 2:6 was not properly represented in the original article by Wallace and Burer and therefore the Junia hypothesis has no current academic support. This is to be regretted since several Bible translations follow the article in translating “well-known to.”

    Thanks for considering this.

    • The beginning of a semester is too busy a time for me to respond in detail Sue. You could be right about Epiphanius. As to Junia, I suspect (as my review says) that she was, indeed, a she. The more debatable point is the meaning of ἐπίσημος. I’m not so sure that it can be written off as non-perceptive. Even if it were, however, that only softens one leg of the argument. I don’t have time to check the usage in TLG just now–and I can’t do that from home anyway since TLG is unjustly strict in allowing access only through the IP of a licensed institution, so I can only get to the data on campus. (Our school spends a LOT of money for online database access and every other provider allows user access on an ID/password basis without restricting the IP address–excpept TLG; one would think they owned data more valuable than all the rest of the database vendors such as ProQuest, EBSCO, JSTOR, R&TA, etc.! End of Grump!) One of these days I’ll follow up your argument.

  3. I have no academic access at all. None of it! But I was able to go online and verify 90 % of the citations in Linda Belleville’s article.

    But actually, none of that is necessary. Pss of Solomon is in the LXX, so easily accessible in Greek and in several English translations online.

    Here is the necessary info. W & B in their article write as background to the NET Bible commentary.

    “When, however, an elative notion is found, evn plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon. 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)

    Semantically, what is significant is that (a) the first group is not a part of the second—that is, the Jewish captives were not gentiles; and (b) what was ‘among’ the gentiles was the Jews’ notoriety.”

    But here is the text itself from Pss. Solomon 2:6.

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

    And here is the relatively literal NETS translation,

    The sons and daughters were in harsh captivity,
    Their neck in a seal
    With a mark among the nations NETS

    I have not found any other basis for Wallace and Burer’s hypothesis about episemos. As you say, this softens one leg of the argument. But in fact, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Greek Vamva New Testament indicates that Junia was unambiguously a female apostle.

    The Greek NT of the 19th century, the Vamva version, updated Romans 16:7 to say,

    ᾽Απάσθητε τὸν ᾽Ανδρόνικον καὶ ᾽Ιουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτνες εἴναι ἐπίσημοι μεταξὺ τῶν ἀποστόλων οἵτνες καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἦσαν εις τὸν Χριστόν.

    If one wishes to strip the word apostle of its place in the list of charisma, then that is another discusssion.

    Unforunately, this blog does not allow me to post the links. However, Wallace and Burer’s article is in JBMW and open to googling. Linda Belleville’s article is on Mike Heiser’s Naked Bible site, and Pss of Solomon is in Sacred Texts, and the NETS is also open to google.

  4. I appreciate that you wrote an extremely favourable review of the NIV 2011. What bothers me is the uncritical use of the NET Bible notes. They are in dire need of revision since several Bible translations have based their translation of Romans 16:7 on these notes. Thanks.

  5. Sue,

    Thanks for your comments. I’ll respond to your several separate posts together here. Before I do, however, I want to make it clear that this issue is not the focus of my blog and I do not intend for this forum to become a debating ground on what has become a contentious issue. There are plenty of other blogs that focus on this subject (yours included). I am, as anyone reading my NIV review will know, a complementarian. I do not like the tone of many discussions of this subject by parties on either side. It has become too contentious and I’ve no intention of being drawn into that fray. Nor do I want to be tarred with the brush of other writers who might share some of my conclusions, but who do so in ways I do not appreciate either methodologically or attitudinally. That, too, I think is clear from my review. So I will respond to several key points in your posts, but that will be the end of my discussion of that subject here. I am glad to discuss other aspects of my review, but this will be the terminus of my discussion of complementation versus egalitarian views in this post.

     

    > I was wondering what the arguments are which support the form Ἰουνιᾶν.

    I’m not arguing for that position, but there is one MS (but only one to my knowledge) with that accentuation.

     

    > the NET Bible note says that Epiphanius cited Ἰουνιᾶν, but, in fact, he also says that Prisca is a male called Priscas, so he is usually not used as evidence. I had forgotten that the NET Bible uses Epiphanius in a positive way.

    The NTS article on which the NET summary is based clearly acknowledges this:

     

    “Epiphanius’s testimony here ought not to be weighed too heavily, for he calls Prisca in the previous sentence a man, too!” (p. 77).

    And in n. 6 on the same page,

    “even though Epiphanius’s identification of Junia as a man is almost surely incorrect (see below), his voice must be accounted for in the tabulation of patristic evidence.”

     

    > Pss. of Solomon 2:6 was not properly represented in the original article by Wallace and Burer

    I’m not so sure this is a valid criticism. I’ll be the first to admit the text is a bit obscure, but the general sense seems to be as B&W describe it: “where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that ‘they were a spectacle among the gentiles’.” I doubt the NETS transl. is very helpful at that point. Esp. if read in its context, B&W’s explanation and translation make much better sense of this phrase. But even if that one example were set aside as too obscure, that is not the only such example cited in the NTS article. There is also the inscription TAM 2.905.1 west wall. coll. 2.5.18, “a man who is ‘not only foremost in his own country, but also *well known* to the outside population’.” That is but one of a number of other parallels cited from a wide range of relevant literature, so it is not as simple as challenging one citation.

     

    > you wrote an extremely favourable review of the NIV 2011. What bothers me is the uncritical use of the NET Bible notes.

    I’d suggest that “uncritical” may be inappropriate here. Were I writing an article on Rom 16:7, then perhaps I would be open to such a charge if I did nothing more than cite the NET notes. But this is a review of a translation that addresses the verse as one part of the challenges presented. I cited both NET notes to indicate that they gave a “survey of the issue” and a “summary.” I’m sure that you would have liked me to address it in more detail, but the review was already far too long, so survey and summary it is—and that’s where it will stay in the published version and on this blog.

  6. Hi Rod,

    I don’t want to debate the issue, but I feel that your work is trusted and will be read by many. I am interested in engaging on the level of the Greek text itself, not interpretation.

    With regard to Ἰουνιᾶν, you write,

    ” I’m not arguing for that position, but there is one MS (but only one to my knowledge) with that accentuation.”

    I am not aware of any NT manuscipt with Ἰουνιᾶν. If there were one, this would be a newly discovered manuscript not listed in the normal places.

    Thanks for the citation on Epiphanius. I think it helps to include this information.

    Regarding B & W articles. I agree that they appear to make better sense of Pss of Solomon 2:6 than the NETS, but this in no way means that it is more accurate. It is also clear that

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

    is not grammatically parallel to

    οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις

    It is perhaps better to think of the Jewish captives in bonds, or in a brand among the Gentiles. Certainly the location of the Jewish captives was among the Gentiles, whether in a prominant place or in bondage. ” Among” is supported by this citation.

    You write,

    ” There is also the inscription TAM 2.905.1 west wall. coll. 2.5.18, “a man who is ‘not only foremost in his own country, but also *well known* to the outside population’.”

    Yes, this is

    οὐ μόνον ἐ]ν̣ τ̣ῇ [π]α̣τρίδι πρώτου,
    ἀλ̣λὰ [καὶ ἐν τῷ ἔθ]νει ἐπισή̣μου *

    Not only in the hometown first
    But also in the nation prominent (my literal translation)

    I don’t think that there is any case for saying that the “nation” is not his own nation. Surely the nation would be named if it were not his own nation. And patris can certainly refer to one’s native town or village.

    I truly don’t want to debate the theological issue with you. I simply want to engage on the level of ascertaining manuscript evidence, and accuracy in exegesis. Sorry to bother you with this. Thanks for your response.

  7. Sorry for the followup comment but here is the supporting evidence for my translation of the TAM citation,

    ἐν τῇ πατρίδι – in one’s hometown
    ἐν τῷ ἔθνει – among one’s own people

    εἶπεν δέ· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν
    ὅτι οὐδεὶς προφήτης δεκτός ἐστιν
    ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ. Luke 4:24

    And he added, “I tell you the truth,
    no prophet is acceptable
    in his hometown. NET Bible

    τὴν μὲν οὖν βίωσίν μου [τὴν] ἐκ νεότητος τὴν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς γενομένην
    ἐν τῷ ἔθνει μου ἔν τε Ἱεροσολύμοις
    ἴσασιν / ἴσασι πάντες [οἱ] Ἰουδαῖοι Acts 26:4

    Now all the Jews know the way I lived from my youth,
    spending my life from the beginning among my own people
    and in Jerusalem. NET Bible

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