Paul and co-workers

This blog, by Richard Fellows, discusses historical questions concerning Paul's letters, his co-workers, Acts, and chronology.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The insertion of 1 Cor 14:34-35 and Rom 15-16 into the western manuscripts

1 Cor 14:34-35 reads,


Women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.


Many consider these verses to be an interpolation, in part because they appear after verse 40 in the western Greek-Latin diglot manuscripts of Paul’s letters, D F G (and in 88*). These diglots had a (now lost) common ancestor, known as Z.


Did Z simply move 14:34-35 from after verse 33 to after verse 40? If so, the variation in the location of the verses provides no evidence that they are inauthentic. Alternatively, perhaps the disputed verses were originally absent and were imported into Z from another manuscript. If so, we have strong evidence that they were interpolated into 1 Corinthians by an early editor. The verses could then have spread until they had infected all surviving manuscripts, because copyists had a tendency to include text when in doubt.


To decide between these two views we must look at the editorial tendencies of Z. Kloha (pages 547-555) has drawn our attention to the textual variants that involve sizable chunks of text in D F G. He finds three transpositions, which are shown in the table. They occur in almost the exact same manuscripts as those that relocate 1 Cor 14:34-35, so plausibly happened at the same time.



The words “and the church in their house” are moved from Rom 16:5 to Rom 16:3, perhaps to connect them more closely with their verb (greet) and their referent, Prisca and Aquila. Perhaps there was a sexist motivation, for the transposition gives Paul’s high praise in Rom 16:4 to the church, rather than to Prisca herself.


Paul sends greetings from “all the churches of Christ” at Rom 16:16b, but the greetings from others do not occur until Rom 16:21-23. Z has Rom 16:16b transposed to 16:21, perhaps just to place all these greetings together.


In Z the benediction of Rom 16:20 occurs instead at the end of the letter, where it obviously fits well.


For Kloha, this transposing tendency means that we have no evidence here that a text lacked 1 Cor 14:34-35, and this convinced me for a while.


However, all three of these transpositions are in Romans 16, which, along with Romans 15, was absent from the ancestral line of D F G before these two chapters were added (together or one at a time). See Gamble pages 15-33. The transposing tendency belonged not to a copyist of the entire text, but to someone who edited the manuscript using text from another manuscript. Clause-length transpositions occurred in Z (or a predecessor) only in text that was added from another manuscript. Therefore 1 Cor 14:34-35 was absent from the manuscript and was added, along with Rom 16, by an editor with a tendency to transpose. Thus he inserted the two verses in the new location, perhaps to avoid disrupting Paul’s smooth discussion of prophecy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Mariam became Maria and, with that name, was Luke’s source for the infancy narrative

The name Mary in New Testament manuscripts appears sometimes in its Semitic form, Μαριαμ, and sometimes in its Greek forms: Μαρια (nominative and dative), Μαριαν (accusative), and Μαριας (genitive). Whenever it is in the genitive case it is written as Μαριας.(1) Peter Williams explains this as a form to be used suppletively alongside the Semitic Μαριαμ in the other cases. The mentions of the name of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the earliest manuscripts are shown in the table below. The use of the Greek forms of the name in codex Bezae (D05), are also explicable, since this manuscript has an anti-Semitic bias, including in its text of Luke.(2) D switches to the Greek form of the name at Luke 1:30, presumably because a scribe did not want a Semitic Mary to have “found favor with God”.


 At Luke 2:19 and Acts 1:14 the manuscripts are evenly divided between the Greek and Semitic forms.(3) It is unlikely that scribes would change Μαριαμ to Μαρια at these verses. Having transcribed her name successfully as Μαριαμ many times, why would a scribe switch to Μαρια at these points? If, on the other hand, Luke wrote Μαρια at these two spots, then scribes might change it to Μαριαμ to make it consistent with the form of the name already used several times for Mary. Let us now consider why Luke may have chosen to write Μαρια at Acts 1:14 and Luke 2:19, and only there.


Acts 1:14 mentions Mary’s presence in Jerusalem, and John 19:27 implies that she became a resident of Jerusalem. The gospel spread to many Greek speakers in Jerusalem and beyond, and they may have known Mary as Μαρια. We should therefore not be surprised that Luke’s last mention of Mary refers to her by this later form of her name.


Luke 2:19, like Acts 1:14, refers to her as Μαρια, suggesting that Luke has the later time in view here too.


Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them.(4)


Therefore, it seems to me that Luke has in mind not only the earlier time of Jesus’s birth, but also the much later time when Mary recalled what she had remembered, and when she was known as Μαρια, at least to Greek-speakers such as Luke. He seems to be citing Mary as his source for his birth narrative.

Luke, like other ancient writers, often refers to the same person by different names according to context. Consider Saul-Paul, John-Mark, BarJesus-Elymas, Jason-Aristarchus, and Crispus-Sosthenes.(5) A good parallel to Μαριαμ-Μαρια in Luke-Acts, is the case of Simon-Simeon. Luke gives him his Greek name form, Simon, at Luke 4:38, 38; 5:3, 4, 5, 810, 10; 6:14; 21:31, 31; 24:34; Acts 10:5, 18, 32; 11:13, but he gives him his Semitic name form, Simeon, appropriately, at Acts 15:14.



(1)  Not only for the mother of Jesus, but also for Martha’s sister (John 11:1) and Mark’s mother (Acts 12:12).

(2)  See Jason Robert Combs, “The Polemical Origin of Luke 6:5D: Dating Codex Bezae’s Sabbath-Worker Agraphon” JSNT (2019) 162-184.

(3)  At Luke 2:19 NA28 cites Μαρια א* B D Θ 1241. 1424 sa bopt. Μαριαμ א2 A K L P W Γ Δ Ξ Ψ f1.13 33. 565.579. 700. 892. 2542 𝔐 syh bopt. While NA28 prefers Μαριαμ here, the SBL and Tyndale House versions have Μαρια. At Acts 1:14 NA28 cites Μαρια א A C D Ψ 33. 614. 1175. 1241. 1505. 1739s 𝔐. Μαριαμ 81. 323. 945. 1891.

(4)  Good News Translation. The NRSV, for example, says “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart”, but this is misleading, as the heart was considered the center of thought and feeling, rather than just the seat of emotion (BDAG).

(5)  For the identities or Aristarchus and Sosthenes, see my Tyndale Bulletin article here

See pages 263-4 of the same article for a discussion of name switching by ancient writers.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Chuza and Joanna as Andronicus and Junia, prominent apostles

Richard Bauckham argued that Junia (Rom 16:7) was Joanna (Luke 8:3; 24:10), (1) and here I confirm his theory by tightening his arguments and adding new ones.

Andronicus and Junia
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. (Rom 16:7)
Andronicus and Junia were almost certainly from Palestine because they were Jews who were in Christ before Paul. Junia was a Latin female name. It is very probable that Junia went by another name in Palestine because
a) Only 4.1% of occurrences of Jewish female names in Palestine are Latin.(2)
b) The name Junia, while common in Rome, was particularly rare in the east.

The table below shows all the early Christians with recorded names belonging to more than one language. Barnabas and Luke have been added to complete the list of apostles to gentile territories. It can be seen that the name pairs fall into two categories.
1) There are those who were given a new name because of its meaning, and such names are shown in bold. The name Junia does not appear to belong to this category since it has no special meaning and there is little evidence that the early Christians employed Latin names for this purpose.
2) All the others in the table had names that had a phonetic resemblance to each other. We need not suppose that John Mark was an exception since Mark is a praenomen and he probably also had a cognomen, which may have been phonetically similar to his Semitic name, John.

So Junia probably had a name that sounded similar to Junia. It is unlikely to have been a Greek name, since such a name would have worked well in Rome and she would therefore not have needed to switch to "Junia". Therefore we are looking for a Semitic name that sounds like Junia, and the only good candidate is Joanna.(3) Furthermore, a Joanna looking for a similar sounding Latin name would likely choose Junia.(4)

The table shows that Latin names (rather than Greek) dominate those who evangelised gentile lands (I include Jesus Justus, though he was fictional). This is likely because missionaries needed the legal protection of Roman citizenship to do their dangerous work. See here. Now, Junia was a Latin name, so fits the pattern, but what about Andronicus, which was a Greek name? The other travelling missionaries who were known in the diaspora by non-Latin names are Barnabas, Timothy and Peter, and it is striking that all three were probably new names given in recognition of their roles in the church. This phenomenon of new name giving was more widespread than is often supposed and in most (all?) cases the new name was given to a church host or benefactor. See here. The name Andronicus is formed from ἀνδρὸς (of man) and νίκη (victory), and can be translated "victory of a man". The name may therefore have been given to him for his role as benefactor, in much the same way that the Greek names Stephanas (crowned), Sosthenes (saving strength), and Peter (rock) were given to those hosts/benefactors.

So, in our search for Andronicus and Junia we are looking for people who meet the following criteria:
1) They were a male/female partnership.
2) Both were Jews.
3) Both were in Christ before Paul.
4) The man could well have been a benefactor.
5) They were prominent in the church.
6) The woman was probably called Joanna.
7) They had, or could attain, Roman citizenship.

Joanna and Chuza
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God, and the twelve with him and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Sussana, and may others, who provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3) 
Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles (Luke 24:10)
Joanna and Chuza meet the above criteria for Junia and Andronicus:
1) They were a female/male partnership.
2) They were almost certainly both Jews (because of their location and Joanna's name)
3) Joanna's financial support of the Jesus movement is easier to explain if Chuza was also a disciple, since husbands generally controlled the resources. Given his position as Herod's steward, he may have needed to keep his support of Jesus secret (compare Joseph of Arimathea, who was a member of the Council (Mark 15:43) and a secret disciple (John 19:38)). If Chuza was indeed a disciple at that time, he and Joanna, like Andronicus and Junia, were in Christ before Paul.
4) Chuza, if indeed a disciple, would have been a benefactor of the church, and could then have been given an appropriate Greek name, such as Andronicus.
5) Luke mentions Joanna and Chuza by name, perhaps because they became prominent apostles who were known to some of his audience.
6) Joanna would likely have taken the name Junia if she needed a Latin name.
7) Bauckham has shown that Chuza was very wealthy. He and Joanna, if they were not already Roman citizens, would be able to purchase Roman citizenship (which afforded them the necessary legal protection for the dangerous work of evangelism).

The name Joanna was held by just 3% of Jewish women in Palestine. Junia was probably a prominent early disciple called Joanna. In my judgement there was probably only one such individual, the Joanna of Luke's gospel.

It may be objected that Junia's partner was Andronicus, whereas Joanna's parter was Chuza. However, I have reversed this argument by showing that Andronicus's Greek name implies that he was a wealthy individual with an earlier name, and this would fit Chuza nicely.

Luke's source for his information on Joanna, and indeed much of his gospel, may have been Joanna-Junia herself, since they would have met in Rome.

(1) Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women (2002) 165-186.
(2) Tal Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity Part I Palestine 330 BCE-200 CE (2002) 55.
(3) See Ilan's volumes.
(4) At least from searches of Latin female names in Trismegistos. I will search other sources when it is safe to visit libraries. The next best candidate is perhaps Iuliana.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Vaticanus and 1 Cor 14:34-5

NTS has published my short article:

"Are There Distigme-Obelos Symbols in Vaticanus?" NTS 65.2 (2019) 246-251.

It can be accessed for free here. In it I argue against Philip Payne's 2017 NTS article, in which he tried to use symbols in the margin of codex Vaticanus to argue that 1 Cor 14:34-5 is an interpolation. Actually, I think that Paul probably did not write these verses, but not for the reasons Payne gave in the article.

The current edition of NTS also contains a further rebuttal of Payne's 2017 paper:

Jan Krans, "Paragraphos, Not Obelos, in Codex Vaticanus" NTS 65.2 (2019) 252-257.

Krans's article is broader in scope than mine. He and I worked independently of each other and there is little overlap in our material, but we come to the same conclusion.

The background to Galatians

My article on Galatians is now published, and can be downloaded for 14 Euros here. Sorry about the price.

"Paul, Timothy, Jerusalem and the Confusion in Galatia" Biblica 99.4 (2018) 544-566.

It is a provocative and potentially ground-breaking piece that challenges modern scholars' cherished beliefs that:-
a) there was a theological rift between Paul and the Jerusalem church leaders.
b) Paul wrote Galatians in anger.
c) Paul was uncompromising in his opposition to circumcision.
d) Galatians shows Acts to be unhistorical.
e) Titus and Timothy were different people.

In the process, I support the south Galatia hypothesis and a date of composition after the circumcision of Timothy. Here is the abstract.
Gal 5,11 is an embarrassment to conventional understandings of Galatians, yet the structure of the letter shows that it is of central importance: it is the clearest text that reveals the rumour refuted by Paul throughout the letter. Paul circumcised Timothy in Galatia and delivered Jerusalem’s decision that circumcision was not necessary. The agitators then encouraged circumcision by appealing to Paul’s authority, claiming that he now approved of circumcision, and that it was only to please the Jerusalem church leaders that he continued to preach a Law-free gospel in Galatia. Acts no longer contradicts Galatians but explains it well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Junia, Prisca, and sexism in Jerome's manuscript

Jerome wrote a list of New Testament proper names, with his (loose) interpretations of their meanings. It is found in Liber Interpretations Hebraicorum Nominum, also known as Liber de Nominibus Hebraicis. The oldest manuscript of this work is from the 9th century and its images are given below and can be found here (and a later manuscript is here). The text is conveniently given here and de Lagarde's edition is here. This blog post examines how this work of Jerome treats Junia (Rom 16:7), Euodia (Phil 4:3) and Prisca.

A sexist hand may have intervened in the compilation of Jerome's book in 388 A.D., for Junia and Euodia seem to have been removed from their rightful locations, and Prisca was made male.

Jerome organised the names by the books in which they appear. Thus, all the names in Romans are together. The next criterion for ordering the names is alphabetical order of the first letter, and the final criterion is text order. For example, all the names beginning with "A" are grouped together, but Aquila comes before Andronicus because Aquila is mentioned in Romans before Andronicus. But when we look at the names beginning with "I" we see some oddities. At the end of the "I" names we should expect to find Iunia (Julia), Iulia (Julia), and Iason (Jason), in that order, but they (and only they) are missing.

Even more curious is the fact that Iunia and Iason have been moved to the section for the epistle of James, though I counted 13 other names that have been moved (mostly from 1 Peter and among the shorter Pauline letters).

Furthermore Iunia there is given the interpretation "incipiens" (starting), which is precisely the interpretation that we should expect to be given to Iulia, since Jerome elsewhere gives that interpretation to Iulius (which is the male form of the same name). Indeed, we read the following:

Iael cerua uel coniugium ceruale siue incipiens
Iohel incipiens (twice)
Iohel incipiente deo siue est deus
Iulium incipientem

All these names begin with "I" and have an "L", not an "N". It seems that Iunia has been given Iulia's interpretation, "incipiens", and  the interpretation of Iunia's name has been lost. What is going on?

When Jerome collected and interpreted the names in Romans, we should expect him to have written the following on his piece of papyrus that he used for the names beginning with "I".

The words in normal font appear in the manuscripts, the words in grey are absent, and the words in blue appear in the section on James. Now for some speculation. All is explained if the bottom section of the papyrus broke off and found its way to the pile of sheets for the epistle of James. The scribe who copied all the sheets into a single continuous document would then have included Iunia and Iason in the section on James. The tear may have made illegible the name Iulia and the gloss on Iunia's name, so that the word "incipiens" was then ascribed to Iunia instead.

That is to say, everything is explained if the papyrus was torn, for example as shown above, with the bottom fragment finding its way to the James pile, which could well have been still on the desk, since James comes shortly before Romans.

In any case, Junia has been moved from her rightful place, and the interpretation of her name seems to have been lost. These things may have been done deliberately by a misogynist hand. He may have tried to make it look like an accident in case he was challenged on the alteration. We have no way to know that it was deliberate, but we should be suspicious because this was not the only time that Junia was a victim of misogyny. See my earlier post, which discusses the treatment of Junia in P46.

Phil 4:2-3 can be understood to mean that Paul commended Euodia highly, and Jerome seems to endorse such an interpretation, for he gives a positive interpretation of her name (Euhodiam adprehendentem dominum).  Now, she appears in the section on Philippians, as we might expect, but, curiously, she also appears in the section on 2 Timothy. Other duplications include Pontus, Cappadocia, Silvanus, and Marcus, all of which appear in the section on 2 Peter, as well as 1 Peter. All the duplications might be explained as dislocations that were later partly corrected. Thus an assistant of Jerome may have moved Euodia from the Philippians, perhaps objecting to Jerome's commendation of her. Note that Euhodiam is no longer explicitly female when she is dissociated from Phil 4:2-3. Later readers of Jerome's book may have copied Euodia back into the section on Philippians, where she belongs.

In that earlier blog post I presented three pieces of evidence that some tried to claim that Prisca was a man:
1) The masculine form of the name in P46
2) The masculine name, Priscus, in codex Sinaiticus
3) The claim in Index Apostolorum Discipulorumque, ascribed to Epiphanius, that Prisca and Junia were men.

While Jerome's work on names did not have the power to make Prisca a man, it does seem to have de-emphasised her female gender, by giving her name in its masculine form in the sections on Romans and 2 Timothy.

The name is Prisca in the section on 1 Corinthians, but in this manuscript she is curiously given a lower case "p". What to make of that?

Clearly a lot more work needs to be done on sexist alterations of texts in the early Christian centuries.

[This blog post is updated from a version posted 9 days ago]

Liber Interpretations Hebraicorum Nominum ascribes essentially the same meaning to Luke as to Lucius, providing further evidence, perhaps, that Luke is a short form of Lucius.
Dorcas is absent from the book, indicating, perhaps, that Jerome did not consider it to be another name used by Tabitha.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Barnabas is female in P46 Gal 2:1

At Gal 2:1 Paul says he went to Jerusalem with Barnabas, having taken (μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ συμπαραλαβὼν) Titus with him. While Paul wrote "ΒΑΡΝΑΒΑ", which is the normal genitive form of the name, P46, the oldest manuscript of Paul's letters, adds a sigma to the end of the name to make: "ΒΑΡΝΑΒΑΣ".

Royse writes that this is “presumably an unusual genitive in –ας, for which there seems to be no parallel” (1). However, he must mean that there is no male parallel, for it is an ordinary genitive of a first declension feminine name (2).

The name is otherwise unattested as a female name, and the male form was extremely rare, with only two cases listed in the Lexicon of Greek Personal Νames, for example. It is therefore plausible that the scribe of P46 (or a predecessor) did not know whether to expect a male name or a female name, but they would know to expect a genitive. They would therefore know that if the name was female there would be a sigma following the final alpha, and there would be no such sigma if the name was male. It seems that, on finding the sigma they then naturally assumed that the name was female and took the word to end after the sigma, not realising that the sigma was the initial letter of the following word. The doubling of the sigma is therefore explicable if the scribe had no prior knowledge of Barnabas's gender.

Edgar Battad Ebojo did not consider the possibility that the scribe thought he was writing a female name, and wrote that the error resulted from "a visual difficulty with initial sigma immediately following an open vowel"(3). He cites 1 Cor 2:4 as another case where P46 doubles the sigma to create a text that makes no sense. However, this textual variant does not demonstrate a tendency of P46 since it is in the other early manuscripts as well. The only other example of P46 doubling an initial sigma is at 1 Cor 16:19, where the female name, Prisca, is changed to the (unattested?) male name, Priscas. As I mentioned in my last blog post, the name Prisca has an ambiguous gender in Rom 16:3 since it is in the accusative. Prisca there is mentioned before Aquila and is highly praised so a scribe might have made the sexist assumption that Prisca was male (even though it is a well attested female name) and, when reaching 1 Cor 16:19, the scribe would have been primed to read the sigma of σὺν as the last letter of Prisca's name, which precedes it.

There is therefore no tendency in P46 to double sigmas to make text that the scribe would have considered nonsense. We can therefore assume that at Gal 2:1 a scribe thought he/she was writing a woman's name, and at 1 Cor 16:19 a scribe thought he/she was writing a man's name. An interesting implication of this is that in neither case could the scribe have been familiar with the Acts of the Apostles, where the genders of the two people are unambiguous. The influence of Acts presumably explains why these errors are not seen in other manuscripts (all of which are later).

Barnabas's gender is unambiguous at Gal 2:13, but P46 has a textual variant there and things get complicated.

(1) James R. Royse, Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri, NTTSD 36 (Leiden: Brill, 2008) 332.
(2) Compare, for example, ΜΑΡΙΑΣ (Matt 1:16; John 11:1; Acts 12:12).
(3) A scribe and his manuscript: an Investigation into the Scribal Habits of Papyrus 46 (P. Chester Beatty II – P. Mich. Inv. 6238). PhD thesis. 275-7.