The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia
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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.
Mediterranean.They had learned something they had to share.The world has never been the same. Nor would I ever be the same. I was gaining a new appreciation of what arduous work was done to take the Jesus movement all the way from tiny Palestine to faraway places. I was learning that it required traveling weeks on rough cargo boats, miles by foot, and then witnessing a person at a time, a house at a time. As I tried to follow the sketchy trail of references to the first believers, I began
would be embarrassed for their friends to see me in. I could see it in their eyes: no one else’s mother was researching a missing apostle. The best explanation I could give my sons was that there was an injustice that needed to be made right. “How would you like it if somebody changed your name to a girl’s name after you died? What if people thought you were a girl?” Hmmm.They nodded their heads in understanding.They didn’t say anything more about my Junia project after that. For better and
worse, we now live in a vastly different world than Junia knew. A glance back is healthy.We are barely aware of what life was like a few decades ago, much less what women struggled with centuries ago.We’ve been rocketing ahead too fast to look back. For example, when Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead the pack at the Indianapolis 500 in June 2005 and made the cover of Sports Illustrated, she was asked in a Newsweek interview if she considered herself the “Gloria Steinem of auto
term libraria was usually read as lani pendria meaning “woolworker,” when in fact the reference more likely was to a female scribe. As Cullen Murphy notes, “The underlying reason for the mistranslation in this case, as apparently in others, is a form of circular reasoning: how could the word be libraria when we know that women lacked the skills for that job?” 18 Indeed, in other instances, female literacy seems to have been simply suppressed. A letter of Eusebius reveals that women were among the
years of working on the Junia issue on my own, usually late into the night after work, it was a tonic to hear from Nathan what he was discovering in the theology school library. He had found an ancient reference to Junia as a saint. He did multiple database searches for Junia’s name and confirmed that the female name was in use in Ephesus, Didyma, Lydia,Troas, Bithynia, and Rome during the first century, but there was no such use of a male name Junias.The male name was simply not a bona fide