Matt posts some thoughts in response to my earlier post on the subject of Junia as a female apostle in Romans 16:7. He has some helpful remarks on the grammatical case for and against Junia’s apostleship.
Especially helpful is Ephraem Syrus Theol., Ad imitationem proverbiorum (4138: 006)
(“Ὁσίου Ἐφραίμ τοῦ Σύρου ἔργα, vol. 1”, Ed. Phrantzoles, Konstantinos G. Thessalonica: Το περιβόλι της Παναγίας, 1988, Repr. 1995. Page 187, line 6)
Θέλω πρακτικὸς εἶναι καὶ ἐπίσημος ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἢ παραβαίνειν ἐντολὰς καὶ εἶναι αὐτοῖς βδελυκτός.
I translate: “I want to be ready for action, and ἐπίσημος among the brothers, rather than to transgress the commandments and be repugnant to them.”
What is nice about this example is that the parallel construction of the sentence makes clear that there is not a comparison being made, nor any partitive construction, but that ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς is parallel to αὐτοῖς in the second half, and that both indicate the subjective perceivers of the good qualities the author desires to have — precisely how Wallace and Burer think “among the apostles” should be taken in Romans 16:7.
In the course of the comment thread, I remarked that it is a methodological mistake to think that the interpretation of Romans 16:7 will be determined by inductively concocted “rules” of Greek idiom. The idiom, rather, will be determined by context. As I put it in the comments: “The truth is that in Greek, as in English, it is context and common sense that determines whether Sweeney is a nightingale, or sheep are wolves, or the virgin Mary is a woman (“blessed art thou among…). It is not some special rule about ‘en + dative with verbs’ and ‘en + dative with adjectives.’”
He then briefly explores the concept of a female shaliach in Jewish sources. In my own thinking on the subject, I came to take a step back from parallel forms of representation of another party in my final post on the subject, arguing that we need to attend to the differences between the form of representation engaged in by the son, and the form of representation engaged in by the wife. Such a differentiation maintains that both can equally serve in a representative capacity, but that the wife’s form of representation (and the form of representation of women more generally – this isn’t limited to married women) differs in kind in a manner that might mean that shaliach is not the best word for the woman’s form of representation.
Edit (16/12/11): Matt has reposted some remarks on the subject of Ben Witherington’s exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:11-15, pertinent to the present discussions. There have also been extensive discussions in the comments of my original posts, Matt’s post, and on a post on Junia by Suzanne McCarthy.