The theme of this issue of Priscilla Papers is Bible Translation. We featured this same theme four years ago, in the spring of 2015, but it is an important topic and worthy of considerable attention.
The opening article is appropriately titled, “The Power of Bible Translation.” Author Aloo Mojola draws on his extensive experience as a Bible translator in eastern Africa. He offers insightful perspectives on the nature of Bible translation, including discussions of grammatical gender and the challenge of translating references to God.
The second article moves from the broad topic of Bible translation to a particular detail of the biblical text, Junia’s name and her description as “outstanding among the apostles,” found in Romans 16:7. Most readers of Priscilla Papers will be familiar with debates about Junia’s sex and apostleship. The handful of perspectives and their several supporting arguments can be found in various books and journals, but not without considerable effort. This article, by Dennis Preato, gathers such information together in one place and also brings it up-to-date.
Our third article returns to an African context. Missionary Joshua Barron writes about relationships among the Maasai people of Kenya, including a section on Ephesians 5 as a biblical witness to gender relationships. Joshua makes a convincing case that, not only should the Maasai learn lessons from Christianity about gender relationships, but Maasai culture can be instructive for the global church as well.
Finally, Phil Payne argues that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 originates, not from Paul himself, but from a marginal note made by an early reader. Scribes subsequently added this marginal note to the text, at two different places. Phil writes here in response to an article that Kirk MacGregor published in Priscilla Papers in the winter of 2018. Kirk describes the text in question as a quotation-refutation device, meaning that Paul quotes a statement, only to then refute it. Thus these two authors agree that Paul did not compose, for example, the statement, “it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (1 Cor 14:35b NIV). They disagree, however, on how something Paul did not compose came to be included in this letter to the Corinthian Christians. I reiterate here what I said in the editorial introduction to that issue, that a central purpose of academic journals is to foster scholarly discussion that moves us toward the truth of important and difficult matters.
Our cover photo features Julia Evelina Smith and Abigail Hadassah Smith, sisters from Connecticut who fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s suffrage. The picture makes an appropriate cover photo because Julia was the first woman to translate the complete Bible into English, a monumental task she completed in 1855.