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The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia Hardcover – September 11, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0787984434 ISBN-10: 0787984434 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787984434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787984434
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,936,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Pederson is a speechwriter and journalist, not a biblical scholar. So when she learned that there was a female apostle named Junia (whose name had been changed by church fathers to Junias), she saw it as an intriguing news story and set out to discover the truth. The book gets off to a scattered and repetitious start, perhaps because Paul writes only a few lines about Junia in Romans, which hardly seems enough on which to base a whole book. But Pederson hits her stride when she examines the roles of women in early Christian times and speculates on how and why Junia got "lost." This is fascinating material, and the journalistic perspective turns out to be a big plus in terms of readability. Among the other topics Pederson delves into are church attitudes toward women and how they evolved, biblical inconsistencies, and the role of women in the later church. The book concludes with a list of discussion questions for each chapter. This could attract significant book-club interest. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"This is a very readable introduction to some of the characters and stories about women from early Christianity that are known to scholars but are often forgotten rather than celebrated in the rest of the church." (U.S. Catholic Magazine, January 2007)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I was especially impressed with the breadth and depth and credibility of the sources used in researching this book.
Mrs. Black
I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more about women in the early church from a historical point of view.
E. M. Compton
Now despite all these problems, this is a pretty good book with lots of useful information, and only a few mistakes.
Dr. James Gardner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Black on September 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Lost Apostle is fascinating and highly readable. It is a historical detective story -a search for the apostle Junia, whose story was lost because her name was changed in church literature to make her appear to be a man. Junia in fact was an apostle of high regard mentioned by Paul in his letters

Pederson finds in the person of Junia, the role model provided by the early church for today's women. The tragedy is, of course, that Junia's identity became obscured as responsibility for transcribing and editing the Bible moved through the generations, and generations of women were deprived of her positive image of women in the church.

Pederson also brings to life a dynamic early church, where both men and women both held leadership roles. I think everyone should read this book, but women in particular would benefit from its relevance today to their current issues in the church. It also puts into context the discrimination against women in the church over the centuries.

I was especially impressed with the breadth and depth and credibility of the sources used in researching this book. This is not only a wonderful read for the casual reader, it is also an excellent addition to the growing literature on early church history.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on March 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Pederson claims that the impetus for her book, The Lost Apostle, was to highlight an "invisible woman" who was written out of the pages of history, yet in less than 20 pages we learn that there are books on the subject and dozens of authoritative sources with facts and figures who are more than willing to talk about the missing Junia. One has to wonder then, what is the purpose of the book if there is already a sizable literature devoted to Junia.

Actually, the title of the book and the opening paragraphs are somewhat deceiving. Only a small part of the book is about Junia. The bulk of the book is about female issues in general, and goes on to discuss Mary Magdalene, Thecla, Priscilla, etc. Then, right in the middle of the book, there is a mini novel about the Templars. All very interesting and well written, although not exactly germane to Junia (there is an ever so slight relationship because the 13th Century Bishop who translated Junia as a masculine name helped another Bishop who later, when he became Pope, conspired with the King of France to bring down the Templars).

Pederson's background as a newspaper reporter creates a problem when it comes to a scholarly text. Apparently she believes that scholarship involves counting up who is for or against a position and then making a summary judgment. For example, she tells us whom she interviewed who believed that Junia was an esteemed apostle, and who believes she was known to the apostles, but not an apostle herself (page 39). In this case, there are two for "no" and five for "yes". While this is useful to a point, science (or scholarship) should not be reduced to a sums game.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on February 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
By her own admission, Pederson is a reporter, and not a theologian. This books reads as an extended newspaper article. It is easy for the layman to comprehend, without complicated theological ideas or terms, as the author goes through her experiences and emotions in pursuit of the information. This is a journey of discovery, discovery both of Junia and who the author sees herself to be as a woman. I found it very easy to relate to her and was immersed in her travels and thoughts. I could clear picture places she's been to; those that I also have visited in Rome were accurately and imaginatively described.

Readers looking for novel theological insights should look elsewhere. This is a very personal look at Junia. There is a tendency in this book to be too accepting of hagiophora- where stories of powerful women are considered credible despite their lack of historical verifiability. Sometimes Pederson's lack of theological training shows in misunderstandings of subtle nuances, but most of the time she has done her homework. Thus her work becomes a compendium of others thoughts, and this becomes the go-to book for information on Junia.

While at times it felt that Pederson was trying to fill in the pages with extraneous information (like the chapter on Thecla), the book is so full of the stories of Junia that it becomes a necessary and central document for any research on this apostle. There really isn't much verifiable information out there on her, beyond the one verse in Romans. Of particular interest therefore is Pederson's extended look into the culture of ancient Rome and what it would have been like to be a married Christian Jewish woman in Junia's time.

Pederson has done an admirable job of looking into all the ramifications of this one verse.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Compton on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a woman who longs to be connected with God, I have always found the focus in the church on negative scripture regarding women terribly frustrating, especially when elsewhere in the New Testament women are mentioned praying, prophesying, leading house churches, and as in Junia's case, even mentioned as apostles. Frustrated with the traditional church answers to this problem (i.e. women's roles are "different" but "equal", women who are challenged by these verses are not practicing proper submission to Christ, etc, etc.) I've been doing a lot of research into the historical context of the New Testament, how the influence of human interpretation has skewed our view about what the bible actually says, and how we have come to have the set of books that we now call our modern bible.

Pederson has done a lovely job of compiling tons of research into a readable format. She addresses the frustration that many women in the church have about the glossing over of women's roles in the New Testament churches, biblical scholars' knowledge of Junia, how Junia's name was changed from a female to a masculine form, when those changes where made and when Junia's name was recovered. A brief history on how we got our modern New Testament is covered as well as what life was like for early Christians like Junia in Rome. Sprinkled throughout the chapters are relevant facts and tidbits of information that were interesting enough to include but may not have warranted an entire extra chapter. (I had just listened to a podcast about the speculation over whom the writer of Hebrews was when Mark Goodacre mentioned in that podcast that some scholars think it may have been a woman who wrote Hebrews.
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