He never presented an alternative reading, he just tried to make the best out of what appears to be the only reading that anyone ever knew. So that to me is the biggest problem with Talbert's proposal. He claims that his translation and structing would be reflective of how it was originally read, and understood, but he presents no evidence of any ancient authorities who read it that way, nor have I seen any, but everyone I read read it the standard way.Adv Marc. V.20:
Of course the Marcionites suppose that they have the apostle on their side in the following passage in the matter of Christ's substance — that in Him there was nothing but a phantom of flesh. For he says of Christ, that, being in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, not the reality, and was made in the likeness of man, not a man, and was found in fashion as a man, Philippians 2:6-7 not in his substance, that is to say, his flesh; just as if to a substance there did not accrue both form and likeness and fashion. It is well for us that in another passage (the apostle) calls Christ the image of the invisible God. Colossians 1:15 For will it not follow with equal force from that passage, that Christ is not truly God, because the apostle places Him in the image of God, if, (as Marcion contends,) He is not truly man because of His having taken on Him the form or image of a man? For in both cases the true substance will have to be excluded, if image (or fashion) and likeness and form shall be claimed for a phantom. But since he is truly God, as the Son of the Father, in His fashion and image, He has been already by the force of this conclusion determined to be truly man, as the Son of man, found in the fashion and image of a man. For when he propounded Him as thus found in the manner of a man, he in fact affirmed Him to be most certainly human. For what is found, manifestly possesses existence. Therefore, as He was found to be God by His mighty power, so was He found to be man by reason of His flesh, because the apostle could not have pronounced Him to have become obedient unto death, Philippians 2:8 if He had not been constituted of a mortal substance. Still more plainly does this appear from the apostle's additional words, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 For he could hardly mean this to be a climax to the human suffering, to extol the virtue of His obedience, if he had known it all to be the imaginary process of a phantom, which rather eluded the cross than experienced it, and which displayed no virtue in the suffering, but only illusion.
So at best he can claim that his reading was intended by the original writer of the hymn, but I don't even see that he can claim that Paul held to his understanding of it, since Paul says the second Adam came from heaven.
I agree Ben that his argument sounds attractive, but I just can't see that such a reading was never expressed by any ancient sources if it were indeed how the passage was intended to be read.