Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by GakuseiDon »

neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 4:53 amWhat is being compared are the words that we read in Genesis and the words that we read in Paul's passage. If we go beyond this data and seek an argument in what we believe an author thought and how he interpreted the words of Genesis then we enter the realm of question begging. How do we know Paul interpreted Genesis that way, because that's our interpretation of what he wrote.... and so forth.
I agree. Dunn's logic stems from whether "form of God" is being used in the same way as "image of God". If he's not correct, then the whole thing falls apart, of course.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:06 am
GakuseiDon wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 4:22 amAgain, lots of scholars seem to see the idea of a pre-existence of Christ in Paul, so that needs to be taken into consideration.
the games apologists play :|
:lol: I know. It's not surprising to see Christian apologists wanting to see pre-existence in there, and so be resistant to Dunne's argument. Even so, I can't dismiss their arguments without understanding them. No doubt they are more trained in the literature and the languages than I'll ever be, since my understand comes from reading English translations only.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by GakuseiDon »

neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 4:58 am A more generally accessible point for B's Form of God article: https://sci-hub.se/10.1093/jts/48.1.1
Fantastic! Thanks Neil.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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Paul the Uncertain wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:39 am
In the Genesis story, it is Eve rather than Adam who receives the proposal to be 'like God' (Gen. 3:5; LXX has 'like gods')
Reading on to the next verse, we learn that the Woman doesn't go fetch Adam, and yet he is there with her. This propinquity appears to be overtly mentioned in both Hebrew and Septuagint. It follows that there is a foundation (but not proof) for Adam being a witness to, but not a participant in the conversation between Serpent and the Woman.

In other words, it is reasonable but not obligatory to infer that Adam took the fruit with the intention of achieving the transformation that Serpent had explained in Adam's hearing.
My point is that, regardless of what Gen 3 says about Eve, Paul sees the blame falling to Adam, at least according to the points he makes in his letters. For Paul, death came into the world through the disobedience of one man, not one man and one woman! And eternal life came into the world through the obedience of one man.

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
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Irish1975
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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The conventional view of the Philippians hymn is that Paul didn’t write it. This is also what Baur and the Dutch radicals thought. Since non-Pauline authorship is such a strong possibility, I don’t see what is to be gained by assuming a connection to Romans, 1 Corinthians, etc, even apart from the arguments that have already been made against that interpretation.
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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Irish1975 wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 3:15 pm I don’t see what is to be gained by assuming a connection to Romans, 1 Corinthians, etc, even apart from the arguments that have already been made against that interpretation.
I would be a bit reluctant to give up to the authenticity of the Philippians Hymn for a pragmatic reason: assuming it genuine, we would have a good trajectory in 3 steps:
  • 1 step: Jesus descends only to die in few hours (evidence: Philippians Hymn)
  • 2 step: Jesus descends only for short months (evidence: Mark and the Evangelion)
  • 3 step: Jesus descends for an entire life (evidence: Matthew and Luke)
Paul the Uncertain
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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@gryan

Thank you for those links and pointers!

@GakuseiDon

I am unsure whether you and I are in urgent disagreement. I don't know what Paul's view was on the hypothetical question "What if only the Woman had eaten the fruit, and Adam had declined the Woman's offer to share the fruit with him?"

The issue in that box I quoted, and which you requoted, was whether it would have been fair for Paul to characterize Adam's motives in eating the fruit as seeking the transformation that the Serpent promised the Woman, if that's what Paul did.

Yes, IMO, it would have been fair based on the underlying Genesis text. Therefore, we cannot discount Paul having done so on the grounds that Adam hadn't discussed the matter with the Serpent.

The literary hypothesis at stake is whether Paul wished to compare one man with another man. There could be any number of reasons why a writer might overlook that one of the men had a partner while the other man acted alone, so long as the two men had "opposite" strategies for achieving similar aims.
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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Thanks, Paul the Uncertain.
----------

I read through the two articles that Neil Godfrey provided links for (thanks again, Neil!)

* Cover, Michael Benjamin. “The Death of Tragedy: The Form of God in Euripides’s Bacchae and Paul’s Carmen Christi.” Harvard Theological Review 111, no. 1 (January 2018): 66–89. https://sci-hub.se/10.1017/S0017816017000396
* Bockmuehl, Markus. “‘The Form of God’ (Phil. 2:6) Variations on a Theme of Jewish Mysticism.” https://sci-hub.se/10.1093/jts/48.1.1

It was pointed out that Irenaeus also saw Phil 2 in terms of "an Adam Christology" as well. In Book 5, Ch 16 of "Against Heresies":
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... book5.html

2... For in times long past, it was said that man was created after the image of God, but it was not [actually] shown; for the Word was as yet invisible, after whose image man was created, Wherefore also he did easily lose the similitude. When, however, the Word of God became flesh, He confirmed both these: for He both showed forth the image truly, since He became Himself what was His image; and He re-established the similitude after a sure manner, by assimilating man to the invisible Father through means of the visible Word.

3. And not by the aforesaid things alone has the Lord manifested Himself, but [He has done this] also by means of His passion. For doing away with [the effects of] that disobedience of man which had taken place at the beginning by the occasion of a tree, "He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; " rectifying that disobedience which had occurred by reason of a tree, through that obedience which was [wrought out] upon the tree [of the cross]. Now He would not have come to do away, by means of that same [image], the disobedience which had been incurred towards our Maker if He proclaimed another Father. But inasmuch as it was by these things that we disobeyed God, and did not give credit to His word, so was it also by these same that He brought in obedience and consent as respects His Word; by which things He clearly shows forth God Himself, whom indeed we had offended in the first Adam, when he did not perform His commandment. In the second Adam, however, we are reconciled, being made obedient even unto death. For we were debtors to none other but to Him whose commandment we had transgressed at the beginning.

It doesn't answer the question of whether Paul saw pre-existence or not in Phil 2:6. Obviously Irenaeus thought that Christ pre-existed since it was the orthodox position of his time. Irenaeus doesn't reference "form of God", but he does use "image of God" leading up to his reference to Phil 2, for what that's worth.

I wasn't impressed by Bockmuehl's article, which was too much involved with the theological issues. For example, from Page 21:

It is theologically incorrect, therefore, to assume that the form of God is constituted by the earthly appearance of the incarnate Jesus, as though the 'form of God' were somehow directly identical with the 'form of a slave'. This mistake continues to be encountered even among systematic theologians.

Since I'm not interested in the theology of the question, I didn't find much value in that article. But Cover's article on the echoes of Euripides’s Bacchae within Paul's epistles was much more relevant.

Cover sees Paul's use of the expression "form of God" as a wink to a pagan audience familiar with Euripides’s Bacchae. That makes sense to me. We tend to think of religions as monoliths: an adherent believes in THIS god/gods and disbelieves in THAT god/gods. That line was much less strong in Roman times. The Egyptian gods were Roman gods, just rebranded. It would have been easy for them to see Jehovah as a rebranding of Jupiter and Jesus as a rebranding of Dionysus or Pythagoras. If "form of God" was a near-synonym to "image of God", it might have been close enough to pass by the sensibilities of his Jewish audience while also being meaningful to his pagan audience.
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