Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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rgprice
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by rgprice »

Ben C. Smith wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:33 am
rgprice wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:05 am
It seems probably, therefore, that the phrase ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος is a part of the Adam/Christ typology and is intended to speak of Christ as son of Adam.
This seems like a bit of a jump. Maybe my lack of Greek is hindering me here, but I think I know what's he saying. I don't see that this implies that Jesus is a "son of Adam", it seems he could also be a "reboot" of a Adam, a new creation, NOT descended from Adam, NOT inheriting his sins. So I don't necessarily disagree that there is a Christ/Adam parallel, but I'm not sure that parallel means what he says it does.
I agree there is no slam dunk here, which is exactly why I am up in the air about it all. There is more, but I have little time at the moment.
Yeah, its just so funny, because there are so many theories to explain all of this material, all of which hang by a thread. It's kind of amazing how ambiguous it all actually is.

It's like, well I think Paul's concept of Jesus is X... but if a certain comma is put in a different place... then the whole house of cards collapses. It's like every theory of Christ's identity actually hangs by a thread, with no theory really having substantial support.

Of course, much of this is due to the fact that we are really dealing with many more writers and concepts than are generally acknowledged, with material that has been modified and revised by a series of people all with different agendas and theologies.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by Ben C. Smith »

rgprice wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:48 am
Ben C. Smith wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:33 am
rgprice wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:05 am
It seems probably, therefore, that the phrase ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος is a part of the Adam/Christ typology and is intended to speak of Christ as son of Adam.
This seems like a bit of a jump. Maybe my lack of Greek is hindering me here, but I think I know what's he saying. I don't see that this implies that Jesus is a "son of Adam", it seems he could also be a "reboot" of a Adam, a new creation, NOT descended from Adam, NOT inheriting his sins. So I don't necessarily disagree that there is a Christ/Adam parallel, but I'm not sure that parallel means what he says it does.
I agree there is no slam dunk here, which is exactly why I am up in the air about it all. There is more, but I have little time at the moment.
Yeah, its just so funny, because there are so many theories to explain all of this material, all of which hang by a thread. It's kind of amazing how ambiguous it all actually is.

It's like, well I think Paul's concept of Jesus is X... but if a certain comma is put in a different place... then the whole house of cards collapses. It's like every theory of Christ's identity actually hangs by a thread, with no theory really having substantial support.
I agree. Lots of different viable combinations of the evidence are possible.
Of course, much of this is due to the fact that we are really dealing with many more writers and concepts than are generally acknowledged, with material that has been modified and revised by a series of people all with different agendas and theologies.
Exactly so.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by Ben C. Smith »

In fact, I have pretty much come to expect that the vast majority of my own hypotheses are going to be beating their principal rivals by a margin of 60-40, at best (meaning that, even in my own estimation, I think my hypothesis has only a 60% chance of being true compared to the next best hypothesis). If a theory of mine depends upon two such hypotheses at once, suddenly the overall chances fall to 36% (60% × 60% = 36%). Not the best outcome, to be sure.
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by Ken Olson »

Ben C. Smith wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 9:32 am
Of course, much of this is due to the fact that we are really dealing with many more writers and concepts than are generally acknowledged, with material that has been modified and revised by a series of people all with different agendas and theologies.
Exactly so.
Ben,

Do you really mean this and, more importantly, to what extent do you think the seven generally accepted Paulines have been modified and revised by a series of people all with different agendas and theologies? I have been reading this thread with interest because I was not familiar with Talbert's argument against reading Phil. 2.5-11 as requiring Jesus pre-existence (I'm familiar with, and not terribly impressed with, Dunn's arguments against Jesus pre-existence). But doesn't Talbert's argument require the presupposition of at least the general integrity and unity of the Pauline epistle? We need to presuppose that the author of Philippians either is Paul or at least that he holds the same theological belief concerning the relationship of Christ and Adam in order for Talbert's argument to work at all. More broadly, I employ the principle that an author's use of a word or concept in one place shed's light on his use of the same word or concept in another place, usually more light than an external text will shed. But if our New Testament documents are composites expressing various theological views of different editors and revisers, that principle would seem to be invalid.

Best,

Ken
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by Ben C. Smith »

Ken Olson wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:10 am
Ben C. Smith wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 9:32 am
Of course, much of this is due to the fact that we are really dealing with many more writers and concepts than are generally acknowledged, with material that has been modified and revised by a series of people all with different agendas and theologies.
Exactly so.
Do you really mean this and, more importantly, to what extent do you think the seven generally accepted Paulines have been modified and revised by a series of people all with different agendas and theologies?
I definitely mean it at the level I was thinking when I first responded: that is, in general, across Christian literature, I believe we are dealing with more writers/editors/redactors than are generally acknowledged. I did not have the Pauline epistles specifically in mind when I wrote that, though I have certainly suspected, and still suspect, there to be interpolations in those, as well.

The rest of your question I will have to let rest, I fear. My response would be much more involved than I have the time for right now, sorry. :cheers:
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MrMacSon
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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FWIW, I've come across this below
(paragraphed for easier reading)
.
REMARK.

From Php 2:6-11, Baur, whom Schwegler follows, derives his arguments for the assertion that our epistle moves in the circle of Gnostic ideas and expressions, [121] and must therefore belong to the post-apostolic period of Gnostic[ism] speculation. But with the true explanation of the various points these arguments [122] fall to pieces of themselves.

For (1) if τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ be related to ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ εἶναι as the essence to its adequate manifestation, and if our explanation of ἁρπαγμός be the linguistically correct one, then must the Gnostic conception of the Aeon Sophia—which vehemently desired to penetrate into the essence of the original Father (Iren. Haer. i. 2. 2), and thus before the close of the world’s course (Theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 507 ff.) wished to usurp forcibly something not de jure belonging to it (Paulus, II. p. 51 ff.)—be one entirely alien, and dissimilar to the idea of our passage. But this conception is just as inconsistent with the orthodox explanation of our passage, as with the one which takes the εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ as something future and greater than the μορφὴ Θεοῦ; since in the case of the μορφή, as well as in that of the ἴσα, the full fellowship in the divine nature is already the relation assumed as existing.

Consequently (2) the ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε cannot be explained by the idea, according to which the Gnostics made that Aeon, which desired to place itself in unwarranted union with the Absolute, fall from the Pleroma to the κένωμα—as to which Baur, in this alleged basis for the representation of our passage, lays down merely the distinction, that Paul gives a moral turn to what, with the Gnostics, had a purely speculative signification (“Whilst, therefore, in the Gnostic view, that ἁρπαγμός indeed actually takes place, but as an unnatural enterprise neutralizes itself, and has, as its result, merely something negative, in this case, in virtue of a moral self-determination, matters cannot come to any such ἁρπαγμός; and the negative, which even in this case occurs, not in consequence of an act that has failed, but of one which has not taken place at all, is the voluntary self-renunciation and self-denial by an act of the will, an ἑαυτὸν χενοῦν instead of the γενέσθαι ἐν χενώματι”).

(3) That even the notion of the μορφὴ Θεοῦ arose from the language used by the Gnostics, among whom the expressions μορφή, μορφοῦν, μόρφωσις, were very customary, is all the more arbitrarily assumed by Baur, since these expressions were very prevalent generally, and are not specifically Gnostic designations; indeed, μορφὴ Θεοῦ is not once used by the Gnostics, although it is current among other authors, including philosophers (e.g. Plat. Rep. p. 381 C: μένει ἀεὶ ἁπλῶς ἐν τῇ αὑτοῦ μορφῇ, comp. p. 381 B: ἥχιστʼ ἂν πολλὰς μορφὰς ἴσχοι ὁ Θεός).

Further, (4) the erroneousness of the view, which in the phrases ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων and σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρ. discovers a Gnostic Docetism, is self-evident from the explanation of these expressions in accordance with the context (see on the passage); and Chrysostom and his successors have rightly brought out the essential difference between what the apostle says in Php 2:7 and the Docetic conceptions (Theophylact: οὐχ ἦν δὲ τὸ φαινόμενον μόνον, namely, man, ἀλλὰ καὶ Θεός, οὐχ ἦν ψιλὸς ἄνθρωπος. Διὰ τοῦτο φήσιν·· ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων· ἡμεῖς μὲν γὰρ ψυχὴ καὶ σῶμα, ἐκεῖνος δὲ ψυχὴ καὶ σῶμα καὶ Θεός κ.τ.λ. Theodoret: περὶ τοῦ λόγου ταῦτα φήσιν, ὅτι Θεὸς ὢν οὐχ ἑωρᾶτο Θεὸς τὴν ἀνθρωπείαν περικείμενος φύσιν κ.τ.λ.). Comp. on Romans 8:3.

Lastly, (5) even the three categories ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγ. καὶ καταχθ., and also the notion of the descensus ad inferos which the latter recalls, are alleged by Baur to be genuinely Gnostic. But the idea of the descent to Hades is not distinctively Gnostic; it belongs to the N. T., and is a necessary presupposition lying at the root of many passages (see on Luke 23:43; Matthew 12:40; Acts 2:27 ff.; Romans 10:6 ff.; Ephesians 4:8 ff.); it is, in fact, the premiss of the entire belief in Christ’s resurrection ἐκ νεκρῶν. That threefold division of all angels and men (see also Revelation 5:13) was, moreover, so appropriate and natural in the connection of the passage (comp. the twofold division, καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ ζώντων, Romans 14:9, Acts 10:42, 1 Peter 4:5 f., where only men are in question), that its derivation from Gnosticism could only be justified in the event of the Gnostic character of our passage being demonstrated on other grounds.

The whole hypothesis is engrafted on isolated expressions, which only become violently perverted into conceptions of this kind by the presupposition of a Gnostic atmosphere. According to the Gnostic view, it would perhaps have been said of the Aeon Sophia: ὃς ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐ προάλλεσθαι ἡγήσατο εἰς τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ Θεοῦ κ.τ.λ. The apostle’s expressions agree entirely with the Christology of his other epistles; it is from these and from his own genuine Gnosis laid down in them, that his words are to be understood fully and rightly, and not from the theosophic phantasmagoria of any subsequent Gnosis whatever.

[121] Its idea is, that Christ “divests Himself of that which He already is, in order to receive back that of which He has divested Himself, with the full reality of the idea filled with its absolute contents,” Baur, Neutest. Theol. p. 265.

[122] Hinsch, l.c. p. 76, does not adopt them, but yet thinks it un-Pauline that the incarnation of Christ is represented detached from its reference to humanity. This, however, is not the case, as may be gathered from the connection of the passage in its practical bearing with ver. 4 (τὰ ἑτέρων).

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/philippians/2-11.htm
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MrMacSon
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

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In a 2016 paper on Origin Christology, Dragos Andrei Giulea noted "the μορφὴ θεοῦ of Phil 2,6 [as] an essential theological concept of the first Christian centuries" and suggests "Origenian Christology [is] articulated through this concept."

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The phrase μορφὴ θεοῦ was a key linguistic tool of early Christianity denoting God’s luminous countenance. Sometimes designating a gigantic and radiant anthropomorphic character, the expression intersects the anthropomorphic controversy, a central and formative discussion encountered in both early Jewish and Christian settings.

III

... the term μορφή (“form”) is frequently employed in the recurrent phrase the “Form of God”(μορφὴ θεοῦ). Its most exploited biblical references are the episode of the transfiguration (Jesus’ change of form, μεταμόρφωσις) and Phil 2,6 (the passage asserting that the Son was in the Form of God and took the form of a slave). In all these biblical contexts the term μορφή is associated with Jesus Christ, which makes it an essentially Christological notion .Furthermore, the Pauline expression μορφὴ θεοῦ from Phil 2,6 denotes a divine title indicating the pre-incarnate status of the Logos [28: eg. Origen, Comm. Mt. 14,17].

https://www.academia.edu/29950284/Orige ... orm_of_God

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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by Bernard Muller »

I always thought that Philippians 2:5-11 was a hymn first from Apollos of Alexandria and then "borrowed" by Paul who added to it: even death on a cross
Php2:5-11 RSV
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,

[Heb2:7 "But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels"]
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

[Heb5:8 "... he learned obedience from what he suffered ..."]
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

[Heb1:4b "as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs."]
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
[Heb2:9 "crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death,"]

(added on following rgprice comments)

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
rgprice
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by rgprice »

Add to that:
Hebrews 2:
8 In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them.[e] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.
So it seems that regardless of Talbert's interpretation, clearly early Christians interpreted the hymn as a preexistent divine Jesus. This goes against Talbert's argument that the structure of the hymn would have made the "correct" (his) reading obvious to the original readers/hearers.
Last edited by rgprice on Sat Mar 13, 2021 3:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
Bernard Muller
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Re: Interpreting Philippians 2:5-11

Post by Bernard Muller »

to rgprice,
Thanks. I missed that.

Cordially, Bernard
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