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"Obedient to Death: Revisiting the Rhetorical Function of Philippians 2:6–11

Winter, Sean F. (2015) "Obedient to Death: Revisiting the Rhetorical Function of Philippians 2:6–11. Australian Biblical Review, 63. pp. 1-13. ISSN 0045-0308

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Abstract

Despite its significance for the study of the development of early christology, Philippians 2.6–11 sits uneasily in its epistolary context. Recent scholarship shows a welcome reluctance to separate the section from the parenetic material in 2:1–5 and 2:12–18, but has underestimated the extent to which this surrounding material deals with apparently conflicting themes. 2:1–4 appears to be an exhortation to ecclesial unity marked by humility and other regard. 2:5 is best read as a call for the Philippians’ participation in what Michael Gorman has called the pattern of ‘cruciformity’. 2:12–18 is an appeal for continued obedience to and support of Paul. For which of these motifs does the poetic material of 2:6–11 provide exemplary support? In this paper I argue that scholars have misunderstood the nature of 2:1¬–5 and have thereby underestimated the function of the text as a call for humility in the service of obedience. Just as Christ is obedient to God in such a way as to receive vindication, so the Philippians are to be obedient to Paul as Christ’s emissary, thus making possible Paul’s and their own vindication on the day of Christ. Paul is to be the focus of the Philippians’ other regard and this rhetorical concern is consistent with the overall purpose of Philippians.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: Philippians; Christ-Hymn; Christology
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - New Testament
College/Association with University of Divinity: Pilgrim Theological College
Depositing User: Rev Prof Sean Winter
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 01:34
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2016 01:34
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1866

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