In my previous post I answered, in short order, a series of questions that a reader had about the “original” text of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  I will now take several posts in order to address some of the questions at greater length.  Here was the first one:


QUESTION:  Would you agree that the letter written to the Philippians was an original writing of Paul?

The short answer is Yes – it is one of the undisputed Pauline letters.  The longer answer is, well, complicated.  Scholars have long adduced reasons for thinking that this letter of Paul was originally *two* letters (or parts of two letters) that were later spliced together into the one letter we have today.  I explain the reasons for thinking so in my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.  Here is what I say there.  (If you want to follow the argument particularly well, I’d recommend reading the short letter of Philippians, and then reading what follows by looking up the passages referred to.  But my comments should make decent sense if you don’t have the time or inclination to do that much work…)


The first two chapters of Philippians sound very much like a “friendship” letter written by Paul to his converts.  The occasion of the letter is reasonably evident (see esp. 2:25-30).  The Philippians had sent…

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