More Cutting and Pasting? Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

I have been discussing instances in the New Testament where letters appear to have been cut-and-pasted together.  The key example is 2 Corinthians, but one could make the case (and many have!) that something similar is true of Philippians.  Here is how I explain it in my book The New Testament:  A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.

 

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The Unity of the Letter

The first two chapters of Philippians sound very much like a friendship letter written by Paul ...

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My Long Favorite Pauline Letter: Philippians

There is one other book in the New Testament that may be a cut-and-paste job, and as it turns out, it is another one of Paul’s letters, Philippians.  Philippians was for a long time my favorite Pauline letter, back in my late teens when I was first starting to read the Bible.  It contains the first verse I ever memorized: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21); and it is the first book that, a ...

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Hypothetical Problems with Copies of Philippians

In trying to figure out what it even means to talk about the “original” text of Philippians (was it what Paul meant to dictate?  Was it what he did dictate, if it was different from what he intended? Was it what the scribe wrote even if it was different from what Paul dictated?  Was it what Paul corrected after he saw what the scribe incorrectly wrote?  Was it the fresh copy that the scribe made even if it was different ...

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Dictation of Letters: More Complications for Knowing an “Original” Text

I have been talking about the problems in knowing what the “original” text of Philippians is.   Even with the following brief review, the comments I will be making in this post will, frankly, probably not make much sense if you do not refresh your memory from my previous two posts.   Here I will be picking up where I left off there.

We have seen that knowing what the original of Philippians is complicated by the facts that: 1) The letter appears ...

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What Would Be the “Original” Text of Philippians?

I have begun to answer a series of questions asked by a reader about the textual history of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  In my previous post I explained why some critical scholars maintain that the letter was originally two separate letters that have been spliced together.  That obviously makes the next question the reader asked a bit more complicated than one might otherwise imagine.  And it’s not the only complication.   Here is the reader’s next question:

QUESTION:  Do ...

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Are There Two Letters to the Philippians?

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 ...

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Do We Have the Original Text of Philippians?

QUESTIONS: 

Would you agree that the letter written to the Philippians was an original writing of Paul? Do you agree that the first copy of the letter written by Paul to the Philippians was also an original? Assuming there were errors made by the person(s) who copied the original letter of Paul to the Philippians, would you agree that the first copy even with some errors still had the original context of the first letter.  If you do agree, ...

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Was Paul Contemplating Suicide?

I will get back to contradictions in my next post. For now, something else has come up. In my two previous posts I’ve mentioned Phil. 1:21, where Paul says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” I’ve been asked by several blog-readers about this, and it occurs to me that it might be useful to sketch out one set of reflections on the verse, as I lay it out in one of my side-comments in my textbook on the ...

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Final Thoughts on the Philippians Christ-Poem

There is a whole lot more that could be said about the Christ-poem in Philippians 2.   You could literally write an entire book on just this passage.  In fact, people *have* written books on just this passage.   The most important one, a classic in the field, is by Ralph Martin, A Hymn of Christ (which in earlier editions was called Carmen Christi) (which is a Latin phrase that, unsurprisingly, means A Hymn of Christ  🙂 ).  This passage ...

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More on the Philippians Christ-Poem

COMMENT:

This ‘rhythmic structure’ just does not work in Greek. The first ‘stanza’ with three ‘lines’:
Who, although he was in the form of God
Did not regard equality with God
Something to be grasped after;

In Greek the ‘third line’ is only one word and it appears in the middle of the ‘second line’, after only the first word of the so-called second line. There are a few different views of the structure, but they all must be based on the ...

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