Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

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Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:01 pm

Subject: Philippian Hymn - no incarnation?
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:57 pm
I think this is one possible reading of the hymn: Paul is only describing the earthly Jesus whom we know from the gospels. Not the pre-existent Jesus who was incarnated. I'm not saying that Paul didn't have a pre-existent Jesus (or Christ or whatever) or that he had, just that it's possible to read this hymn as exclusively about Jesus' earthly actions as a human.
I have always read preexistence into the Jesus hymn, and I may always have been wrong to do so. I have been reading Charles H. Talbert, The Development of Christology During the First Hundred Years, pages 45-59: an entire chapter about the Jesus hymn.

My own preferred structure for this passage has followed the English versification, mainly because each phrase winds up containing a main verb in the Greek:

Philippians 2.6-11:

6 Ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
7 ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν, μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος,
8 καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου [θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ].
9 διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα,
10 ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων
11 καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.

6 Who, though existing in the form of God, did not regard it as plunder to be equal to God,
7 but rather emptied himself, having taken the form of a slave, in the likeness of humans having become,
8 and, having been found in shape as a human, he humbled himself, becoming obedient until death [even death on a cross],
9 and on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name,
10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of the celestial and of the terrestrial and of the subchthonic,
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father.

Talbert, however, argues for the following structure:

Philippians 2.6-11 (as divided by Talbert):

6 Who, though existing in the form of God,
did not regard it as plunder to be equal to God, 7 but rather emptied himself,
having taken the form of a slave,

in the likeness of humans having become,
8 and, having been found in shape as a human, he humbled himself,
becoming obedient until death [even death on a cross],

9 and on this account God also exalted him highly
and gifted him the name
which is over every name,

10 so that in the name of Jesus
every knee should bow, of the celestial and of the terrestrial and of the subchthonic,
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father.

While I am not at all sure I buy his arguments for this structure, I am finding myself more persuaded by his exegesis of the hymn itself. I think I should probably quote him at length, lest any crucial detail be lost:

Charles H. Talbert, The Development of Christology During the First Hundred Years, pages 54-58:

The first line of the second strophe reads: ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος. How should this language be understood? It has been noted that wherever Christ is designated ἄνθρωπος in Paul’s letters (Rom 5:12ff; 1 Cor 15:20–40; Phil 2:7b–8), a contrast with Adam is intended.23 It is certainly the case in Rom 5 and 1 Cor 15. Philippians 2:6–11, however, is a non-Pauline hymn. Should it be interpreted in the same way as Rom 5 and 1 Cor 15. Two observations about Rom 5:12–14 incline us to view ἄνθρωπος used of Jesus in Phil 2 as another indication of the Adam/Christ typology. First, in Romans Paul is writing to a church which is independent of his influence. Throughout Romans the apostle takes pains to speak in terms of tradition which they have in common (1:3–4; 4:25; 6:3–5; 8:28–30, for example). In 5:12–14 there is no indication that the Adam/Christ parallel was new to the Romans. .... Indeed, in Hellenistic churches which used the LXX, such a reference to Jesus as second Adam would naturally have been made with the term ἄνθρωπος. Second, Rom 5:19 may possibly contain an echo of Isa 53:11 from the Hebrew text. This would point to the traditional character of the reference since Paul used the LXX. Since 5:19 is a unit, the reference to Isaiah which is tradition would have been made in the context of a contrast between the one man Adam and the one man Christ. In this case, the use of ἄνθρωπος in an Adam/Christ typology is clearly pre-Pauline. In the light of these two considerations, it seems entirely legitimate to see here in Phil 2:7b–8 the contrast between Adam and Christ indicated by the use of ἄνθρωπος for Christ.

Note, however, that the phrase does not say that Christ, like Adam, was in God’s image. Rather it says that Christ was ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων. This can be understood in terms of the Adam/Christ parallel, however, if we reflect upon Gen 5:1–3. In v. 1b the passage speaks of God’s creation of Adam in his own image. In the Hebrew Bible the context makes it clear that Adam (man) is plural (men or mankind). In the LXX the Hebrew is understood in this sense, as v. 2 shows: ἄρσεν καὶ πῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς, καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτούς. καὶ ἐπωνόμασεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῶν Ἀδάμ, ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς. Then the passage says that Adam had a son, Seth, who was “in his own likeness” (בדמותו), “after his image” (כצלמו). Thus, the passage tells of one who is a son of Adam (plural) and is in his likeness. Though the LXX of Gen 5:1b translates בדמות by κατ’ εἰκόνα and 5:3 translates בדמותו by κατὰ τὴν εἰδέαν αὐτοῦ, that ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων is a perfectly legitimate translation of בדמותו in Gen 5:3 may be seen from passages like 2 Kgs 16:10 where the LXX renders את־דמות by τὸ ὁμοίωμα and 2 Chr 4:3 where ודמות is rendered by καὶ ὁμοίωμα. 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.

The first line of the first strophe reads: ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων. Since the phrase is formally parallel to ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος, the most natural reading of the phrase would be to take it also, if possible, as a part of the Adam/Christ typology. Is such a reading of the phrase possible? Three strands of evidence indicate that it is. (1) μορφῆ in the LXX is virtually a synonym for ὁμοίωμα since the LXX translators use them both to translate תבנית ,תאר and תמונה. Also, where the LXX has ὁμοίωμα in Deut 4:12, Symmachus has μορφήν. (2) καὶ ἡ μορφή is used in Dan 3:19 to translate the Aramaic וצלם while elsewhere ὁμοίωμα is used to translated the Hebrew צלם. (3) The Peshitta renders μορφή by “demoutha.” Moreover, the connection of μορφῇ θεοῦ with the expression οὐχ ἁπαργμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ, which almost certainly echoes Gen 3:4, indicates that an Adam/Christ parallel is intended. It seems probable, therefore, that the phrase ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων is also part of the Adam/Christ typology and is intended to speak of Christ as the second Adam who has reversed the decision of the first Adam.

The first lines of strophes 1 and 2 are both to be interpreted in terms of an Adam/Christ contrast. The two lines say that Christ is both the second Adam and the son of Adam. The LXX of Gen 5:1–3 certainly seems to have understood the creation of Adam in God’s image as parallel to the birth of Seth in Adam’s image. Witness the structure:

ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν Ἀδάμ κατ’ εἰκόνα θεοῦ. . . .
ἐπωνόμασεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῶν Ἀδάμ. . . .
(Ἀδάμ) ἐγέννσεν κατὰ τὴν ἰδέαν αὐτοῦ καὶ κατὰ τὴν εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ. . . . ἐπωνόμασεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Σήθ.

Moreover, early Christianity knew traditions which regarded Jesus as second Adam (Rom 5:12–21; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1–13) and traditions which regarded Jesus as the son of Adam (Luke 3:23–38). That the two different views are found side by side in Luke indicates that the early Christians saw no conflict between them. It would seem, therefore, that the can be little doubt that the first two lines are paralleled in meaning as they are in form. But what of the ends of the second lines? Can the same be said for them?

The end of the second line of the first strophe reads: ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν. This phrase, attested nowhere else in Greek, is grammatically harsh. It is explicable, however, if understood as an exact rendering of the Hebrew “poured out his nephesh” (הערה . . . נפשו) in Isa 53:12. If so, then the phrase refers to the servant’s surrender of life. It is significant that this phrase (ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν) is explained by the short third line μορφὴν δούλου λαβών. Since δοῦλος and παῖς are both used in the LXX to render the עבד of Deutero-Isaiah, since δουλεύειν is found in the LXX at Isa 53:11, and since Aquila reads ὁ δοῦλος instead of ὁ παῖς at Isa 52:13, δοῦλος is fitting in this explanatory phrase. That the early church elsewhere in the sources available to us used παῖς and υἱός is not, therefore, decisive. The phrase “he emptied himself” is, thus, most probably a reference to Jesus as the servant who surrendered his life to God.

Strophe 2 has a second line which ends: ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν. Since this phrase is formally parallel to ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν of strophe 1, the most natural way to read the phrase would be to see in it also a reference to the servant’s surrender of life. Is such a reading of the phrase possible? Several facts show that it is. In the LXX ταπεινόω is used for ענה. In the niphal ענה can mean “humble oneself.” It is the niphal participle of ענה, moreover, which is used in Isa 53:7 with just such a meaning. “He was oppressed, yet he humbled himself.” This is the meaning of the Hebrew, though the LXX reads differently. Again it refers to the surrender of the servant’s life to God. These facts indicate that ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν can most certainly be read as parallel to ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν in meaning as well as in form. Also, ταπεινόω is used in early Christianity of Jesus in connection with Isa 53:1–12 as an illustration of his attitude (1 Clem. 16:2, 17, a passage which is almost certainly independent of Phil 2). This makes it likely that ἐταπείνωσεν, just as ἐκένωσεν, is an echo of the servant of Second Isaiah. Both phrases, “he emptied himself” and “he humbled himself,” are, therefore, to be read against the background of Isa 53. Both refer to the servant’s surrender of life. In this regard, it is significant that the short third line of strophe 2 reads γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου. The two phrases are, therefore, synonymous in meaning as they are parallel in structure.

This looking back to a Semitic origin for the language of the hymn potentially changes my overall interpretation. If the hymn is of Hebrew origin, then its translation into Greek was obviously independent of the Old Greek or LXX. Here are the reference texts which Talbert uses above to demonstrate the fluidity of the Greek translations for the crucial Hebrew terms:

Genesis 5.1-3: 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness [בִּדְמ֥וּת] of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Adam in the day when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness [בִּדְמוּת֖וֹ], according to his image, and named him Seth.

2 Kings 16.10: 10 Now King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar which was at Damascus; and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the pattern [אֶת־דְּמ֧וּת, τὸ ὁμοίωμα] of the altar and its model, according to all its workmanship.

2 Chronicles 4.3: 3 And figures [וּדְמ֣וּת, καὶ ὁμοίωμα] like oxen were under it and all around it, ten cubits, entirely encircling the sea. The oxen were in two rows, cast in one piece.

He also explains the connection to Genesis 3.5 in a note:

Footnote 33: In the LXX ἴσος stands for כ (e.g., Job 5:14; 10:10). Though the LXX of Gen 3:5 reads ὡς θεοί, the Hebrew text reads כאלהים for the temptation of Eve and Adam in the garden.

In other words, every one of the main Greek words and phrases in this hymn, especially the weirdest or most obscure ones, may hearken back either (A) to the Hebrew manner of expressing the relationship of Adam to God and of Seth (and his descendants) to Adam or (B) to the Hebrew manner of describing the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. Thus to be "in the form/likeness of God" is to be a son of God in the same manner as Adam is/was a son of God (that is, a second Adam); to be "in the likeness of humans" is to be, like Seth, in the likeness of Adam (that is, a son of Adam); and to consider equality with God as something not to be snatched (οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν) is to refuse to repeat Adam's mistake of trying to be like God (in Genesis 3.5); instead, Jesus emptied himself (unto death). The overall effect is, if I may gloss for clarity:

Philippians 2.6-11:

6 Who, though being in the form of God (= made in the image of God as a second Adam, Genesis 5.1), did not regard it as something to be snatched to be equal to God (= reversed Adam's decision: did not try to become like God or as a god like Adam and Eve did, Genesis 3.5),
7 but rather emptied himself (= poured out his soul to death, Isaiah 53.12), having taken the form of a slave (= the Servant of Isaiah 53), in the likeness of humans having become (= born as a son and in the likeness of Adam, like Seth in Genesis 5.3),
8 and, having been found in shape as a human, he humbled himself (Isaiah 53.7), becoming obedient until death [even death on a cross],
9 and on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name (= a higher status than he previously held!),
10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of the celestial and of the terrestrial and of the subchthonic,
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father.

This reading seems possible to me; if so, then all traces of an incarnation of a preexistent being vanish from sight. (I am not here dealing with the exact identity of "the name above all names" in verse 9, whether it be Jesus or Lord or Yahweh or what have you. That is a separate question, I think.)

Thoughts?
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:08 pm

I am in a hotel out of the country and only have my phone with me (hence I am unable to type lengthy posts) but Philo thinks the servant (Eliezar) in Genesis 24 was made one with the Logos. Its another psrallel to bolster the argument. I will share in a few weeks
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by FransJVermeiren » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:54 am

Great work, Ben.

As IMO there are two layers in Paul’s letters, an authentic ‘anonymous and future Christ’ layer and an interpolated post-Pauline ‘Jesus’ layer, what Talbert writes in the third line of your quote drew my attention: Philippians 2:6–11, however, is a non-Pauline hymn. I would specify ‘Philippians 2:6-11 is a post-Pauline hymn’.

Why this hymn is inserted exactly here is nicely shown by Stefan Kristensen in the last paragraph of the OP of his ‘Philippian Hymn – no incarnation?’ thread you mention in your OP. However, SK neglects to mention that the verses he quotes are Philippians 2:3-4, immediately preceding the hymn in 2:6-11 (with verse 5 as an introductory verse). In other words: SK shows that the interpolator of 2:5-11 was motivated by the content of 2:3-4.
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by DCHindley » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:00 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:01 pm
Subject: Philippian Hymn - no incarnation?

Talbert ... argues for the following structure:
...

In other words, every one of the main Greek words and phrases in this hymn, especially the weirdest or most obscure ones, may hearken back either (A) to the Hebrew manner of expressing the relationship of Adam to God and of Seth (and his descendants) to Adam or (B) to the Hebrew manner of describing the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. Thus to be "in the form/likeness of God" is to be a son of God in the same manner as Adam is/was a son of God (that is, a second Adam); to be "in the likeness of humans" is to be, like Seth, in the likeness of Adam (that is, a son of Adam); and to consider equality with God as something not to be snatched (οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν) is to refuse to repeat Adam's mistake of trying to be like God (in Genesis 3.5); instead, Jesus emptied himself (unto death). The overall effect is, if I may gloss for clarity:

Philippians 2.6-11:

6 Who, though being in the form of God (= made in the image of God as a second Adam, Genesis 5.1), did not regard it as something to be snatched to be equal to God (= reversed Adam's decision: did not try to become like God or as a god like Adam and Eve did, Genesis 3.5),
7 but rather emptied himself (= poured out his soul to death, Isaiah 53.12), having taken the form of a slave (= the Servant of Isaiah 53), in the likeness of humans having become (= born as a son and in the likeness of Adam, like Seth in Genesis 5.3),
8 and, having been found in shape as a human, he humbled himself (Isaiah 53.7), becoming obedient until death [even death on a cross],
9 and on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name (= a higher status than he previously held!),
10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of the celestial and of the terrestrial and of the subchthonic,
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father.

This reading seems possible to me; if so, then all traces of an incarnation of a preexistent being vanish from sight. (I am not here dealing with the exact identity of "the name above all names" in verse 9, whether it be Jesus or Lord or Yahweh or what have you. That is a separate question, I think.)

Thoughts?


Regardless of whether one believes that Paul actually wrote (or reproduced) this hymn (most do) or it is an example of the Christology of an editor that was inserted into a non-christian Paul's letter (as I do), I think we have to consider looking at this as a development of an older tradition that morphed (no pun intended) into the form we see it here.

In other words, you may well be right that the hymn had its origins in the relationship of Adam and his creator derived from Judean scriptures. The pericope "on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, ... and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" sure seems to suggest a role for Jesus as a messianic ruler over a world empire.

That of course is not his role in Christian tradition, where he is a divine redeemer. So I look at "having been found fashioned as a man" (καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος), and reason that this represents a development modifying his role from a man who will serve as messianic ruler over all nations to a role as a divine figure co-equal with or part of God, who through obedience to death as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of men, is granted a universal rule over all beings, "celestial (divine beings like angels or demons) and of the terrestrial (living mankind) and of the subchthonic (the dead)."

That allows later Christians to explain away Jesus' execution as a failed messianic claimant. It wasn't a failure, but actually a complete success! Thus a silk purse is fashioned (again, no pun intended) out of a sow's ear. The story of his tragic death is now emplotted as comedy [which imagines an agent/hero or protagonist as moving from obstruction to reconstruction, achieving at least a temporary victory over circumstances through the process of reconciliation, per H V White's Metahistory].

DCH


Philippians 2.6-11:
6 Ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
7 ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν, μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος,
8 καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου [θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ].
9 διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα,
10 ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων
11 καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.

6 Who, though existing in the form of God, did not regard it as plunder to be equal to God,
7 but rather emptied himself, having taken the form of a slave, in the likeness of humans having become,
8 and, having been found in shape as a human, he humbled himself, becoming obedient until death [even death on a cross],
9 and on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name,
10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of the celestial and of the terrestrial and of the subchthonic,
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord unto the glory of God the Father.


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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:03 am

FransJVermeiren wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:54 am
Great work, Ben.

As IMO there are two layers in Paul’s letters, an authentic ‘anonymous and future Christ’ layer and an interpolated post-Pauline ‘Jesus’ layer, what Talbert writes in the third line of your quote drew my attention: Philippians 2:6–11, however, is a non-Pauline hymn. I would specify ‘Philippians 2:6-11 is a post-Pauline hymn’.

Why this hymn is inserted exactly here is nicely shown by Stefan Kristensen in the last paragraph of the OP of his ‘Philippian Hymn – no incarnation?’ thread you mention in your OP. However, SK neglects to mention that the verses he quotes are Philippians 2:3-4, immediately preceding the hymn in 2:6-11 (with verse 5 as an introductory verse). In other words: SK shows that the interpolator of 2:5-11 was motivated by the content of 2:3-4.
I have always tended to treat this Jesus Hymn as predating Paul and being used by him in the epistle, but yes, it postdating Paul as an interpolation is probably a conversation very much worth having.
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:05 am

DCHindley wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:00 am
The pericope "on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, ... and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" sure seems to suggest a role for Jesus as a messianic ruler over a world empire.

That of course is not his role in Christian tradition, where he is a divine redeemer.
Is that not exactly (at least a significant part of) his role in chiliastic Christian tradition? One thousand years of the messiah ruling the earth from Jerusalem.... Jerome, cribbing from Eusebius and referring to Papias as a source of this notion, called this "a Jewish second advent."
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by DCHindley » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:05 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:05 am
DCHindley wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:00 am
The pericope "on this account God also exalted him highly and gifted him the name which is over every name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, ... and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" sure seems to suggest a role for Jesus as a messianic ruler over a world empire.

That of course is not his role in Christian tradition, where he is a divine redeemer.
Is that not exactly (at least a significant part of) his role in chiliastic Christian tradition? One thousand years of the messiah ruling the earth from Jerusalem.... Jerome, cribbing from Eusebius and referring to Papias as a source of this notion, called this "a Jewish second advent."
The 1,000 year messianic kingdom was likely part of the original Jesus tradition (IMHO), which seems to have undergone about three major revisions:
1) Jesus the teacher about the coming messianic kingdom. He, like John, gets blamed for the frenzy of his supporters, resulting in his death. Some of Jesus' supporters surely thought Jesus was going to be the messianic figure to inaugurate it. At this point, it would be a political kingdom, probably conceived as a world empire that would replace the Roman empire.
2) Jesus' supporters who thought he was going to be the founder of the messianic age reinterpret his role as a figure who will still inaugurate it, but now will be coming to lead the angels of God who will defeat the wicked nations to establish a political kingdom.
3) Finally, the Judean rebellion comes and is crushed by the Romans, extinguishing any hope of establishing an earthly political kingdom. During the war, serious social friction between god fearing or fully converted gentile followers, and the native born Judeans of the region as far north as southern Syria, caused these gentiles/former gentiles to fall away from the Judean way of life. However, they persisted in believing that they too were promised a part in the kingdom of God. As a result, they refashion Jesus into a divine redeemer, probably falling back on their pagan background of mystery cults and middle Platonism to do so.

Each step leaves vestigial remains of what preceded (like the idea of a 1,000 year kingdom, now completely divorced from the idea of a political kingdom).

DCH

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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by perseusomega9 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:57 am

I was just reading Goulders Paul and the Competibg Mission in Corinth where argues for Paul's opponents to be Jewish Christian, one of the differences he points out that Paul's savior was of a preincarnate in ca rnational theology whereas the Petrines just believed the Christ descended upon Jesus, making jesus a prophet in the OT vein. That's how explains Paul saying that jesus is lord while in the spirit and his opponents are free to say Jesus be damned, because Paul was equating jesus to God, while the Petrines felt it was blasphemous elevating a prophet so. He discusses Phillipians in this argument. So if he's close to the mark, then if the hymn predates Paul, it's got to go back early. and which came first, the idea of God incarnation in jesus, or possession of a prophet by the holy spirit. He also discusses first and last Adam but I'll have to look it up after I make breakfast
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:04 am

perseusomega9 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:57 am
I was just reading Goulders Paul and the Competibg Mission in Corinth where argues for Paul's opponents to be Jewish Christian, one of the differences he points out that Paul's savior was of a preincarnate in ca rnational theology whereas the Petrines just believed the Christ descended upon Jesus, making jesus a prophet in the OT vein. That's how explains Paul saying that jesus is lord while in the spirit and his opponents are free to say Jesus be damned, because Paul was equating jesus to God, while the Petrines felt it was blasphemous elevating a prophet so. He discusses Phillipians in this argument. So if he's close to the mark, then if the hymn predates Paul, it's got to go back early. and which came first, the idea of God incarnation in jesus, or possession of a prophet by the holy spirit. He also discusses first and last Adam but I'll have to look it up after I make breakfast
What do you think of Robert's explanation for the whole "Jesus be accursed" affair? It may be found here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3230.
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Re: Incarnation (or the lack thereof) in the Philippian hymn (revisited).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:41 am

Talbert maps out 4 overall christological options based on two basic patterns (each with two variations):

Charles H. Talbert, The Development of Christology During the First Hundred Years, page 7: There are two basic christological patterns, that involving pre-existence and that without pre-existence. Each of these has two variations. The first pattern (with no pre-existence) involves a human who is taken up into heaven for some purpose. One variation has the individual taken up in order to come as the End-time judge, savior, or helper. The other variation has that one taken up in order to exercise some type of sovereignty in the present. The second pattern involves a pre-existent being who descends from the heavenly world into the human arena and then, having accomplished the descent’s intended aim, ascends back into the heavens. One variation regards the descent as an epiphany of a true deity. The other sees the descent as analogous to the inspiration/possession/indwelling of a human by a divine being.

He is on solid bedrock with that proposed split into two patterns; the ancients definitely distinguished between eternal immortals, like Zeus, and humans who were elevated to divine status, like Hercules, as the likes of Cicero, Plutarch, and Diodorus Siculus explicitly attest for us. The two variations for each of the two patterns are based upon examples from Greco-Roman and Jewish mythology:
  1. Pattern 1: humans ascending.
    • Option A: a human who ascends to become a god in the present. Romulus, Hercules, Apollonius; Elijah (in a way: he is still a human, but according to the Talmud he intervenes on behalf of humans).
    • Option B: a human who ascends to await his role as judge in the future. Enoch, Melchizedek, Abel (this is mainly a Jewish option, it would seem).
  2. Pattern 2: gods descending and reascending.
    • Option A: a god descends in epiphanic fashion, performs a task, and then ascends. Athena, Mercury; God at Bethel and/or as an angel in various scriptural passages.
    • Option B: a god descends into a human and indwells him. Seneca, Epistle 41.4-5; Moses, David, the Messiah.
Talbert then describes how all four of these options are predicated of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Many/most texts employ at least 2 of the options simultaneously, implying that early Christians did not necessarily see them as mutually incompatible. To be sure, the two options under pattern 1 are particularly easy to combine: the exalted human may both be serving as a deity in the present and be awaiting his role as judge at the end of time. The other options are logically combined less easily, but logic does not always come into play with human religious feeling.

At any rate, this fourfold list of options deserves careful consideration, I think, because each option is squarely situated in the ancient literature.

ETA:

Seneca, Epistle 41.4-5: 4 If you see a man who is unterrified in the midst of dangers, untouched by desires, happy in adversity, peaceful amid the storm, who looks down upon men from a higher plane, and views the gods on a footing of equality, will not a feeling of reverence for him steal over you? Will you not say: "This quality is too great and too lofty to be regarded as resembling this petty body in which it dwells? A divine power has descended upon that man [vis isto divina descendit]." 5 When a soul rises superior to other souls, when it is under control, when it passes through every experience as if it were of small account, when it smiles at our fears and at our prayers, it is stirred by a force from heaven [caelestis potentia agitat]. A thing like this cannot stand upright unless it be propped by the divine. Therefore, a greater part of it abides in that place from whence it came down to earth [maiore sui parte illic est unde descendit]. Just as the rays of the sun do indeed touch the earth, but still abide at the source from which they are sent; even so the great and hallowed soul, which has come down in order that we may have a nearer knowledge of divinity, does indeed associate with us, but still cleaves to its origin; on that source it depends, thither it turns its gaze and strives to go, and it concerns itself with our doings only as a being superior to ourselves.

Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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