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Title: Mutual honor as motivation : the boasting motif in Phil 1:26 and 2:16
Author: Blois, Isaac
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 1659
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis 1) argues that Paul's use of the boasting motif in Philippians (1:26; 2:16; cf. 3:3) presents a mutual boast in which three parties participate: Paul, the Philippians, and God/Christ, and 2) demonstrates that such mutual boasting is both theologically warranted and culturally intelligible. The theological warrant for mutual boasting or honor appears through attending to the wider contexts of the Scriptural texts to which Paul alludes in the key exhortation section of the epistle (2:12-16), most importantly his allusion to Deut 32:5 in Phil 2:15 and to Isa 49:4 in Phil 2:16. The wider context of Deut 32 includes reference to the covenant ceremony at the close of the law-code (Deut 26:16-19), where mutual honor appears in the relationship established between YHWH and Israel, with Israel being exalted to become a καύχημα for YHWH (Deut 26:19 LXX). The wider context of Isa 49:4 incorporates the important motif of the reward of the Servant (Isa 49:4b; 53:12), whose calling to facilitate Israel's glorious restoration (42:6-9; 49:6), though his labor was “in vain” (49:4), gains YHWH's promise that the Servant himself will be glorified (49:5). By drawing on both of these Scriptural contexts Paul presents the mutual honor arising from the Philippians' obedience as the eschatologically restored “children of God” (Phil 2:15) as engendering a καύχημα that is mutually shared between themselves (cf. 3:21), God who receives the glory from their righteousness (1:11), and Paul as the servant figure whose labor among them is now “not in vain” (2:16). This presentation of mutual boasting would also have been culturally intelligible in light of the nature of friendship and family relationships in the Roman world of first-century Philippi. Paul presents his relationship with the Philippians in terms both reminiscent of friendship and overtly drawn from kinship relations (cf. ἀδελφοί in 1:12, 14; 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1). In the Greco-Roman world, these two relational paradigms were conspicuous in their promotion of mutual honor, since friends were expected to work toward each other's honor, as were brothers. In view of the cultural expectation of sharing honor, friends and brothers were also able to deploy the reality of mutual honor for the purpose of exhortation, as can be seen in the rhetoric of Roman letter writers. In particular, Cicero, Seneca, and Fronto presuppose in their letters the motivational power that appealing to a regard for mutual honor has when issuing advice or commands. It is in the final chapter of this study that we treat Paul's motivation of the Philippians towards obedience by drawing on this cultural script of mutual honor as the “vehicle” for communicating his theology, appealing to such mutual honor at 2:16 to motivate the Philippians to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling” (2:12) and to “do all things without grumbling or disputing” (2:14).
Supervisor: Hafemann, Scott J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philippians ; Boasting ; Honor ; Mutuality ; BS2705.6H634B6 ; Bible. Philippians ; I ; 26--Criticism ; interpretation ; etc ; Bible. Philippians ; II ; 16--Criticism ; interpretation ; etc ; Honor in the Bible