Carmen Christi: Philippians ii. 5-11 in recent interpretation and in the setting of early Christian worship

James D. Martin

Carmen Christi: Philippians ii. 5-11 in recent interpretation and in the setting of early Christian worship
Carmen Christi: Philippians ii. 5-11 in recent interpretation and in the setting of early Christian worship

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From the earliest times, commentators have regarded these few verses from the Epistle to the Philippians as doctrinally very important, and a whole literature has grown up around them. Dr Martin studies the passage partly for its own sake as the quintessence of Pauline thought on the person of Christ, and partly as an example of an early type of Christian literature known as 'cultic' or 'confessional'. He sees it as a carmen Christi, a Christological ode used among early believers. Its importance, as Dr Martin shows, reaches far beyond the devotional. The Church which sang this hymn proclaimed for the first time the three 'epochs' in the existence of Christ: he is hailed and confessed first as pre-existent, then as incarnate and humiliated and finally as triumphant. The hymn is thus the earliest extant statement of the basis of the whole Christology of later times.

  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part I. Background and Interpretation:
    • 1. Traces of Carmina in the New Testament
    • 2. Philippians ii. 5-11: its literary form
    • 3. Philippians ii. 5-11: its authorship
    • 4. Main lines of twentieth century interpretation
  • Part II. An Exegetical Study of the Hymn in Philippians ii. 6-11 in the Light of Recent Interpretation:
    • 5. The pre-existent being (verse 6a)
    • 6. His choice (verse 6b, c)
    • 7. His incarnation (verse 7a, b)
    • 8. His basement (verses 7c, 8)
    • 9. His exaltation (verse 9)
    • 10. The universal homage (verses 10-11a)
    • 11. The Christological confession (verse 11b-c)
  • Part III. Philippians ii. 5-11 in its First Century Setting:
    • Select bibliography
    • Index of authors
    • Index of subjects
    • Index of passages quoted
    • Index of Greek, Latin and Semitic words.


Pages: 380
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Published: 2005
ISBN-10: 0521018994
ISBN-13: 9780521018999

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