I am back at my desk and pleased to see the arrival of the latest issue of the Australian Biblical Review (volume 63), where I have an article and book review. The article is entitled ‘”Obedient to Death”: Revisiting the Rhetorical Function of Philippians 2:6–11’ and the absstract is as follows:
Despite its significance for the study of the development of early christology, Philippians 2.6–11 sits uneasily in its epistolary context. Recent scholarship shows a welcome reluctance to separate the section from the parenetic material in 2:1–5 and 2:12–18, but has underestimated the extent to which this surrounding material deals with apparently conflicting themes. 2:1–4 appears to be an exhortation to ecclesial unity marked by humility and other regard. 2:5 is best read as a call for the Philippians’ participation in what Michael Gorman has called the pattern of ‘cruciformity’. 2:12–18 is an appeal for continued obedience to and support of Paul. For which of these motifs does the poetic material of 2:6–11 provide exemplary support? In this paper I argue that scholars have misunderstood the nature of 2:1–5 and have thereby underestimated the function of the text as a call for humility in the service of obedience. Just as Christ is obedient to God in such a way as to receive vindication, so the Philippians are to be obedient to Paul as Christ’s emissary, thus making possible Paul’s and their own vindication on the day of Christ. Paul is to be the focus of the Philippians’ other regard and this rhetorical concern is consistent with the overall purpose of Philippians.
The book review is of JOHN RICHES (ed.), The New Cambridge History of the Bible, Volume 4: From 1750 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015). Pp. xviii + 851. Hardback. £125.00 and you can read it here.