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.
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Main lines of Twentieth Century Interpretation
An Exegetical Study of the Hymn
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Adam Apostle Aramaic authorship background baptism Bornkamm C. H. Dodd carmen Cerfaux Christ-hymn Christology Church commentary confession context Corinthians cosmic Cullmann death Dibelius Didache divine doctrine early Christian enthronement Epistle equality Erniedrigung ethical Eucharistic exalted exegesis expression Father glory Gnostic Gospel Greek heavenly Hellenistic Hellenistic Judaism HÚring human humiliation hymn Ignatius Imago Imago Dei Incarnation interpretation J. B. Lightfoot Jeremias Jervell Jesus Christ Jewish Judaism Kńsemann KÚnose kenosis Kritische Analyse Kyrios Jesus liturgical Lohmeyer lordship of Christ meaning Michaelis myth obedience Old Testament parallel passage Paul Paul's Pauline Paulus Phil Philipper Philippians Philippians ii phrase powers pre-existent Rabbinic Redeemer reference res rapienda res rapta says scholars Schweizer sense Servant soteriological strophe teaching Theology thought tion translation TWNT verb verse words worship writes Yahweh ἑαυτὸν ἐν Θεοῦ καὶ τὸ