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The Problem Of Pre-Existence In Philippians 2:6-11 (1967)

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Chapter Summary

From the ancient church to modern times there have existed two different interpretations of Phil 2:6-11. One sees the passage as making reference in vv. 6-8 only to the human existence of Jesus. The other regards vv. 6-8 as referring both to Jesus' pre-existence and to his earthly life. In spite of its obvious difficulties, it is the latter view which dominates modern exegesis. The purpose of this chapter is to test the accepted exegesis of this passage, using as a criterion the principle: a proper delineation of form leads to a correct interpretation of meaning. In modern research two different structural schemes compete with each other for scholarly allegiance. They are associated with the names of Lohmeyer and Jeremias. Using the inner parallelisms as the key to his scheme, Jeremias offers a suggested structure of three strophes with four lines each.

Keywords: inner parallelism; Jeremias' strophe; Jesus' pre-existence; Lohmeyer; Philippians 2:6-11



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