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Obedient Unto Death: Philippians 2:8, Gethsemane, and the Historical Jesus

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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Despite the extensive attention that has been given to Philippians 2:6–11 in relation to its Christology, the possibility that v8 alludes to the story about Jesus in Gethsemane has received only cursory mention when it has been considered at all. Philippians 2:8 and the Gospel tradition converge in depicting Jesus choosing to be obedient to God even to the point of death, in the absence of an interpretation of that death as itself salvific. The historical allusion, offered in the midst of a heavily theologized Christological statement, offers an excellent test case for an approach to history which accepts that fact and interpretation are inseparable, and yet still proceeds under the conviction that critical historiography remains possible.

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