Opponents and Identity in Philippians


Guided by awareness of the problematic relationship between polemical text and history, Opponents and Identity in Philippians seeks to establish a historical context for the letter to the Philippians. The study re-evaluates the relationship between Paul and the Jerusalem-based Christ-believing community from the time of the Jerusalem meeting and the Antioch incident. A more detailed analysis centers on how this relationship is reflected in Philippians. The book argues that Paul was continuously on problematic terms with the Jerusalem community, which means that they are the Jewish Christ-believing opponents referred to at several places in Philippians as well. With the help of the social identity approach (SIA), the book illustrates how Paul engages in identity formation through polemical rhetoric in his last letter.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Nina Nikki, Th.D., is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki and the co-editor of Others and the Construction of Early Christian Identities (The Finnish Exegetical Society, 2013).
"N. legt eine beeindruckende Studie vor, die nicht nur formal durch sprachliche Präzision und logische Stringenz anspricht, sondern auch einen bestechend konsistenten Gesamtentwurf darstellt. (...) Generell ist SIA ein überaus faszinierendes Modell, das neue, erfrischende Einsichten eröffnet."
- Gerhard Hotze, Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Münster, Biblische Zeitschrift 64 (2020).

"Insgesamt handelt es sich bei der Studie Nina N.s um eine spannende Spurensuche, die eine Vielzahl neuer Perspektiven eröffnet und verschiedene Möglichkeiten historischer und auch exegetischer Art plausibilisiert."
- Robert Vorholt, Universität Luzern, Theologische Revue, 117 (2021).

Part 1: Introduction

1 Introduction
 1 The Questions and the Outline of the Study
 2 Introduction to Previous Study

Part 2: Methods and Context of the Letter

2 Methodology
 1 A Methodology for Three Worlds: The Real World, the Symbolic World, and the Text World
 2 Mirror-Reading through Rhetorical Conventions and Polemics
 3 Social Psychological Viewpoints (SIA) and Identity Construction

3 The Context of the Letter to the Philippians
 1 Jews and Christ-Believers in the Roman Empire
 2 The Date, Location, and Unity of Philippians
 3 The History and Current Situation of the Philippian Church

Part 3: Paul and the Jerusalem Community

4 Paul and the Jerusalem Community Before Philippians
 1 Introduction and the Question of Sources
 2 The Antioch Incident
 3 The Jerusalem Meeting
 4 The Galatian Crisis as a Corollary to the Jerusalem Meeting
 5 Paul and the Jerusalem Community after the Last Visit to Jerusalem

Part 4: Analysis of Philippians

5 Introducing the Opponents: Inclusiveness for the Sake of Self-Enhancement (Phil 1:15–18a)
 1 Introduction
 2 The Same Opponents in Phil 1:15–18a and Phil 3
 3 Denigration of the Opponents: Envy, Strife and Malevolence
 4 Self-Enhancement through Inclusive Statements
 5 The Location of the Opponents and Conclusion

6 Securing the Status of the Philippians against the Jewish Christ-Believing Outgroup: Vilification and Leadership Tactics (Phil 3:2–11)
 1 Reversing Status Positions: The True Circumcision versus the Mutilation (3:2–3)
 2 Paul’s Example: From a Perfect Jew to a Prototypical Leader of a Gentile Christ-Believing Church (3:4–11)

7 Participation in Christ (Phil 3:10–16) and Eschatology (3:11–15, 20–21) in the Service of Identity Construction
 1 Participation in Christ: Positive Distinctiveness and More (3:10–16)
 2 The Function of Eschatology in Phil 3: Contesting the Future and Motivating the Ingroup

8 Second Round of Denigration: Jewish Christ-Believers as Libertinists (Phil 3:18–21)
 1 Introduction
 2 Romans or Christ-Believers?
 3 Denigration of the Opponents

9 Conclusions

 Texts and Translations
 Secondary Literature
All interested in the Apostle Paul, early Christianity, and early Christian identity formation.
  • Collapse
  • Expand