A Hymn of Christ

A Hymn of Christ

Philippians 2:5-11 in Recent Interpretation in the Setting of Early Christian Worship

by Ralph P. Martin

A Hymn of Christ
  • Length: 372 pages
  • Published: November 10, 1997
  •  Discontinued
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-1894-5
  • Item Code: 1894
  • Case Quantity: 24

Philippians 2:5-11, long cherished and mined for its riches, has shaped the very language and architecture of orthodox Christian confession of Christ. Whether in contemporary worship or devotional reading, all Christians have found this Pauline passage speaking with memorable and evocative power.

Yet few scriptural texts have generated as much interpretive comment and controversy. Close inspection of its lines raises important questions of the meaning of terms, the principal affirmations regarding Christ's nature and work, the function of these verses within the argument of Philippians and the possibility that the poetry of verses 6-11 reveals the shape of an early Christian hymn. And if these verses constitute a hymn, what does it disclose of its original setting and the nature of early Christian worship?

Ralph Martin's study of this passage was originally published in 1967 under the title Carmen Christi and then reissued in 1983 with a new preface. For thirty years it has been widely and uncontestedly recognized as the indispensable work for any serious interpretation of Philippians 2:5-11. Now reissued as A Hymn of Christ, this classic work includes a new preface that brings readers abreast of critical issues in the interpretation of this text since 1983. Once again a foundational volume on Pauline theology is made available to students of Scripture.


Preface to the 1983 Edition
Preface to the 1997 Edition

Part I: Background and Interpretation
I. Traces of Carmina in the New Testament
II. Philippians ii. 5-11: Its Literary Form
Appendix: Lohnmeyer's Views of the Literary Features of Phil. ii
III. Philippians ii. 5-11: Its Authorship
IV. Main Lines of Twentieth Century Interpretation
Appendix A: The "Ethical Interpretation" of Phil. ii. 5
Appendix B: The Views of M. Dibelius and E. Käsemann on Phil. ii. 5-11
Appendix C: The Eucharistic Setting of Phil. ii. 5-11

Part II: An Exegetical Study of hte Hymn in Philippians ii. 6-11 in the Light of Recent Interpretation
V. The Pre-existent Being (verse 6a)
VI. His Choice (verse 6b, c)
Appendix: Suggested Backgrounds to Philippians ii. 6b
VII. His Incarnation (verse 7a, b)
VIII. His Abasement (verses 7c-8)
IX. His Exaltation (verse 9)
Appendix: The Interpretation of J. Jervell
X. The Universal Homage (verses 10-11a)
XI. the Christological Confession (verse 11b-c)

Part III: Philippians ii. 5-11 in Its First Century Setting
Appendix A: Acts vii and Philippians ii
Appendix B: Some Recent Studies

Select Bibliography

Supplementary Bibliography

Index of Authors

Index of Subjects

Index of Passages Quoted

Index of Greek, Latin and Semitic Words

Supplementary Index of Authors (1997)

Supplementary Scripture Index (1997)

Ralph P. Martin

Ralph Martin (1925-2013) was a distinguished New Testament scholar who served for many years on the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He was the author of numerous studies and commentaries on the New Testament, including Worship in the Early Church, the volume on Philippians in The Tyndale New Testament Commentary series, and 2 Corinthians and James in the Word Biblical Commentary, for which he also served as New Testament editor.