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Peter-Ben Smit Are all Voices to be heard? Considerations about Masculinity and the Right to be heard in Philippians


In diesem Beitrag geht es um die Frage, inwiefern eine von außen anerkannte „Männlichkeit“ in der Antike Voraussetzung war, um in der Öffentlichkeit überzeugend reden zu können – oder überhaupt zu einem solchen öffentlichen Reden zugelassen zu werden.

Nach einer Skizze der diesbezüglichen antiken Gepflogenheiten zeigt der Beitrag am Beispiel des Paulus, insbesondere seinem Philipperbrief, wie der Apostel sich müht von den Philippern als ein würdiger, das heißt maskuliner Gesprächspartner gesehen und von ihnen ernstgenommen zu werden.


A right to speak was an earned right in antiquity, typically associated with (real) men of a certain standing, living up, ideally, to the characteristics of “hegemonic” masculinity, such as freedom, self-control, control over others, true piety, etc.[1] Thus, there is an interrelationship between the right to speak and a person’s standing in terms of masculinity (andreia/virtus), which, to be sure, is rather to be conceived of as an embodied virtue than in terms of biological sex – the body is important, but does not determine everything. Every person speaking in public, therefore, had to establish his (or her) right to do so. This paper explores how also in Paul’s letters, which function in many ways as surrogates for “live” contributions to discussions in early Christian communities, Paul establishes himself as a person of believable masculinity and thus as a person who has a right to speak publically and to contribute to a discussion, while he also engages in a strategy of emasculating his competitors – as would also be commonly done by other speakers in antiquity – as part of an encompassing attempt to refute them. Thus, the paper also makes a contribution to the broader field of the study of the (interrelationship) of scribality and orality, given that the power play involved inherently in constructions and deconstructions of masculine public personas comes to the surface: when looking at writings and at speeches, it is of significance to ask who possessed a right to speak or, in the case of Paul, write (with authority) to begin with. The case study that will be used to demonstrate all of this is Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Before addressing this letter and Paul’s maneuvering in it, some remarks will be offered on the appropriateness of using insights from the study of ancient speeches for the analysis of ancient letters, which is a necessary methodological step, even if such comparisons are made frequently, and an outline will be given of the discourse on masculinity and public speaking. The paper is conceived to be exploratory, rather than exhaustive, which is reflected in its length and the amount of references.

Letters and Speeches: Preliminary Remarks

While Greco-Roman rhetoric and epistolography are two distinguished fields, and letters are not merely written down speeches,[2] it is nevertheless worthwhile to consider letters from the perspective of rhetoric as well,[3] given that in many ways letters and speeches functioned in analogous ways and that letters used rhetorical techniques without becoming speeches.[4] Letters, as is well known, to some extent made up for the absence of the letter writer from the recipient[5] and, for that reason, could also provide the sender a place at the table when a letter was part of a debate. As will be clear from even only the various attempts to regulate public speech in the New Testament,[6] it was (and is) by no means granted to all to speak in the public arena. In analogy to this, it may well be surmised that having one’s letter be received and read in public, as was probably the case with Paul’s letters upon their first arrival in a community, thereby making the apostle’s voice heard to distant communities, was not at all a matter of course.[7] At this background, it will be argued here that part of what Paul attempts to achieve in his letter to the Philippians is not only to make a series of points, but also to claim and substantiate his right to speak and to be heard and, at the same time, to launch an attempt to deny his competitors for the favors of the Philippians this same right.[8] In order to argue this thesis, I will look primarily at the first and third chapters of Philippians after offering some observations about the right to speak in the Greco-Roman world.

Claiming the Right to Speak in Greco-Roman Rhetoric

It may be regarded a common place that the weight that one’s voice was given depended not only to a considerable extent on a speaker’s reputation and status, but also on his deliverance.[9] Paul’s defense of his rhetorical performance in 2 Corinthians 10:10 is in this respect an interesting pointer:

ὅτι αἱ ἐπιστολαὶ μέν, φησίν, βαρεῖαι καὶ ἰσχυραί, ἡ δὲ παρουσία τοῦ σώματος ἀσθενὴς καὶ ὁ λόγος ἐξουθενημένος.

For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” (NRSV)[10]

Even clearer are texts like the following portion from Tacitus Dialogus 18:5, especially as it refers to letters; the same conventions seem to apply:

legistis utique et Calvi et Bruti ad Ciceronem missas epistulas, ex quibus facile est deprehendere Calvum quidem Ciceroni visum exsanguem et aridum, Brutum autem otiosum atque diiunctum; rursusque Ciceronem a Calvo quidem male audisse tamquam solutum et enervem, a Bruto autem, ut ipsius verbis utar, tamquam “fractum atque elumbem.”[11]

“You have read, of course, the letters of Calvus and Brutus to Cicero, from which it is easy to gather that, as for Calvus, Cicero thought him bloodless and attenuated, just as he thought Brutus spiritless and disjointed; while Cicero was in his turn criticized by Calvus as flabby and pithless, and by Brutus, to use his own expression as “feeble and emasculate.”[12]

Particularly, the question to which extent a speaker could truly be regarded as virtuous, quite literally in the sense of being a proper vir and with that worthy to perform in the arena of public speech, was a topic of ongoing interest among speakers,[13] as the following examples from the 4th century CE and the 1st century BCE show:

“in the case of Demosthenes’ nickname, he is called Batalos, not wrongly, by report, not by his nurse; he has brought the name on himself for his effeminacy and his deviance. If someone were to take off you those fancy little cloaks and those delicate little tunics, which you wear when you are writing your speeches against your friends, and were to pass them around and give them to the jurymen, I think that they would be quite uncertain, if someone had not told them in advance when doing this, whether they were handling the clothes of a man or of a woman.”[14]

ἐπεὶ καὶ περὶ τῆς Δημοσθένους ἐπωνυμίας, οὐ κακῶς ὑπὸ τῆς φήμης, ἀλλ᾿ οὐχ ὑπὸ τῆς τίτθης, Βάταλος προσαγορεύεται, ἐξ ἀνανδρίας καὶ κιναιδίας ἐνεγκάμενος τοὔνομα. εἰ γάρ τίς σου τὰ κομψὰ ταῦτα χλανίσκια περιελόμενος καὶ τοὺς μαλακοὺς χιτωνίσκους, ἐν οἷς τοὺς κατὰ τῶν φίλων λόγους γράφεις, περιενέγκας δοίη εἰς τὰς χεῖρας τῶν δικαστῶν, οἶμαι ἂν αὐτούς, εἴ τις μὴ προειπὼν τοῦτο ποιήσειεν, ἀπορῆσαι εἴτε ἀνδρὸς εἴτε γυναικὸς εἰλήφασιν ἐσθῆτα.[15]

“If you wish to distress the man who hates you, do not revile him as lewd, effeminate, licentious, vulgar, or illiberal, but be a man yourself, show self-control, be truthful, and treat with kindness and justice those who have to deal with you. And if you are led into reviling, remove yourself as far as possible from the things for which you revile him. (Plutarch, Mor. 88 C–D)”

εἰ θέλεις ἀνιᾶν τὸν μισοῦντα, μὴ λοιδόρει κίναιδον μηδὲ μαλακὸν μηδ᾿ ἀκόλαστον μηδὲ βωμολόχον μηδ᾿ἀνελεύθερον, ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς ἀνὴρ ἴσθι καὶ σωφρόνει καὶ ἀλήθευε καὶ χρῶ φιλανθρώπως καὶ δικαίως τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσιν. ἂν δὲ λοιδορῆσαι προαχθῇς, ἄπαγε πορρωτάτω σεαυτὸν ὧν λοιδορεῖς ἐκεῖνον.

The latter text is taken from Plutarch’s Moralia. Both Aeschines and Plutarch refer to situations of public debate. Finally, a text from Seneca maior may be quoted, in which he presents an (admittedly contested) Roman ruling:

Impudicus contione prohibeatur.

Adulescens speciosus sponsionem fecit muliebri veste se exiturum in publicum. processit, raptus est ab adulescentibus decem. Accusavit illos de vi et damnavit. contione prohibitus a magistratu reum facit magistratum iniuriarum. (Controversiae 5, 6)

An unchaste man shall be barred from speaking in public.

A handsome youth betted he would go out in public in women’s clothes. He did so, and got raped by ten youths. He accused them of violence, and had them convicted. Forbidden by a magistrate to speak to the people, he accuses the magistrate of injuring him.’[16]

As will be apparent from these texts, the opposite of what may be termed “virility”, with which the ideal of autarky was closely associated, namely “weakness” was something that diminished a speaker’s credibility, or even his right to speak at all in the somewhat extreme case cited at the end. From these examples, it will also be clear that a man’s reputation was constantly challenged and called into question:

“Personal dignity, bodily integrity, and specific details of one’s appearance were all factors in individual self-assessment and in men’s evaluation of one another’s (virility). Elite men of the day were constantly concerned with the maintenance of their (virility), because it both displayed and justified their positions of power. Unlike noble birth, which was immutable, (virility) was a matter of perception.”[17]

Paul and the Right to be Heard in Philippians

a) Paul’s Establishment of his own Right to Speak

In Philippians, Paul can be seen to establish his own right to be heard in a number of passages. In the following the focus will be on his self-presentation in Philippians 1, where he, as a prisoner (probably in Ephesus, around 55),[18] seeks to present his imprisonment as a successful missionary venture.

It may be safely said that imprisonment does not help to improve a speaker’s, or a letter writer’s, reputation. Quite apart from the question whether someone was guilty or not – the Philippians may well have assumed that Paul’s imprisonment was not justified –, being in prison is not a sign of autarky or of virility in any way.[19] Paul mentions his imprisonment for the first time in Philippians 1:7. In all likelihood, the fact that Paul addresses this question at this point in the letter has its background not only in the epistolary convention to provide information about the letter’s sender at this point[20] – Paul has no trouble with disregarding epistolary conventions, already the sheer length of his letters (except Philemon) is an indication of this –, but also with the fact that as a prisoner, Paul has to justify himself and his imprisonment first and to present himself as someone who has the right to contribute to the debate to begin with.[21] Paul does so by means of a controversial argument, in which he seeks to show that his imprisonment, far from incapacitating him, has in fact contributed to the spread of the Gospel, as he argues somewhat emphatically in Philippians 1:12–14:

“I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear.”

Through his imprisonment, Paul has become even more a leader figure, emboldening his brothers and sisters.[22] Subsequently, Paul addresses two possible interpretations of his imprisonment, namely that some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry and others from goodwill. The choice for one of these options grounds in one’s evaluation of Paul’s situation, those proclaiming goodwill, namely, know that Paul has been put into prison for the defense of the Gospel. In other words, there is little shameful about Paul’s imprisonment, it is a tool for the work to which he has been called. In order to drive home this particular point, Paul concludes by stating that it is his “eager expectation and hope that” he “will not be put to shame in any way, but that by (his) speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in (his) body, whether by life or by death.” At this point, Paul has completed his alternative interpretation of his imprisonment and bodily suffering: it is divinely sanctioned and a means of proclaiming the Gospel and glorifying Christ. Paul concludes his argument here with a synkresis,[23] in which he considers two options: the more attractive option of being with Christ and the option of staying in the flesh with and for the sake of the Philippians. Paul decides against what is the most attractive option for him,[24] opting for suffering in order to sustain the communion with the Philippians. By doing so, Paul again presents himself as a man who is fully in control of things, paradoxically even of his own suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Such a man, one would think, certainly has a right to speak and to be heard, whereas someone who would be dwelling shamefully in prison, would have neither of these rights.

b) Paul’s Denial of the Right of Others to Be Heard

In Philippians, Paul also provides a substantial self-presentation in Philippians 3. Here, he pits himself against opponents, presumably so-called “judaizing” Christians,[25] whose negative behavior he highlights in ways that are as eloquent as invective. Over against these “dogs”, Paul presents himself as someone who can boast a noble descent – especially from point of the view of competitors that have a Jewish Christian orientation – as well as res gestae that are impeccable, both before and after his embrace of a new identity “in Christ”.[26] While this certainly establishes Paul as someone who is in the position to hold forth for a while – Paul had cleared the ground for this in Philippians 1 already –, it can be argued in addition, that Paul’s presentation of his opponents in Philippians 3 can also be seen as an attempt on his part to deny their right to speak in public. Whether or not the Philippians went along with Paul in this respect is irrelevant for the present considerations. Of the various invectives that Paul uses, κύνες, κακοὶ ἐργᾶται and κατατομή, “dogs” seems to be aimed especially at the Jewish Christian credentials of Paul’s competitors,[27] “evil workers” may also take up a description of missionaries from a Jewish Christian context,[28] while the latter is obvious a play on words deriding the appropriateness of circumcision as a precondition for life in Christ. Especially the latter is of relevance for the topic at hand here. Κατατομή, namely, can well be seen as also carrying the implication of an attack on the virility of Paul’s opponents. This would be the case if κατατομή has here the connotation of castration or genital mutilation, which seems to be likely.[29] In this case, Paul implies that the “dogs” have no place in the arena of the public debate properly speaking, given that they, at least physically speaking, are found to be wanting in their virility. As indicated above, such attempts to delegitimize someone as a speaker were common and Paul may well have been at their receiving end as well.[30]


On the basis of the above observations, it may be concluded that one of the issues at stake in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians is the question to what extent Paul and his opponents have the right to contribute to the discussion in the Philippian community at all, be it orally, or, as is the case in Philippians, by means of a letter as Ersatz for personal presence and ditto intervention in the debate. It was also shown that this issue can be fruitfully approached by looking at it from the perspective of masculinity (and/or the lack thereof) in the (self-) presentation of speakers. This is achieved by, on the one hand, addressing and clearing away potential obstacles to viewing a person as masculine enough to speak (e.g., Paul’s lack of control over his own situation, given that he is imprisoned) and underlining a person’s credentials vis-à-vis a community (e.g., Paul’s statement that he prefers to stay alive for the sake of the Philippian community), and on the other by questioning competitors’ masculinity (e.g., by suggesting that they are somehow castrated, as Paul does in Philippians 3) and thus denying their right to speak.

While this paper thus makes a contribution towards a fuller understanding of the interrelationship between masculinity and the right to speak or write with an expectation to be heard (and/or read) by the intended audience, it also sheds some light on a broader topic: questions of oral and written communication as such. Access to such communication is, as is well-known, gendered, with men having easier access to both than women in antiquity, certainly when it comes to public speaking or leaving public inscriptions. However, not all men need to be considered as masculine (and sometimes women are more masculine than men and consequently more authoritative speakers, Thecla is a case in point),[31] and the question is therefore one of different kinds of masculinity that may or may not give a person access to public speaking or the right to intervene in debates by means of a (publicly read) letter.

While the above conclusions hold true for Paul and his letters, at least for the one to the Philippians, it would be inviting to explore the interrelationship between public speech and masculinity in other early Christian writings, as this could provide more insight into both the construction of masculinity in early Christianity and to the power dynamics at play in (descriptions) of public speech and letter writing.


* This paper originated in a contribution to the 2009 NOSTER conference on “History,Orality, and Collective Memory. A New Paradigm for the History of Early Christianity” atVrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. The research conducted for this paper also contributed to Peter-Ben Smit, Paradigms of Being in Christ: Paul’s Use of Exempla in Philippians Library of New Testament Studies (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), and some overlap could not be avoided.

[1] For an overview, see e.g. Moisés Mayordomo Marín, ‘Construction of Masculinity in Antiquity and Early Christianity,’ Lectio Difficilior 2006:2 and the literature cited there, or, alternatively, Peter-Ben Smit, ‘Thecla’s Masculinity in the Acts of (Paul and) Thecla,’ in: Ovidiu Creanga/Peter-Ben Smit (ed.), Foregrounding Biblical Masculinities (Sheffield: Phoenix Press, 2014), 245–269.

[2] Cf. e.g. Jeffrey T. Reed, A Discourse Analysis of Philippians: Method and Rhetoric in the Debate over Literary Integrity JSNTSup 136 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 453–454.

[3] Cf. for an overview e.g. Christine Gerber, Paulus und seine ‘Kinder’. Studien zur Beziehungsmetaphorik der paulinischen Briefe BZNW 136 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2005), 48­–51, and the literature mentioned here.

[4] Cf. e.g. Hans-Josef Klauck, Die antike Briefliteratur und das Neue Testament: ein Lehr- und Arbeitsbuch (Paderborn: Schöningh, 1998), 179. “Die Rhetorik sollte nicht auf Kosten der Eigenheiten der Briefgattung, zu deren Erfassung die Epistolographie beiträgt, betrieben werden. Eine inflationäre Verwendung des Begriffes ‘Rethorik’ ist zu vermeiden, seine Reichweite jeweils genau anzugeben und seine Auffächerung auf verschiedenen Teilgebiete zu berücksichtigen. Werden diese Grenzen beachtet, kann die Rhetorik selbstverständlich mit großem Nutzen für die Erhellung der Argumentationsstruktur (z.B. durch die Herausarbeitung von Enthymemen, Exempla oder die Zuweisung zu Ethos, Pathos und Logos) und der sprachlichen Gestaltung (…) von Briefen eingesetzt werden.”

[5] As is generally acknowledged, one of the most important functions of ancient letters. For an overview, cf. e.g. Gerber, Paulus, 56–60.67–69, also rightly arguing that the “apostolic absence” is not a typically Pauline motif.

[6] Cf. e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:27–30.34–35, 1 Timotheus 2:11–15, Titus 1:11 note that two of these texts are related to questions of gender.

[7] Cf. below on the example of 2 Corinthians 10:10.

[8] This assumes the unity of Philippians, for a succinct presentation of the arguments in favor of and against partitioning Philippians, cf. e.g. Horst Balz, ‘Philipperbrief,’ TRE 26 (1996), 504–513, esp. 507.

[9] Cf. e.g. Mayordomo, ‘Construction,’ 9.

[10] On this passage and the background in Greco-Roman rhetoric, cf. e.g. Margareth E. Thrall, 2 Corinthians 2 ICC (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000), 630–631, and also: J. Albert Harrill, ‘Invective against Paul (2 Corinthians 10:10), the Physiognomics of the Ancient Slave Body, and the Greco-Roman Rhetoric of Manhood,’ in: Adela Yarbro Collins/Margaret M. Mitchell (ed.) Antiquity and Humanity: Essays on Ancient Religion and Philosophy Presented to Hans Dieter Betz on his Seventieth Birthday (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001), 189–213, esp. 201-209.

[11] Roland Mayer (ed.), Tacitus. Dialogus de Oratoribus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 66. Comp. also: Plutarch, Cic. 18.1–4; Dio Cass. 46.18.4–6.

[12] William Peterson/Michael Winterbottom, “Dialogus”, in: Tacitus, Agricola, Germania, Dialogus LCL 35 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1980), 279.

[13] Cf. e.g. Jennifer Larson, ‘Paul’s Masculinity,’ JBL 123 (2004) 85–97, esp. 89–90, and also Mayordomo, ‘Construction,’ 5.9–10.

[14] Aeschines, Against Timarchos 131, quoted from: Nick Fisher, Aeschines. Against Timarchos Clarendon Ancient History Series (Oxford: Oxford University, 2001), 101–102; Batalos, who is mentioned here, was a particularly feminine flute-player, also featuring in a play, cf. idem, o.c., 271–272. See in general further: John Winkler, ‘Laying Down the Law: The Oversight of Men’s Sexual Behavior in Classical Athens,’ in: D. Halperin/J. Winkler/F. Zeitlin (eds.) Before Sexuality: The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1990), 171–209.

[15] Text: Mervin R. Dilts (ed.), Aeschines. Orationes Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1997), 65.

[16] Text and translation: Michael Winterbottom (trans. and ed.), The Elder Seneca I. Controversiae I–VI Loeb Classical Library 463 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1974), 488–489. Parallels to this law from Greek and Roman circles can be found in S. F. Bonner, Roman Declamation in the Late Republic and Early Empire (Liverpool: Liverpool University, 1969 [1949]), 105, cf. also the discussion by Fisher, Aeschines, 36–53, and see in general also: Jane F. Gardner, ‘Sexing a Roman: imperfect men in Roman law,’ in: Lin Foxhall/ John Salmon (eds.), When Men Were Men: Masculinity, Power and Identity in Classical Antiquity (New York: Routledge, 1998), 136–152.

[17] Larson, ‘Masculinity,’ 86.

[18] Cf. e.g. the concise and convincing arguments of Peter Pilhofer, ‘Philippi,’ RGG4 6 (2003), 1274–1275, following the lead of the older, but still valuable study of Adolf Deissmann, ‘Zur ephesinischen Gefangenschaft des Apostels Paulus,’ in: hg. W.H. Buckler/W.M. Calder (eds.), Anatolian Studies Presented to Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (Manchester: Manchester University, 1923), 121–127, whose arguments are also followed by Gerhard Barth, Der Brief an die Philipper Zürcher Bibelkommentare (Zürich: TVZ, 1979), 8–10, cf. further: Wolfgang Schenk, Die Philipperbriefe des Paulus (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1984), 338, Ulrich B. Müller, Der Brief des Paulus an die Philipper (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1993), 15–22, idem, ‘Der Brief aus Ephesus. Zeitliche Plazierung und theologische Einordnung des Philipperbriefes im Rahmen der Paulusbriefe,’ in: Mell/idem (ed.), Urchristentum, 155–171, Klauck, Briefliteratur, 240, diff. e.g. Martin Dibelius, An die Thessalonicher I, II; An die Philipper HNT 11 (Tübingen : Mohr, 31937), 97–98 (Rome). See also Nikolaus Walter, ‚Der Brief an die Philipper,‘ in: idem/Eckart Reinmuth/Peter Lampe Die Briefe an die Philipper, Thessalonicher und an Philemon DNT 8.2 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998), 16 17 and John Reumann, Philippians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary AB 33b ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 6–8.

[19] Cf. e.g. Mayordomo, ‘Construction,’ 5.

[20] Cf. e.g. Loveday Alexander, ‘Hellenistic Letter-Forms and the Structure of Philippians,’ JSNT 37 (1989), 87–101, 92–93.

[21] That Paul presents himself in Philippians 1 is often accepted, cf. e.g. Müller, Brief, 48, ‘briefliche Selbstempfehlung.’

[22] Comp. also Müller, Brief, 43.51, Reumann, Philippians, 191–192.202–207, but why a (supposed) appeal of Paul to his Roman citizenship should be in play is unclear.

[23] Cf. e.g. Samuel Vollenweider, ‚Die Waagschalen von Leben und Tod: Zum antiken Hintergrund von Phil 1,21–26,‘ ZNW 85 (1994), 93–115, esp. 101.

[24] Whether this means deciding against suicide must remain open here, this question is secondary in any case for the interpretation of these vss., cf. for a summary e.g. Reumann, Philippians, 237–238. Cf. for the case in favor of Paul’s consideration of suicide still esp. Arthur J. Droge, ‘Mori Lucrum: Paul and Ancient Theories of Suicide’, NT 30:3 (1988), 263–286, further also: J. L. Jaquette, ‚A Not-so-Noble Death: Figured Speech, Friendship and Suicide in Philippians 1:21–26,’ Neotestamentica 28 (1994), 177–192, N. C. Croy, ‘”To Die is Gain” (Philippians 1:19–26): Does Paul Contemplate Suicide?,’ JBL 122 (2003), 517–531, Lukas Bormann, ‘Reflexionen über Sterben und Tod bei Paulus,’ in Friedrich Wilhelm Horn (ed.), Das Ende des Paulus: Historische, theologische und literaturgeschichtliche Aspekte BZNW 106 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2001), 307–330, esp. 319–321.

[25] Cf. e.g. Brian Dodd, Paul’s Paradigmatic "I": Personal Example as Literary Strategy JSNTSup 177 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 175–176.

[26] Cf. e.g. Francesco Bianchini, L’Elogio di sé in Cristo. L’utilizzo della periautologia nel contexto di Filippesi 3,1–4,1 AB 164 (Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2006), 72–73.

[27] Cf. e.g. Dodd, Paul’s, 175, critical: Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr, Heidenapostel aus Israel: die jüdische Identität des Paulus nach ihrer Darstellung in seinen Briefen WUNT I.62 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1992), 89.

[28] Cf. e.g. Matthew 9:37/Luke 10:2, Matthew 10:10/Luke 10:7, Luke 13:27, 2 Corinthians 11:13, 1 Timotheus 5:18, 2 Timotheus 2:15, Didache 13:2, comp. e.g. Stephen E. Fowl, The Story of Christ in the Ethics of Paul JSNTSup 36 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990), 99, Paul A. Hollaway, Consolation in Philippians. Philosophical Sources and Rhetorical Strategy SNTS.MS 112 (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2001), 134, Demetrius K. Williams, Enemies of the Cross of Christ. The Terminology of the Cross and Conflict in Philippians JSNTSup. 223 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002), 157–158, Niebuhr, Heidenapostel, 88–89, Reumann, Philippians, 472.

[29] Cf. e.g. Chris Mearns, ‘The identity of Paul’s opponents at Philippi,’ NTS 33 (1987), 194 204, esp. 198–200. Other options abound, however, cf. e.g. for a succinct overview: Dibelius, Philipper, 93.

[30] Cf. e.g. Larson, 87–91.

[31] See, e.g., Smit, ‘Masculinity.’

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Peter-Ben Smit (1979),

is professor of Old Catholicism at the University of Utrecht, assistant professor of New Testament Studies at VU University Amsterdam, associated researcher at the University of Pretoria and assistant rector in the Old Catholic parish of Amsterdam. He published on different topics, among them masculinity in the New Testament and in the reception history of the bible.

© Peter-Ben Smit, 2015,, ISSN 1661-3317