Studies In Paul's Letter To Philippians Summary

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The letter to the Philippians has been the subject of historical criticism in relation to its contemporary authors and philosophers. In Studies in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians , Hans Dieter Betz scrutinizes five segments from the letter to the Philippians to examine scholastic interpretations and to suggest a new interpretation regarding its literary genre as preparation for death(praemeditatio mortis).
Hans Dieter Betz is a German-American scholar of the New Testament and Early Christianity. He was born and raised in Germany, and he earned his Doctor of Theology at Mainz in 1957 under Dr. Herbert Braun. He served as editor of the lexica "Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart" (4th ed. 1998-2005) and "Religion Past and Present" (2007-2014).
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He differs his book from commentaries in purpose, nature and content, stating that his purpose of study is for “further investigations regarding specific passaged or problems yet unresolved or even undiscovered”(p1). For reading Philippians, Betz critically engages in the previous literary commentaries and employs textual and literary criticism. Especially he critically engages to Lohmeyer’s criticism on Philippians, affirming that Lohmeyer’s interpretation on the Philippians which reads the epistle as deutero-Pauline and from the second-century era. However Betz criticizes Lohmeyer’s interpretation of Philippians as the polemic of Martyrs. He points out that regardless of vivid and impressive ideas about Martyrdom in the letter(p. 17), connecting his personal affliction to Philippian martyrdom is too subjective to validate. Betz clearly demonstrates the difficulty of accessing to the original manuscripts of the text(Volagen) through textual criticism and literary criticism due to the additional redactions. By representing the uncertainty of the original text, he emphasizes the variance of the text manuscripts and highlights the importance of textual criticism and comparative studies to read

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