Talk:Epistle to the Philippians

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Outline or Summary of the Document[edit]

This article is a little highly wrought. I would like to suggest a section including a simple outline of of the content of the letter to help balance the other more specialized information. Similar outlines can be found in the English Wikipedia articles for other Pauline letters, if you would like a to see a template for what I am suggesting. Alternatively, or in addition to the outline, a brief summary of the letter might be in order. I am very glad all the information that has been presented in the article is here, and would not like to see it lost. However, when the average reader performs an engine search such as "What is Phillipians about?" and is directed to the Wikipedia, such an outline or summary as the one I am proposing is likely what he or she is hoping to find. Can we expand the article a little for the benefit of the general reader without making it too long or too complicated? Matt Yaeger: You seem to be a significant editor on this article. How would you feel about taking this on? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.242.63.44 (talk) 17:57, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I had left a critical comment in the outline section. A respected editor contacted me about what I was looking for on my talk page. I think responding here will be productive (and visible) to all. The outline seemed too long and boring. In my bible the epistle covers 5 1/2 pages which includes voluminous footnotes, so the outline seems huge by comparison.
My bible has the following outline:
I. Address (1, 1-11)
II. Progress of the Gospel (1, 12-26)
III. Instructions for the Community (1, 27-2,18)
IV. Travel Plans of Paul and His Assistants (2,19-3,1)
V. Polemic: Righteousness and the Goal in Christ (3,2-21)
VI. Instructions for the Community (4, 1-9)
VII. Gratitude for the Philippians' Generosity ((4, 10-20)
VIII. Farewell (4, 21-23)
By comparison, the current outline sounds torturous! I mean, it's just summarizing a short letter.
An even shorter outline appears in my same study bible (separate section):
I. Address (1, 1-11)
II. Body of the Letter (1,12 - 2,18)
A. Progress of the Gospel (1, 12-26)
B. Exhortations for the Community (1,27-2,18)
III. Conclusion (2,19-3,1; 4,21-23)
My point is that we don't want to lose the audience before they get to an explanation of the letter itself. The current one is (sorry) overly tediously detailed.
More to the point, the "composition" is probably too short. Some of the current outline should be moved down and expanded into real sentences. That would be a quick and dirty way of "fixing" what appears to be a problem to me. Student7 (talk) 16:08, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I personally found the detailed outline very useful and interesting - if I didn't, I wouldn't have read it. People are more than capable of not reading parts that they're not interested in; it seems like this detailed outline does more good for those who are interested than harm to those who aren't. Caleb 00:32, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
Here is something that is being sidestepped. We want readers to be able to access these ancient letters but we are bothered by the complexity of Greco-Roman Epistolary nuances that are helpful in outlining ALL the letters of the New Testament, to say nothing about that genre of ancient letter writing in general. I understand the demand to provide an outline of Philippians that is readable and brief, but are we seeking to have content or are we seeking reductionistic content. One is - in my opinion - helpful the other not so much. Why don't we have two outlines instead of one. JovanPayes (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:47, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
If we use the word "outline" IMO, we are suggesting something shorter than the letter itself. The current outline, as I have mentioned, seems to exceed what an "outline" is. Fine to "outline" it briefly, then get into the details. Have a large outline or two outlines seems to me to be pushing the limits. The rule of thumb used to be 1) Tell them what you are going to tell them (outline), 2) Tell them (bulk of article). 3) Tell them what you have told them (summary). I think we can skip the summary for a written article, though!  :) Student7 (talk) 20:02, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Bible Verses[edit]

Matt, why did you just add four quotes from Philippians without any comment on them, or why they should be considered "important"? I think that they should be referenced and commented upon, but not necessarily quoted at length, in an encyclopedia article, if they're included. --Peter Kirby 06:27, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

I don't know how exactly you'd reference a Bible verse. I could have commented on them but probably couldn't have remained NPOV. As for the importance of the verses... well, with the possible exception of the first selection (which is notable mainly in how it can be taken to refer to sleazy televangelists), you'd be hard-pressed to find a Christian who doesn't know them, and many have them memorized. A Google search may not give that impression (most if not all hits for specific verses just come from online compilations of the Bible); however, any Christian will tell you that all of the last three are very important. They're among the most memorized selections in the whole Bible. I suppose if you think it's incomplete or irrelevent, you can take it out, but I think it should stay as it adds a good deal to the article (most people, when browsing a Bible book, wonder "Why does this book matter to Christians?", and including these passages shows why, at least to some degree). --Matt Yeager 06:39, August 20, 2005 (UTC)

Under "Historical": Who is Professor Beet and where did this quote come from? There is no citation.

I think that list of verses should be deleted, or at the very least cited. Who decides which verses are more important than others? Looks like WP:Original Research to me. Rocksong 04:58, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Hymnic change[edit]

Changed "liberal" to "some" in the section on authorship. There is no reason why a view on the non-Pauline hymnic character of 2:5-11 would make a scholar liberal as opposed to conservative.

Comment: While your change is probably for the good of the article, your statement isn't accurate. In the context of Biblical scholarship, the words "conservative" and "liberal" have a very specific meaning. "Conservative" biblical scholars tend to stick much more closely to traditional interpretations, to earlier dating of NT works, and frequently are more open to the possibility of the miraculous, and as a result take the miracle stories in scripture as literally true. "Liberal" biblical scholars tend to be more suspicious of the traditional interpretations, more trusting of textual criticism, prefer later dating of NT works, and often - though not always - do not accept the miracle stories in the Bible as literally true.

In this case, scholars who think that 2:5-11 is a non-Pauline insert are making that suggestion based on textual criticism, rather than the traditional interpretation. That alone makes them more "liberal" in the spectrum of Bible scholars. Doesn't impugn them in any way. Just points out that they are more willing to disagree with the stated authorship in the text, which claims that this was written by Paul. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.189.113.220 (talk) 17:18, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Your definitions of liberal and conservative do make sense, but the authorship of the hymn isn't an issue that cuts along liberal and conservative lines. Paul doesn't say that he wrote the hymn, and if he's quoting, then it actually establishes the hymn's high Christology as a very early feature of Christian belief (which bolsters conservative Christian arguments). Atterlep (talk) 13:35, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Place of Authorship Uncertain[edit]

There is substantial debate about whether Philippians was written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome or during an earlier time in prison. This isn't a "liberal/conservative" issue--the text doesn't say anything at all about the location, and if it wasn't written in Rome, then it's older than we traditionally assume. If I don't hear any comments in the next week or two, I can add a section summarizing the arguments on each side. Atterlep (talk) 13:35, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

This is an important discussion to this letter and the other "Prison Letters" of Paul traditionally: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. September 2009 is so far gone, was this content ever written? Furthermore, if it is to be written, the content should have references for all letters traditionally in that group because even if the authorship or location is question, they are grouped together in studies, commentaries, etc. JovanPayes (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:02, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

History, original language[edit]

I wish this article had more about the history of this book of the Bible. Would anyone like to share the answers to these questions in the article?:

  1. What are the oldest editions of the epistle?
  2. What language(s) are they written in?
As with all of Paul's letter whether regarded genuine or not, they are written in Koine Greek. JovanPayes (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:09, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
  1. Why does the KJV of 2:5-6 say that Jesus "thought it not robbery to be equal with God", but the New International Version and American Standard Versions say Jesus "knew that equality with God was not a thing to be grasped." A little syntactic analysis of why the meanings are so different would be appreciated.
  2. Was there an intent to change the meaning of verses 5-6? DBlomgren (talk) 18:12, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
    • @DBlomgren: I added a bunch of stuff in August 7, 2008 that was reverted; you may find some material there worth restoring to the article (check history). A Georgian (talk) 15:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I do not know what the oldest edition of the epistle is. Unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls, it would be comparatively "recent" because the letters would have deteriorated fairly rapidly. You didn't ask because you probably know. We know the copies are "real" because they are derived from separate sources, at least one from the Western Church, another from the Eastern Church; perhaps others.
All written in Greek, which I inserted from ref at bottom of page.
As usual, the apparent difference in translation is not so bad as it appears. The intent is to treat "others in Christ" as you are treated "in Christ." The KJV seems to me to sound a bit arrogant to modern ears. Have no idea what the original Greek was. Student7 (talk) 23:25, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Unanimous? "no scholar"?[edit]

An statement reads "No scholar really questions Pauline authorship of Philippians. External evidence is unanimously in favor of Paul." These statements are uncited. They appear to fall under WP:WEASEL, and WP:OR. Even if cited, they are illogical. No scholar out of millions? That is impossible. Unanimous? Never. These statements were rm but replaced by another (or the same?) unregistered editor. They are unnecessary to the article. Student7 (talk) 18:25, 1 December 2013 (UTC)