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Eros and the Christ

Longing and Envy in Paul's Christology

by David E. Fredrickson

Publication Year: 2013

The self-emptying of Christ (kenosis) in Philippians 2 has long been the focus of attention by Christian theologians and interpreters of Paul's Christology. David E. Fredrickson sheds dramatic new light on familiar texts by discussing the centuries-old language of love and longing in Greek and Roman epistolary literature, showing that a "physics" of desire was related to notions of power and dominance. Paul’s kenotic Christology challenged not only received notions of the power of the gods but of the very nature of love itself as a component of human society.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-7


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pp. vii-xiv

Translations from the LoebClassical Library

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pp. xv-19

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pp. 1-10

From Homer to Paulus Silentiarius, it melted innards and emptied the liquefied self unto death. It drove the plot of ancient novels from the first century to the eleventh. Famous letter writers like Cicero and John Chrysostom, obscure ones (only from the West’s perspective) like Nikephoros Ouranos and Theodoros of Kyzikos, and the forgotten...

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1 Troubling Presence

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pp. 11-34

Despite the different topics this book explores, in effect only one question is pursued throughout its pages: might the momentous sentence “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:11) mean something other than what most interpreters take it to mean—that the world is under Jesus’ control and at his disposal? Although “Lord” is widely thought to be the final word on Jesus’ identity, a different way of reading cannot be...

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2 Apostolic Sweetness

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pp. 35-56

This chapter continues to explore Pauline Christology, a familiar topic in New Testament studies. The method of investigation is, however, out of the ordinary. Normally, early Christianity’s titles for Jesus (Lord, Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Savior, and so forth) would take center stage. In the previous chapter, only the confession of Jesus as kyrios in Phil 2:11 was given consideration, and this...

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3 Kenōsis, or As the Snow Melts

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pp. 57-84

Imagine looking over the shoulder of an industrious poet of the sixth century, Paulus Silentiarius. When not occupied with the duties of a silentiary or composing an epic length poem on the architectural wonders of Agia Sophia, Paulus wrote some of the best erotic verse of his generation. Your curiosity is not directed at the poems he writes, however, but the ones he thumbs through. Were you to read his favorites...

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4 Abduction Disregarded

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pp. 85-104

Although it is impertinent to say so, scholars have misunderstood a crucial word in Phil 2:6-8. If an error has occurred, however, it is entirely understandable, since sensitive minds recoil when ἁρπαγμός, the word in question, appears in one of earliest and most influential christologic.al statements: “he did not regard equality with God...

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5 Not Eaters of the People

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pp. 105-128

There was something about four of Paul’s co-workers that won his respect and earned his endorsement. “Help them,” Paul writes in Phil 4:2 concerning Euodia and Syntyche. On behalf of Epaphroditus in 2:29 he asks the church to “accept him in the Lord with all joy.” In the same verse, the phrase “hold such ones as these in honor...

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6 The Politics of a Manbride

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pp. 129-150

If ever there was an occasion for envy to take root, it was the Greek wedding.2 After removal of the bride’s veil but before the couple entered the bedroom, an orator stood up and uttered profuse, envy provoking praise.3 Both of the young persons were magnified.4 The groom was extolled for his impressive physical stature, as...

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pp. 151-158

I end this book wishing to express gratitude to two groups of writers whose deaths long ago preserve them from the embarrassment, consternation, or perplexity that my thankfulness might otherwise occasion. One group illustrates for me the sufficiency of an intermittent courage of conviction: a few fourthcentury Christians and a few more middle- and late-Byzantine authors and Latin writers of the Middle Ages sometimes allowed themselves to hear echoes...


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pp. 159-174


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pp. 175-178

Biblical Index

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pp. 179-181

E-ISBN-13: 9781451426304
E-ISBN-10: 1451426305
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698232
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698231

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013