Second Paper Accepted to SBL (Rome)

I just received word that my second paper has been accepted for SBL (Rome) in the group looking at Methods in NT Studies.

Title: A Methodological Reconsideration of Paul’s Use of Scripture in Philippians

This paper challenges a long-held view that some letters of Paul have more Scriptural quotes than others because of the Jewish education (or lack thereof) of his audiences.  Thus, for Philippians, several scholars argue that this epistle lacks scriptural quotes because Paul knew the Philippians would not understand or respond to such argumentation.  I think this presupposition about how and why Paul used Scripture is flawed.  In the first place, we are simply operating on the lack of evidence for a Jewish synagogue in Philippi and also on the Roman-ness of his readers.  There is caution here against assuming too much based on the lack of evidence for something.  Indeed, though the epistle does not contain any direct scriptural quotations, it is loaded with allusions and other verbal, thematic, and narrative links.  I will propose a solution to this problem of reading the letter in terms of the audience make-up by suggesting that Paul does not write to the readers he has (for this would be quite complicated in his Romans letter), but to the readers he wants (i.e., where he expects them to learn how to understand his letter).  Looking at Philippians from this angle should cause scholars to be wary of mirror-reading Paul’s techniques and assuming we can learn about the audience’s education and ethnicity from the letter.


4 thoughts on “Second Paper Accepted to SBL (Rome)

  1. This is indeed a fresh idea: “…that Paul does not write to the readers he has … but to the readers he wants.” This particular approach might be applied to other Paul’s letters. And of course, context matters!

  2. Hey bro, sorry we didn’t get a chance to catch up at SBL, but it was at least good to see your face. I’m particularly interested in your paper as I would like to research the presence and function of Scripture in Philippians as a PhD thesis in the coming years. Would you mind sending it my way?! ( Here is a link to a paper I wrote for Ciampa’s class on Isa.45:23 in Phil.2:10-11:
    Congratulations and best of luck on your presentation.

    Dave Herring

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