Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi
Carmen Christi as Cursus Pudorum
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 252
Width: 14 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
This book examines Paul's letter to the Philippians against the social background of the colony at Philippi. After an extensive survey of Roman social values, Professor Hellerman argues that the cursus honorum, the formalized sequence of public offices that marked out the prescribed social pilgrimage for aspiring senatorial aristocrats in Rome (and which was replicated in miniature in municipalities and in voluntary associations), forms the background against which Paul has framed his picture of Jesus in the great Christ hymn in Philippians 2. In marked contrast to the values of the dominant culture, Paul portrays Jesus descending what the author describes as a cursus pudorum ('course of ignominies'). The passage has thus been intentionally framed to subvert Roman cursus ideology and, by extension, to redefine the manner in which honour and power were to be utilized among the Christians at Philippi.
Review of the hardback: 'Hellerman jumps into the deep waters of Phil. 2.6-11 with an attractively simple thesis ... The whole argument is carried through straightforwardly and effectively. ... a good contribution to the task of situating 2.6-11 in its context at Philippi.' Journal for the Study of the New Testament Review of the hardback: 'This is a valuable book, ... the structure as it stands does give the book an extra possible use as an interesting introduction to, and case-study on, the relevance of honour for the understanding of first-century texts from the Roman Empire.' Peter Oakes, University of Manchester