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pubEshed in 1848, de Wette referred to the doubts expressed on the subject in
this work and by SchwegUr, Nachap. Zeit. ii 133, 8g., but only very cursorily,
characterizing them, without reason shown, as an " attack on frivolous grounds."
iMnemann (Pauli ad Philipp. Epist., Gottingen, 1847); Bruckner (Epist. ad
PhiHpp. Paulo auctori vindicata) ; and Eme«ti (Uber Philipp. ii 6, sq. ; Theol.
Stud, und Krit. 1848, 4 H., pp. 858-924) defended the authenticity of the Epistle
against Baur at greater length. He judged only the last of these arguments to
possess any scientific value, but replied to them jointly in the TheoL Jahrb. viii.
1849, pp. 601-563 (in a section of the paper, ** isur neutestamentlichen Kritik ").
Emesti returned to the subject in the Stud, und Kritiken, 1851, pp. 591-632, and
was answered by Baur, TheoL Jahrb. xi 1862, pp. 133-144, in the paper '*nb^
Philipp. ii. 6 f.'* I shall refer to these two essays where they add anything to the
discussion in the text, and shall reproduce the more important parts of them.]
. ' Cf. TheoL Jahrb. viii 502. '* What appears suspicious to me in the Philippian
Epistle may be reduced to the following three heads : — 1. The appearance of
Gnostic ideas in the passage, ii. 6-9. 2. The want of anything distinctively
Pauline. 3. The questionableness of some of the historical data."



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46 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part II,

scarcely be explained save on the supposition that the writer^s mind
was filled with certain Gnostic ideas current at the time. What an
extraordinary conception is it that Christ, though he was in the
form of God, did not count it robbery, or, to give the words their
exact grammatical force, did not think that he must make it the
object of an OAivs rapiendi, to be equal with God. If he was God
already, how could he wish to become what he was already ? But
if he was not equal with God, what an eccentric and perverted and
self-contradictory thought must it have been, to become equal with
God ! Is it the inconceivableness of such a thought that is to be
expressed in the words ox/x dpira^/jLov "^rjtraro ? But how came
the Apostle to say of Christ a thing so inconceivable, even were it
merely to deny it ? Though Christ did not proceed to such an act
of rapacity and arrogance, yet it seems it was possible to him, not
morally indeed, but abstractly. How is this to be explained?
The doctrines of the Gnostics show us how our author may have
come to entertain such a conception. It is a well-known Gnostic
representation, that in one of the aeons, the last of the series of
them, the Gnostic Sophia, there arose the passionate, eccentric, and
unnatural desire to penetrate forcibly into the essence of the All-
father, in order to connect herself directly with him the absolute,
and to become one with him. This desire is described as a 7r/>oa\-
\ea0ai, a darting forward, as a rash and passionate striving, as a
ToX/jurjf a bold and violent attempt.^ That aeon then sought
forcibly to seize and to appropriate what according to its nature
could never belong to it, and what it had no claim to. This whole
act, and what it aims at accomplishing, is a thing purely spiritual
Sophia wished, as the Gnostics express it, KeKocvcoinja-Oai, r^' irarpl
T^ reXelip, to associate herself with the father, the absolutely Per-
fect, and, KaraXa^eiv to fieyeOo^ airrov, to take up into herself
spiritually his greatness, his absolute essence. This amounts to
such an identity with God the Absolute, as is conveyed by the ex-
pression of our Epistle, to elvav laa Bew, and only this considera-
tion, that, according to the original Gnostic conception of it, the

» Iren. adv. Haer. i 2. 2.



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Chap. V.] THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIAN8. 47

act was a purely spiritual one, makes it intelligible how our Epistle
comes to speak of such a self -contradictory attempt as ehat laa
Se^ On the one side, the identity with God is a thing still to be
realized ; on the other, the reality of it is presupposed. * The inter-
preters of the Epistle are thus driven to assert that the correct
rendering of oi^ dfrira/y/jLov ffpiaaro, is compatible only with such
a view of etvav laa 0€^, as makes it a thing which Christ did not
yet possess ; for otherwise it could not be said that he did not
wish to seize it for himself But, they say, in order that the renun-
ciation may be conceived as a voluntary one, we must ascribe to
Christ the possibility which lies in the ev fiop^ Qeov vTrdfyxcov.
Christ then had the divine glory, potential in himself, and could
have claimed it, could have made it appear in his life. But since
it did not consist with the purpose of the plan of redemption that
Christ should at once receive divine honour, it would have been a
robbery, an act of presumption, if he had taken it to himself. But
what, we must ask, was Christ, if, while €v fiop<l>fi Seov virdfyxcov,
he yet possessed the divine glory only potentia, if, though actually
God, he yet was not God ? And what conceivable reason is there
for saying that he voluntarily renounced a thing which, from the
nature of the case, it was impossible that he should have ? This
being and not being, this having and not having, is possible only in
the spiritual sphere ; the distinction drawn is that between what
is essentially and what is not only essentially, but also for con-
sciousness. And the Gnostic aeons are the categories and concep*
tions in which the absolute becomes the object of the subjective
consciousness : they are themselves the spiritual subjects in which
the absolute subjectivates and individualizes itself ; or they are the
subjective side, on which the absolute is not only the absolute in
essence, but is also the absolute self-consciousness. Since, however,
they are in plurality what the absolute is in unity, the descend-
ing series of aeons exhibits an ever-growing divergence between
the consciousness of which the absolute is the object, and the
absolute itself as the object of consciousness. The consciousness
of these spiritual subjects, these aeons in which consciousness shows



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48 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [Part II.

itself as the subjective side over against the other objective side,
can, by its own nature, deal with nothing but the absolute, and yet
the further off they stand, the less can they with their conscious-
ness embrace and comprehend it {KardXaPelv). Thus, then, the
aeon we spoke of directs itself to the absolute with the whole
energy of its spiritual force, seeks to grasp the absolute, to compre-
hend it, to become equal with it, to be one with it ; but in this it
undertakes a thing which is in itself impossible, by which it over-
leaps the boundaries of its own spiritual nature, and seeks, as it were,
to commit an unnatural robbery of the absolute. Thus, in the very
nature of the case, it cannot possibly succeed ;^ and if it let itself
be borne along by this impulse, it will only become aware of the
negativity of its own being, — a thing which the Gnostics represented
by saying that the aeon fell down out of the TrXifpw/xa into the
K€V(Ofia,^ Thus one passage speaks also of a k€vovv in connexion
with the dfyrrajfio^;, and it is very clear from this that our author
is familiar with the same representations, that he proceeds upon
them, only with this difference, that what had a merely speculative
interest to the Gnostics, has with him a moral significance. With
the Gnostics the dfyrrcbyfio^ is a thing that actually takes place, but
by its unnaturalness comes to an end without spreading further, and
has merely negative consequences ;^ in this case, however, there is

* bih. t6 dbwdra iiriPakelv irpdyyuvri, Iren. foe. dt,

^ Iren, i 4. 1 : iv ctkuus koi KevcDfiaros r&irois t^<o ffnorbs iyivrro ical frXi^pcb-
yuaros. 4. 2 : iv r<p o-fcdrei km r<p KevoifiaTi. Compare Theodoret, Haer. f*ab. i. 7>
e£a> Tov irkrjpSfxaros, iv crKia rivi kclL KevcDfiari Biayeiv,

3 This statement, however, requires to be qualified (as is observed, TheoL
Jahrb. viii. 507) : " That aeon which sought to grasp and comprehend the abso-
lute essence of Grod, and feU from the vkqp&ixa to the K€V€OfjMy through attempting
the impossible, did yet at last arrive at the irkrjpiafui. For the 7r\rip<ofjLa does at
last, at the consummation of the world's history, receive all spiritual beings, and
in it they aU become one with the absolute. This shows us what the unnatural
attempt spoken of here really signifies. It was unnatural, in that the aeon in
question desired to attain immediately and at once, what could not, according to
Gnostic conceptions, be attained save as a result of the whole process of the
development of the world. The attempt was suggested to the aeon by a subjec-
tive and unreasonable impulse. It was however, at the same time, the beginning
from which the development of the world proceeded, and was thus a necessary
momentum. If the genesis of the world be regarded as a falling away (and this



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Chap. V.] TEE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIAN8. 49

a moral self-determinatioD, which stops short of such a dfyira.yfio^;.
It is not, in this case, that the action has failed, but that it has not
taken place at all : there is a voluntary renunciation and self-abase-
ment, and instead of the Gnostic yeveadaL ev Kevon^rt we have a
lavTov tcevovp. Thus the voluntary act of refraining from dfyiray-
/A09) in our Epistle, is a modification of the speculative dfyjrayfio^
of Gnosticism. When the question is made an ethical one, as. it is
here, there seems to be little need for saying that Chiist did not
seek to seize a thing before his moral probation, which could only
be attained in the way of moral probation. What can be gained
only through moral effort, that will no one gain, save as the fruit
of his moral effort. This is so self-evident, that if it be said, as it
is here, we have a right to conclude that the statement has reference
to, and is occasioned by, some previous speculation. The state-
ment could not otherwise have been made, at least in the form in
which we find it.^

is the point of view here), then it is of course both subjectively arbitrary and
objectively necessaiy." The dpirayfi6s therefore denotes " that the aeon sought
to assert at a leap, as it were, at once, through a violent act or a robbeiy, that
identity with the absolute which could only be realized through the whole cosmic
process ; *' that it *' sought to seize by an act of will, violently and prematurely,
what it could only gain by a certain definite process.'' Christ did the opposite
of this : he did not seize the elvcu icra Qe^, the divine worship that should place
him on an equality with God, violently, as a right belonging to him in virtue of
his divine nature (the fiop^r) 6€ov), but earned it by voluntary self-abnegation
(cf. Theol. Jahrb. xi. 134 sq., viiL 508 sq.). The author also admits distinctly
(TheoL Jahrb. xi. 142) that dpirayfibs cannot be shown to be a Gnostic term ; he
thinks, however, that this is of no great importance if the idea denoted by the
word is found in Gnostic systems. — Editor,

^ The author insists again on this point in TheoL Jahrb. viii. 608 «g. '* If,"
he sajTS, *' Christ was iv ixop^ GcoO vnapxtav, then his nature was from this very
fact divine. Now if this iv fiop<l>i Qeov xmdpx^iv was not equivalent to that, Icra
Oc^ this must mean that what he was essentially, as €v /a. 6. vwdpx<oPf could only
proceed to the cirai lara Gc^ (i.e. become the true and actual contents of his
consdousness) by his vindicating his divine nature in the way of moral effort —
by the proof of his obedience. But if the elvai lo-a be thus a question of moral
achievement, how could it be said of Christ that he ever dreamed of the possibility
of attaining, without moral action, that which could not exist save as the fruit of
moral action ? It is clear that the author is referring here to certain other views.
It could never have suggested itself to him to connect with Christ such an absurd
and self-contradictoiy idea or intention, even though it were only to deny that
he cherished it. The idea must have been suggested to him from without."

D



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60 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IL

The other expressions used in this passage afford additional
evidence of Gnostic modes of thought and expression having been
before the author's mind. The contrast fwpjyri Oeov and fiop<fni
BovXov looks indeed sufficiently simple, yet the peculiar conception
indicated by fiop<l>7i Oeov can only be understood by a reference to
the use of those terms by the Gnostic. The expressions fjLop(f>rj,
fbop<l>ovv, fjb6p<f>(o<TL<i, were very common with them. That which
constitutes the peculiar character of one of the higher spiritual
beings is the /Lto/a^ of that being ; hence the Gnostics said of the
fallen aeon, that when it passed out of the light and the pleroma, it
was afiop(l)o<: koL dvetZeo^, (oairep eicrpcofia, and that hLa to fjbrjSev
/caT€iXr}<f>€pai because that was wanting to him which was necessary
to make up his definite spiritual nature. Hence when Christ
was sent out of the pleroma to help him, the first thing he did to
him was rrj iSia iwafieif fiop(f>&a-ai (JLop^aLv, ttjv Kar ovavav fjuovov,
aXK* ov Trjp Kara yvSxTLv} The aeon was to come to itself out of
the state of utter negation in which it had been lying; it was to
receive its own fwpjyfi, and that in two stages. The first stage of
the process of fiop^ovv was the fwp<f>(oai<; Kar ova- lav, referring to
that which the aeon was in essence, in substance ; then followed
the fidpifxaaL^ Kara yv&acv, by which he became in consciousness
also what he was already in essence. This of itself shows us that
the €p fiop<f>^ Oeov {nrap^eiv means the same thing, and is identical
with etvaf, Xaa ©€«.* But this can be distinctly proved to be
according to the Gnostic use of terms.

Emesti admits the force of this, but finds the suggestion in the Mosaic narrative
of the FalL Baur replies, ojp. ct7. viii. 509 8gg., xl 138 8qq,, that this parallel is
little to the point, and that our passage exhibits no trace of any reference to that
narrative. He points out that the condition of our first parents before the Fall
does not in the least correspond to the fxopi/)]) Q^ov here ascribed to Christ ; that
the robbery of the tree in Paradise which they committed is entirely unlike the
dpnayfios said to have been before the mind of Christ; and that the elvai ccra
Ge^i which he did not obtain through a dpnayfibsj is quite a different thing from
the ecrtcrBe as ^eoi, promised to our first parents by the serpent, aad which they
actually attained by eating the forbidden fruit. This latter was simply the
knowledge of good and evil. — Editor,

1 Cf. Iren. i 4. 1 ; 5. 1. Theod. Haer. Fab. i. 7.

^ With the difference however (as the author explains, Th. Jahrb. viii. 607) of



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Chap. V.] THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPFIAN8. 51

The Gnostics said of the 1/01)9 or fjLovoyemi^ that he was o/jlol6^ t€
Kol I<ro9 TcS irpo^aXovTiy to the primal aeon, or the absolute ground
of existence, as the fidpo<; ')((opS)v to fieyeffo^ tov 7raTpo<;, since he
only comprehends the absolute greatness of the Father, and in him
the absolute unfolds itself to consciousness.^ On this account he
is also called the sum of all the aeons of the Pleroma, the dpxn
Kol fiop<f>a)(n^ 7rapTo<; tov ifK/qpuiixaTo^. The number of the aeons
is completed by Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ taught the
aeons that the essence of the Father is in itself quite incompre-
hensible, and that the knowledge of it is possible only through the
fiopoyevfjf:, and that the cause of the eternal existence of the aeons
was that absolute, and for them quite incomprehensible, being of
the Father ; the cause of the existence of the Monogenes, however,
through whom alone the Father is known, and of his fiopffma-L^;,
was that which is comprehensible in the Father, Z S^ lo-o? eon
(0 fwvoyeuT^). Thus he is equal with him, identical with him,
inasmuch as he comprehends the Father, and is subjectively what
the Father is objectively. This to-o? elvat tcS irarpl is accordingly
his fiop^axTL^ or his /jLop^, and since this /JLopifyq is nothing but the
being equal, the being one with the Father, he is himself in fact
the fJMpifyq of the Father, or xnrdpywv ev /J^op(f>7j Oeov, Through
the Holy Spirit all the aeons were held to have become fu)p<f>^ koI
yv(Ofii] uroi, equal to each other, so that each was what the others
were, and thereby as much ta-o^: to the Father as the Nous of
Monogenes is; and their fiopcjyr) consisted just in this, that they were
thus l(TOL^ In a writer so obviously influenced by Gnostic ideas, it
cannot surprise us to find a close approach to the Docetism of the

that which is essentially, and that which is not only essentially, bat also for con-
sciousness.

1 Iren. i. 1. 1.

' To see how great the difficulties are with which this classical passage must
be surrounded, so long as the solution is not sought in the way I have indicated,
one has only to look at the exertions expended on it by Usteri (Entw. des paul.
Lehrb. 4 A., pp. 309-315). In his position these exertions are cerfcaialy not un-
called for. The chief difficulty is, as he seems to be aware, to decide whether
the expression €v p-op^^ ScoO virdpx<ov and la-a elvai Qe^, and their correlatives,
are to be taken in an ethico-religious or in a physical and substantial sense.



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52 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [Part IL

Gnostics. This is undoubtedly the case in verse 7. If, as ev
ofioioDjiiaTL dvOpoDTTtov jevofkcvof;, Christ was only ofwio^ to men,
then he was no true and actual man, but only seemed to be so.
The expression ofiolcafia can signify only similarity, analogy; it
cannot denote identity or parity of essence (compare Eom. vL 5).
The passage Eom. viii 3, where it is said of the Son that God sent
him €v 6/jboi{o/uiTi aapKo<: dfiaprta^, cannot be reckoned a parallel
to this. The ofwuofia there predicated of the Son is that like-
ness which as the Son he necessarily wears to the aap^ dfiapTla^.
Here, however, the ofioicofm is extended to human nature generally :
and this is just the difference between the Docetic view and the
orthodox. That this is the meaning of ofioUofia in our passage
is sufficiently clear from the phrase {r)(7]fJuiTi eupedei^: ©9 avOpcoTro^,
which stands close beside it, and does not admit of any other
interpretation. Though we should not press the ax: and evpeOrjvai
(©9 indicates no more than an opinion, a view, a comparison, and
€vp€07Jifcu is not equivalent to ehcu ; it refers merely to the out-
ward appearance, to the qualities by which a subject presents
itself to external observation), yet. in (r)(7jfia we have as clearly
as need be the notion of an extemti^ habitvs, of a thing changing,
passing, and quickly disappearing (cf. 1 Cor. vii 31).^

Purely Gnostic, again, is the author's view of the three regions,
the heavenly, the earthly, and the subterranean, to all of which
equally the power and rule of Christ extend. The Kara'xOovLoi, can-
not but remind us of the Gnostic idea of the descent into hell. The
peculiar manner, noticeable both in this Epistle and in the two
which we last considered, in which Gnostic and Catholic concep-
tions are mingled and pass into each other ; the unsuspecting use
the writers make of notions, bearing unmistakeably the stamp of
Gnosticism, and which they modify only so far as the practical and
religious objects they had to serve, liiade it necessary to do so —
these things manifestly belong to a time when Gnosticism had not
yet become the definite and striking phenomenon that it was
afterwards, and when it was still in process of development out of
^ Compare on tliis point Tb. Jahrb. yiii 515 «g., zL 144.



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Chap. V.] THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPFIAN8. 53

the various elements then present. It was the era of the first
awaking of Christian speculation, excited by the floating ideas of
the time, from which speculation the Christian consciousness
itseK was to receive its peculiar dogmatic contents. At its outset
Christian speculation found its leading and most powerful interest
in the idea of the person of Christ ; it was around this idea that
the absolute contents of the Christian consciousness crystallized into
their definite objective form. This growing occupation with the
person of Christ comes otit very strongly in doxological passages,
such as Eph. i 19 sq,; iii. 8 sq,; Col. i. 15 sq,, and, more than in
any of these, in the passage we have been considering, which has
quite the air of a doxology.

2. This ajfinity with Gnosis is the chief feature which the Epistle
to the Philippians has in common with those to the Ephesians and
Colossians. It differs from them chiefly in its prevailing subjectivity
of tone. This is generally extolled as the peculiar beauty of this
Epistle, and the sentiments and dispositions which it exhibits to us
are certainly sweet and touching ; yet this must not blind us to the
fact that the Epistle is characterized very decidedly by monotonous
repetition of what has already been said, by a want of any pro-
found and masterly connexion of ideas, and by a certain poverty
of thought, of which the writer himself seems to have been some-
what painfully aware, as he says in excuse, iii. 1, ra aina ypaxjieiv
vfuv, e/jLot fjuev ovk oKvqpov, vfuv Be aa-<l}a\€<:. Connected with
this there is another considemtion which must count as an
important element in judging of the Epistle, viz. that we find no
motive nor occasion for it, no distinct indication of any purpose,
or of any leading idea. There is certainly polemic against Jewish
opponents, yet one can hardly avoid the impression that this is
there simply because it seemed to belong to the standing character
of Pauline Epistles. There is nothing fresh or natural in this
polemic ; the circumstances do not stand out with any palpable
form. Could any description of the opponents of Christianity be
more vague or general than this? — iii. 18 : iroXKoi irepcTrarova-Lv,
<W9 7ro\Xa«t9 €\eyov v/uv, vvv he Kkamv Xeyo), roxr; e'xdpov^ rov



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54 LIFE AND fVOBK OF PAUL. [Part IL

aravpov rov Xpiarov, &i/ to reko^ diroDXeia, &v o ©€09 rj koiXui,
Koi 7} Bo^a €v ry ala")(yvr) airr&v, oi ra errlyeia (fypovovvre;. The
statements added by the interpreters in order to fill up the
character of these Judaizing opponents and Mse teachers are
borrowed from other Epistles; our Epistle itself affords no special
features ; it does not even appear where these opponents are to be
looked for, whether at Eome or at PhHippL It is in vain that our
author uses the strongest phrases to describe his antagonists ; they
fail to bring his polemic the colour which it wants. How harshly
does his argument begin with the rude words, iii 2, fiXeTrere roif^
Kvva^ ; and how forced is the contrast that is attempted to be
drawn between Kararofiri and irepirofiri, circumcision and con-
cision ! The Christians, that is, are the ireptrofirj ; the Jews, the
spurious circumcision, or the Kararofirj, But how inaccurate is
this ; the difference between the true circumcision and the false
is a qualitative one, but is here represented as quantitative by
the exaggeration of weptrofiri to KaraTOfirf. Nor is this peculiar
and unnatural contrast required by anything lying in the writer's
way; it is evidently brought in in order to give the apostle
an opportunity to predicate irepnofiri of himself, that he may
then go on to discourse of his own person. This, as we have
already remarked, is always an important point to the writers of
pseudo-apostolic letters, so conscious are they of their double
personality.

Let us, however, examine the passage in which the apostle speaks
of himself; it is manifestly nothing but an imitation of the passage
in 2 Cor. xi. 13 sq. In the epyaTai BoXiol, verse 13, we have the
/caKoif^ epydra^ of our passage, and then the one passage follows
the other in a number of details, even the introduction of the
apostle's person through the idea of irepiTOfiTi finding its precedent
in the original In 2 Cor. xi. 18 sg, the apostle speaks of his
Kavx^io'dat in contrast to the Kav^aadai, of his Judaizing opponents,
which he characterizes, verse 18, as a Kav^aadai Kara ttjv adpKa,
To it he replies that if so great importance is to be attached to



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