Re: Phil 2:12-14/Gen 32:22-32

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Oct 24 1995 - 11:56:27 EDT

At 10:22 AM 10/24/95, wrote:
>Carl Conrad wrote:
>>>>>> (omision) The parallels I have in mind are perhaps fundamentally
>literary, although I think that they are also theological. It may well be
>that the parallels have been noticed before--I would suppose there's a good
>deal of literature on the Philippians passage that I don't know of and
>haven't explored; on the other hand the parallels may exist only in my
>imagination. The shared themes I see are competitive struggle between human
>being and God and the paradox of human striving and divine initiative.<<<<<
>I am not prepared to comment on the Gen. passage at this time. I would agree
>that there may be some literary parallels. The best commentary on Paul's use
>of the terms of striving and apprehending is in I Cor. 9:24-27. From that
>passage, I would submit that a part of the "prize" he is seeking to attain is
>control of himself. KATALAMBANW may be used in the sense of overpower. In
>verse he indicates that he is trying to get himself under control (hUPWPIAZW)
>lest he become worthless (ADOKEMOS - unreliable, unproven). To that degree
>the idea of testing is a part of the Jacob stories as well.

Thanks, Carlton. Let me mull this over. Of course, Paul exposes himself to
the mercies(?) of psychoanalysts and would-be psychoanalysts repeatedly by
talking about religious/existential experience in first-person terms where
he may be using the first-person rhetorically (I'm thinking in particular
of Romans 7). On the other hand, he does seem to have much the same inner
tension and capacity to leap back and forth between emotional extremes as
Martin Luther. On the other hand, I'm not nearly so ready to see in Paul
the young man desperately endeavoring to please a rigid and demanding
father as I once was. He is certainly a very complex figure.

You're quite right about KATALAMBANW. It's "overpower" in John 1:5, or that
must at least be its primary sense. Ironic that it's also the Stoic verb
for "grasp an idea."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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