Re: Re Php 2:6 (response to David Moore)

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sun Jun 30 1996 - 23:36:41 EDT

Al Kidd wrote:

> As to David Moore's argument that he is finding it
> >difficult to take hHGEOMAI in such an absolute sense . . .
> >"He did not consider usurpation." The verb hHGEOMAI in
> >the sense of "consider" is practically always used by Paul in
> >constructions with a double accusative or with adjectives or
> >infinitives that serve an accusative function.
> I would argue:
> Does not hARPAGMON _in the sense of an usurpation_ furnish the verb
> >>hHGHSATO<< an object that makes for logically coherent thought? And if
> we are looking for some sort of idiom or stylistic feature peculiar to
> Paul's usage of hHGEOMAI whereby Paul uses it--to quote David Moore--
> >. . . in
> >constructions with a double accusative or with adjectives or
> >infinitives that serve an accusative function,< [end of quote]
> then there can be no _grammatical argument_ that precludes us from
> seeing that Paul's stylistic usage of hHGEOMAI is preserved at Php 2:6
> in that he has given it to us in his--to quote David Moore again--
> >infinitive [clause] that serves an accusative function,< [end of
> quote]

        Reading Al Kidd's response to my post on Php. 2:6, I can see that I may not have
made my position entirely clear. When I said, "The verb hHGEOMAI in the sense of
'consider' is practically always used by Paul in constructions with a double accusative
or with adjectives or infinitives that serve an accusative function," I meant that such
"adjectives or infinitives..." are used as part of the characteristic double accusative
construction. The point is that a usage that would make hARPAGMON the only accusative
directly relating to hHGEOMAI would be uncharacteristic of Paul's use of hHGEOMAI in the
sense of "consider." The verses listed in my previous post (2Co 9:5, Php. 2:3 Php.
2:25; 3:7, 8; 2Ths. 3:15 1Tim. 1:12; 6:1 and 1Thes. 5:13) bear this out.

> namely, >>TO EINAI ISA QEWi<< _as an epexegetical infinitive clause in
> apposition to hARPAGMON_ (an "active" noun that, in its context for
> Php 2:6, implies the nature of its "object," namely God's
> prerogatives--Christ gave thought to no usurpation = seizure of God's
> prerogatives).
> David Moore also states:
> >I would suggest that the "anaphoric significance of the article,"
> >mentioned in Blass-DeBrunner as cited above, is applicable in the
> >case of Php. 2:6. But it does not refer back to hARPAGMON as Al Kidd
> >has suggested. Rather, the referent is EN MORFH QEOU UPARXWN.<
> [end of quote]
> David Moore has not reviewed any grammatical dicta by which we are
> precluded from making >>TO EINAI ISA QEWi<< to refer back to hARPAGMON.
> I did review certain grammatical rules that most translators violate
> when they 1) make >>ISA QEWi<< to function as accusative of the
> subject for the articulated infinitive, and 2) make >>hARPAGMON<< to
> function as accusative of the predicate for the articulated infinitive.
> Furthermore, if Paul were trying to express some meaning equivalent to
> what a majority of translators and commentators want to see in Php 2:6,
> then he should have chosen a far more direct route to (syntax for) that
> meaning, one that does not have the reader to supply some other word(s)
> in order that the text should only then logically give up the desired
> (presupposed) meaning. What might he have written? He might have
> written:

        Paul's statement makes quite good sense as it is written. It is somewhat opaque
to us because we don't know how exactly to take some of Paul's vocabulary, but I
certainly don't see the major problem that you seem to see in this passage. I think
most exegetes have given up the idea of demanding that the New Testament writers use
just the kind of greek we think they should.

> If that were Paul's meaning, then his exhortation (that we keep in us
> the attitude that was in Christ) becomes a problematic exhortation
> indeed, for then the development of his argument should have to have
> gone something like this:
> Though some of you are equal to--if indeed not even
> superior to--many of your brothers, yet keep Christ's
> attitude in you: he was in God's form but he did not
> consider his equality with God to be a prize.
> Paul's argument, however, _explicitly_ posits in our behalf neither
> an equality nor a superiority to our fellow believers. His argument
> makes explicit reference to the fact that humble believers are
> "considering that others are _superior_" to them (Php 2:3).
> As to the thought that the articulated infinitive has reference
> back to EN MORFH QEOU, R.P. Martin, _Carmen Christi: Philippians ii:
> 5-11_ (Ch. 6: "His Choice," SNTSMS 4 [Cambridge, 1967]) 138, ftn. 4
> says that that is an
> "assumption that MORFH QEOU (in verse 6) and TO EINAI
> ISA QEWi (in the same verse) are to be equated."
> It is an assumption driven by certain theological/christological
> presuppositions, and not by one's considering just the grammar.

        Although I don't have at hand the work you are citing, I am practically certain
that you have quoted R. P. Martin out of context, since I have his commentary on
Philippians in the Tyndale NT Commentaries series, and Martin comes to conclusions about
this passage which are diametrically opposed to yours.

        Are you supposing that you, in your position on this passage are free from
"theological/christological presuppositions"?

> Indeed, the philology of the term MORFH should preclude our seeing
> in it an antecedent to >>TO EINAI ISA QEWi.<< In support of this
> last statement, I can point the reader to a couple of articles:
> David Steenburg, "The Case Against the Synonymity of MORFH and
> EIKON," JSNT 34 (1988) 83; and C.A. Wanamaker, "Philippians 2:6-11:
> Son of God or Adamic Christology?", NTS 33 (1987) 183-4, 187-8.
> It is the matter of philology which would prove to be the most
> controversial; therefore, I propose that we not discuss this on
> b-greek. I am open to E-mail discussions of the entire question
> of Php 2:6, and I may respond to one's effort(s) for his attempt
> to prove a misapprehension on the part of NWT for its treatment
> of the grammar informing Paul's Greek at Php 2:6. Unless that
> should happen, then I am not inclined to make any more response
> via b-greek.

        It seems to me that this discussion, being on b-greek, is squarely where it

David L. Moore                             Director
Miami, Florida, USA                        Department of Education                     Southeastern Spanish District            of the Assemblies of God

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