Re: Meaning of Philippians 2:6- MORFH and hARPAGMOS

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Tue Oct 27 1998 - 14:55:39 EST

Dear Kyle and other Greeks,

In his thorough commentary on Philippians, Moises Silva disucusses
many of the pertinent exegetical issues surrounding the Christ "hymn."
On p. 123 of his work, he cites several Classical texts which
illustrate Lightfoot's distinction between SXEMA and MORFH will not
hold up under serious scrutiny. Some of these texts are as follows:

TO AUTOU EIDOS EIS POLLAS MORFAS (Republic 2.19 = 380d).

MORFAS (The Embassy To Gaius 80 [LCL 10:41]. Philo).

OUX hO TOIS QEOIS THN MORFHN hEOIKWS (Fifteenth Julian Oration 34 [LCL
1:169] Libanius).

Despite writing that Lightfoot was misguided in his analysis of MORFH,
however, Silva contends that there is a certain element of truth in
Lightfoot's treatment of MORFH. Where Lightfoot is supposedly correct,
is in his confining MORFH THEOU to the Divine essence. As proof of
this statement, he cites Philo (and Josephus) who indicates that the
QEOU MORFH "cannot be counterfeited as a coin can be." In other words,
only one who is ontologically God can visually represent the "form of

My question: Are there places in Classical literature where a god or
demi-god is said to legitimately reflect the form of God?

If this is too far off-topic, please reply offlist.

Edgar Foster

Lenoir-Rhyne College

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