Re: Phillipians

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Fri Jun 25 1999 - 20:59:11 EDT

--- Linda Gray <> wrote:

>Can Phillipians 2:6 be read as: "who, existing in
the form of God, he did not consider fighting to be equal to God."<

While HARPAGMON can refer to an act of violence in certain contexts, it
doesn't seem to denote such here. I would therefore not favor this

>Or maybe: who, existing in the form of God, he did
not consider grasping to be equal to God."<

I would translate the first part of the clause concessively (i.e.,
"who, although existing in God's form). As for the second part, there
is no unanimous answer to your question. The issue is whether HARPAGMON
is to be understood as a passive word or an active one. This is
commonly expressed in scholarly circles as a RES RAPTA (a thing to hold
on to), or a RES RAPIENDA (a thing one is tempted to snatch). Louw-Nida
allow for both readings, as do other scholars. Personally, I prefer the
active meaning ("grasping") and note this in my essay on "The Kenosis
of Jesus Christ" (currently in the works and available on
Greetheology). It is of interest that DB Wallace also seems to favor
the translation "grasped."



Edgar Foster
Classics Major
Lenoir-Rhyne College

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