n HTS : Theological Studies - Die eenheid van die Filippensebrief : oorwegings vanuit die gedagtestruktuur van die brief

Volume 60, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



The unity of the Philippian letter : considerations from the thought structure of the letter

During the last two decades a new interest has emerged in the structure of the letter to the Philippians, leading to a variety of text oriented studies, which have more or less confirmed the unity of the letter. This article contributes to these studies by making a thought-structure analysis of the text of Philippians. This analysis, which takes the grammatical relations within the text as point of departure, but proceeds to a study of the more implicit markers of structure, such as repetition and figures of speech, reveals that the thoughts in the letter body of Philippians are arranged in a triangle pattern. In this pattern Philippians 1:27-30 serves as a "table of contents", which is expanded upon in the rest of the letter body (2:1-3:21). In a subtle way the main elements of the "table of contents" are echoed in Philippians 4:1-9, resulting in an "inclusio"-pattern. These patterns of thought structure of Philippians provide further support for theories in favour of the unity of the letter.

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