More Information
ISBN: 9781907713743
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 13
Publication Date: 14/10/2013
Pages: 248
Language: English

Our Politeuma Is in Heaven!

Paul's Polemical Engagement with the "Enemies of the Cross of Christ" in Philippians 3:18-20


”For many of whom I often told you, and even now am writing with tears, walk as the enemies of the cross of Christ: they walk to their final destruction, their god is the belly and their glory is in shameful things, their minds are earthly bound. But our πολίτευμα is in heaven from where we expect the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Savior.” Philippians 3:18-20

Paul’s letters to Philippians show us that this rather outspoken man had plenty of opportunity and cause to aggravate his christian contemporaries. However, for Paul to use such hostility and to name people as “enemies” shows us that we should take note and try to understand the meaning behind his statement. In this work the author asks: who were these enemies? What did they do wrong? Why did they deserve destruction? In search of these questions the investigation looks to the early Christian communities and their formation within the socio-political realities of the urban centers of the Roman Empire. Through this we learn a great deal about the uneven and complex dynamics of the early Christian community and a deep understanding of Paul’s warning to them.

Author Bios

Gennadi A. Sergienko

GENNADI A. SERGIENKO holds a BSc from Moscow State Building University with a major in mechanical engineering, a ThM. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Moscow, Russia and is employed as Prorector for Academic A airs of the Moscow Theological Seminary of ECB. Dr. Sergienko is married to Vera and has two children.


This detailed work focuses on the formation of and challenges to early Christian community and identity in Roman Philippi in the first century. It brings forward a wealth of inscriptional and literary evidence useful for understanding the cultural setting in which Christians of first century Philippi lived out their daily lives. Against this backdrop, Sergienko probes the thesis that the Philippian Christians were compromising their commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by participation in local voluntary organizations that included the practice of emperor worship. Offering a fresh look at ancient evidence and the text of Philippians, Sergienko crafts a suggestive argument for reading this epistle and Paul’s call for exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord in the face of various religious, social, and cultural obstacles faced by the church.

Dr Marianne Meye Thompson
George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament,
Fuller Theological Seminary, USA

Table of Contents

  1. List of Abbreviations
    1. Modern Translations of the Bible
    2. Books of the Bible
    3. Old Testament Apocrypha and Psedepigrapha
    4. Dead Sea Scrolls
    5. Rabbinic Literature
    6. Classical and Hellenictic Literature
    7. Ancient Inscriptions
    8. Modern Works
  2. Chapter 1
    1. Introduction
      1. 1.1 Topic and Goal of the Dissertation
      2. 1.2 State of Scholarship
        1. 1.2.1 Scholarly Contributions
        2. 1.2.2 Scholarly Tendecies in Reading Philippians
        3. 1.2.3 Pertinent Bibliography
      3. 1.3 Voluntary Associations and the “Enemies of the Cross”: The Thesis of the Dissertation
      4. 1.4 Outline of the Dissertation
  3. Chapter 2
    1. Voluntary Association within a Graeco-Roman City
      1. 2.1 Religious and Professional Associations
      2. 2.2 Membership
      3. 2.3 Organizational Structure
      4. 2.4 Social Function of Voluntary Associations
      5. 2.5 Relating to Imperial Rome
      6. 2.6 The Religious Function of Voluntary Associations
      7. Conclusion
  4. Chapter 3
    1. The Roman Colony of Philippi
      1. 3.1 Historical Overview
      2. 3.2 Demographic Situation
      3. 3.3 Socio-Economic Features
      4. 3.4 Political Profile
      5. 3.5 Religious Profile
      6. Conclusion
  5. Chapter 4
    1. Voluntary Association at Philippi
      1. 4.1 Silvanus Association
      2. 4.2 Diana Association
      3. 4.3 Dionysiac Association
      4. 4.4 Associations of Isis and/or Serapis
      5. 4.5 Associations of the Thracian deities Sourgethes and Hero
      6. 4.6 Association of Dendrophorus Augustalis
      7. 4.7 Association of the Purple-Dyers
      8. 4.8 Association of Grave-Diggers
      9. 4.9 Association of Gladiators
      10. Conclusion
  6. Chapter 5
    1. Christian Ekklēsia at Philippi and Voluntary Associations: Discovering the Points of Correlation
      1. 5.1 The social context of Paul’s ministry
      2. 5.2 Philippian Christian Community
        1. 5.2.1 The Social and Ethnic Prosopography
        2. 5.2.2 Elevated Status of Women
        3. 5.2.3 Organizational Structure
        4. 5.2.4 Community of Friends
        5. 5.2.5 Seeking Honor and Creating Rivalry
      3. Conclusion
  7. Chapter 6
    1. The Earthly Politeuma of the Enemies of the Cross and Paul’s Vision of the Politeuma in Heaven (Phil 3:18-20)
      1. 6.1 The Earthly Πολίτευμα of the Enemies of the Cross (Phil 3:18-20)
        1. 6.1.1 What is the Πολίτευμα of Phil 3:20?
        2. 6.1.2 The Alluring Walk of the “Enemies” (Phil 3:18)
        3. 6.1.3 Paul’s Polemical Characterization of the Opponents (Phil 3:19)
      2. 6.2 Paul’s Counter-Argument Against the “Enemies of the Cross”
        1. 6.2.1 Paul’s Vision of the Heavenly Πολίτευμα
        2. 6.2.2 Paul’s Anti-Imperial Polemics
        3. 6.2.3 Paul’s Way of Discipleship: Κοινωνία in Christ’s Sufferings
      3. Conclusion
  8. Summary
  9. Appendix 1
    1. Cults Attested at and Near Philippi
  10. Appendix 2
    1. Membership List of the Silvanus Association at Philippi
  11. Appendix 3
    1. Graeco-Roman and Jewish Literary Sources on Πολιτευμα
      1. Aeschines (4th century BCE):
      2. Appian, Civil Wars (1st century CE):
      3. Aristotle, Politics (384-322 BCE):
      4. Epictetus (mid. 1st to 2nd century CE):
      5. Demosthenes (384-322 BCE):
      6. Diodorus Siculus, Library (1st century BCE):
      7. Isocrates (436-338 BCE):
      8. Josephus (1st century CE):
      9. Philo (1st century CE):
      10. Plato, Laws (429-347 BCE):
      11. Plutarch, Lives (1st century CE):
      12. Polybius (203-120 BCE):
      13. Strabo, Geography (64 BCE-21CE):
  12. Bibliography
    1. 1. Primary Sources
      1. 1.1 Ancient Texts and Translations
      2. 1.2 Inscriptions
      3. 2.3 Sourcebooks
    2. 3. Reference Works
    3. 4. Secondary Literature

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