Tag Archives: Philippians

An old hymn to Christ

Theologians have struggled too much and the most important thing is charity and love among brothers and sisters, represented in the epistle of today by the CROSS. Here it is, like a personal humble tribute to victims of wars and terrorism, my translation from Syriac into English of Philippians 2, 6-11:

He (Jesus) was of the God’s clan (the corresponding Syriac word is a derivative from the Semitic root “dm” which has connotations related to “blood”; this term is also present in Gn 1,26).  It was no abuse to have considered this: becoming equal to God.

On the contrary, he renounced to himself by taking the condition (here again the term that remits to “blood”) of a serf. He was of human nature (again that term) and he looked like a man in his appearance.

And now, if the hymn has a structure of chiasmus, then this is the central and most important verse:

He made himself humble and obedient until his death: his death in the CROSS.

That is why God multiplied his attributes of greatness and gave Him a fame (literally a “NAME”) which is over all of the honors (of any of those attributes).

In this previous verse, employing the term “NAME” is rather impressive for traditional ears because “NAME” is a respectful way of citing YHWH (the forbidden name of God) in Old Testament and Targumim writings.

Then, in the name of Jesus, every knee (or benediction, as there may be a polysemy game at this point) is bowing (or will bow; the imperfect aspect in Semitic languages may mean both present and future tenses), let it be in the heaven as also on and under the earth. (This enumeration of three cosmic dimensions is a reminder of the common cosmology for the Ancient Near East).

Every tongue confesses (or will confess) that the Lord is Jesus, the Messiah, by the splendor of His Father.

This confession means a firm nexus between YHWH and Jesus Christ.  In New Testament context “the Lord” implies God Himself.

May we have a peaceful Holy Week and lets us pray for our sisters and brothers who are suffering in today`s Near East!