Sergio Rosell Nebreda focuses on how the Philippian Christ-followers received Pauls letter. The social, historical, literary, rhetorical, anthropological and theological elements are dealt with in order to understand the effect Paul wanted to achieve.
The main thesis of the book is that the apostle Paul, who greatly suffered at Philippi, and writing from a prison, desires to affect the Philippians believers to acquire a Christ-orientation based on the values expressed in the Christ-hymn. Phlp 2, 511 forms the core of Pauls theological narrative that aims at constructing a sense of imitatio and conformatio in the Christ-following community. Paul uses a friendly style in his letters in order to produce rapport and trust in the community, presenting himself as examplum ad imitando, after that of Christ. It is because Paul so fully identifies with Christs orientation in life that the apostle presents himself as a slave of Jesus Christ.
In the midst of a society ill with the desire for honour and power, the Christ narrative stands as a radical call for an alternative life-style, based on the exercise of humility which seeks the interest of others rather than focusing on ones own needs and desires. Paul insists on the basis of the Christ-hymn that such a life-style reveals Gods character and it is therefore a life rewarded.
Through the use of Social Identity Theory this book evaluates how ancient people constructed their group identity in daily life and how through a seemingly inferior model (that of Christs kenosis in 2, 511) the community receives a re-definition of values which are according to Gods values, and who has the last word in history. Paul thus presents an alternative and viable way of life in the midst of a society he knows well.
Christ Identity by Sergio Rosell Nebreda was published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co KG in March 2011. The ISBN for Christ Identity is 9783525532546.