Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
TrinJ 15:1 (Spring 1994) p. 115
Moisés Silva. Philippians. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992. 255 pp.
In 1988, the Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary series, published by Moody Press, was inaugurated with the publication of Moisés Silva’s Philippians. Since that time, Baker Book House has taken over the NT portion of the Moody project, renaming it the Baker Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament and reprinting Philippians, with minor corrections, as its debut volume. Silva, professor of NT at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, originally coordinated the NT portion of the Moody series and now serves as the editor of Baker’s endeavor.
Silva has written a concise, readable, and well-researched commentary on the Greek text of Philippians. In accord with the series’ general objectives, and with his own linguistic scruples, Silva aims to present an exposition which focuses “exclusively on the thrust of the text itself,” that is, one in which he limits discussion primarily to those exegetical problems which have a direct bearing on the overall flow of the letter’s argument. He thus eschews verse-by-verse analysis for “exegetical essays” (as he describes them) on “carefully defined units of thought” (by and large, one or two sentences), and relegates secondary semantic and text critical issues to subsequent “Additional Notes.” The result may cause consternation to some who prefer to use a commentary as a quick reference work on individual words and phrases, but a little patient reading will yield considerable profit for most. More sophisticated investigators are referred often in the footnotes to extended analyses outside the commentary, but the lack of a general bibliography (Silva refers the reader to Gerald Hawthorne’s Word Biblical Commentary on Philippians [Waco, 1983]) will be considered a real negative by them.
As might well be expected from this conservative scholar, Silva argues, briefly but cogently, for the traditional Roman provenance and literary integrity of the Philippian correspondence. He posits as well that the opponents to whom Paul alludes in Philippians, though probably belonging to two distinct groups, represent varying degrees of the same Judaizing tendency. He argues that in principle a wide spectrum of Jewish-Christian opposition to Paul’s gospel was likely in the early church, from mild to openly vicious (so 3:2), and that unscrupulous local leaders would have had ample opportunity to exploit that opposition (so 1:15–17). Silva is more tentative in identifying the “enemies of the cross” castigated in 3:17–19
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