Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Leo Percer


Mind of Christ, Orality, Aurality, Rhetorical Studies, Pauline Theology, Philippians


Christianity | Practical Theology | Religion


Among the debatable issues arising from Paul’s epistle to the Philippians are questions concerning the structure, integrity and thematic emphasis of the letter. This dissertation argues that the “Christ Hymn” (2:6-11) is the central point of a chiastic structure of the letter, establishing the “Mind of Christ” as the primary and, thus, unifying theme of this correspondence. Four primary fields of research lend support to this hypothesis. First, rhetorical criticism seeks to understand the meaning of the biblical text through recognized persuasive devices utilized within first-century literature and speech. Second, linguistic studies, in its simplest form, examines the selection and frequent use of words by a particular author. The frequency of the Greek word, φρονέω, supports the major theme and the structural chiasm proposed in this dissertation. These areas of rhetoric and linguistics require a third area of investigation – the oral/aural first century culture. This investigation highlights the importance of rhetorical devices and carefully chosen vocabulary to aid in the reception and retention of a publicly read letter. Finally, these areas of inquiry conclude with an examination of Paul’s cruciform theology in the context of the Christ Hymn.