Current readings of Philippians, even those emphasizing the Greco-Roman social and political contexts suggested by the explicit concerns Paul expresses throughout most of the letter, still posit opposition to missionaries (usually “Christians”) promoting Judaism to interpret the polemic in ch. 3. There are a number of salient Greco-Roman targets for Paul's polemic in ch. 3, however, that are not considered. This is in part a product of approaching Paul from the assumption that he writes from outside Judaism and is understood to do so by his addressees. But if one hypothesizes that Paul practiced and promoted Judaism and was known to do so, then one must ask new questions of the textual clues to the contextual concerns. Productive options explored in this endeavor include local Greco-Roman “idolatrous” cults and/or philosophical groups and their various behavioral norms, especially Cynics, all of which also suggest cultural constraints associated with the imperial setting of everyone involved. The implications for interpreting Philippians as well as Paul and his communities are many.

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