Abstract

Paul’s letter to the Philippians conveys a counter-Roman rhetoric with its entire structure, and this message could have been heard differently by the citizens and noncitizens living in Philippi. Following Peter Oakes’s reconstruction of the population in Philippi, I argue that Philippians primarily addresses the suffering noncitizens, and that Taiwan’s history of colonization and current state of marginalization can help us perceive the fuller meaning of Paul’s counter-Roman rhetoric as heard by its earliest intended audience. For Taiwanese Christians, who have a long history of being colonized and still do not have an internationally recognized citizenship today, Philippians provides political encouragement and comfort. The Taiwanese situation in turn sheds light on the way that Philippians challenges both its first readers and readers today in general to receive this letter from the position of the marginalized majority.

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