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Divine AccountingTheo-Economics in Early Christianity$
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Jennifer A. Quigley

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300253160

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300253160.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 January 2022

The Christ Commodity

The Christ Commodity

(p.69) Chapter Three The Christ Commodity
Divine Accounting

Jennifer A. Quigley

Yale University Press

This chapter evaluates Philippians 2–3, focusing on the language of gain and loss in Phil 3:7–11. In this passage, Paul offers a divine-human accounting sheet in which his statuses are counted as losses so that he might gain the profit Christ (Phil 3:8). The chapter contextualizes this passage by reading Lucian's Lives for Sale, a text in which gods and humans participate in a human–divine slave market. That is, persons in antiquity sometimes considered the gods to be the source of their financial profits and losses, and sometimes they understood the gods to be dependent on humanity for divine gains and losses. Most importantly, persons in antiquity sometimes discussed the gods as commodities that could be bought, sold, or traded. The chapter then maps where the complex theo-economic logics at work in Phil 3:7–11 fit within a variety of literary sources that use similar language of profit and loss to imagine human–divine interdependence. Paul sets up a commodities exchange in which suffering gives him the proper status currency to acquire Christ. The Letter to the Philippians thus represents an early data point in what will emerge as a divine-human economy of suffering in early Christianity.

Keywords:   Philippians 2–3, Paul, theo-economics, human–divine slave market, financial profits, financial losses, commodities exchange, suffering, early Christianity

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