Our Πολιτευμα is in Heaven: Reading Philippians 3:20-21 in Light of the Greco-Roman Imperial Context and its Implication for Social Identity Formation

David Van Lian                                                Lamp Vol-2                 PDF

In this paper, I explore Paul’s use of πολίτευμα in light of Greco–Roman Imperial context and its implication for social identity formation in Phil 3:20–21. Based on my analysis of the semantic range of πολίτευμα and the way πολίτευμα used in the Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts, I argue that the term πολίτευμα is primarily associated with three components, namely geographical space, ruling class (governing body) and citizen body. In addition, I contend that πολίτευμα is related to social identity formation with respect to the three categories of cognitive, emotional, and evaluative dimensions in the context of Phil 3:17–21. Then, I conclude that by using the term πολίτευμα in relation to σωτήρ and κύριος in 3:20, Paul intends to encourage that the Philippian believers’ action must be practiced based on a Christological paradigm mentioned in 2:6–11, by considering Jesus as their Saviour and Lord, heavens as their new space, and the new identity as the people of God to live under Roman-Colony Philippi.

Keywords: Citizen, governing, social identity formation, imperial context

Early Burmese Translations of the Lord’s Prayer

John de Jong                                                  Lamp Vol-2                     PDF

The earliest extant translation of Scripture into Burmese is Saint Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, by Roman Catholic missionary Giovanni Maria Percoto (1776). The Gospel of Matthew was translated by British Baptist missionary James Chater (1812) and Adoniram Judson (1817), with Judson later greatly revising his translation (1832). Analysis of the four different Burmese versions of the Matthean Lord’s Prayer reveals how Percoto provided key terminology and phraseology for Chater and Judson. Chater’s translation reveals weaknesses typical of the William Carey/Serampore Bible translations. Judson’s 1817 translation contains weaknesses also seen in Chater’s work, but by 1832 these weaknesses had been addressed, resulting in a much-improved translation that is virtually the same as Judson’s final Bible translation (1840) that is widely used in Myanmar today. The research shows how the translation of the Bible into Burmese was a multigenerational process.

Keywords: Gospel of Matthew, Lord’s Prayer; Burmese, Bible translation, Adoniram Judson, James Chater, Giovanni Maria Percoto.