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Toward an understanding of the kenosis of Christ: A proposed a priori constituent to transformative leadership traits in Philippians 2:5--11

Dissertation
Author: David Atlas Danley
Abstract:
This research examined the kenosis (self-emptying) of Christ through an exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11, using social and cultural criticism, which is a subtexture of Robbins' (1996a) sociorhetorical interpretation analysis method, to examine Christian religious text. In so doing, this study proposed the construct of the kenosis of Christ to be an a priori constituent to virtue-based transformative leadership principles and traits. To find if this was true, this study examined Philippians 2:5-11 for transformative leadership principles by researching the kenosis of Christ. Although the findings rejected the hypothesis of the research question, transformative leadership traits were found to be present in Philippians 2:5-11 with implications pointing to a mimetic principle supporting Christ as the exemplar model of transformative leadership. Furthermore, because the focus of this study was intentionally narrow (i.e., the exclusive exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11 to discover if virtue-based transformative leadership traits existed in the kenosis of Christ), compulsory limitations were imposed on the extent of the research. Therefore, this study did not engage in theological or Christological debates concerning denominational doctrine or controversies surrounding kenotic dogma. Although this research found that the kenosis of Christ was not a priori to virtue-based transformative leadership traits, its value as a potential step in the transformation process was determined to be viable. In light of these observations, future research is required to further understand Christ's mimetic model of transformation and how Christ's kenosis of self-emptying correlates to virtue-based transformative leadership within organizations.

Table of Contents Abstract ..................................................................................................................... ii Dedication ................................................................................................................ iv Acknowledgements .................................................................................................. vi List of Tables and Figures ........................................................................................ xi Chapter 1 – Introduction ............................................................................................ 1 Statement of Problem .......................................................................................... 3 Research Question and Hypotheses .................................................................... 4 The Kenosis of Jesus Christ ................................................................................ 4 Sociorhetorical Criticism .................................................................................... 5 The Philippians Hymn: Background, Priority, and Chronology ........................ 7 Scope and Limitations of Study .......................................................................... 8 Summary ............................................................................................................. 9 Chapter 2 – Literature Review ................................................................................. 10 Kenotic Christology/Theology: Impact on Global History and Research ........ 10 Sacred Text as Foundational to Kenotic Research .................................... 16 Toward an Exegetical Theory of Kenotic Research .................................. 18 Kenosis as an Organizational Leadership Theory ............................................ 18 Summary ........................................................................................................... 19 Chapter 3 – Method .................................................................................................. 21 Research Design ............................................................................................... 23 Purpose Statement ..................................................................................... 23 Research Question ..................................................................................... 23 Defining the Construct ...................................................................................... 23 Use of Sacred Text ..................................................................................... 23 Sociorhetorical Criticism ........................................................................... 24 Social and Cultural Texture .............................................................................. 29 Special Social Topics ................................................................................. 29 Common Social and Cultural Topics ......................................................... 32 Final Cultural Categories ........................................................................... 36 Limitations of Study ......................................................................................... 39

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Presupposition ............................................................................................ 40

Summary ........................................................................................................... 40 Chapter 4 – Social and Cultural Texture Analysis of the Philippians 2:5-11 Hymn ............................................................................................................................ 41 Introduction to the Philippians 2:5-11 Hymn ................................................... 44 Rhetorical Function in Philippians 2:5-11 ........................................................ 45 Introduction and Rhetorical Function of the Hymn .......................................... 49 Specific Topics of Philippians 2:5-11 ........................................................ 49 Philippians 2:5 ........................................................................................... 50 Philippians 2:6 ........................................................................................... 52 Philippians 2:7 ........................................................................................... 56 Philippians 2:8 ........................................................................................... 57 Philippians 2:9 ........................................................................................... 59 Philippians 2:10 ......................................................................................... 60 Philippians 2:11 ......................................................................................... 61 Common Social and Cultural Topics Exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11 .............. 62 Social and Cultural Influences on the Philippian Church in the 1st-Century Mediterranean World ................................................................................. 62 Common Social and Cultural Topics ................................................................ 69 Church Leadership in Philippians .............................................................. 69 Honor, Guilt, and Rights culture ................................................................ 70 Dyadic and Individualist Personalities ...................................................... 72 Challenge–Response (Riposte) .................................................................. 74 Final Cultural Categories .................................................................................. 75 Counterculture Rhetoric ............................................................................. 75 Liminal Culture Rhetoric ........................................................................... 78 Summary ........................................................................................................... 81 Chapter 5 – Discussion ............................................................................................ 83 Generalizations ................................................................................................. 84 Limitations ........................................................................................................ 86 Implications ...................................................................................................... 87

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Future Research ................................................................................................ 88

References ................................................................................................................ 89

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List of Tables and Figures Table 1: Israelite Culture Purity Levels ................................................................... 36 Table 2: Final Cultural Categories ........................................................................... 38 Figure 1. Chiastic structure of Philippians Hymn. ................................................... 44 Figure 2. Rhetoric communication triangle of Paul to Philippians. ......................... 48

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Chapter 1 – Introduction avlla. e`auto.n evke,nwsen morfh.n dou,lou labw,n ( evn o`moiw,mati avnqrw,pwn geno,menoj\ Philippians 2:7

This study examines virtue-based leadership in Philippians 2:5-11. In so doing, this research builds on Bekker‘s (2006) work of a leadership concept called kenosis. Kenosis is derived from the Greek word eskenōsen, which has been associated with the Christological concept of kenotic theology and means a self- emptying. The concept of kenosis is presented in the New Testament in Philippians 2:5-11 where it refers to Jesus Christ (Son of God) and His self-emptying (implications discussed later in this chapter). This study sees kenosis as a potential new construct with possible leadership implications reflected from value-based elements as modeled by Jesus Christ. The implications of this study are important because at the heart of nearly all organizational leadership theory is the advocating of some form of positive change which transforms leadership dynamics and thereby improves follower and organizational efficiency. Bass (1985) and Burns (1978) supported the proposition of transforming leadership, having stated that leadership must primarily be about transformation. Burns went further, explaining that transformation requires people to possess ―certain motives and values [emphasis added] [along with] economic, political, and other resources‖ (p. 425). Transformation, then, implies some kind of positive change in a leader‘s behavior which influences follower perception of leadership and this is reflected in the organization‘s efficiency. This suggests an interrelationship between leaders and followers, whereby effectiveness is dependent upon ―point[s] of concrete changes [emphasis added] in people‘s lives, attitudes, behaviors, institutions‖ (Burns, p. 414). Nanus (1992) proposed that transformation happens within the organization through the efforts of an alert and transforming leader who sets the goal. In short, the essence of organizational leadership theory is ultimately about transforming leaders who are then able to transform followers and, thereby, affect change within the organization.

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Other aspects of organizational leadership reflect certain perceptions of followers about leadership characteristics because, ultimately, leadership influences followers within an organization. Burns (1978) concurred, saying that the people within organizations believe it is the leader who invariably influences the behavior of others to achieve leadership and/or organization goals. Nanus (1992) supported this proposition, describing a leader as a futurist, someone who is able to visualize what is ―possible and desirable‖ (p. 4) and then is able to persuade others to become obligated to it. Consequently, this prompts leaders to engage in leadership choices that help accomplish organizational objectives. Scharmer (2002) postulated that today‘s leaders are searching for alternative paths to best utilize what is needed to bring out the best from the followership through more practical and creative leadership dynamics. Scharmer further suggested that to ―combine wisdom of the head, heart and hand‖ (p. 212), different leadership paradigms must include a consideration of alternative realities. J. S. Black, Morrison, and Gregersen (1999) stated that leaders should adopt an attitude of an explorer, whose desire should be to inquire into new leadership models which create a desire to learn, along with a willing aspiration to consider different perspectives of organizational leadership theories and training. In light of the these observations, which advocate leadership styles willing to incorporate positive transformative qualities to improve organizational efficacy, many scholars believe that certain specific attributes or traits are necessary inclusions for a leader who exercises a transformative style of leadership. For example, Buchen (1998) believed that self-identity, the instinctive capacity for reciprocity, an ability to build relationships, and focus on the future were important. Ciulla (1998) and Fayol (1949) emphasized that leaders must practice leadership that does not violate moral principles. DePree (2002) stated that values reflect a ―defining of thoughts‖ which give leaders a plain moral purpose. DePree added further, ―Without moral purpose, competence has no measure, and trust has no goal‖ (p. 94). Bandura (1986), Barnard (1938), Burns (1978), Selznick (1957), Spears (2002), and Weber (1947) each stressed the importance of values and moral responsibility in leadership dynamics. Furthermore, Bekker (2008) suggested that

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being humble is a characteristic that needs to be considered if a leader is to exercise true transformation. Therefore, leadership requires a willingness to embrace positive change within a leader‘s character (i.e., incorporating specific character traits which have virtue-based foundations to affect similar changes in follower and organizational dynamics). It is important to note that this study chose to use a virtue-based description of positive transformative leadership behaviors, rather than that of a value-based description. Although the terms virtues and values are often used interchangeably (see Chapter 2) in discussions about leadership behaviors, values can imply a potentially different understanding of accepted behavior, based on one‘s culture and worldview. For this study, a virtue-based description better delineates those positive transformative leadership traits that are more widely accepted in organizational leadership theory. Therefore, the kenosis of Christ as a potential virtue-based organizational leadership construct was shown in this research as meeting the necessary criteria. These examples of transformative characteristics and their intrinsic operational dynamics are brief illustrations of the voluminous interest given to initiating positive and effective change in modern organizational leadership. Because of the great amount of focus given to transformational qualities of leadership, it begs the question: What must a leader do to incorporate such a change in behavior and thus modify their character to positively influence followers and ultimately the organization? This study researched Philippians 2:5-11 to discover if transformative leadership principles were evident in the kenosis of Christ. Statement of Problem In light of the aforementioned observations regarding the hymns popularity in biblical and theological research over the centuries, scholarly literature surrounding Philippians 2:5-11 and the kenosis of Jesus Christ‘s leadership influence, as a distinctly organizational leadership construct, was sparse. While the literature regarding the kenosis of Christ is voluminous, its central focus is primarily on religious and theological ramifications as they relate to doctrinal

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issues surrounding his humanity versus divinity (i.e., Christological implications at the time of His incarnation). Consequently, as this study‘s focus was on potential virtue-based leadership principles (i.e., as an a priori constituent to transformative leadership traits), specifically, as they may apply to organizational leadership research, literature addressing this particular concept was been found to be insufficient. In light of this observation, this study did not engage in Christological debate. It was limited to potential leadership principles as found through the exegetical research of Philippians 2:5-11. Research Question and Hypotheses This study asked the research question: Toward an understanding of the kenosis of Christ, is there an a priori constituent to transformative leadership traits in Philippians 2:5-11? To accomplish this, this study utilized an exegetical style of hermeneutics by applying a textual analysis; specifically one subtexture of Robbins‘ (1996a) sociorhetorical criticism, that is, social and cultural texture as elucidated in Philippians 2:5-11. The Kenosis of Jesus Christ In light of the aforementioned observations, this study introduced the construct of kenosis (self-emptying) as a potential first step toward transformative leadership. Specifically, researching the leadership model of Jesus Christ and the kenosis as found in Philippians 2:5-11. This study used, as the primary source, the Bible, specifically the New Testament and the kenosis concept found in Philippians 2:5-11. This dissertation also researched potential leadership attributes of Jesus Christ, as described in this passage. This was accomplished by incorporating a comprehensive exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11 using Robbins‘ (1996a) sociorhetorical criticism through a subtexture of social and cultural texture analysis. Consequently, this study endeavored to lay the groundwork for future research through a potentially new transformative leadership constituent based on the construct of kenosis. Through the exegesis of these select verses, this study showed potential leadership principles, based on the kenosis of Christ.

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Philippians 2:5-11 is one of the most debated and disputed passages in the New Testament. Hawthorne‘s (1987) commentary on Philippians 2:5-11 lists over 200 references in the bibliography alone, and there are another 200 English references in the ATLA-CDROM (American Theological Library Association, 1980 to 2006). However, it is still recognized by most biblical scholars as the benchmark of Jesus Christ‘s character and calling. The hymn is the first picture we have in the New Testament in which details of Jesus Christ‘s personality, leadership, and being are explained (Douglas et al., 1984, p. 652). Although there is debate regarding certain nuances of the hymn, its quintessence is not. One of the most distinctive features of Philippians 2:5-11 research is that it was isolated from its immediate context or discourse: vv. 1-4 and vv. 12-18. This in itself lends credence to the fact that the hymn was and still is the main focus of Christological arguments in the history of New Testament interpretation with all such discussions focusing on the hymn itself indicatively. Research, study, interpretation, discussion, and debate have made the hymn one of the most written about passages in the entire Bible. This dissertation focused on certain specific elements of the hymn which present themselves solely for a better understanding of the kenosis of Jesus Christ and how His leadership attributes and principles contributed to organizational leadership theory. Sociorhetorical Criticism Sociorhetorical criticism or interpretation, as defined by Robbins (1996a), postulated that (a) ―‗socio-‘ refers to the rich resources of modern anthropology and sociology that socio-rhetorical criticism brings to the interpretation of the text‖ and (b) ―‗rhetorical‘ refers to the way language in a text is a means of communication among people‖ (p. 1). ―Therefore, socio-rhetorical criticism or interpretation integrates the ways people use language with the ways they live in the world‖ (p. 1). Sociorhetorical criticism incorporates the process of interpreting scripture through a framework of five textual spheres: (a) inner texture, (b) intertexture, (c) sacred texture, (d) social and cultural texture, and (e) ideological texture (Robbins, 1996a). All of these five textual spheres explore how the text uses language to

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elucidate ideas. Robbins postulated that is possible to both analyze and interpret the texts of scripture through this approach, as well as unlock the meaning intended by the author through a richer understanding of the complex intricacies in which societies have developed their culture, idioms, and ultimately their civilizations. To accomplish this accurately, it was necessary to incorporate three primary components: (a) the interpreter, (b) the text, and (c) the meaning—all of which hold to the basic philosophy that the texts are influenced by historical, cultural, and ideological contexts from which they developed. Other sources bring a greater dimension and understanding to the process of sociorhetorical interpretation. Random House Webster‘s Dictionary (1996) described the word rhetoric as a ―style of language‖ and the ―art of writing or speaking as a means of communication with concern for literary effect‖ (p. 1155). Zuck (1991) stated, ―‗Rhetorical interpretation‘ refers then to the process of determining how the style (particular verbal elements or ways of expression) and form (organizational structure) influence how it is to be understood‖ (p. 124). In addition to style and form, rhetorical interpretation involves a definitive process, Zuck stated: Rhetorical interpretation is the process of determining the literary quality of a writing by analyzing [emphasis added] its genre (kind of composition), structure (how the material is organized), and figures of speech (colorful expressions for literary effect) and how those factors influence the meaning of the text. Consideration of these elements ought to be included in Bible study and interpretation because . . . the Bible is a book and therefore is a literary product. ―Literature is an interpretive presentation of experience in artistic form‖ (Ryken 1974, p. 13). (p. 124) This method was preferred as it limits the tendency of eisegesis (a reading into the text one‘s own prejudices or ideas) when sound and objective interpretation should be followed. Sociorhetorical criticism is a method which, while it encourages the thoughts and ideas the interpreter has gleaned from the text, helps limit one‘s literary bias. This was achieved by virtue of a prescribed rubric which was utilized

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in this research (i.e., Robbins [1996a] subtexture, social and cultural texture) which was used to exegete the Philippians 2:5-11 hymn and unfold the construct of the kenosis of Christ. This process was necessary, because to properly understand the construct of kenosis, one must first accurately interpret the text to discover the author‘s intended communication to the reader. The Philippians Hymn: Background, Priority, and Chronology The concept of kenosis, although not new, has been invariably connected with and intrinsically to Christianity. The Greeks were the first to use the term prior to the first advent. In Germany, around 1860-1880, the beginnings of a form of kenotic theology were born: ―Kenotic theology is a theology that focuses on the person of Christ in terms of some form of self-limitation by the pre-existent Son in his becoming man‖ (―Kenotic Theology,‖ 2001, p. 600). Around 1890-1910, the concept arrived in England. Gottfried Thomasius (1802-1875), a German Lutheran, began to postulate the construct of kenotic theology. Three major concerns of the two theologians were: (a) how to explain the full humanity of Christ, as the Gospels record Jesus Christ as a real man with mortal limitations (i.e., growth, hunger, thirst, learning, and death); (b) how to explain that God truly was in Christ and maintain one person (e.g., man learns as opposed to God who is omniscient); and (c) how Jesus Christ could be God and man without postulating two centers of consciousness, and therefore, not at all like mankind. On this point, Hodge (2003) stated: First, that if the Eternal Son, after the assumption of humanity, retained His divine perfections and prerogatives, He did not become man, nor did He unite Himself with humanity. . . . Secondly, if at the moment of the incarnation the divine nature in the fullness of its being and perfection was communicated to the humanity, then Christ could not have had a human existence. The historical life is gone; and all bond of relationship and sympathy with us is destroyed. Thirdly, the only way in which the great end in view could be answered was that God Himself by a process of depotentiation, or self-limitation, should become man; that He should take

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upon Himself a form of existence subject to the limitations of time and space, and pass through the ordinary and regular process of human development, and take part in all the sinless experiences of a human life and death. (pp. 428-440) In light of the discussed observation then, ―All forms of classical orthodoxy either explicitly reject or reject in principle Kenotic Theology. This is because God must be affirmed to be changeless; any concept of the incarnation that would imply change would mean that God would cease to be God‖ (―Kenotic Theology,‖ 2001, p. 601). Recognizing Jesus as Christ—unchangeable and immutable as God incarnate (John 1:14)—it is evident by the scriptures, found in Philippians 2:5-11, that Jesus Christ, in His incarnate form (morphé), become man and lived as one until His crucifixion. Therefore, as the intent of this study was to exegete Philippians 2:5-11 and elucidate the kenosis of Christ to discover potential leadership principles, this research lent itself ideally to Christ‘s example of leadership characteristics as modeled through His humanity. Scope and Limitations of Study As aforementioned, given the enormous amount of past and present religious and theological literature, research, and debate exhausted on these few versus, the resilience of the Philippians 2:5-11hymn speaks volumes of its lasting global influence. This study, therefore, focused on the Philippians 2:5-11 hymn and the kenosis of Christ‘s character as a role model/leader. Furthermore, natural limitations are inherent in researching any singular passage of scripture. Because the nature of the ―micro-structure‖ of Philippians 2:5-11 lends itself ideally to Robbins‘ (1996a) sociorhetorical criticism methodology, other methodologies of biblical interpretation were not considered. Therefore, this study restricted itself to the exegetical methods of social and cultural texture of sociorhetorical criticism. Also, since these seven verses were the core of this entire study, examination of sacred texts was utilized. Finally, sociorhetorical criticism produced an abundance of the necessary and intended research information needed to elucidate the kenosis of Christ‘s leadership principles as they related to organizational leadership theory.

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Summary Given these observations, this study researched the kenosis of Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:5-11 using Robbins‘ (1996a) sociorhetorical interpretation analysis. As aforementioned, this study utilized a subtexture of sociorhetorical analysis: social and cultural texture, which ―takes interpreters into sociological and anthropological theory‖ (Robbins, p. 71). In so doing, this study incorporated the process of social and cultural texture analysis through the exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11. After a thorough textual exegesis was completed through sociorhetorical criticism, the data was then reviewed and applied to the construct of kenosis to find if there was an a priori constituent to transformative leadership traits in Philippians 2:5-11.

T oward an Understanding of the Kenosis of Christ

Full document contains 109 pages
Abstract: This research examined the kenosis (self-emptying) of Christ through an exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11, using social and cultural criticism, which is a subtexture of Robbins' (1996a) sociorhetorical interpretation analysis method, to examine Christian religious text. In so doing, this study proposed the construct of the kenosis of Christ to be an a priori constituent to virtue-based transformative leadership principles and traits. To find if this was true, this study examined Philippians 2:5-11 for transformative leadership principles by researching the kenosis of Christ. Although the findings rejected the hypothesis of the research question, transformative leadership traits were found to be present in Philippians 2:5-11 with implications pointing to a mimetic principle supporting Christ as the exemplar model of transformative leadership. Furthermore, because the focus of this study was intentionally narrow (i.e., the exclusive exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11 to discover if virtue-based transformative leadership traits existed in the kenosis of Christ), compulsory limitations were imposed on the extent of the research. Therefore, this study did not engage in theological or Christological debates concerning denominational doctrine or controversies surrounding kenotic dogma. Although this research found that the kenosis of Christ was not a priori to virtue-based transformative leadership traits, its value as a potential step in the transformation process was determined to be viable. In light of these observations, future research is required to further understand Christ's mimetic model of transformation and how Christ's kenosis of self-emptying correlates to virtue-based transformative leadership within organizations.