This blog, by Richard Fellows, discusses historical questions concerning Paul's letters, his co-workers, Acts, and chronology.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Euodia and Syntyche

Alistair Stewart and I have an article in the latest issue of ZNW, titled "Euodia and Syntyche and the Role of Syzygos: Phil 4:2–3". You can read this paper for free on the ZNW web site here. Alistair blogged about it here.

Enemies were trying to intimidate the believers in Philippi (Phil 1:27-30) so it was very important that they should stand united. However, their lack of humility towards each other was threatening this unity (Phil 2:1-5). Paul therefore called the Philippians to stand firm (Phil 4:1), and to stand shoulder to shoulder with their leaders (episkopoi), Euodia and Syntyche, in the same way that these two women had stood shoulder to shoulder with him (Phil 4:3). The phrase γνήσιε σύζυγε, often translated "true yokefellow" does not appoint someone to mediate a supposed dispute between Euodia and Syntyche. Rather it is a piece of "idealised praise" intended to cajole the congregation into being true yokefellows toward their two leaders.

Use the comments section if you have any feedback or questions on the paper.

The inspiration for my own work on Phil 4:3 goes back to a (no longer extant) blog post by Doug Chaplin, who proposed that "yokefellow" was not being called to arbitrate a dispute.

It is very probable that Euodia was the leadership name that was given to Lydia (Acts 16:15-16, 40). See here.