Hermas' Shepherd


HERMAS Pilgrim’s Progress of the Church of the second century," Dean Stanley], a name under which a book has come down to us, called the Shepherd (pastor, …), and held in high esteem by the early Church [quoted by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, etc.]. The title Shepherd evidently was derived from the first words of the angel to the author, "I am the shepherd" …

Text. - We are now in possession of two Greek copies, - the one in the Sinaitic manuscript, discovered 1859 (not complete); the other in the Leipzig manuscript, together with three pages found on Mount Athos. Editions appeared at Leipzig by RUD. ANGER(1856), TISCHENDORF (1856), DRESSEL(1863), HILGENFELD(1866), [2d ed. 1881]. There are two Latin translations, —the Vulgata and the Palatina (in the Vatican Library). The Vulgata was first edited by Faber Stapulensis, Paris, 1513; since then many times. Rilgenfeld’s edition (Leipzig, 1873) is critical. D’Abbadie issued an Ethiopic translation, Leipzig, 1860. its probable date is 543. The edition of Gebhardt and Harnack (Patres Apost., Leipzig. 1877), based upon the Sinaitic manuscript, is the best.

Contents. - The book contains a number of visions accorded to Hermas. Their intent is to arouse Hermas, and the Church through him, to repentance. The time of repentance is limited, and will soon be at an end. The uniformity of style stamps the whole as one composition. The author divides the book into two parts; an aged woman explaining the visions of the first part, an angel those of the second. The visions contain revelations, commandments (to believe in the one God, practise alms, avoid falsehood and fornication, etc.), and similitudes. Hermas was neither a Judaizing Christian (Schwegler, Lipsius), nor an intense Paulinian, but a member of the orthodox church of his day.

Authorship. - The opinions may be reduced to four: (1) Relying upon the testimony of the Muratorian canon, a real Hermas, the brother of Bishop Pius (139-154), was author (Heyne, Gebhardt, Harnack); (2) Relying upon the statement in the book itself (Vis. II. 4, 3), that Herinas delivered the book to Clement, assumed to be Clement of Rome, the author is regarded as having been his contemporary (Gaab, Caspari, Alzog, Zahn); (3) Hermas wrote his book under Pius, but gave himself out for a contemporary of Clement, or for the Hermas of Rom. xvi. 14 (Behm, Ewald, Credner, Ritsehl, Hefele, Dorner, Thicrsch); (4) an unknown author of the second century who simulated the old Hermas (Schwegler, Lechler, Hilgenfeld, Lange, Donaldson). We hold to the first view, on the ground of the explicit statement in the Muratorian canon. The Clement referred to in the book is not necessarily Clement of Rome. The condition of the Church represented is that of the first half of the second century, with its Gnostic errors and its hypocrites. The work was probably written about 130, for we are not shut up to the period between 139-154, which, according to Lipsius, was the term of Pius’ administration. Pius was not bishop in our sense, but a prominent presbyter. The book of Hermas speaks only of presbyters in the Roman Church (comp. Vis. II. 2, 6; III. 8, etc.).

Uhlhorn, "EPIPHANIUS," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn., Vol. 2. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. p.977.

Primary Sources

On-line Resource Hermas (Christian Classic Ethereal Library)
Book or monograph Apostolic Fathers, Vol. 2Shepherd of Hermas; Martyrdom of Polycarp; Epistle to Diognetus. Apostolic Fathers, Volume 2. Loeb Classsical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976. Hbk. ISBN: 0674990285. pp.396.

Secondary Sources

On-line Resource
Book or monograph Aune: Prophecy in Early ChristianityDavid E. Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991. Pbk. ISBN: 080280635X. pp. 299-310.
Article in Journal or Book L.W. Barnard, "The Shepherd of Hermas in Recent Study," Heythrop Journal, Vol. 9 (1968): 29-36.
Article in Journal or Book Richard .J. Bauckham, "The Great Tribulation in the Shepherd of Hermas," Journal of Theological Studies, n.s. Vol. 25 (1974): 27-40.
On-line Resource Charles Bigg [1840-1908], The Origins of Christianity. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909. Hbk. pp.72-84.
Article in Journal or Book Henry Chadwick, "The New Edition of Hermas," Journal of Theological Studies 8 (1957): 274-280.
On-line Resource Hermas (John Chapman)
Book or monograph F.L. Cross, The Early Christian Fathers. Studies in Theology 1. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1960. Hbk. pp.23-27.
On-line Resource William John Ferrar [1868-1945], The Early Christian Books. Handbooks of Christian LiteratureWilliam John Ferrar [1868-1945], The Early Christian Books. Handbooks of Christian Literature. London: SPCK, 1919. Hbk. pp.108. View in PDF format pdf [This material is in the Public Domain]
Article in Journal or Book Josephine Massingberd Ford, "A Possible Liturgical Background to the Shepherd of Hermas," Revue de Qumran 6.24 (1969): 531-551.
Article in Journal or Book Robert J. Hauck, "The Great Fast: Christology in the Shepherd of Hermas," Anglican Theological Review 75.2 (1993): 187-198.
On-line Resource Henry Scott Holland [1847-1918], The Apostolic Fathers. The Fathers for English ReadersHenry Scott Holland [1847-1918], The Apostolic Fathers. The Fathers for English Readers. London: SPCK, 188?. Hbk. pp.223. View in PDF format pdf [This material is in the Public Domain]
On-line Resource Fenton John Anthony Hort [1828–1892], Six Lectures on the Ante-Nicene FathersFenton John Anthony Hort [1828–1892], Six Lectures on the Ante-Nicene Fathers. London & New York: MacMillan & Co., 1895. Hbk. pp.138. View in PDF format pdf [This material is in the Public Domain]
On-line Resource The Shepherd of Hermas (Peter Kirby)
Article in Journal or Book Alastair Kirkland, "The Literary History of the Shepherd of Hermas, Visions I to IV," Second Century 9.3 (1992): 87-102.
Article in Journal or Book Patricia Cox Miller, "'All the Words Were Frightful': Salvation by Dreams in the Shepherd of Hermas," Vigiliae Christianae 42.4 (1988): 327-338.
On-line Resource H.P.V. Nunn, "The 'Shepherd' of Hermas," The Evangelical Quarterly 18.2 (April 1946): 109-122.View in PDF format pdf [All reasonable efforts have been made to contact the copyright holder of this article without success. If you hold the rights, please contact me]
Article in Journal or Book D.P. O'Brien, "The Cumaean Sibyl as the Revelation-Bearer in the Shepherd of Hermas," Journal of Early Christian Studies 5.4 (1997): 473-496.
Article in Journal or Book Carolyn Osiek, "The Genre and Function of the Shepherd of Hermas," Semeia 36 (1986): 113-121.
Article in Journal or Book Carolyn Osiek, "The Second Century through the Eyes of Hermas: Continuity and Change," Biblical Theology Bulletin 20.3 (1990): 116-122.
Article in Journal or Book Carolyn Osiek, "The Shepherd of Hermas," Bible Review 10.5 (1994): 49-54.
Article in Journal or Book Carolyn Osiek, "The Shepherd of Hermas in Context," Acta Patristica et Byzantina 8 (1997): 115-134.
Book or monograph Osiek: Shepherd Of HermasCarolyn Osiek, Shepherd Of Hermas. Augsburg / Fortress, 1998. Hbk. ISBN: 0800660633. pp.400.
Book or monograph Carolyn Osiek, Rich and Poor in the Shepherd of Hermas: An Exegetical-Social Investigation. Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 1983. Pbk. ISBN: 0915170140. pp.184.
Book or monograph J. Reiling, Hermas and Christian Prophecy: A Study of the Eleventh Mandate. Novum Testamentum , Supplement 37. Leiden: Brill, 1973. Hbk. ISBN: 9004037713. pp.197.
Article in Journal or Book O.J.F. Seitz, "Relationship of the Shepherd of Hermas to the Epistle of James," Journal of Biblical Literature 63 (1944): 131-40.
Book or monograph Graydon F. Snyder, The Shepherd of Hermas. New York: Nelson, 1968. pp.165.
Article in Journal or Book R.G. Tanner, "Latinisms in the Text of Hermas," Colloquium, Auckland 4/4 (1972): 12-23.
Article in Journal or Book Joseph Verheyden, "The Shepherd of Hermas," The Expository Times 117.10 (2006): 397-401. [Abstract]
Article in Journal or Book Steve Young, "Being a Man: The Pursuit of Manliness in The Shepherd of Hermas," Journal of Early Christian Studies 2.3 (1994): 237-255.

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Didache | Epistle of Barnabas | Origen's Hezapla | Letter of Aristeas | Shepherd
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