Shepherd of Hermas


Shepherd of Hermas

▪ early Christian work
      a 2nd-century Christian writing that is one of the works representing the Apostolic Fathers, Greek Christian writers of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries. The author, Hermas, is known only through the autobiographical details given in the Shepherd. A Christian slave who was given his freedom, he became a wealthy merchant, lost his property, and did penance for past sins. He stated that he was a contemporary of Clement of Rome (possibly Pope Clement I; d. c. 95). However, the Muratorian Canon, the oldest (c. 180) extant list of New Testament writings, asserts that he was a brother of Pope Pius I (d. 155), and internal evidence in the Shepherd seems to support the later date.

      The Shepherd records five visions experienced by Hermas, and it is named for the angel of repentance who appeared in the fifth vision dressed as a shepherd. In addition, the work contains 12 mandates (moral commandments) and 10 similitudes (parables). The basic theme is that post-baptismal sin can be forgiven at least once and that a day of repentance is coming, after which sins cannot be forgiven. Concerned with morals rather than theology, the work is a valuable indication of a type of Jewish Christianity—still adhering to the Mosaic Law—evident in Rome during the 2nd century.

      It was regarded as scripture by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian; but the Muratorian Canon denied that it was inspired, and St. Jerome stated that it was known very little in the Western Church. Much more popular in the Eastern Church, the work is contained in the 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus of the Greek Bible. Manuscripts in Greek, Latin, and Ethiopic and fragments in Coptic and Persian exist.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Shepherd of Hermas — (sometimes just called The Shepherd ) is a Christian work of the second century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and occasionally considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers. The Shepherd had great authority… …   Wikipedia

  • Hermas (freedman) — Hermas was a welltodo freedman who lived in Ancient Rome in 3 A.D. He was a brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome about the middle of the second century. He was an earnest simpleminded Christian, with little education or culture, but typical, no doubt …   Wikipedia

  • Hermas — (late first/second century)    Apostolic Father.    Hermas is known as the author of The Shepherd of Hermas, a New Testament apocryphal work. It consists of five visions, twelve mandates and ten similitudes and may well have been composed by more …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • HERMAS —    one of the Apostolic Fathers of the Church; wrote a work in Greek called the Shepherd of Hermas, extant in Latin, and treating of Christian duties …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Hermas — • First or second century, author of the book called The Shepherd (Poimen, Pastor), a work which had great authority in ancient times and was ranked with Holy Scripture Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Hermas    …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hermas —    Mercury, a Roman Christian to whom Paul sends greetings (Rom. 16: 14). Some suppose him to have been the author of the celebrated religious romance called The Shepherd, but it is very probable that that work is the production of a later… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Hermas — 1) A Christian greeted by Paul (Rom. 16:14). 2) Origen believed this man (of Rom. 16:14) to be the author of a highly esteemed work called The Shepherd; but it is now dated to the middle of the 2nd cent. For a time it was regarded in the East as… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • HERMAS — (2nd century)    unknown CHRISTIAN author who wrote the influential Shepherd which recorded VISIONS about the CHURCH …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Codex Sinaiticus — New Testament manuscripts papyri • uncials • minuscules • lectionaries Uncial 01 Book of Esther …   Wikipedia

  • biblical literature — Introduction       four bodies of written works: the Old Testament writings according to the Hebrew canon; intertestamental works, including the Old Testament Apocrypha; the New Testament writings; and the New Testament Apocrypha.       The Old… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.