The Shepherd of Hermas

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MrMacSon
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The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:50 pm

This is a thread for nay commentary; others or yours. All contributions are welcome.

The Shepherd of Hermas (Greek: Ποιμὴν τοῦ Ἑρμᾶ, Poimēn tou Herma; sometimes just called The Shepherd) is a Christian literary work of the late 1st or mid-2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd was very popular amongst Christians in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It is part of the Codex Sinaiticus, and it is listed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus.

The work comprises five visions, twelve mandates [commandments], and ten parables/ aka 'similitudes'. It relies on allegory and pays special attention to the Church, calling the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed it.

The book was originally written in Greek, but a first Latin translation, the Vulgata,[6] was made very shortly afterwards. A second Latin translation, the Palatina, was made at the beginning of the fifth century. Of the Greek version, the last fifth or so is missing.

The shepherd is one of the meanings that is probably attached to some figurines of the Good Shepherd as well as an epithet of Christ, or a traditional pagan kriophoros. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shepherd_of_Hermas

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.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Shepherd-of-Hermas

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... tfoot.html

https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/lbob/lbob26.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0201.htm


The Son of God and the Angelomorphic Holy Spirit: A Rereading of the Shepherd’s Christology by Bogdan G. Bucur

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Re: The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:52 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:23 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:06 pm
And Rüpke also made a lot of the Shepherd of Hermas and a few other texts ...
I really must make it a point to get a better handle on the Shepherd of Hermas someday. I really have very little idea of where it might fit in to the overall scheme of things.
You've motivated me to see and collate what Jörg Rüpke said about Hermas in Pantheon, 2018 (something I've been meaning to do for a while).

Rüpke first refers to Hermas as a visionary in a subsection in chapter 8, 4, sub-titled 'Places Where Religion Was Experienced', -

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Chapter VIII. Lived Religion
4. Places Where Religion Was Experienced

... it was only in rare cases that households reserved a domestic space exclusively for religious communication, such as occurred in the Panayia Domus at Corinth. When they did so, they referenced those signs in the public realm that helped to sacralize spaces, giving them durable form and a special status; paramount among these public spaces was the “temple,” to which we must turn our attention before we return again to the home.

In the temples of Iron Age Italy, the relevant signs included especially lavish architectural decoration, a high podium, roof figures, and grotesque masks at the eaves ...

That the public temple was itself a location for intense religious experience is suggested by the acerbic critiques of the philosophers Lucius Annaeus Seneca and Plutarch, in their treatises On superstitions, to which I have already referred. They were troubled by religious experiences that exceeded the bounds of social control ... individual religious practice could amount to deviance, and might occasion general mockery. As in the case of Aristides, it might not meet with the approval of temple personnel or be acceptable to other temple visitors.

Private cult spaces also came under critical scrutiny. From Late Antiquity onward, what was no more than suggested in Cicero’s polemic on the sacrarium of the conspirator Lucius Sergius Catilina led to a conflict that, owing to power relations in the real world, was never resolved. In one camp were those who claimed that ecclesiastical institutions should have sole control of religious spaces; in the other were proponents of the intensification of religious communication that could be experienced by private individuals on their own premises. It was precisely by adopting elements of the public formal vernacular of sacral space that designers of domestic structures could reproduce the sacral character of spaces in private contexts. Choir screens then no longer served to differentiate ritual spaces and to guide processions, but merely lent to the domestic setting something of the special character of an episcopal basilica. A temple facade might feature as domestic mural decoration or as the motif on an urn, so as to indicate a domestic space intended primarily for religious activity.

Bedrooms

Inscriptions on temple walls or on free-standing stelae allowed those who commissioned or directed religious communication to report on the success of their endeavors. Often they told of claimed personal appearances by deities, and frequently, although not always, those appearances took place in dreams. A variety of deities were accessible in this way, and to achieve the requisite vision it was not necessary to visit a temple and sleep there, as was the custom in such places as Epidaurus. One could dream, as a rule, in one’s own bedroom (cubiculum). This form of communication might be quite intense, as we learn from the orator and Asclepius-worshipper Aelius Aristides. In his Hieroi logoi, he reports the commissioning of a silver tripod and its associated dedicatory inscription; but he also relates that the third and fourth lines of the inscription were corrected by the god himself shortly before morning. After awakening, Aristides repeated the lines until he had committed them to memory. His account continues: “After this, when we took counsel in common about the dedication, it seemed best to us, the priest and the temple wardens, to dedicate it in the Temple of Zeus Asclepius.… And the inscription is inscribed, and it has been added that it is from a dream. I also dedicated to Olympian Zeus the inscription and another dedication, so that the oracle was in every way fulfilled.”

An almost contemporary visionary in the city of Rome, describing himself in his writings as Hermas, reports having important visions not only on lonely roads or at workplaces remote from the city, but also in his own bedroom.78 It may well be that he mentioned this last, familiar locale in order to gain credibility, for in the same text he presents a rather remarkable array of visions and apocalyptic revelations, and the apparition he describes has no fixed place in tradition.

Rüpke, Jörg. Pantheon: A New History of Roman Religion (pp. 226-229). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

78. Shepherd of Hermas 8.1, 9.1.
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He then refers to Hermas as a ''seer'' who released an apocalyptic text “revelatory” of the occult, similar to the “Sybilline books,” and apocalypses such as 4 Ezra, Enoch, and the Apocalypse of St. John, -

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Chapter X. Experts and Providers: the First to Third Centuries AD


4. Prophetesses and Visionaries

... anonymous or pseudonymous authors in the eastern Mediterranean wrote oracular texts, “Sybilline books,” and apocalypses such as 4 Ezra, Enoch, and the Apocalypse of St. John, all of them with a clearly anti-Roman bent, just as their predecessors had had an anti-Hellenistic bent. Their authors were likely members of the former elite, who no longer shared in governing and now therefore branded the regime with the stigma of foreign rule. In order to be rid of unwanted but authoritative texts such as these, Augustus and Tiberius examined and burned thousands of them. But a substantial number were back in circulation by the time of the Great Fire of Rome in 64.56

A similarly apocalyptic text “revelatory” of the occult, far less radical but all the more popular, made its advent in Rome shortly before the middle of the second century. It was a substantial text, released in several stages (probably because of continuing demand), and the author—if, that is, we are to believe the first-person narrator (and he set store by being believed)—was the Hermas briefly mentioned above (Ch. 8.4). This Hermas faced the problem shared by every “seer”: how to make his message credible as authentic revelation. The problem was all the more acute for an author who was not backed by an institution, such as a shrine of Asclepius or an oracle. And, if his text was destined merely to be read, he even had to forgo the impact of his own persuasive presence as a speaker. It was for this reason that the eponymous John of the Apocalypse, in what was a slightly older text, identified with a probably real name, also supported his claimed authority on prophetic tradition and astrology. Hermas, on the other hand, began on a more aggressively autobiographical note, even down to his frailties and details of his living and working environment.

He then developed the idea of apocalypse stage by stage on the basis of contemporary contemporary reflections concerning the possibility of divination by visions.59 This author allows us a rare insight into the problems of visionary communication in the presence of others.60 In the spirit of contemporary philosophical tracts, Hermas’s text is evidently targeted at individual listeners and readers, to whom he offers the possibility of self-development. It was to this end that he initially sought entry to institutional settings, so as to have his text read out as a heavenly missive within a circle of presbyteroi and episkopoi.61 He perhaps used another circle to admonish one Maximus, known to his audience.62 A woman called Grapte was to read the text out to widows and orphans, and a Clement to disseminate it in letter form.63 That recipients urged the author on to ever new visions, copied his work, and quickly translated it into Latin and the languages of Syria and Egypt demonstrates the success of this reading therapy aimed at individual transformation within the “congregation” (ekklesia), and at both spiritual and behavioral change (metanoia). Only occasionally does the author allow the reader to see that he is thinking of followers of Christ, who know what a Sybil is, but perceive her as something other. Other than whom? Hermas assumed that his first hearers and readers were familiar with Roman institutions, such as the military, and with Italic economy and agriculture. Critical, however, was their being “citizens”.64 As was typical for citizens of an empire, Hermas’s audience already had what amounted to double citizenship. They were at the very least inhabitants of Rome, and Hermas was now trying to awaken them to a further relationship with a heavenly city, an alternative to the Jerusalem that was definitively lost. Contemporary texts from the eastern Mediterranean urged their readers to foresee Rome’s apocalyptic destruction, which they themselves as individuals might bring about by adopting a new lifestyle.65

As opposed to the fantasies he spun for his audiences in distant provinces, Hermas had also to address an audience that lived in this very Rome, and beheld with wonder an infrastructure recast in flawless marble by the Flavians.66 So, in the images he uses, he relies not on that other city, but on an architectural feature that was universally conceivable in perfect or (at least) perfectible form: a tower. He gives his female oracular figure a Roman magisterial throne, and has her accompanied by six youths after the fashion of official attendants.67 These were not end-time alternatives, but mental images, conceptions to be nurtured in the here and now.

Rüpke, Pantheon (pp. 310-312)

56. Cass. Dio 57.18.4–5. Fire of Rome: 62.18.3.
57. Satake 2008, 126; Malina 2002; see Taeger and Bienert 2006, 162–63.
58. Osiek 1999, 24; Rüpke 2013b.
59. Rüpke 2005b.
60. On the following see Gordon 2013b.
61. Shepherd of Hermas 8.3.
62. Shepherd 7.4; see Leutzsch 1989, 70–71.
63. Shepherd 8.3.
64. Lieu 2004, 243. Cf. Cicero, On the laws 2.5, and the discussions of the Alexandrian Jews in Josephus, Against Apion 2.6, and Diognetus 5–6.
65. Apocalypse 17–18; 4 Esra 11–12; Sibylline Oracles 5.408–27; Jones 2011.
66. On the Flavians: Boyle and Dominik 2003; cf. Rüpke 2012i for a somewhat earlier text in Rome, and Nasrallah 2010 for eastern Mediterranean cities. Cf., on the other hand, modes of reference in John’s Apocalypse, Karrer 2012.
67. Shepherd 9 (visio 3.1), 4, and vis 1.4.1 and 3; vis 3.1.6 and 10.1.

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In referring to urbanisation in the Roman empire in antiquity and things like religion as "a field of learning" and of knowledge, and "religious communication free from particular sites and appointed times", -

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Chapter X. Experts and Providers: the First to Third Centuries AD


6. Changes

Heroic journeys away from rural marginality or slave status might give those affected a taste and desire for recognition. Such a member of the old elites as Petronius might accordingly in his Satyricon ridicule the freedman Trimalchio. But such careers as Trimalchio’s remained models for many, even if the prospects envisaged might frequently enough prove unrealistic. High expectations might also easily tip over into a sense of self-empowerment, confidence that anything was possible. A visionary like Hermas might not delay in having his first book of visions copied for the export market.[101, Shepherd of Hermas 8.3]

Rüpke Pantheon, (p. 323)


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Chapter XII. Demarcations and Modes of Community: The Third to Fourth Centuries AD


2. Political Actors

... exegetical techniques...served to prepare speakers in both religious and nonreligious contexts for tasks such as the delivery of “homilies,” sermons. There was also the issue, as Hermas had shown, of how to reveal religious knowledge to individual readers of both sexes; for the battle between good and evil was above all an internal one, requiring intensive practice. To this end, a constant stream of new texts provided material that flowed into networks removed from any kind of control by institutions. People who read such texts were referred to as gnostics (those having knowledge) or Hermetics (followers of Hermes); but there were no groups that bore such names. This absence of named groups is shared with Neoplatonism, which was the first system to provide the polytheistic traditions of antiquity with a theoretical underpinning that could stand on an equal footing in rational discourse with the tradition of (especially Platonic and Stoic) “philosophy,” and its reception by Jewish-monotheistic thinkers (beginning with Philo in Alexandria in the first century AD).

Rüpke, Pantheon (p. 370)


Rüpke even refers to Hermas in discussing cultural practices and literary traditions in the mid 4th century -

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Chapter XII. Demarcations and Modes of Community: The Third to Fourth Centuries AD

3. The Treatment of Differences

Bible Epic

Others elsewhere were attempting, as in the case of the codex of 354, to combine new traditions with elite cultural practices, and so render them productive for the formation of the same elite—not only in the realm of philosophy, and not only in Rome.74 The presbyter Gaius Vettius Aquilinus Iuvencus...liv[ing] in Spain, in the south of one of the most strongly Romanized provinces ... was still working on a version of the gospels in four verse volumes in the final years of Constantine.75 In his preface, Iuvencus quite explicitly situates himself within the Greco-Latin epic tradition, the lineage of Homer and Virgil ... he claim[ed] to offer the “sure basis for faith” (certa fides) that is provided by the deeds of Christ: this in the place of lies about the deeds of humans. Iuvencus regarded poetic activity as a religious act that would figure in his life’s final reckoning. The same motive, ...also central to the reception of Hermas, was responsible for the copying and writing of further biblical epics, and inspired the numerous acts of martyrs.

The work’s four books constituted a biography that followed the basic line of Matthew’s gospel, complemented by parts of Luke and John (Mark’s gospel was still scarcely read at this time).76 Contrary to the later assertion by the canonic expert Jerome, in writing a work in four volumes Iuvencus was not modelling his narrative on any canon, but rather on the classic model of the day’s limits, the onsets of night and sunrise. Ivencus even sought a heroic tone for his versification by recasting his prose models.

In a literary subculture, such an opus was a gamble, and indeed it found no direct imitators for the next hundred years. Even when they did at last make an appearance, they modelled themselves on Iuvencus, no longer on Virgil. But the narrative retreated further and further into the background, while interpretation of the subtext came to the fore. The defining of a theological position was now regarded as a more appropriate source of distinction than using high-value texts to win over members of an upper class that had, in any case, by the fifth century, long adopted piecemeal the Christian paradigm.

Rüpke, Pantheon (pp. 380-381)

74. Cf. Leppin 2012, 260, on the phase of “neutralization” in the context of his conception of a process of Christianization.
75. Brief biography in Jer. Vir. Ill. 84. For full coverage of the following, Rüpke 2012a, 233–44. See also Flieger 1993.
76. See Stökl Ben Ezra 2012.

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Re: The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by GakuseiDon » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:14 am

It might be worth noting that this is another early text that Earl Doherty believes was written by Christians with no historical Jesus in mind. From his "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man", pages 270-272:

For all its length, the names of Jesus and Christ are never used. (The sole appearance of "Christ" in one manuscript is thought to be an emendation of "Lord," meaning God, which appears in other manuscripts.) The writer refers to a "Son of God" who is a highly mystical figure devoid of human features. Sometimes the Son is equated with the Holy Spirit or the Jewish Law. There is no sense of a Son with a distinct personality, biography or role separate from longstanding ways of thinking about God's dealings with the world. He is part of the paraphernalia of Heaven, the way Wisdom is portrayed in broader circles of Jewish expression. He is older than all creation, the Father's counselor (Parable 9, 12:1). He "supports the whole world" (14:5). Parable 9 tells of the building of a heavenly tower representing the church. The Son is the foundation rock and the gate; one cannot enter this tower, this Kingdom of God, except through his Son. All this is a reflection of that underlying concept encountered at every turn throughout the early Christian period: that God is known and accessible only through his emanations, through the intermediary Son. Salvation comes to those who are "called through his Son" (Parable 8, 11:1). Of a death and resurrection there is not a whisper in the entire document.

Hermas treats the "church," the body of believers, as a mystical entity. It is God himself who has created the church (Vision 1, 1:6), including its pre-existent prototype in heaven. There is constant reference to the "elect of God," with no tradition about a church established by Jesus. Nothing which could fit the Gospel ministry is referred to. The writer can speak of "apostles" but never associate them with an historical figure who appointed them; there is no tradition of anything going back to such a figure. Instead, "apostles and teachers preach the name of the Son of God" (Parable 9, 16:5), in the same way that Paul and other Christian prophets preach the divine Christ.

The central section of the Shepherd discusses a great list of moral rules, some resembling the teachings of the Gospels, but no attribution is made to Jesus. A passage in the Fifth Parable (6:3) has the Son "cleansing the sins of the people," but this precedes his "showing them the ways of life and giving them the Law," and the former is never presented in terms of sacrifice or atonement. The 'giving of the Law' is through spiritual channels, for a later Parable states that the angel Michael (who in Parable 9 is yet another figure equated with the Son of God) has "put the Law into the hearts of those who believe." There is no preaching by an historical Son in evidence anywhere in this work.

In the same Fifth Parable, scholars think to find a reference to incarnation (verses 5-7) by making a link between the Son and "the Holy Spirit (which) God made to dwell in the flesh which he willed." But this link is not an obvious one, and in fact the text shows that the "flesh" in which the Spirit was sent to dwell does not refer to the Son, but to believers, who do not defile the Spirit while it dwells in them; that "flesh" is given a reward in heaven ("all flesh in which the Holy Spirit has dwelt shall receive a reward if it be found undefiled and spotless"), which is hardly a reference to the Son himself.

This writer is rooted in Hellenistic-Jewish mythology with its picture of a heaven in which different forces form part of the workings of divinity. The Son is one of many figures in a class photo which includes the Holy Spirit and angels of several ranks, and these are occasionally allowed to merge into one another. As Charles Talbert puts it (op.cit., p.432), "the Savior is described basically in terms of an angelology which has coalesced with the categories of Son and Spirit." The word "category" is apt, for Hermas is dealing with philosophical concepts here, not an historical figure who was God's incarnation. Had he possessed any idea of the Son as a human personality who had walked the earth in recent memory, suffered and died and resurrected outside Jerusalem to redeem humanity, he could never have buried him in this densely obscure heavenly construct and allowed the entire picture 'recorded' in the Gospels to evaporate into the mystical wind.

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Re: The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by DCHindley » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:36 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:14 am
It might be worth noting that this is another early text that Earl Doherty believes was written by Christians with no historical Jesus in mind.
IIRC, the statements that refer to Christians who "deny" their Lord, Son of God, etc., predominate.

I am not sure if any passages are suspected of being interpolations, as I have not studied the Shepherd recently. I would like to think of the SoH as an example of a household association comprised of his slaves & freedmen & other key retainers. "The Lord" would have referred to the master of the house, Rhoda or her husband, which i think was redirected to Christian ends during one of the periods when the authorities were coming down hard on Jewish messianists.

Hermas reinforces the concept of strictly adhering to "house rules" of good behavior, which would reduce the chance of reflecting badly on their master or alarm the local authorities. He goes on and on in his attempt to answer the question "Why there are bad people in our households, and what can be done about them?" He uses sources such as comparing people to stones that you dig out of the fields or find in streams to build towers or walls, some good to use "as is" (the few extremely capable and/or brown nosed favorites like freedmen or slaves in key positions), others needing various degrees of reshaping or mortar to fit them them (most all, slave, free or tenants), and others being so defective that they are chucked into a refuse pile (field slaves). These sources may well have been edited into its present form by Bishop Pius' older brother Hermas, between 142 & 161 (depending on when scholars place Pius as bishop).

But Hermas' advice would also be suitable for anyone who has to deal with folks with rough edges and need of support, such as Christians undergoing persecutions or had to present themselves in court for any reason. This is similar to what I have proposed, that the "original" Pauline letters were directed to gentile slaves of Judean oriented household association(s) and later Christianized. In Hermas, the cases of overt Christian glosses are far less numerous and jarring as we have it, seemingly only concerned with how to deal with Christians who had denied their Lord in persecution, or fell away from their POV, but later repented. Even so, there is a fair amount of it if you look hard.

DCH

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Re: The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:48 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:14 am

It might be worth noting that this is another early text that Earl Doherty believes was written by Christians with no historical Jesus in mind. From his "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man", pages 270-272:

For all its length, the names of Jesus and Christ are never used. (The sole appearance of "Christ" in one manuscript is thought to be an emendation of "Lord," meaning God, which appears in other manuscripts.) The writer refers to a "Son of God" who is a highly mystical figure devoid of human features. Sometimes the Son is equated with the Holy Spirit or the Jewish Law. There is no sense of a Son with a distinct personality, biography or role separate from longstanding ways of thinking about God's dealings with the world. He is part of the paraphernalia of Heaven, the way Wisdom is portrayed in broader circles of Jewish expression ...

Cheers, GakuseiDon.

It would seem to fit with 'spirit Christology' and/or an “angelomorphic” representation of the Holy Spirit, ie. 'angelomorphic pneumatology' based on use of πνεῦμα (pneuma).

J.R. Levison's 'The Prophetic Spirit as an Angel According to Philo' HThR 88 (1995) 189–207, and 'The Spirit in First Century Judaism' (AGJU 29) Leiden et alii 1997, might be interesting; as might also Levison's 'The Angelic Spirit in Early Judaism', SBL.SP 34 (1995) 464–493.

Also, C. Gieschen, 'Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence' (AGJU 42) Leiden/Boston 1998, 114–119.

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Re: The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by FransJVermeiren » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:05 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:14 am
It might be worth noting that this is another early text that Earl Doherty believes was written by Christians with no historical Jesus in mind. From his "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man", pages 270-272:

This writer is rooted in Hellenistic-Jewish mythology with its picture of a heaven in which different forces form part of the workings of divinity. The Son is one of many figures in a class photo which includes the Holy Spirit and angels of several ranks, and these are occasionally allowed to merge into one another. As Charles Talbert puts it (op.cit., p.432), "the Savior is described basically in terms of an angelology which has coalesced with the categories of Son and Spirit." The word "category" is apt, for Hermas is dealing with philosophical concepts here, not an historical figure who was God's incarnation. Had he possessed any idea of the Son as a human personality who had walked the earth in recent memory, suffered and died and resurrected outside Jerusalem to redeem humanity, he could never have buried him in this densely obscure heavenly construct and allowed the entire picture 'recorded' in the Gospels to evaporate into the mystical wind.

1. The Son as a human personality
I did not reread the whole Shepherd, but when I read the quote above I remembered a Shepherd passage with contains the Greek ἰσχυρῶς καὶ ἀνδρείως. In combination with σάρξ ('flesh', but also ‘human body’ or ‘human being’) in the same fragment, a violent and virile human being seems to be described. (In the same fragment this man is also described as holy, noble and pure.)

The passage goes as follows (Sim.V. vi. 5-6):
(5) The Holy Spirit which pre-exists, which created all creation, did God make to dwell in the flesh which he willed. Therefore this flesh, in which the Holy Spirit dwelled, served the Spirit well, walking in holiness and purity, and did not in any way defile the spirit. (6) When, therefore, it had lived nobly and purely, and had labored with the Spirit, and had worked with it in every deed, behaving with power (ἰσχυρῶς) and bravery (ἀνδρείως), he chose it as companion with the Holy Spirit; for the conduct of this flesh pleased him, because it was not defiled while it was bearing the Holy Spirit on earth.

The violence and virility of the rebellion leader Jesus son of Saphat in Josephus match with this description. (His holiness, nobility and pureness match with the description of Jesus in the gospels.)

2. Suffering, death and resurrection
The fact that the Shepherd doesn’t mention the triad execution-death-resurrection is a plus instead of a minus for this writing. The mythical crucifixion-death-resurrection triad is an invention of Mark, the (highly exceptional) historical sequence was crucifixion-survival. With the description of Jesus as powerful/violent and brave/virile the Shepherd mentions two important characteristics of the historical Jesus.
It looks strange to me that Earl Doherty uses the ‘mythological triad’ to evaluate the Shepherd.
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Re: The Shepherd of Hermas

Post by arnoldo » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:14 am

Additionally, this writer appears to have alluded to and/or partially quoted 1 Peter 5:17, Matthew 26:24 and other writings as well.

Cast your cares upon the Lord, and He will direct them. Trust the Lord, ye who doubt, for He is all-powerful, and can turn His anger away from you, and send scourges" on the doubters. Woe to those who hear these words, and despise them: better were it for them not to have been born."
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Shepherd ... ond_Vision


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