New Book on The Shepherd of Hermas


(Larry Hurtado):  After Psalms and the Gospels of Matthew and John, the most frequently represented text in Christian manuscripts dated prior to 300 CE is The Shepherd of Hermas.  Though little known or read today outside of some circles of scholars in Christian Origins, it was obviously popular and much appreciated in the early centuries.   It seems to most modern readers a complex, sometimes confusing text, and some have thought it of dubious orthodoxy.   But by all indications, in the early centuries it was read appreciatively by “mainline” Christians who also read the canonical texts and likely subscribed to familiar Christian beliefs.

It is, thus, a desideratum in Christian Origins to familiarize ourselves with this fascinating and demanding writing.  So I am pleased to pass on notice of a new publication:  Franciszek Szulc, Le Fils de Dieu pour les judeo-Chretiens dans <<Le Pasteur>> d’Hermas (trans. A. Latka; Paris:  Editons du Cerf, 2011).  Translated from the Polish original (2006), the book presents Szulc’s argument that Hermas reflects an early effort to articulate faith in Jesus within a strongly “monotheistic” stance to maintain unity between the emerging “catholic/orthodox” Christianity and Jewish Christians.

This isn’t the place for a detailed engagement with the study.  But, given the comparative dearth of scholarly publications on this important text, I do want to ensure that this work is not overlooked.


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