Lets Study Together: The Shepherd of Hermes

Ok, How about we go through the theology of the Shepherd of Hermes together?

We can comment on the lines and verses and discuss their points.


The following links go to a good translation of the book and it includes Orthodox commentary I believe, if not Orthodox, then Catholic.


First Book of the Shepherd of Hermas: Visions

http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/hermvis.htm


Second Book of the Shepherd of Hermas: Commands

http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/hermcom.htm


Third Book of the Shepherd of Hermas: Similitudes (Part One)

http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/hermsim.htm


Third Book of the Shepherd of Hermas: Similitudes (Part Two)

http://ministries.tliquest.net/theology/apocryphas/nt/hermsima.htm





I think it would be interesting to get the opinions of Catholics, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Oneness, Protestant, and other forms of Christianity along with Jewish insight.

I hope that everyone participates and posts their opinions!

THE FIRST BOOK OF HERMAS, CALLED VISIONS

VISION 1
1. Against filthy and proud thoughts, 20. also the neglect of Hermas in chastising his children.

1. He who had bred me up sold a certain young maid at Rome whom when I saw many years later, I remembered her, and began to love her as a sister. It happened some time afterwards, that I saw her bathing in the Tiber River, and I reached out my hand to her and brought her out of the river.
2. And when I saw her I thought to myself, saying, How happy should I be if I had such a wife, both for beauty and manners. This I thought to myself, nor did I think any more. But not long after as I was walking and musing on these thoughts, I began to admire this creature of God, thinking how noble and beautiful she was.
3. And when I had walked a little, I fell asleep. And the spirit caught me away and carried me toward the right-hand through a certain place through which no man could pass. It was a place among rocks, very steep, and impassable even for water.
4. When I was beyond this place, I came to a plain. Falling down upon my knees there, I began to pray to the Lord, and to confess my sins.
5. And as I was praying, the heaven was opened, and I saw the woman whom I had coveted, saluting me from heaven and saying, Hermas, hail! And I looking upon her, answered, Lady, what are you doing here? She answered, I have been brought up here to accuse you of sin before the Lord.
6. Lady, I said, will you accuse me? No, she said, but hear the words I am about to speak to you. God who dwells in heaven, and has made all things out of nothing, and has multiplied them for his Holy Church's sake, is angry with you because you have sinned against me.
7. And I answering said to her, Lady, if I have sinned against you, tell me where, or in what place, or when did I ever speak an improper or dishonest word to you?
8. Have I not always esteemed you as a lady? Have I not always reverenced you as a sister? Why then do you imagine these wicked things against me?
9. Then she, smiling upon me, said: An indecent desire has risen up in your heart. Does it not seem to you to be an ill thing for a righteous man to have an evil desire rise up in his heart?
10. It is indeed a sin, and that a very great one, to such a one; for a righteous man thinks that which is righteous. And while he does so, and walks uprightly, he shall have the Lord in heaven favorable to him in all his business.
11. But as for those who think wickedly in their hearts take to themselves death and captivity, and especially those who love this present world and glory in their riches, and do not regard the good things that are to come; their souls wander up and down, and know not where to settle.
12. Now this is the case of such as are double-minded, who trust not in the Lord, and despise and neglect their own life.
13. But pray to the Lord, and he will heal your sins, and the sins of your whole house, and of all his saints.

The reason the otherwise righteous Hermas is accused of sin and "evil desire" is because he is a prosperous middleaged businessman who is married with grown children.

  1. And when I had walked a little, I fell asleep. And the spirit caught me away and carried me toward the right-hand through a certain place through which no man could pass. It was a place among rocks, very steep, and impassable even for water.


    I find this verse interesting from a pentecostal point of view. It mentions what would be considered a vision or a dream, but he relates to it as if he is physically experiencing it.

    It brings to mind the following verses:

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    Joel 2:28-29 (New International Version)

    The Day of the LORD

    28 "And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
    29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.


    _____________________________________________

    Acts 10:9-14 (New International Version)

    Peter's Vision

    9About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
    14"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

    ____________________________________________________

    9. Then she, smiling upon me, said: An indecent desire has risen up in your heart. Does it not seem to you to be an ill thing for a righteous man to have an evil desire rise up in his heart?

    I hate the excuse of the secular world when it comes to sexuality, how one can "look but not touch" when they are in a marriage which to me is very disrespectful to their spouses. It is good that it is rightly pointed out as sin here.



    10. It is indeed a sin, and that a very great one, to such a one; for a righteous man thinks that which is righteous. And while he does so, and walks uprightly, he shall have the Lord in heaven favorable to him in all his business.

    I like the following verse, about men who walk in holiness seeking to be righteous will have the Lords favor in all the things of his life.


    11. But as for those who think wickedly in their hearts take to themselves death and captivity, and especially those who love this present world and glory in their riches, and do not regard the good things that are to come; their souls wander up and down, and know not where to settle.

    Good verse about not chasing or caring for money, but to keep an eternal mindset about what is to come that God is offering to us and find joy in that.


    13. But pray to the Lord, and he will heal your sins, and the sins of your whole house, and of all his saints.

    What do you guys think of this verse about the sins of the whole house being forgiven by the prayers of one of the household? Where else does this thought appear in Christiandom?

    Only reference I can remember is when the whole household is saved in acts because someone actually came and told them about Jesus Christ and they accepted to be baptized.

    _____________________________________

    Acts 16:31-33 (New International Version)

    31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

I was just going to post sections from the book slowly in this thread overtime so we all could be discussing points from the same section with each other. What do you guys think?

JJBoxer, give me some time, maybe this weekend. We are in a very busy business cycle that will slow down in a few weeks and I will need to have time to read if you'd like any of my feedback.

What might help is to cut/paste a brief intro to the book. When it was written, by who etc. (I know, I know, I can google it but it will give us one over arching opening we are using for discussion).

Thanks!

the rooster - JJBoxer, give me some time, maybe this weekend. We are in a very busy business cycle that will slow down in a few weeks and I will need to have time to read if you'd like any of my feedback.

What might help is to cut/paste a brief intro to the book. When it was written, by who etc. (I know, I know, I can google it but it will give us one over arching opening we are using for discussion).

Thanks!



I can do that no problem. I think the information on who wrote the book is interesting, but I feel the most interesting part of getting everyones opinions would be to pick apart the theology used in the book, section by section and see where it stands along with modern biblical thought and the scriptures.

From the Seraphim Files:

THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS

This book is thus entitled, because it was composed by Hermas, brother to Pope Pius I (bishop of Rome in A.D. 140-155); and because the Angel, who bears the principal part in it, is represented in the form and habit of a shepherd. The book is actually three books: Visions, Commands, and Similitudes. The Church's reaction to it has always been mixed:

Irenaeus quoted it under the very name of Scripture. Origen thought it a most useful writing and that it was divinely inspired. Eusebius said that, though it was not esteemed canonical, it was read publicly in the churches, which is corroborated by Jerome.

Athanasius cited it as a most useful work, and observed that though it was not strictly canonical, the Fathers appointed it to be read for direction and confirmation in faith and piety.

Jerome, notwithstanding this, and that he applauded it in his catalog of writers, in his comments upon it afterwards, termed it apocryphal and foolish.

Tertullian praised it when he was a Catholic, and abused it when he became a Montanist.

Although Pope Gelasius I (A.D. 492-496) ranked it among the apocryphal books, it is found attached to some of the most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament.

Archbishop of Canterbury Wake, believing it the genuine work of an apostolic Father, preserved it for English readers by the translation used here, in which he rendered the books not only more exact, but in greater purity than they had before appeared. The Archbishop procured Dr. Grabe to entirely collate the old Latin version with an ancient manuscript in the Lambeth library; and the learned prelate himself still further improved the whole from a multitude of fragments of the original Greek never before used for that purpose.

Certain sections may sometimes seem tedious, but after reading the three books one is left with a charming impression that is never quite forgotten.

From WIKI:

Hermes of Philippopolis was one of the Seventy Disciples and was bishop in Philippopolis in Thrace (today's Plovdiv, Bulgaria). The Shepherd of Hermas is also traditionally ascribed to him. He is referenced in Romans 16:14, and his feast day is celebrated on May 31, on November 5 with Apostles Patrobas, Linus, Gaius, and Philologos, and on January 4 among the Seventy.


The Shepherd of Hermas
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Shepherd of Hermas, or the Good Shepherd, 2nd century, Catacombs of Rome.

The Shepherd of Hermas (sometimes just called The Shepherd) is a Christian literary work of the second century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers. The Shepherd had great authority in the second and third centuries.[1] It was cited as Scripture by Irenaeus and Tertullian and was bound with the New Testament in the Codex Sinaiticus, and it was listed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus. Other early Christians, however, considered the work to be apocryphal.[2]

The work comprises five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables. 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 Rome, in the Greek language, but a Latin translation was made very shortly afterwards. Some say this was done by the original author as a sign of the authenticity of the translation, though others dispute this. Only the Latin version has been preserved in full; of the Greek, the last fifth or so is missing.
The shepherd is one of the meanings that was probably attached to some figurines of the Good Shepherd as well as a symbol for Christ, or a traditional pagan kriophoros.

Really, in the end the whole wiki article could be read and is a good start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shepherd_of_Hermas

I agree, will you be participating Ridgeback? You don't have to spend a lot of time on it, I am just wondering your opinions on the posted text. We will probably move through a section each week. There is no way we will get through the whole thing without this dying off, but getting through some may be an interesting experience.