The Pastor of Hermas
[Translated by the Rev. F. Crombie, M.a.]
Introductory Note to the Pastor of Hermas
The Pastor of Hermas was one of the most popular books, if not the most popular book, in the Christian Church during the second, third, and fourth centuries. It occupied a position analogous in some respects to that of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in modern times; and critics have frequently compared the two works.
In ancient times two opinions prevailed in regard to the authorship. The most widely spread was, that the Pastor of Hermas was the production of the Hermas mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans. Origen  states this opinion distinctly, and it is repeated by Eusebius  and Jerome. 
Those who believed the apostolic Hermas to be the author, necessarily esteemed the book very highly; and there was much discussion as to whether it was inspired or not. The early writers are of opinion that it was really inspired. Irenaeus quotes it as Scripture;  Clemens Alexandrinus speaks of it as making its statements "divinely;"  and Origen, though a few of his expressions are regarded by some as implying doubt, unquestionably gives it as his opinion that it is "divinely inspired."  Eusebius mentions that difference of opinion prevailed in his day as to the inspiration of the book, some opposing its claims, and others maintaining its divine origin, especially because it formed an admirable introduction to the Christian faith. For this latter reason it was read publicly, he tells us, in the churches.
The only voice of antiquity decidedly opposed to the claim is that of Tertullian. He designates it apocryphal,  and rejects it with scorn, as favouring anti-Montanistic opinions. Even his words, however, show that it was regarded in many churches as Scripture.
The second opinion as to the authorship is found in no writer of any name. It occurs only in two places: a poem falsely ascribed to Tertullian, and a fragment published by Muratori, on the Canon, the authorship of which is unknown, and the original language of which is still a matter of dispute.  The fragment says, "The Pastor was written very lately in our times, in the city of Rome, by Hermas, while Bishop Pius, his brother, sat in the chair of the Church of the city of Rome."
A third opinion has had advocates in modern times. The Pastor of Hermas is regarded as a fiction, and the person Hermas, who is the principal character, is, according to this opinion, merely the invention of the fiction-writer.
Whatever opinion critics may have in regard to the authorship, there can be but one opinion as to the date. The Pastor of Hermas must have been written at an early period. The fact that it was recognised by Irenaeus as Scripture shows that it must have been in circulation long before his time. The most probable date assigned to its composition is the reign of Hadrian, or of Antoninus Pius.
The work is very important in many respects; but especially as reflecting the tone and style of books which interested and instructed the Christians of the second and third centuries.
The Pastor of Hermas was written in Greek. It was well known in the Eastern Churches: it seems to have been but little read in the Western. Yet the work bears traces of having been written in Italy.
For a long time the Pastor of Hermas was known to scholars only in a Latin version, occurring in several mss. with but slight vacations. But within recent times the difficulty of settling the text has been increased by the discovery of various mss. A Latin translation has been edited, widely differing from the common version. Then a Greek ms. was said to have been found in Mount Athos, of which Simonides affirmed that he brought away a portion of the original and a copy of the rest. Then a ms. of the Pastor of Hermas was found at the end of the Sinaitic Codex of Tischendorf. And in addition to all these, there is an AEthiopic translation. The discussion of the value of these discoveries is one of the most difficult that can fall to the lot of critics; for it involves not merely an examination of peculiar forms of words and similar criteria, but an investigation into statements made by Simonides and Tischendorf respecting events in their own lives. But whatever may be the conclusions at which the critic arrives, the general reader does not gain or lose much. In all the Greek and Latin forms the Pastor of Hermas is substantially the same. There are many minute differences; but there are scarcely any of importance,--perhaps we should say none.
In this translation the text of Hilgenfeld, which is based on the Sinaitic Codex, has been followed.
The letters Vat. mean the Vatican manuscript, the one from which the common or Vulgate version was usually printed.
The letters Pal. mean the Palatine manuscript edited by Dressel, which contains the Latin version, differing considerably from the common version.
The letters Lips. refer to the Leipzig manuscript, partly original and partly copied, furnished by Simonides from Athos. The text of Anger and Dindorf (Lips., 1856) has been used, though reference has also been made to the text of Tischendorf in Dressel.
The letters Sin. refer to the Sinaitic Codex, as given in Dressel and in Hilgenfeld's notes.
The letters AEth. refer to the AEthiopic version, edited, with a Latin translation, by Antonius D'Abbadie. Leipzig, 1860.
No attempt has been made to give even a tithe of the various readings. Only the most important have been noted.
[It is but just to direct the reader's attention to an elaborate article of Dr. Donaldson, in the (London) Theological Review, vol. xiv. p. 564; in which he very ingeniously supports his opinions with regard to Hermas, and also touching the Muratorian Canon. In one important particular he favours my own impression; viz., that The Shepherd is a compilation, traditional, or reproduced from memory. He supposes its sentiments "must have been expressed in innumerable oral communications delivered in the churches throughout the world."]
 To be found, with copious annotations, in Routh's Reliquiae, vol. i. pp. 389-434, Oxford, 1846. See also Westcott, On the Canon of the New Testament, Cambridge, 1855.
 Hippolytus and His Age, vol. i. p. 315.
 Why "Athenian"? It was read everywhere. But possibly this is a specification based on Acts xvii. 21. They may have welcomed it as a novel and a novelty.
 More of this in Athenagoras; but see Kaye's Justin Martyr, p. 179, note 3, ed. 1853.
 Roman fabulists know all about Pius, of course, and give us this history: "He was a native of Aquileia, and was elected bishop on the 15th of January, a.d. 158 ... He governed the Church nine years, five months, and twenty-seven days." So affirms that favourite of Popes, Artaud de Montor (Histoire de Pie VIII., p. xi. Paris, 1830).
 The latest learned authority among Roman Catholics, a Benedictine, gives us the dates a.d. 142-156, respectively, as those of his election and decease. See Series Episcoporum, etc. P. B. Gams, Ratisbonae, 1873.
 Relying upon the invaluable aid of Dr. Routh, I had not thought of looking into Westcott, till I had worked out my own conclusions. I amgreatly strengthened by his elaborate and very able argument. See his work on the Canon, pp. 213-235.
 1 Cor. xiv. The value of Hermas in helping us to comprehend this mysterious chapter appears to me very great. Celsus reproached Christians as Sibyllists. See Origen, Against Celsus, book v. cap. lxi.
 Westcott, p. 219. Ed. 1855, London.
 Hieron., tom. 1. p. 988, Benedictine ed.
 Bull (and Grabe), Harmonia Apostolica; Works, vol. iii.
 Pearson, Vindiciae Ignat., i. cap. 4. Bull, Defens. Fid. Nicaen., 1. cap. 2. sec. 3; Works, vol. v. part i. p. 15.
 Comment. in Rom. xvi. 14, lib. x. 31. [But see Westcott's fuller account of all this, pp. 219, 220.]
 Hist. Eccl. iii. 3.
 De Viris Illustribus, c. x.
 Contra Haeres., iv. 20, 2.
 Strom., i. xxi. p. 426.
 Ut supra.
 De Pudicitia, c. xx., also c. x.; De Oratione, c. xvi.
 [This statement should be compared with Westcott's temperate and very full account of the Muratorian Fragment, pp. 235-245.]
The Pastor of Hermas - Introductions
The Pastor of Hermas: Book 1
The Pastor of Hermas: Book 2
The Pastor of Hermas: Book 3
Tatian the Assyrian's Address to the Greeks
Fragments - Tatian the Assyrian
Theophilus of Antioch - Introduction
Theophilus of Antioch to Autolycus: Book 1
Theophilus of Antioch to Autolycus: Book 2
Theophilus of Antioch to Autolycus: Book 3
A Plea for Christians by Athenagoras the Athenian: Philosopher and Christian
The Treatise of Athenagoras the Athenian, Philosopher and Christian, on the Resurrection of the Dead
Clement of Alexandria - Introductory Note
Exhortation to the Heathen
The Instructor (Paedagogus) - Book 1
The Instructor (Paedagogus) - Book 2
The Instructor (Paedagogus) - Book 3
Elucidations - Clement of Alexandria
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 1
Elucidations - Purpose of the Stromata
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 2
Elucidations - The Stromata, Book 2
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 3
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 4
Elucidations - The Stromata, Book 4
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 5
Elucidations - The Stromata, Book 5
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 6
Elucidations - The Stromata, Book 6
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 7
Elucidations - The Stromata, Book 7
The Stromata, or Miscellanies - Book 8
Elucidations - The Stromata, Book 8
Fragments of Clemens Alexandrinus
Clemens Alexandrinus on the Salvation of the Rich Man
Elucidations - Clemens Alexandrinus on the Salvation of the Rich Man
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