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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Hermas

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Her´mas, one of the Christians at Rome to whom Paul addressed special salutations in his Epistle (). Of his history and station in life nothing is known. By several writers, ancient and modern, he has been reputed to be the author of a work entitled The Shepherd of Hermas, which, from its high antiquity and the supposed connection of the writer with St. Paul, has been usually classed with the epistles of the so-called Apostolic Fathers. It was originally written in Greek, but we possess it only in a Latin version (as old as the time of Tertullian), a few fragments excepted, which are found as quotations in other ancient authors. It has been divided by modern editors (for in the manuscript copies there is no such division) into three books; the first consisting of four visions, the second of twelve commands, and the third of ten similitudes. It is called 'The Shepherd,' because the Angel of Repentance, at whose dictation Hermas professes that he wrote the second and third books, appeared in the garb of a shepherd. It is doubtful whether the author really believed that he saw the visions he describes, or merely adopted the fiction to render his work more attractive. Impartial judges will probably agree with Mosheim, that 'The Shepherd' contains such a mixture of folly and superstition with piety, of egregious nonsense with momentous truth, as to render it a matter of astonishment that men of learning should ever have thought of giving it a place among the inspired writings.

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Hermas'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/h/hermas.html.

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