Satanology of the Apostolic Fathers: Shepherd of Hermas

Complications in the textual tradition, and inconsistencies in the internal evidence, have prevented firm consensus on the dating of Hermas. It is cited as a complete work by Irenaeus nearly the end of the second century (c. 175), but a possible reference to Clement of Rome in the earliest part of the work, may indicate an earlier date of initial composition; consequently, there is a tendency in the literature to regard Hermas as a composite document.1

Early theories of multiple authorship have given way to a return to acceptance of a basic literary unity resulting from a single author writing over time, followed by several redactions.2 Apart from a general consensus that Visions 1-4 constitute the cohesive work of a single author and represent the earliest material, there is comparatively little agreement on the composition of the rest of the text.3 Evidence that Visions 1-4 and Vision 5 were circulating as complete works at an early date (before the remainder of the text was written),4  gives grounds for treating these sections independently from the rest of Hermas. Use of the work by late second and early third century Christian writers quoting from multiple sections of Hermas, indicates the text was circulating as a united composition by the end of the second century.5

Satanological language is distributed unevenly throughout the three sections of Hermas: Visions 1-4; Vision 5 and Mandates (typically considered one section); Parables.6 No satanological language is found in Visions 1-4, which has a consistently non-mythological character; there are no evil spirits, demons, or fallen angels. Satanological language is found frequently in Vision 5 and Mandates, but there is only one use of diabolos in Parables.

Visions 1-4 forms a type of apocalypse,7 but supernatural evil is never cited as an explanatory recourse for this suffering. Theodicy is strictly anthropological rather than supernatural; sinful humans are responsible for the evil in the world (2.2.2).8 The hamartiology is also consistently non-supernatural, temptation and sin being attributed to human passions; evil rising up in the heart (1.1.8),9 evil desire (1.2.4),10 evil thoughts producing transgression and death (2.3.2),11 being led away by riches (3.6.6),12 licentious desires (3.7.2),13 and fleshly weaknesses (3.9.3).14 The soteriology of Visions 1-4 is likewise non-mythological; rather than recourse to supernatural powers, or battles with cosmological foes, salvation is achieved through ethical instruction (1.3.2),15 self-control (2.2.3),16 repentance (2.2.4),17 ethical behaviour (2.3.2),18 confession and prayer (3.1.6),19 charity and almsgiving (3.9.5).20 This part of Hermas therefore, which was first circulated independently as a complete work, contains no satanological language at all and presents an entirely non-mythological character.

The majority of Hermas is contained in Mandates 1-12 and Parables 1-10, written later than Visions 1-4 and describing a complex hamartiology in allegorical terms. Most notable is Hermas’ repeated emphasis on an internalized dualism of the human heart, which is central to his hamartiology. Hermas presents a Two Ways dualism which is similar to 1Qs and the Epistle of Barnabas, but in which angels and spirits are said to reside in the heart as integral to the psyche, rather than as independent beings acting externally. The two angels found in 1Qs and Barnabas have been internalized by Hermas, so that they exist as two impulses within the human heart, like the ‘evil inclination’ and the ‘good inclination’ of rabbinical hamartiology.21 Consequently, Wiley notes that Hermas attributes the origin of evil to the yetzer ha ra, the ‘evil inclination’.22

Highly allegorical language is used to describe this dualism, and Boyd says Hermas’ references to spirits, angels of the Lord, and angels of satan represent abstractions rather than realities; demons ‘are personified vices rather than spirits that lead independent existences’.23 However, Boyd considers some of Hermas’ language suggests evil spirits are independent beings,24 and does not believe the devil in Hermas is a personification.25 Similarly, Russell says it is unclear whether Hermas’ two angels are in fact independent cosmic beings, or personifications of the impulses within the human heart (the rabbinic yetzerim).26 He notes Hermas’ use of heavily allegorical language to personify vices ‘as spirits or demons’, while observing the differentiation between literal and figurative is not always distinct.27 Nevertheless, he characterizes the dualism of Hermas as ethical rather than cosmological.28

Rousseau believes Hermas’ dualism is psychological, with human passions and vices personified as evil spirits and demons.29 Rosen-Zvi likewise says Hermas has internalized dualistic forces.30 This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that Hermas never describes exorcism as the means of dealing with these ‘spirits’. Instead the reader is instructed to deal with them precisely as if they were impersonal vices and character flaws; through repentance, faith, and moral self-renewal.31

Although Twelftree characterizes this as ‘a way of dealing with the demonic without resorting to exorcism’,32 it would be more accurate to say that it is a replacement of cosmological dualism and supernatural exorcism, with psychological dualism and non-supernatural remedy. The fact that Hermas uses a non-supernatural remedy which is applied by the individual to themselves, demonstrate he is not thinking of a cosmological struggle between the individual and external supernatural force, which can only be remedied by recourse to a third party exercising supernatural power (such as exorcism). Consequently, the remedy Hermas proposes for these ‘demons’ is exactly the same remedy for non-supernatural evil impulses within the human heart; repentance, faith, and moral self-renewal.

Hermas has not attributed human passions and vices to demonic possession, he has used the language of demonism to characterize human passions and vices, which nonetheless remain non-supernatural evil impulses. Twelftree’s description of this process as ‘self-applied moral or intellectual exorcism’,33 unintentionally emphasizes the fact that Hermas saw no need to invoke a supernatural response to what he describes as demons and evil spirits, and treated them in the same way as human passions and vices. Unlike the apologists who were his contemporaries, Hermas speaks of idolatry without speaking of demons; idolatry is simply the practice of substitution another authority for God, whether by consulting a false prophet (Mandates 11.4),34 or by actually worshipping idols (Parables 9.21.3).35

Despite the ambiguity of his allegorical language therefore, Hermas advocates a response to ‘demons’ which is consistently non-supernatural, psychological, and moral, rather than supernatural, cosmological, and spiritual. Though he uses the demonological terminology of second century apologists such as Justin Martyr, Hermas has deliberately demythologized the language of evil spirits and demons, re-applying it to human passions and vices.36 Consequently, Hermas’ use of diabolos as an apparent reference to a supernatural evil tempter (Mandates 12.5.4),37 appears anomalous. Given Hermas’ consistent demythologization of demonological language, a case could be made that he is using diabolos in the same way. However, a simpler and more cautious approach would be to conclude that Hermas views the diabolos as an independent being despite having demythologized demons and evil spirits.

Nevertheless, even if Hermas’ references to the diabolos are taken as evidence he believed in a supernatural evil tempter, this does not mean he must necessarily have believed in literal demons. Early rabbinic commentary provides a relevant analog. Despite rejecting the concept of a supernatural tempter and replacing it with the evil inclination of the heart,38 the rabbis continued to believe in demons, to which they attributed sickness and other external afflictions.39 A simple reading of Hermas suggests the reverse position; belief in a supernatural tempter but rejection of belief in demons. However, the sharp contrast between the entirely demythologized Visions 1-4 and the only partially demythologized Mandates and Parables (especially Mandates, with its extensive use of repurposed demonological terminology and its repeated use of diabolos), requires more than superficial analysis.

Earlier commentary proposed theories of multiple authorship to address inconsistencies in Hermas and evidence that portions of the text were circulated independently of the whole.40 Current scholarship views Hermas as a work composed by one author over time, incorporating multiple sources and redactions.41 There is general agreement that the earliest section (Visions 1-4), were written and circulated as complete document around the end of the first century,42 and that the entire work was completed around the middle of the second century.43 This conclusion provides a firm basis on which to advance an explanation of why Visions 1-4 has a strong demythological character which is so unlike the rest of the work. A simple explanation for the fact that Visions 1-4 reflects the same demythologized content as the Didache and 1 Clement, whereas the rest of the work is very similar (but still not identical), to the mythological views of evil common to the mid-second century, is that the author’s own personal views changed during the 30-40 years separating the writing of Visions 1-4 and the later composition of Vision 5,44 Mandates, and Parables.

Evidence that Hermas’ theological views changed over time is found in the difference between his original and later approach to repentance. In Visions 1-4 Hermas teaches those who had been baptized have a second chance of forgiveness at the eschaton, but in Mandates 3.3.1-7 he says only new converts have a second chance.45 Another example of Hermas’ change of theological perspective is the fact that Visions 1-4 lacks any reference to the approach to repentance described in the rest of the work (especially Mandates 12-13 and Parables 9), which clearly indicates mid-second century practice.46

A change in theological views provides an efficient and evidence based explanation as to why the hamartiology of Visions 1-4 matches the demythologized perspective of its contemporary the Didache, while the hamartiology of the rest of Hermas is much closer to the mythological view of the mid-second century apologists with which it was contemporary. When writing Visions 1-4 at the end of the first century, the author held a strongly demythologized view, whereas by the mid-second century his views had shifted, resulting in the inclusion of some mythological terminology which he demythologized (rejecting a belief in literal demons and applying demonological language to human vices), but also the inclusion of mythological views which he had adopted (accepting a belief in a supernatural evil tempter, the devil).

The witness of Hermas is therefore mixed, due to its composite nature. However, what can be said with confidence is that Visions 1-4, written at the end of the first century, represents a strongly demythologized work reflecting the same non-mythological hamartiology as the Didache, whereas even the later sections of Hermas represent a weak mythological view in which demons are nothing more than personifications of human vices, though the diabolos is an independent supernatural tempter. In summary, Shepherd of Hermas is strong evidence for Christian theology being substantially demythologized at the end of the first century, and becoming increasingly mythological from the early second century onwards.

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  1. ‘Reference to it by Irenaeus (ca. 175) establishes a date before which it must have been written, but on the other end dates as early as the 70s and 80s have been proposed. The evidence of the Muratorian Canon (“But Hermas wrote the Shepherd quite recently in our time in the city of Rome while his brother Pius, the bishop, was sitting on the throne of the church of the city of Rome”) must be used with caution, since it appears to reflect a subtle attempt to discredit the Shepherd. The internal evidence is inconsistent. Data in visions 1–4, including the reference in 8.3 to “Clement,” who may well be the Clement of Rome responsible for 1 Clement (cf. above, p. 23), points to around 95–100, while the section comprising vision 5/parable 10 seems to come from a later time. If the Shepherd is, however, a composite document, this would resolve many of the difficulties.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 330–331. []
  2. ‘Most scholars today have returned to the single author hypothesis, though not without some hedging about “multiple sources,” or “multiple redactions.” Few would suggest that one author wrote the whole book at the same time.’, Carolyn Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas: a Commentary (ed. Helmut Koester; Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999), 10. []
  3. ‘There is nearly complete consensus that Visions 1–4 form a unity, and that Vision 5 belongs with what follows it. There has also been a strong prevailing judgment that Visions 1–4 are the oldest part of the book. After that, there is not as much agreement.’, Carolyn Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas: a Commentary (ed. Helmut Koester; Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999), 10; ‘Visions 1–4 would represent the earliest stage of its formation, while the final editing, including the interpolation of parables 9–10, may well have occurred about the time suggested by the Muratorian Canon.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 331. []
  4. ‘Some of the manuscript evidence, however, indicates that parts of the whole circulated independently. B has only Visions 1–3, though Vision 4 was probably also attached.’, Carolyn Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas: a Commentary (ed. Helmut Koester; Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999), 3; ‘The textual evidence suggests that the two major sections, visions 1–4 and vision 5/parable 10, were written (and later circulated) separately.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 330. []
  5. ‘Henne points out that the earliest frequent users of Hermas in the East, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, quoted from all three sections, and that one of the earliest users in the West, Tertullian, quotes from both the Visions and the Mandates, that is, from both parts according to the supposed manuscript division discussed above. This would seem to be persuasive evidence that at the end of the second century the text was circulating as a unity in both Egypt and North Africa and that divisions occurred later.’, Carolyn Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas: a Commentary (ed. Helmut Koester; Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999), 4. []
  6. Sometimes referred to in the literature as Similitudes, from the Latin name. []
  7. ‘The genre of visions 1–4 is that of a Jewish-Christian apocalypse. A typical apocalypse (cf. Revelation) includes the following features: (1) a revelation from God, (2) usually in the form of a vision or dream, (3) often given through a mediator, (4) who provides an interpretation of the vision, (5) whose contents usually concern future events, especially the end times. Visions 1–4 neatly reflect this pattern, except for their contents: the focus is not on the end, but on the possibility of repentance because the end is not yet.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 329–330.)0 but Hermas does not use supernatural evil as an explanatory recourse for his eschatology; there is no cosmological warfare between angels, nor any satanological end time figure, and the multi-colored beast which appears in 4.1.5-10 is explained in 4.3.1-6 as representing the world, the destruction of the world, the salvation of the righteous, and the age to come, not as a supernatural evil being. Martyrology, sometimes mentioned in an eschatological context, is said to contribute to salvation (3.2.1), ((‘“What,” I asked, “have they endured?” “Listen,” she said. “Scourgings, imprisonments, severe persecutions, crosses, wild beasts, for the sake of the Name. This is why the right side of the Holiness belongs to them, and to whoever suffers because of the Name. The left side belongs to the rest. But to both, to those sitting on the right and to those sitting on the left, belong the same gifts and the same promises; the only difference is the former sit on the right and have a certain glory.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 349. []
  8. ‘“Your children, Hermas, have rejected God and blasphemed the Lord and by their great evil they have betrayed their parents, and are called betrayers of parents, yet they have not profited from their betrayal. But still they have added licentiousness and orgies of evil to their sins, and so the limit of their transgressions has been reached.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 343. []
  9. ‘She laughed at me and said, “The desire for evil rose up in your heart. Or don’t you think that it is an evil thing for a righteous man if an evil desire rises up in his heart? It certainly is a sin, and a great one at that,” she said, “for the righteous man aims at righteous things. So, then, as long as his aims are righteous, his reputation is secure in heaven and he finds the Lord favorably inclined in all he does. But those who aim at evil things in their hearts bring death and captivity upon themselves, especially those who lay claim to the world and pride themselves on their wealth and do not hold fast to the good things that are to come.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 337. []
  10. ‘And she said, “By no means should this thing happen to God’s servant! But certainly the thought did arise in your heart concerning her. To God’s servants, and intent such as this brings sin, for with respect to a devout and already approved spirit it is an evil and shocking decision if it should desire to do an evil deed, especially if it is Hermas the self-controlled, who abstains from every evil desire and is full of all sincerity and great innocence.”’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 337–339. []
  11. ‘“But you, Hermas, must no longer bear a grudge against your children, nor allow your sister to have her way, in order that they might be cleansed from their former sins. For they will be disciplined with a righteous discipline if you do not bear a grudge against them. Bearing a grudge produces death. But you, Hermas, have had great tribulations of your own because of the transgressions of your family, because you did not care for them. Instead you neglected them and got mixed up in your own evil transgressions.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 345. []
  12. ‘And I answered her and said, “Then when, madam, will they be useful for the building?” “When,” she replied, “their riches, which lead their souls astray, are cut away, then they will be useful to God. For just as the round stone cannot become square unless it is trimmed and loses some part of itself, so also those who are rich in this world cannot become useful to God unless their riches are cut away.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 357. []
  13. ‘Those falling into the fire and burning are those who have completely rebelled against the living God, and the thought no longer enters their heart to repent on account of their licentious desires and the evil deeds they do.’. Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 359. []
  14. ‘For by overeating some people bring on themselves fleshly weaknesses and injure their flesh, while the flesh of those who don’t have anything to eat is injured because they don’t have enough food, and their body is wasting away.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 363. []
  15. ‘But the great mercy of the Lord has had mercy on you and your family, and will strengthen you and establish you in his glory. Only do not be careless, but be courageous and strengthen your family. For just as the blacksmith by hammering at his work completes the task he wants to do, so also does the daily righteous word conquer all evil. Do not cease, therefore, instructing your children, for I know that if they repent with all their heart, they will be enrolled with the saints in the books of life.”’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 339. []
  16. ‘But make these words known to all your children, and to your wife, who is about to become like a sister to you, for she does not control her tongue, with which she does evil. But when she hears these words she will control it, and will find mercy.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 343. []
  17. ‘After you have made known to them all these words, which the Master ordered me to reveal to you, then all the sins which they have previously committed will be forgiven them. Indeed, all the saints who have sinned up to this day will be forgiven, if they repent with all their heart and drive away double-mindedness from their heart.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 343. []
  18. ‘But the fact that you have not fallen away from the living God, and your sincerity and great self-control, saves you. These things have saved you, if you remain steadfast, and they save all who practice such things and walk in innocence and sincerity.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 345. []
  19. ‘And she came with six young men, whom I had seen before, and she stood by me and listened attentively as I prayed and confessed my sins to the Lord. And she touched me and said, “Hermas, stop saying all these prayers for your sins. Ask also for righteousness, that you may take some part of it to your family.”’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 347. []
  20. ‘Look to the coming judgment. You, therefore, who have more than enough, seek out those who are hungry, until the tower is finished. For after the tower is finished, you may want to do good, but you will not have the chance.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 363. []
  21. ‘The idea of two angels advocating two opposite ways for humanity appears in various earlier texts. As David Flusser and others have shown, it was a popular theme among several groups in the late Second Temple era. Hermas, however, is unique in his unequivocal internalization of the two angels, making them an integral part of every human psyche. The shepherd’s image of two angels in the heart is markedly similar to Mishna Berakhot 9:5 that assumes the existence of two yetzarim in the heart. Indeed, in the twelfth mandate of Hermas, two desires (epiqumiai) appear instead of angels but are nonetheless described in a remarkably similar fashion.’, Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 55-6; ‘A similar duality of the soul is reflected in the rabbinic idea of the two instincts, good and evil, in man’s soul (yetser ha-ra and yetzer ha-tov). It also reappears in various early Christian texts, which all seem to show in some way or other a relationship to the Jewish and Jewish-Christian conceptions. The most representative of these texts should be at least briefly reviewed here. The Shepherd of Hermas offers the clearest parallel in Apostolic literature to the two spirits from Qumran:’, Guy G. Stroumsa and Paula Fredriksen, “Two Souls and the Divided Will,” in Self, Soul, and Body in Religious Experience (ed. Albert I. Baumgarten, Jan Assmann, and Gedaliahu A. G. Stroumsa; Brill, 1998), 203. []
  22. ‘In Christian writings, Hermas, author of the second-century C.E. Christian work The Shepherd, is the only writer to refer to yetser ha-ra as the origin of evil.’, Tatha Wiley, Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings (Paulist Press, 2002), 29. []
  23. ‘Unlike the above notions of demons as independent causal agents of maladies, Hermas tends to identify the malady or evil propensity in man with the demon. Demons, in other words, are personified vices rather than spirits that lead independent existences.’, James W. Boyd, Satan and Māra: Christian and Buddhist Symbols of Evil (Brill Archive, 1975), 50. []
  24. ‘it is too simple to interpret Hermas’ demonology as merely the personification of vices, for he also uses descriptive phrases which suggest a conception of evil spirits as independently existing beings.‘, James W. Boyd, Satan and Māra: Christian and Buddhist Symbols of Evil (Brill Archive, 1975), 50. []
  25. ‘Although Hermas can speak of demons as personified vices, he never speaks of the Devil or Satan in this manner’, James W. Boyd, Satan and Māra: Christian and Buddhist Symbols of Evil (Brill Archive, 1975), 51. []
  26. ‘It is unclear whether Hermas meant that two cosmic angels do battle within us or whether each of us has his own two personal angels, as in the theory of the yetserim. In practice, the concepts are similar.’, Jeffrey Burton Russell, Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (Cornell University Press, 1987), 43. []
  27. ‘The writings of Hermas as a whole were allegorical and the literal and figurative are often mingled. Hermas repeatedly personified the vices as spirits or demons. Sometimes these spirits seem to be taken literally as having “a personal character.” sometimes symbolically as representing a “spiritual inclination”.’, Jeffrey Burton Russell, Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (Cornell University Press, 1987), 45. []
  28. ‘Hermas’ dualism is Jewish-Christian ethical dualism: the two paths and the two angels are within us, and we have a moral choice to make between them.’, Jeffrey Burton Russell, Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (Cornell University Press, 1987), 44. []
  29. ‘The practice of speaking evil of others is a daimonion, Shepherd, Mandates 2.3. Bad temper is a ponhron pneuma, ibid. 5.1.3. Hermas writes later of the “angel [aggeloV] of luxury and deceit,” Similitudes 6.2.1. Maidens who appear to him in one vision are both good spirits, agia pneumata, and virtues, as well as “powers [dunameiV] of the Son of God,” ibid. 9.13 and 15.’, Philip Rousseau, Pachomius: The Making of a Community in Fourth-Century Egypt (University of California Press, 1999), 137. []
  30. ‘Be that as it may, The Shepherd of Hermas manifests a similar process of internalizing dualistic forces as those discussed above.’, Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 56. []
  31. ‘Regardless of how evil spirits are understood to control people, exorcism is never considered as the response. Rather, it is repentance and belief in the Lord, as well as clothing oneself with patience and standing against irascibility and bitterness – what could be called a self-applied moral or intellectual exorcism – that brings power over the devil and purification from the devil (Herm. 100.5; cf. 34. 1-8).’, Graham H. Twelftree, In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism Among Early Christians (Baker Academic, 2007), 213. []
  32. ‘What is important for the purposes of our study is to note that the Shepherd is evidence of there existing early in Christianity a way of dealing with the demonic without resorting to exorcism, as in the Synoptic tradition.’, Graham H. Twelftree, In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism Among Early Christians (Baker Academic, 2007), 214. []
  33. ‘On the other hand, the Shepherd is also evidence of an approach that, while similar to that found in the Fourth Gospel though not directly dependent on it, indicates that self-applied moral or intellectual exorcism was more widespread than evidenced from the Johannine literature.’, Graham H. Twelftree, In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism Among Early Christians (Baker Academic, 2007), 214. []
  34. ‘So, those who are strong in the faith of the Lord, having clothed themselves with the truth, do not associate with such spirits, but have nothing to do with them. But those who are double-minded and frequently change their minds practice fortune telling like the pagans and bring greater sin upon themselves by their idolatries. For the one who consults a false prophet on any matter is an idolator and lacks the truth and is senseless’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 405–407. []
  35. ‘For just as these plants were dried up when they saw the sun, so the double-minded worship idols because of their cowardice and are ashamed of the name of their Lord whenever they hear about a persecution.’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 505. []
  36. ‘The Shepherd of Hermas, for example, regularly demythologized demonological references; that is, he explicitly altered the cognitive status of stories about demons from that of referring to actual external agents of evil to that of personifications of certain vices which man himself committed.’, James W. Boyd, Satan and Māra: Christian and Buddhist Symbols of Evil (Brill Archive, 1975), 137. []
  37. ‘So also the devil comes to all God’s servants to empty [ἐκπειράζων, tempting] them. All those who are full in the faith resist him mightily, and he leaves them alone, because he finds no place where he can gain entrance. So then he comes to those who are partially empty, and finding a place he enters them, and then he does what he wants with them, and they become enslaved to him.”’, Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations (Updated ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 417; this verb, ekpeirazw, is only used in Visions 5.5.3, Mandates 5.3.6, and here in Mandates 12.5.4. []
  38. ‘It is not accident that Belial and Mastema, the main figures responsible for misleading people in Second Temple literature (along with their evil spirits), are totally absent from the rabbinic corpus.’, Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 843 []
  39. ‘The rabbis developed a sophisticated division of labor, in which external demons account for external dangers such as illness and suffering, while the (internal) yetzer accounts for human sinfulness. This dichotomy is further clarified in the next chapter, in which we discuss the appearance of “evil yetzer” in relation to cosmic demonic figures at Qumran.’, Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 843 []
  40. ‘There is evidence that portions of this rather long text circulated separately. This, together with what seemed to some scholars to be a disjoined, uneven text, has suggested to some that The Shepherd had more than one author.’, Jennifer Wright Knust, Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Columbia University Press, 2013), 135. []
  41. ‘Nevertheless, the majority of contemporary interpreters view The Shepherd as the work of a single author. Awkward transitions and disjunctures between books are usually explained by theories of multiple redactions or multiple sources. Following a survey of the arguments for multiple or single authorship, Carolyn Osiek concludes, “a theory of sequential composition in the order in which the parts are now arranged is the simplest solution.”, Jennifer Wright Knust, Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (Columbia University Press, 2013), 135; ‘But there can be little doubt that the Shepherd is composed of a number of smaller units written over a period of time.’, Harry O. Maier, The Social Setting of the Ministry as Reflected in the Writings of Hermas, Clement and Ignatius (Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2002), 56. []
  42. ‘The Shepherd of Hermas, as his work is called, seems to include some material from an earlier date, roughly from around the end of the first century.’, Kenan Osborne, Reconciliation and Justification: The Sacrament and Its Theology (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 55; ‘The dating of Hermas’ Shepherd is problematic. Traditionally it was placed towards the middle of the second century CE, given that the Muratorian Canon says that its author was the brother of Pius, bishop of Rome at that time. This dating is now almost universally challenged and modern opinion tends towards a late first century date, at least for the earlier sections of the work.’, David Ivan Rankin, From Clement to Origen: The Social and Historical Context of the Church Fathers (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006), 34. []
  43. ‘It is most likely that Hermas was written over a number of years, beginning in the opening years of the second century and coming to its final form during the episcopy of Pius (140-54).’, David Nielsen, “The Place of the Shepherd of Hermas,” in “Noncanonical” Religious Texts in Early Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. Lee Martin McDonald and James H. Charlesworth, Jewish and Christian Texts 14 (A&C Black, 2012), 169; ‘Jeffers suggest that most of the work would have been completed by the end of the first century and the remainder by 135 CE at the latest,’, David Ivan Rankin, From Clement to Origen: The Social and Historical Context of the Church Fathers (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006), 34;  ‘C. Osiek, ‘The Genre and Function of the Shepherd of Hermas’, Semeia 36 (1986): 114, suggests that visions 1-4 were written towards the end of the first century, Sim. 9 near the middle of the second and the rest of the work by the end of the third quarter of that century.’, David Ivan Rankin, From Clement to Origen: The Social and Historical Context of the Church Fathers (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006), 34-35; ‘I affirm a date ranging from the end of the first century to the middle of the second, with the Visions probably produced toward the earlier part of that date.’, Leslie Baynes, The Heavenly Book Motif in Judeo-Christian Apocalypses 200 BCE-200 CE, Supplement to the Journal of the Study of Judaism 152 (Brill, 2011), 172. []
  44. ‘What can with some assurance be reconstructed about the context of Hermas is that the final edition of the book comes from Rome or its environs as far as Campania, probably no later than the third quarter of the second century, though the composition of its earlier parts may span more than half a century previous.’, Carolyn Osiek, “The Genre and Function of the Shepherd of Hermas,” ed. Adela Yarbro Collins, Semeia 36 (1986): 117. []
  45. Hermas reaffirms the ideal that only those newly called, not the already baptized, have another chance (Man. 4.3.1–7). Previously, he had announced with heavenly authority the possibility of forgiveness for the baptized—but only once and in eschatological context (Vis. 2.2.4–5).’, Carolyn Osiek, Shepherd of Hermas: a Commentary (ed. Helmut Koester; Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999), 29. []
  46. ‘However, the material on penance, which is in Hermas’ Shepherd, reflects mid-second century church practice. Such a view is the common approach among contemporary patristic scholars.’, Kenan Osborne, Reconciliation and Justification: The Sacrament and Its Theology (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 55. []

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