Five Problems in the Interpretation of the Shepherd of Hermas Authorship, Genre, Canonicity, Apocalyptic and the Absence of the Name

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This study contains five essays concerning the Shepherd of Hermas and an introduction which spells out the author's views on the major critical issues involved in the study of this early Christian document. The first essay examines remarkable similarities in genre between the Mandates of the Shepherd and 1QS, similarities too complex to be coincidental. The second examines the canonical history of the Shepherd, which was widely accepted as a book of the New Testament in the second and third centuries, offering possible explanations for its canonical demise in the fourth and fifth centuries. The third essay offers possible explanations for the fact that, while clearly a Christian writing, the Shepherd over its entire 114 chapters never mentions the name Jesus nor the title Christ. In "The Twilight of Apocalyptic", Wilson notes the apocalyptic form of the Shepherd in comparison with its minimal apocalyptic content, and that it is a prime example of how ecclesiology took the place of apocalypticism in second century Christianity. The final essay examines the legacy of the Shepherd of Hermas for our understanding of early Christianity.

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