The Shepherd Of Hermas Is A Dull Novel

Dr. Bunsen calls it “a good but dull novel,” and reminds us of a saying of Niebuhr (Bunsen’s master), that “he pitied the Athenian3 Christians for being obliged to hear it read in their assemblies.”

—F. Crombie, “Introductory Note to the Pastor of Hermas,” in Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 2.3. (HT: Jessica Ferrell)

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  1. I own the Loeb Classical Library’s edition of the Apostolic Fathers (the Ehrman edition, alas: the one edited by Kirsopp Lake that we had in my seminary library was better), and have actually tried to read the Shepherd of Hermas. I agree that it wasn’t exactly a page turner.

  2. I skimmed through it and cannot believe that any of the church fathers who associated it with one of the apostle Paul’s associates could possibly have even glanced at it!

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