Reception of Shephard of Hermas

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davidmartin
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by davidmartin » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:26 am

I considered that option for a long time, but a closer look at the parable of the vineyard has convinced me otherwise. The version of the parable in the Shepherd is manifestly a mishmash of parables from the canonical gospels, especially Matthew. I mean, this one is not even a close call; it is obvious once the parallels are consulted. It is certainly possible, even probable, that the versions of the texts the Shepherd drew upon are not quite what we have in hand today, but the Shepherd drew on something like the gospel of Matthew, or at least on something which contained a number of Matthew's parables written with Matthew's now distinct wording.

Obviously, one might propose that the parable of the vineyard is a late entry into the text of the Shepherd and that earlier layers lacked this kind of connection with the gospels. But the extant version of the Shepherd depends upon something similar to the Gospel of Matthew
The last versions of the Shephard being influenced by the gospels wouldn't be that unexpected
Instead of making the question - does the Shephard predate the gospels a better question might be - does it present an earlier form of Roman Christianity that that of the (proto) orthodox church later?
I think it's easier to say that it does and the layers in the Shephard account for the gospel connections plus the distinct possibility of non-canonical writings and parable collections influencing it too throughout it's history
The significance of dating the Shephard earlier is the doctrine found in it is one of the early Christianities, that based in Rome - presumably a focal point for evangelization - which shows many differences to the universal doctrine of the mid 2nd century
I'm sure it represents only one stream but it's a big one
So what i'm suggesting is it's a overwhelmingly vital and essential text witness to Christianity's development - it's uniqueness can't be blunted by assimilating to known later beliefs but these instead be emphasised and accounted for individually. That's how I see it. I'm unaware of the latest scholarship that might well have addressed all this and proposed good answers!

rgprice
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by rgprice » Fri Feb 19, 2021 5:43 am

davidmartin wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:26 am
The last versions of the Shephard being influenced by the gospels wouldn't be that unexpected
Instead of making the question - does the Shephard predate the gospels a better question might be - does it present an earlier form of Roman Christianity that that of the (proto) orthodox church later?
I think it's easier to say that it does and the layers in the Shephard account for the gospel connections plus the distinct possibility of non-canonical writings and parable collections influencing it too throughout it's history
The significance of dating the Shephard earlier is the doctrine found in it is one of the early Christianities, that based in Rome - presumably a focal point for evangelization - which shows many differences to the universal doctrine of the mid 2nd century
I'm sure it represents only one stream but it's a big one
So what i'm suggesting is it's a overwhelmingly vital and essential text witness to Christianity's development - it's uniqueness can't be blunted by assimilating to known later beliefs but these instead be emphasised and accounted for individually. That's how I see it. I'm unaware of the latest scholarship that might well have addressed all this and proposed good answers!
Yeah, I agree with this. As I said in the prior post, given that its a work that was clearly revised over time, it may not be prudent to assume that a single post-Gospel reference post-dates the entire genre.

I'm also intrigued by the similarities with Ephesians/Laodiceans, which could show an influence of the Shephard on the epistle.

If Marcion went to Rome around 140, and when he got there he "found" some form of Christianity that are significantly different from his own. The question becomes, what was the Christianity that he found? What did Romans call Christianity? We have virtually no record of Roman Christianity prior to 140. The only potential thing is 1 Clement. But other than that one supposed letter, we really don't have much to go on. Almost everything else is retrospective projection onto some hypothetical Roman early Christianity.

I find the Shephard's references to the Sibyl intriguing, because that connects to the Fourth Eclogue and the Jewish Sibylline Oracles, which of course fit perfectly into a Roman context. So I can certainly envision a form of "Roman Christianity" that is rooted in Jewish Sibylline traditions.

I could see something like Marcion comes to Rome and starts talking about Paul and Jesus, who is an incarnation of the true God, who was crucified by the Jewish God in an effort to stop his revelation of the secret that the Jewish Creator God is an evil enslaver of humankind, and the Romans freaking out, like WTF are you talking about!?

My view is that the big issue for the Roman Christians was defending monotheism. Jesus wasn't that important, what was important was showing that there is only one God, which is the Creator God. Thus, they worked from Marcion's own scriptures to show that even according to his own scriptures there is only one God. By showing that Marcion's Jesus was predicted by the Jewish prophets, they "proved" that Jesus was sent by the Creator, thus there was only one God and monotheism was safe.

Hence we get Matthew, with its focus on Jesus fulfilling prophecy.

But we still have to account for, what pre-Marcionite Roman Christianity looked like, and I agree with you. It seems that the Shephard offers the best possible model for what that might have been.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 19, 2021 5:57 am

rgprice wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:41 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:53 pm
rgprice wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:46 pm
I'm inclined to think that the Shephard predates any Gospels. I think this was part of the basis of Roman Christianity prior to Marcion, and it wasn't until Marcion that attention started to get paid to Gospels.
I considered that option for a long time, but a closer look at the parable of the vineyard has convinced me otherwise. The version of the parable in the Shepherd is manifestly a mishmash of parables from the canonical gospels, especially Matthew. I mean, this one is not even a close call; it is obvious once the parallels are consulted. It is certainly possible, even probable, that the versions of the texts the Shepherd drew upon are not quite what we have in hand today, but the Shepherd drew on something like the gospel of Matthew, or at least on something which contained a number of Matthew's parables written with Matthew's now distinct wording.

Obviously, one might propose that the parable of the vineyard is a late entry into the text of the Shepherd and that earlier layers lacked this kind of connection with the gospels. But the extant version of the Shepherd depends upon something similar to the Gospel of Matthew.
Certainly a valid conclusion, however.... Given that Hermas may have been built in multiple layers over time, is it still not possible that some version of Hermas exited prior to the writing of that parable and the vineyard is a later revision/addition?
As I said.

rgprice
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by rgprice » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:37 am

Yeah Ben, I didn't mean to imply you hadn't suggested that. I often have to cut my posts short without final editing with other stuff going on :p

Anyway, the main thing I'm trying to figure out is how people interpreted the Shephard in the second and third century. Was it taken literally or allegorically? Of course it was likely interpreted differently by different people, just as even the Jewish scriptures were. But what's most important, do we have record of anyone interpreting it allegorically?

I would think that it was likely received in much the same way as Sibylline literature. And of course we don't even fully understand how that was interpreted either. But Sibylline literature was deemed prophetic, whereas the Shephard seems more instructional than prophetic.

Also, what relation might there be between the Shephard and the Revelation of John. Both works have many similarities it seems to me, and both were likely constructed in multiple layers over time.

When I conceive of non-Pauline Christianity, the Shephard and Revelation come to mind as possible models of what that may have looked like. Revelation seems to me like something that may represent pre-Gospel non-Pauline Christianity, but looks like it was also revised or added to in light of the Gospels and Marcionism.

This looks interesting, but it's out yet and is expensive, and I'm sure will be hard to get from a library for while: https://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-Hermas- ... 567697916/

Anyone have familiarity with the Hermeneia on the Shephard?

davidmartin
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by davidmartin » Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:18 am

I saw someone claim Revelation's Jesus is more like an avenging angel and the text of Revelation sometimes gets confused over the angel and Jesus. So the main source comes from some other writing that's maybe not even Christian then it pulls in stuff from Christian sources and kind of blends it all together to present the author's own concept of Christianity and promote it, which looks more like a kind of Ebionite stance i recon where in the original it is Jesus who says "do not worship me". The letters of Revelation looks back to the existing churches already around for generation or two so i don't recon its that early or pre-gospel more like a pastiche of ideas and sources promoting the authors own authority via the apostle's nameplate, probably Cerinthus - he and his ideas got kicked out, but they liked his revelation! (Poetic license mode engaged don't take this 100% seriously, I don't!)

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Jax
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by Jax » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:25 am

rgprice wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:41 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:53 pm
rgprice wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:46 pm
I'm inclined to think that the Shephard predates any Gospels. I think this was part of the basis of Roman Christianity prior to Marcion, and it wasn't until Marcion that attention started to get paid to Gospels.
I considered that option for a long time, but a closer look at the parable of the vineyard has convinced me otherwise. The version of the parable in the Shepherd is manifestly a mishmash of parables from the canonical gospels, especially Matthew. I mean, this one is not even a close call; it is obvious once the parallels are consulted. It is certainly possible, even probable, that the versions of the texts the Shepherd drew upon are not quite what we have in hand today, but the Shepherd drew on something like the gospel of Matthew, or at least on something which contained a number of Matthew's parables written with Matthew's now distinct wording.

Obviously, one might propose that the parable of the vineyard is a late entry into the text of the Shepherd and that earlier layers lacked this kind of connection with the gospels. But the extant version of the Shepherd depends upon something similar to the Gospel of Matthew.
Certainly a valid conclusion, however.... Given that Hermas may have been built in multiple layers over time, is it still not possible that some version of Hermas exited prior to the writing of that parable and the vineyard is a later revision/addition?

Also, regarding parallels with Ephesians, let's also consider the possibility that the relationship goes the other way, with Ephesians having been influenced by the Shephard.
Just out of curiosity, if the Shepherd of Hermas was built of multiple layers over time, how do you view those possible layers?

How would they be structured and how would those structures align with the other material of the NT?

Thank you.

Lane

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:30 pm

Jax wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:25 am
Just out of curiosity, if the Shepherd of Hermas was built of multiple layers over time, how do you view those possible layers?

How would they be structured and how would those structures align with the other material of the NT?
To jump in and respond strictly for myself, those layers would be structured so as to best support whatever pet theory of mine I'm currently working on, of course. ;)

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Jax
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by Jax » Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:33 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:30 pm
Jax wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:25 am
Just out of curiosity, if the Shepherd of Hermas was built of multiple layers over time, how do you view those possible layers?

How would they be structured and how would those structures align with the other material of the NT?
To jump in and respond strictly for myself, those layers would be structured so as to best support whatever pet theory of mine I'm currently working on, of course. ;)
:lol:

rgprice
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by rgprice » Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:53 pm

Ben is of course correct, but I'd start with the assumption on Shephard that the older material is appended to the end. From what I understand, the writer is believed to have kept coming out with additional material due to popularity.

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Jax
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Re: Reception of Shephard of Hermas

Post by Jax » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:28 am

rgprice wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:53 pm
Ben is of course correct, but I'd start with the assumption on Shephard that the older material is appended to the end. From what I understand, the writer is believed to have kept coming out with additional material due to popularity.
Can you point me to some links or arguments for this?

Thanks

Lane

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