A second-century Roman author of The Shepherd, an apocalyptic work that is a call to repentance. He is included among the apostolic fathers.
The Greek original has not come down complete. Alongside relatively small papyrus fragments, mention should be made of the CODEX SINAITICUS, an Athos Codex, and a papyrus at the University of Michigan (there is a survey of the transmission of the Greek text and of the translations in the editions of M. Whittaker, 1956, pp. 9-26, and R. Joly, 1968, pp. 58 and 68). There are two complete Latin translations and one complete Ethiopic translation, portions in Coptic, and remnants in Middle Persian. The Coptic fragments were collected or first published by L.-T. Lefort (1952).
In addition, there is the Paris folio (National Library, Paris, Copte 130.2 [“Schenoudi 2”], fol. 114), recently discovered by E. Lucchesi. In particular, there are eight folios of a papyrus codex in AKHMIMIC and the remnants of two parchment manuscripts in Sahidic, which Lefort calls, respectively, A and B. B consists of just a single folio (Louvain, no. 26, burned in the library fire of 1940). The new Paris folio belongs to codex A, so that we now have fourteen folios of this manuscript of the “Shepherd of Hermas” (Lucchesi, 1981, pp. 400-404).
The Akhmimic text may have been part of a biblical manuscript. Probably the Akhmimic “Shepherd” and that of the Sahidic codex A did not include visions 1 to 4 but only began at vision 5 as an introduction to the mandata and the similitudines. This can be regarded as a support for the hypothesis that visions 1 to 4 and vision 5 to similitude 8 came into existence independently of each other. Similitudes 9 and 10 may have been added when the two books were joined. Both books and the linking of them very likely go back to the same author (Vielhauer, 1975, pp. 516f.).
- Altaner, B., and A. Stuiber. Patrologie, 8th ed., pp. 55-8. Freiburg, Basel, and Vienna, 1978.
- Joly, R. Hermas. Le Pasteur, 2nd ed. Sources chrétiennes 53. Paris, 1968.
- Lefort, L.-T. Les Pères apostoliques en Copte. CSCO 135, 136, Scriptores Coptici 17, 18. Louvain, 1952.
- Lucchesi, E. “Compléments aux pères apostoliques en Copte.” Analecta Bollandiana 99 (1981):395-408.
- Nautin, P. Dizionario patristico e di antichità cristiane I (1983):1197f.
- Quasten, J. Patrology, Vol. 1, pp. 92-105. Utrecht and Brussels, 1950.
- Vielhauer, P. Geschichte der urchristlichen Literatur, pp. 513-23. Berlin and New York, 1975.
- Whittaker, M. Der Hirt des Hermas. Griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte: Die apostolischen Väter 1. Berlin, 1956.