The '''Shepherd of Hermas''' is a text from the very early Christian church of the second century, during the period in which the [[New Testament]] was being [[
Canon (Bible)|canonized]]. A popular text during the second and third centuries, the ''Shepherd'' was considered scriptural by many of the theologians of the time. It is written as a call to repentance and adherence to a strict moralistic life.
In the ''Shepherd'' Hermas speaks of his life and the development of Christian virtues as he relates his life as a freed Christian slave. The teaching point of the book is thus ethical, not theological. The work is divided into three main sections. The first section describes five visions; the second section presents 12 mandates; and the last section presents ten parables, sometimes referred to as similitudes.
Hermas begins the book relating his being sold to a certain Rhoda, who later frees him, and whom he meets again. In his travels Hermas sees her again in a vision in which she relates his need to pray for forgiveness for an unchaste thought that he had had. In his vision, Hermas is aided by an aged woman who tells him to do penance and correct the sins of his children. In a later vision, an [[angel]] of [[repentance]] appears in the guise of a shepherd who delivers to Hermas the precepts, or mandates, that in that form present the development of early Christian [[ethics]]. The mandates, or similitudes, follow also in the form of visions that are explained by the angelic shepherd.
Throughout the book Hermas presents himself as a simple person who is genuinely pious and conscientious.
[[el:Ποιμήν του Ερμά]]