Christians in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The work comprises five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables. It relies on allegory shepherd of hermas text pdf pays special attention to the Church, calling the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed it.

Of the Greek version the last fifth or so is missing. It commences abruptly in the first person: “He who brought me up sold me to a certain Rhoda, who was at Rome. After many years I met her again, and began to love her as a sister. He was to pray for forgiveness for himself and all his house.

He is consoled by a vision of the Church in the form of an aged woman, weak and helpless from the sins of the faithful, who tells him to do penance and to correct the sins of his children. In the second vision she gives Hermas a book, which she afterwards takes back in order to add to it. The fifth vision, which is represented as taking place 20 days after the fourth, introduces “the Angel of repentance” in the guise of a shepherd, from whom the whole work takes its name. The tower is the Church, and the stones of which it is built are the faithful. In spite of the grave subjects, the book is written in a very optimistic and hopeful tone, like most early Christian works.