Home  »  Volume V: May  »  St. Hermas

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

May 9

St. Hermas

HE was a Christian of distinction in Rome, whom St. Paul salutes. 1 Origen believes him to have been the author of the book entitled Pastor, and certain modern writers fall in with this conjecture. But that seems rather to have been the work of a later Hermas. Some, indeed, with Tillemont, Ceillier, &c. conclude from the contents, that it was compiled before the persecution of Domitian in 95: but Du Guet, 2 and others think it was only written about the year 142, against the Montanists and their false prophets. It is quoted by St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Eusebius, St. Jerom, &c. It is divided into three books; the first contains revelations; the second precepts; and the third similitudes, which resemble the revelations of the first. The author entitles his work Pastor, or the Shepherd, from the angel his monitor, who assumed the appearance of a shepherd, and whose dictates he professes to write. He assigns to every one not only an angel guardian, but also a devil who is his tempter; he recommends prayers, alms-deeds, and other good works on fast days: mentions a state of continency with approbation; says that penance, which is followed by frequent relapses, is generally fruitless. Bishop Wake published an English translation of this work, together with the epistles of St. Clemens, St. Barnabas, St. Ignatius, and St. Polycarp, in 1693, and republished the same in 1710.  1
Note 1. Rom. xvi. 14. [back]
Note 2. Diss. 1. [back]