Bible Review 10:5, October 1994

The Shepherd of Hermas

An early tale that almost made it into the New Testament

By Carolyn Osiek

The Shepherd of Hermas was one of the most popular Christian texts in the first centuries of the church. True, it did not make the final cut; that is, it was not included in the New Testament.a But it was considered canonical by the influential second-century church father Irenaeus. Tertullian, another prominent church father of the next generation, considered it scripture until his own theology changed and he disagreed with it. The great third-century theologian and compiler of the Hexapla,b Origen, highly revered it, as did many other Christian leaders.

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