Hello again, beloved brethren, I hope you’re week as been a pleasant one so far! Today I want to return to the 2nd century in our book reviews with The Shepherd of Hermas. This book can most accurately be compared to an early church version of The Pilgrims Progress. The entire book is an allegorical tale of a man saved by the grace of God, and attempting to live a Godly life. It was popular with the early church, quite a bit life Pilgrims Progress was for so long. Similarly, I imagine as the comparisons no longer connected with generations the book ceased being as popular, like we sadly see today with Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress.
The books structure is really interesting, and certainly set it apart from all the other 2nd century writings I’ve read. There are three sections, the first being visions, the second mandated, and the last parables. Thankfully the main character, Hermas, is just as confused by everything he sees as the reader is reading it, so he asks many questions about all the symbolism seen. This helps the plot continue, and has a bit of a comical bent to it, though I’m not sure it was supposed to.
Although we’re not sure who wrote this book, many believe it was a man named Hermas. Whoever it was, he did a wonderfully imaginative job of depicting the Christian life, the church, and Christ’s love for His church. I think this book is great for anyone studying the early church, or anyone who loves allegories. I was really encouraged by the books theme of taking sin seriously, something our world is desperately lacking. Being that it’s so very old it’s in the public domain which means you can read the pdf for free here, listen to the audio book here, purchase the cheap kindle book here, or get your own copy of it here. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!