The Shepherd of Hermas (1st - mid 2nd century) Questions
#1
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The Shepherd of Hermas is an account by Hermas of Rome's visions from Christ in the form of a Shepherd. Origen believed that it was written under the Papacy of Clement (in c. 88-99), and it's noteworthy that the document says that it should be sent abroad by Clement because it's his duty. Paul also addresses a Hermas in Rome (Rom 16:14). On the other hand, the Muratorian Fragment says: "But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the chair of the church of the city of Rome" (ie. in 140-155 AD). The Catholic Encylopedia suggests: “Perhaps the most probable view is that the historical data in the book are fictitious; the author was really the brother of Pope Pius, and wrote during his brother's pontificate... The writer wished to be thought to belong to the preceding generation — hence the name of Clement, the most famous of earlier popes". (newadvent.org/cathen/07268b.htm) The text was widespread among early Christians and included in the Codex Sinaiticus.

Roberts' and Donaldson's translation is here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...pherd.html

(Question 1) Can you identify and distinguish "the Holy Spirit" and "the Son of God" in the passage below (Bk.III, Chp.9:1)?:
Quote:        "After I had written down the commandments and similitudes of the Shepherd, the angel of repentance, he came to me and said, I wish to explain to you what the Holy Spirit that spoke with you in the form of the Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of God. For, as you were somewhat weak in the flesh, it was not explained to you by the angel."(3.9.1)
It appears to say that the "Holy Spirit" both spoke in the form of the Church (Christ's body) and is the "Son of God" (a common name for Christ). Is this calling Christ's own Spirit a "holy Spirit" (as I take it), or calling the Holy Spirit the product or "son" of God?

Certainly, the New Testament says that Christ's "Spirit" is in the apostles (Rom. 8:9), and 2 Cor. 3 repeatedly refers to Holy Spirit or "the Spirit of the Lord" working in people, as when it says:
Quote:17. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Unam Sanctam article however takes the Shepherd of Hermas as having confused the second person of the Trinity (Christ, the Son of God, whose body is the Church) with the Third person of the Trinity. The article says:
Quote:More serious is the Shepherd's defective pneumatology. The author of the work seems uncertain of the place of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity. This is not surprising, since Trinitarian and Christological disputes occupied the greater portion of the patristic era and a solid pneumatology was not worked out until the early Middle Ages. Still, the Shepherd apparently takes a view of the Spirit that few Catholics today would be comfortable with: ["...the Holy Spirit that spoke with you in the form of the Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of God...", citing 3.9.1]

This may be a misunderstanding of 2 Cor. 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit", which has traditionally been taken to mean that Christ is present to us through the Holy Spirit, as is suggested in that very same verse where the Holy Spirit is referred to as "the Spirit of the Lord", or in a more general sense, that the Lord is God, and the Holy Spirit, being God, is also to be called Lord. Orthodox Christianity, however, does not and cannot affirm the personal identification of the Son with the Spirit. The Shepherd seems to take the language of 2 Corinthians one step too far.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/his...ermas.html

On the other hand, the Shepherd of Hermas later uses the term "holy spirits" as a common noun rather than as a name in III.9.13:
Quote:"This tower," he replied, "is the Church." "And these virgins, who are they?" "They are holy spirits, and men cannot otherwise be found in the kingdom of God unless these have put their clothing upon them: for if you receive the name only, and do not receive from them the clothing, they are of no advantage to you. For these virgins are the powers of the Son of God.
I remember reading that such ancient Greek documents did not capitalize letters. This tends to suggest that the document might not necessarily use "the holy spirit" as a proper name referring to the third Person of the Trinity, but as a common noun referring to Christ's own spirit.

(Question 2) In the passage below in Book 3, Chapter 6, the writer talks about God's Son, the holy, pre-existent spirit that created every creature, and Christ's flesh. Does the passage teach Adoptionism, or as I understand it, just refer to Jesus' Ascension to God's right hand when it says that God took him up as a councillor and assumed the flesh as the "spirit's" partner? I filled in the likely nouns with question marks behind the pronouns in the passage below. Other things in brackets are placed by the translators.
Quote:"Hear," he answered: "the Son of God is not in the form of a slave, but in great power and might." "How so, sir?" I said; "I do not understand." "Because," he answered, "God planted the vineyard, that is to say, He created the people, and gave them to His Son; and the Son appointed His angels over them to keep them; and He Himself purged away their sins, having suffered many trials and undergone many labours, for no one is able to dig without labour and toil. He Himself, then, having purged away the sins of the people, showed them the paths of life by giving them the law which He received from His Father. [You see," he said, "that He is the Lord of the people, having received all authority from His Father. ]

And why the Lord took His Son as councillor, and the glorious angels, regarding the heirship of the slave, listen. The holy, pre-existent Spirit, that created every creature, God made to dwell in flesh, which He [God?] chose. This flesh, accordingly, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, was nobly subject to that Spirit, walking religiously and chastely, in no respect defiling the Spirit; and accordingly, after living excellently and purely, and after labouring and co-operating with the Spirit, and having in everything acted vigorously and courageously along with the Holy Spirit, He[God?] assumed it[the flesh?] as a partner with it[The pre-existent holy Spirit?]. For this conduct of the flesh pleased Him, because it[the flesh?] was not defiled on the earth while having the Holy Spirit. He took, therefore, as fellow-councillors His Son and the glorious angels, in order that this flesh, which had been subject to the body without a fault, might have some place of tabernacle, and that it might not appear that the reward [of its servitude had been lost ], for the flesh that has been found without spot or defilement, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, [will receive a reward ]."
In the passage, it seems like the holy, pre-existent "Spirit" that made all creatures is actually the same as the Son's own Spirit, because the passage talks about the pre-existent spirit dwelling in Christ's "flesh", but the passage nowhere otherwise explicitly mentions that the "Son" or the "Son's Spirit" dwells in this same "flesh". The only thing dwelling or incarnated in the flesh in question that is mentioned is the holy, pre-existent "Spirit".
Note how John 1 refers to the Logos (the second Person of the Trinity) as the creator of everything that became flesh and "dwelt" among us:
Quote:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. ... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory...

Let me break down the passage in question, putting my paraphrase in parentheses, and you can tell me if you believe that I understand it correctly:
Quote:"And why the Lord took His Son as councillor, and the glorious angels, regarding the heirship of the slave, listen."
(ie. Listen why after His son's suffering God took the Son up into heaven where He sits with the angels like a councillor on God's right hand, and regarding the inheritance that people get from Christ because He was a slave.)

"The holy, pre-existent Spirit, that created every creature, God made to dwell in flesh, which He chose."
(The pre-existent Word that as John 1 said was made to dwell among us in flesh.)

"This flesh, accordingly, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, was nobly subject to that Spirit, walking religiously and chastely, in no respect defiling the Spirit; and accordingly, after living excellently and purely, and after labouring and co-operating with the Spirit, and having in everything acted vigorously and courageously along with the Holy Spirit, He assumed it as a partner with it.")
(Christ's flesh was subject to His spirit and acted righteously along with Christ's divine mission, and thus God "assumed" or "took up" this flesh as a partner with Christ's spirit. The "assumption" here is like the "Assumption" of the Virgin Mary whose body was "Assumed" up to heaven.)

"For this conduct of the flesh pleased Him, because it was not defiled on the earth while having the Holy Spirit. He took, therefore, as fellow-councillors His Son and the glorious angels, in order that this flesh, which had been subject to the body without a fault, might have some place of tabernacle..."
(The Son's flesh's conduct pleased God, and therefore Christ ascended and God took the Son and the angels as councillors on His right hand so that Christ's flesh could have a place of tabernacle.)
I think that what happened is that the scholars who thought that the document was Adoptionist didn't understand that the "pre-existent", "holy" "spirit" here is Christ's own spirit, not the Third Person of the Trinity. And they thought that the "assumption" or "taking up" referred to the moment of Adoption, rather than to the flesh's assumption up into the tabernacle of heaven.
Wikipedia's article on the Shepherd of Hermas notes the views of scholars who thought that this was Adoptionist:
Quote:In parable 5, the author mentions a Son of God, as a virtuous man filled with a Holy "pre-existent spirit" and adopted as the Son.[7] In the 2nd century, adoptionism (the view that Jesus Christ was at least initially, only a mortal man) was one of two competing doctrines about Jesus' true nature, the other being that he pre-existed as a divine spirit (Logos); ... Bogdan G. Bucur, however, notes how widely accepted the Shepherd of Hermas was among "orthodox" Christians, yet was never criticized for apparently exhibiting an adoptionistic Christology. He suggests that the passage in question should be understood as Jesus making his dwelling within those who submit to his spirit, so that the "adoption" that takes place is not of Jesus but of his followers.
Another writer lays out his view that the passage is Adoptionist this way:
Quote:The Shepherd speaks of a Son of God; but this Son of God is distinguished from Jesus. "That Holy Spirit which was created first of all, God placed in a body, in which it should dwell, in a chosen body, as it pleased him." This is Martini's translation. F. C. Conybeare renders the passage: "God made His Holy Spirit, which pre-existed and created all creation, to enter and dwell in the flesh which He approved."
...
The "flesh" is spoken of as a person who "walked as pleased God, because it was not polluted on earth." "God, therefore, took into counsel the Son and the angels in their glory, to the end that this flesh might furnish, as it were, a place of tabernacling (for the Spirit), and might not seem to have lost the reward of its service. For all flesh shall receive the reward which shall be found without stain or spot, and in it the Holy Spirit shall have its home." This passage appears to make the "tabernacling" of the Holy Spirit in Jesus a reward for the purity of his life.

(A.D. Howell-Smith, Jesus Not a Myth, pp. 120-121)

(Question 3) What do you think about the passage instructing Christians to divorce unrepentant adulterers?
In his Adult Patristic Study on the Shepherd of Hermas, Brian Fitzgerald summarizes part of the text:
Quote:Hermas then asks the Angel of Repentance whether a man should stay with a wife who professes the faith but is found in adultery. If the man is ignorant of such sin and stays with his wife, there is no sin. But should he uncover it and she does not repent but continues in her sin, he should divorce her lest he be a partaker in her sin, presumably by condoning it. Hermas then asks what such an unfortunate husband should do. The answer is that he should divorce her but remain single since to remarry in these circumstances constitutes adultery. Hermas continues his questions.

What if the wife should repent and desire to return to her husband? The angel replies that the husband commits a great sin if he does not take her back. One ought to take back the repentant sinner, albeit not often since there is only one repentance for God’s servants. This is the prime reason the husband should not remarry, to provide the sinning spouse an opportunity to repent.
...
Adultery encompasses more than sexual sin, lapsing back into paganism is adultery as well and should be treated the same way.  To continue with the lapsed spouse is to partake in the spouse’s sin.
(st-philip.net/files/Fitzgerald%20Patristic%20series/shepherd_of_hermas.pdf)
It sounds strange to demand that someone whose wife is in adultery should divorce her, since he himself is not in adultery. When the canonical gospels talk about what to do, Jesus says to stay with her (Matt.19). Isn't that a contradiction?

But OK, let's say they get divorced. That means there is no more marriage. And then let's say she marries her new lover. That means she is not in adultery with her new lover, although it's true she betrayed her old spouse. If she repents of that old betrayal, this text suggests that she should marry her ex-spouse as part of the repentance. But hasn't she already made a new, binding marriage and the old one was annulled by her ex-spouse (in violation of Matt.19)?
And do you think that it was a common teaching to divorce one's spouse if they become pagan?

(Question 4) What do you think about its claim that getting mixed up in business and heathen friendships darkens, corrupts, and dries you up?
In Book II, the Shepherd says:
Quote:Those who have never searched for the truth, nor investigated the nature of the Divinity, but have simply believed, when they devote themselves to and become mixed up with business, and wealth, and heathen friendships, and many other actions of this world, do not perceive the parables of Divinity; for their minds are darkened by these actions, and they are corrupted and become dried up. Even as beautiful vines, when they are neglected, are withered up by thorns and divers plants, so men who have believed, and have afterwards fallen away into many of those actions above mentioned, go astray in their minds, and lose all understanding in regard to righteousness; for if they hear of righteousness, their minds are occupied with their business, and they give no heed at all.

In Book III, the Fourth Similitude says:
Quote:And refrain from much business, and you will never sin: for they who are occupied with much business commit also many sins, being distracted about their affairs, and not at all serving their Lord.

The Eighth Similitude says:
Quote:And others continuing to live until the end with the heathen, and being corrupted by their vain glories, [departed from God, serving the works and deeds of the heathen. ] These were reckoned with the heathen.

Isn't the Ninth Similitude giving too severe a warning against being immersed in business?:
Quote:from the third mountain, which had thorns and thistles, they who believed are the following. There are some of them rich, and others immersed in much business. The thistles are the rich, and the thorns are they who are immersed in much business. Those, [accordingly, who are entangled in many various kinds of business, do not ] cleave to the servants of God, but wander away, being choked by their business transactions...
Such persons, accordingly, shall have difficulty in entering the kingdom of God. For as it is disagreeable to walk among thistles with naked feet, so also it is hard for such to enter the kingdom of God.

But to all these repentance, and that speedy, is open, in order that what they did not do in former times they may make up for in these days, and do some good, and they shall live unto God. But if they abide in their deeds, they shall be delivered to those women, who will put them to death.

(Question 5) Book II, Commandment 11 has a discussion on non-heathen false prophets:
Quote:no spirit given by God requires to be asked; but such a spirit having the power of Divinity speaks all things of itself, for it proceeds from above from the power of the Divine Spirit. But the spirit which is asked and speaks according to the desires of men is earthly, light, and powerless, and it is altogether silent if it is not questioned."

[Regarding a true prophet:] when asked[, the true prophet] makes no reply; nor does he speak privately, nor when man wishes the spirit to speak does the Holy Spirit speak, but it speaks only when God wishes it to speak. When, then, a man having the Divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in the Divine Spirit, and this assembly of men offers up prayer to God, then the angel of the prophetic Spirit, who is destined for him, fills the man; and the man being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks to the multitude as the Lord wishes. Thus, then, will the Spirit of Divinity become manifest.
Is it saying that there are spirit beings that go into a person and the divine ones speak freely but the nondivine one only speaks when it is asked? Does that sound right?
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#2
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To summarize the Questions:
(Q.1) In Book III, Chapter 9, it looks to me like the "Holy Spirit" is a term used for the Seocnd Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, and that "holy spirits" are used in the document as a common noun. So the problem seems like confusion due to the title/name "Holy Spirit".
In Q.2., this issue comes up because the "holy pre-existent spirit" seems to me to refer to Christ, but alot of people don't understand this identification and so they wrongly conclude that the text teaches Adoptionism when it talks about the Holy Spirit in question dwelling in the flesh.
Q.3 seems to bring up a weird issue because it seems to teach divorcing urepentant adulterers even when Christ apparently taught the opposite.
Then in Q.4 I noted that in Book III the Shepherd teaches against getting messed up in business and heathen friendships, which sounds as if the text is advocating an overly strict asceticism.
Then in Q. 5 I noted how in Book II it claimed that nondivine spirits only speak when asked, but this doesn't sound realistic. It seems more like a nondivine spirit could speak whether it is asked to or not.

So while I can guess how I might address the questions, it would be nice if you shared your own perspectives about them.
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#3
I shared my theory about Questions 1 and 2 on the Catholic "Suscipe Domine" forum and with an Orthodox acquaintance on the Monachos forum and they confirmed my view. The term "holy spirits" is used in the document as a common noun, rather than a proper name, and in one passage he explains that the "Holy Spirit"/"holy Spirit" is the Son of God, meaning that the term in the Document refers to the 2nd Person of the Trinity (Christ). The terms are confusing because Greek in this time period didn't have capitals vs lowercase- all letters were in upper case, so when the document calls Christ's personal spirit the holy "Spirit", the term didn't necessarily mean "The Holy Spirit" as we usually use the term today in capitals.
Elsewhere, in Book II, Commandment 11, the author spoke of the prophets' inspiration in different terms, saying:
Quote:When, then, a man having the Divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in the Divine Spirit, and this assembly of men offers up prayer to God, then the angel of the prophetic Spirit, who is destined for him, fills the man; and the man being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks to the multitude as the Lord wishes.
It appears that this is the way that the writer refers to the Holy Spirit (2nd Person of the Trinity). Naturally, the "angel of the prophetic Spirit" is different than Christ, as Christ is different than an angel (although some writings could simplistically or mistakenly or broadly confuse Him with one. The stories in Genesis referring to God as an "angel", like the time when Jacob wrestled with God in the form of an "angel" come to mind.)
And so in contrast to his description of The Holy Spirit (2nd Person of the Trinity) above, when the writer previously talks about the holy pre-existent "Spirit" that created the world as dwelling in flesh, he is actually using the term holy Spirit, as he defined it later, as being the Son of God. One reason for this is that Christ is called the "Pantocrator" in Christianity, ie. the Creator of all, and because the beginning of John's gospel speaks similarly of Christ as the Logos that dwells in the flesh.
So I feel that I cleared up Questions 1 and 2.
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#4
After researching Question 3, (about the passage instructing Christians to divorce unrepentant adulterers) I think that I've found the answers to that too.
First, it goes beyond and in part contradicts Matthew 19:9, in which Jesus only allows one to divorce for adultery and doesn't discuss persistent adultery, and considers the husband who divorced for adultery not to be in adultery himself. In Mandate IV,1,  the Shepherd goes beyond the gospel's directions and requires the husband to divorce his wife if she commits adultery. On top of that, according to the Shepherd, if either the husband or the wife would remarry, the one who remarried would find themselves in adultery.
Second, as to the question if "it was a common teaching to divorce one's spouse if they become pagan?" The Shepherd it seems isn't actually saying to divorce, but only to live apart if the spouse acts like a heathen, because he adds as justification for his instructions the words "for in such cases repentance is possible."

Regarding the part about Pagan Friendships in Question 4, in Book II, the Shepherd is talking about people "who have never searched for the truth, nor investigated the nature of the Divinity, but have simply believed" but then become mixed up in pagan friendships. Such people, he reasons, don't understand the divine parables because they have not really looked into the ideas of the faith and are immersed in friendships with pagans who don't believe the Christian teachings. Their close pagan friends, combined with their lack of studying the teachings keep them from understanding the parables and their minds are darkened and they dry up spiritually. I think that this is logical as a generalization or major tendency from a Christian POV.
Then in the Eighth Similitude, Chapter IX, the Shepherd is only talking about those who live among pagans and get rich, become arrogant, and abandon the faith, not about everyone who lives among pagans. Here is Lake's translation:
Quote: 1. And those who gave up their sticks two-thirds dry, and one-third green, these are they who were faithful, but became rich and in honour among the heathen ; then they put on great haughtiness and became high-minded, and abandoned the truth, and did not cleave to the righteous, but lived together with the heathen, and this way pleased them better. But they were not apostates from God, but remained in the faith, without doing the works of the faith.
2. Many, then, of them repented, and their dwelling was in the tower.
3. But others lived to the end with the heathen, and were corrupted by the vainglory of the heathen, and were apostates from God, and did the deeds of the heathen. These were reckoned with the heathen.
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