The Shepherd of Hermas and the Pauline Legacy


In The Shepherd of Hermas and the Pauline Legacy, Jonathan E. Soyars traces the influence of Pauline literary traditions upon one of the most widely attested and influential apocalyptic texts from early Christianity. Scholarship largely considers Hermas to have known very little about Pauline letters, but by looking beyond verbatim quotations Soyars discovers extensive evidence of his adoption, adaptation, and synthesis of identifiable Pauline material in the Visions, Mandates, and Similitudes sections. Hermas emerges as a Pauline interpreter who creatively engages topics and themes developed within and across the Pauline letters through time. These results reconnect the Shepherd with early Paulinism and extend reconstructions of the sphere of Pauline influence in the second century C.E.

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Jonathan E. Soyars, Ph.D. (2017), University of Chicago, is Tutor in New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at Westminster College, Cambridge.
"For those seeking to find positive arguments for the reception of the Pauline tradition in the second century this will remain an important study that offers many possible points of contact between the Pauline tradition and the Shepherd of Hermas." - Paul Foster, University of Edinburgh, in: Expository Times 131 (8), 2020
"Soyars's book has opened up fresh ground to explore the Shepherd of Hermas and its relationship with Paul (…) Students and researchers of the Apolostic Fathers and Pauline reception will want to read this book." - H. H. Drake Williams III, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, in: Review of Biblical Literature>, December 2020
"This study is clearly written and well argued. It represents the most sustained treatment of the possible influence of th pauline corpus on the author of the Shepherd of Hermas. This will become the standard treatment of that question arguing for a positive and maximalist view of dependence." - Paul Foster, in: Journal for the Study of the New Testament 42:5, 2020
"Did the author of the Shepherd of Hermas read the Pauline letters? This question has haunted Hermas scholarship for decades. Most interpreters would say no. Hermas has his own distinctive project, vocabulary, and discourse, often very different from other early Christian texts, and there are too few quotations or clear intertextual references to Paul or other NT texts to make a determination. In this new book, Jonathan E. Soyars gives a nuanced and creative answer to the question (...) I genuinely appreciate the way this book is imaginative and tries out different possibilities that could have taken place in the given sociocultural context. S. successfully integrates the role of books and literacy in the analyses. (...) I hope that these perspectives will be integrated in the further discussion of Hermas and Paul, thanks to S.’s book." - Marianne Bjelland Kartzow, University of Oslo, in: The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 83, 2021
"This is a thoughtful and provocative book. With commendable rigour and with striking knowledge of the history of scholarship, Soyars makes as good a case as this reviewer has seen for Hermas’s knowledge of Paul." - James Carleton Paget, in: Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 72, 2021
List of Abbreviations

1 The Possibility of Encounter with the Pauline Legacy
 1 Introduction
 2 Dating the Composition of the Shepherd
 3 Dating the Collection(s) of Pauline Letters
 4 Imagining Hermas Encountering Pauline Letters
 5 Conclusion

2 The Probability of Encounter with the Pauline Legacy
 1 Introduction
 2 Ancient and Early Modern Connections between the Shepherd and Pauline Letters
 3 Pauline Connections Discounted in the Modern Period
 4 Reading Strategy
 5 Conclusion

3 The Mandates and the Pauline Legacy
 1 Introduction
 2 Living to God (ζῆν τῷ θεῷ, Mand. 1.2 et passim)
 3 Marital Sexual Ethics (Mand. 4.1 [29], 4.4 [32])
 4 Grieving the Deposited Holy Spirit (Mand. 3 [28], 5 [33], 10.1–3 [40.1–3])
 5 The (Im)Possibility of Second Repentance (Mand. 4.3.1–2 [31.1–2])
 6 Proper Prophecy in the Community (Mand. 11 [43])
 7 Clothing Metaphors (Mand. 1.2 [26.2] et passim)
 8 Arming Oneself for Resistance (Mand. 12.2.4–5 [45.4–5])
 9 Conclusion

4 The Similitudes and the Pauline Legacy
 1 Introduction
 2 Residents in a Foreign City (Sim. 1 [50])
 3 The Salvific Activity of the Son of God (Sim. 5.2–7 [55–60])
 4 The Tower, the Constructed Church (Sim. 9 [78–110])
 5 Conclusion

5 The Visions and the Pauline Legacy
 1 Introduction
 2 Baptism and Saving, Protecting Faith in the Lord (Vis. 3.3.5 [11.5] et passim)
 3 Turning Away from the Living God (Vis. 2.3.2 [7.2], 3.7.2 [15.2])
 4 Hermas’s Unfaithful Family (Vis. 1.3 [3], 2.2–3 [6–7])
 5 A Community Divided (Vis. 3.9 [17])
 6 Conclusion

Conclusion: Hermas, a Pauline Interpreter

Appendix: The Conceptual Coherence of the Shepherd with Pauline Letters
 1 Overview
 2 God in the Shepherd and Pauline Letters
 3 The Christian Person in the Shepherd and Pauline Letters
 4 Christian Community in the Shepherd and Pauline Letters
 5 Summary
All interested in second-century Christianity, and those curious about the Shepherd of Hermas and the reception of Pauline literary traditions in apocalyptic texts.