Patristic reception and apocalyptic character : the Shepherd of Hermas as authoritative book in early Christianity
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This MPhil thesis is an enquiry into the reception history of the Shepherd of Hermas, aiming to a better understanding of the earliest circulation of the Shepherd as authoritative text in early Christianity. Specifically, it hypothesizes and tries to document the perhaps obvious but nevertheless understudied link between the alleged scriptural status of the Shepherd with some early Patristic authors and its apocalyptic character. To that end, this thesis gathers an investigation of how its apparent scriptural character during Antiquity was dealt with in the recent bibliography on the New Testament canon, an analysis of Hermas’ earliest Patristic reception (by the means of a thorough assessment of Irenaeus of Lyon and Clement of Alexandria), and a reconsideration of its apocalyptic character, as the possible source of its authority. Overall, this research is proposed as shedding light on our understanding of how and why Hermas was authoritative in the earliest Christian centuries, which in turn would be relevant for the larger question of the circulation of authoritative texts in early Christianity. In particular, this research opens new ways for better addressing questions pertaining to the circulation and authority of early Christian non-NT works in Late Antiquity.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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