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On Roman ReligionLived Religion and the Individual in Ancient Rome$
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Jörg Rüpke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704703

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704703.001.0001

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Instructing Literary Practice in The Shepherd of Hermas

Instructing Literary Practice in The Shepherd of Hermas

(p.139) 8 Instructing Literary Practice in The Shepherd of Hermas
On Roman Religion

Jörg Rüpke

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores an early second-century text: The Shepherd of Hermas. This text was part of the Codex Sinaiticus, the fundamental Bible manuscript of the fourth century with the siglum Aleph. In its biographical dimension, the text describes a religious practice. It formulates the mode of its reception through multiple references to distribution and writing. Writing the text is therefore described as part of the religious practice of the narrator and protagonist called “Hermas.” This is not about a unique action. The text may in fact, in its different layers, reflect the work of several years and multiple attempts to convey the visionary insights, primarily, in the additions and corrections necessitated by the author's patron. The resulting text invited its audience to engage in individual religious practice and offered itself for appropriation by any of those in situations that are not described as entirely hopeless.

Keywords:   The Shepherd of Hermas, Codex Sinaiticus, Aleph, religious practice, writing

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