This fasting...is very good, provided the commandments of the Lord
be observed...First of all, be on your guard against every evil word,
and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of
this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect.'
- The Shepherd of Hermas
The Shepherd of Hermas (Greek: Ποιμὴν τοῦ Ἑρμᾶ, Poimēn tou Herma; sometimes just called The Shepherd) is a Christian literary work of the late first half of the second century,
considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd was very popular amongst Christians
in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It is part of the Codex Sinaiticus, and it is listed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus.
The work comprises five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables. It relies on allegory and pays special attention to the Church, calling the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed it.
The book was originally written in Rome, in the Greek language, but a first Latin translation, the Vulgata, was made very shortly afterwards. A second Latin translation, the Palatina, was made at the beginning of the fifth century. Of the Greek version, the last fifth or so is missing.