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The Sins of Hermas

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Chapter Summary

The immediate background for this Christian demand in the first century is represented in the admonition of Ben Sira: "My child, have you sinned? Sin so longer, and offer petition for your previous sins". Paul habitually addressed the Christian believers throughout his correspondence as "saints" or "holy persons". When we come to the generation of Hermas of Rome we find the Christian literature sprinkled with similar phrases. A lack of domestic responsibility is not found among the sins commonly listed in the generation of Hermas. A sin is indicated by the transfer of God's imputed anger from the sin of evil desire to the sin of domestic negligence. Hermas is concerned about the sinless life here and now. Hermas sees remission of sin as dependent upon the Christian's conduct and attitude within society. Hermas personally is less sinful and more brilliant than critics have been wont to see.

Keywords: Christian literature; domestic intelligence; evil desire; God; Hermas; holy persons; Paul; saints; sins

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