The Shepherd of Hermas was one of the most widely circulated early Christian texts. Contemporary estimations of the text, however, are far from praiseworthy, and many regard the Shepherd to be so imprecise and poorly written as to lend itself to heterodox interpretation, especially in regard to its Christology and the infamous parable of “The Servant and the Vineyard.” This essay will argue that this negative evaluation of the Shepherd is misguided, and that not only does this specific parable avoid heterodox implications, but that it displays a thoroughly biblical understanding of Christ as the servant-messiah sent into the world by the Father to redeem the world, as witnessed by the apostolic preaching and the authors of the New Testament. This essay will demonstrate that the Shepherd presents the reader with a coherent narrative with which to understand the basic themes of the Christ event by weaving together a creative and original parable rooted firmly in the scriptural and interpretive tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.

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