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Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire)

[A.D. 160.] THE fragment known as the “Muratorian Canon” is the historic ground for the date I give to this author.1 I desired to prefix The Shepherd to the writings of Irenæus, but the limits of the volume would not permit. The Shepherd attracted my attention, even in early youth, as a specimen of primitive romance; but of course it disappointed me, and excited repugnance. As to its form, it is even now distasteful. But more and more, as I have studied it, and cleared up the difficulties which surround it, and the questions it has started, it has become to me a most interesting and suggestive relic of the primitive age. Dr. Bunsen2 calls it “a good but dull novel,” and reminds us of a saying of Niebuhr (Bunsen’s master), that “he pitied the Athenian3 Christians for being obliged to hear it read in their assemblies.” A very natural, but a truly superficial, thought, as I trust I shall be able to show.

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