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If you are interested in the Church and Early Christianity then this book is really a must have. There is an active table of contents here, but I should point out that for some reason the publishers have formatted this in grey, rather than black type.

First written some time in the First or Second Century A.D. (C.E), we only know a few things about this work. No one can say for sure who wrote it, although we do know that it was originally written in Greek, and then in Latin. This does appear in the Codex Sinaiticus and was very popular for a few centuries, with it being read aloud by even the clergy in church. An allegorical series of visions, mandates and parables this is of interest to laymen as well as scholars as it tells how to live rightly, in a Christian way.

This short book hasn't been without controversy over the years, and is non-Canonical and thus not in the Bible, but even so it is still worth giving it a read for those interested. With the advent of the Kindle and anyone being able to publish their own works there has been an increase in religious thought, texts and expressions, but probably nothing quite so elegant as this work.
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on 3 June 2016
A really grim piece of work. Thank God it didn't make it into the Bible. I'm giving it two stars for the personifications of the Church as an old woman who grows younger as the 'story' (sermon) progresses.

These are the reasons for my criticism:

1. The dogmatic attitude of the writer. How many times does he (presumably a he) have to say that self-discipline will be a kind of saving grace? Isn’t there more to it all than that?

2. The spirits entering into a person. According to this piece of work, every human being is at the mercy of fickle powers. Maybe this is true - but is it really how it is portrayed here? Is anger always a spirit?

3. At one point the supposed powers that be intone that humans are simply overreacting to things (to paraphrase) ‘that amount to nothing’ - for instance some words that have been said of them. Except, these great and righteous powers then go on to over-react to every question asked of them by the narrator. They come across as fickle tyrants.

4. The narrator. I don't care that the narrator doesn't seem to grow or change as the book progresses. That he is called 'simple', That he is an archetypal naïf. What I care about is his unendurable sycophancy to the powers that be. Supposedly Christ speaks at some point. Supposedly.

5. You will leave this book feeling worse than when you began. Okay, espouse repentance. Fine. But don't drone on and on about anyone 'despising these words' being somehow horribly damned. What a pile of pants.

6. The whole tone of the writing. You will leave this book feeling brow-beaten and worse about yourself, worrying about all kinds of things. Where is the comfort? Where is the healing? Where is the encouragement?

There are only two good things about this work:

1. The personifications.
2. The ancient idea that everyone has a guardian angel and a ‘guardian’ demon.

But the rest is truly a test of self-control for any reader.
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on 23 April 2013
Just what I wanted and downloaded very quickly and easily. It helped me with some research that I needed and I will use it many times.
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on 12 May 2014
This nook was part of the early churches canon. If you are studying church history it is a must have.
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on 13 May 2015
Very nice read love history
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on 27 March 2016
Provides a good text for one of the early writings of the church that did not quite make it into the canon.
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