Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism

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The Ophites, also called “Ophians”, are a group of Gnostic Christians [→ Gnosticism] discussed by several of the church fathers, so named because they honored the “snake” or “serpent” (Greek ophis) as a revealer of saving gnosis. Another group of Gnostics has a similar basis for their name, → “Naassenes”, based on the Hebrew word nahash (“snake, serpent”). “Ophians” are associated with other heretics called “Cainites” by → Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis VIII, 17) and Hippolytus (Refutatio VIII, 20), but those writers provide no discussion of the sect's teachings. The…

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Pearson, Birger A., “Ophites”, in: Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism. Consulted online on 29 March 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1873-8338_dgwe_DGWE_268>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004141872, 20061031

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