Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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Serpent
(328 words)

In both space and time the serpent has been a widely distributed symbol and even today figures as such in dreams and movies. The serpent is both sinister and dangerous yet also beautiful and mysterious. We find this ambivalence in all religions. The serpent is a symbol (§1) of the world of the dead, the underworld, and chaos, yet on account of its regular marking it also represents new life and immortality. It is also a phallic symbol. It often lives in water. Related to it is the dragon that lives in water or that breathes out fire. It gives wisdom and power but also is cunning and malicious.

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Cite this page
Schnitker, Thaddeus A., “Serpent”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 06 April 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_S.55>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512



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