Ophites

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Fomalhaut
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Ophites

Postby Fomalhaut » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:05 pm

I recognised there has not been any topic about Gnostic Sect Ophites.
Collective name for several Gnostic sects which regarded the serpent (Greek, ὄφις; Hebrew, "naḥash"; hence called also Naasseni) as the image of creative wisdom. Such sects existed within Judaism probably even before the rise of Christianity; and as there were Ophites who rejected the Gospels it would be proper to make a distinction between Jewish, Christian, and anti-Christian Ophites were not the sources, which are all post-Christian, too confused to admit of even approximately positive discriminations.

Irenæus, who, toward the end of the second century, wrote a history of heresy, did not know the Gnostics under the name of "Ophites"; but Clement ("Stromata," vii. 17, § 108) mentions beside the "Cainists" (see Cain) the "Ophians" (Οφιανοί), saying that their name is derived from the object of their worship. Philaster, an author of the fourth century, places the Ophites, the Cainites, and the Sethites at the head of all heresies (ch. 1-3), because he holds that they owed their origin to the serpent (the devil). The Ophites, Cainites, Sethites, Naasseni, etc., declared the serpent of paradise to be wisdom itself (σοφία), since wisdom had come to the earth through the knowledge of good and evil which the serpent had brought. Hence they exalted Cain and Seth, who they held were endowed with this knowledge, as the heroes of the human race; other Gnostics regarded Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and even the traitor Judas, as tools of Sophia; whereas Jacob and Moses, for instance, who were the instruments of the Creator (Demiurgus), were regarded as being inferior (Irenæus, "Against Heresies," i. 31, § 2). All Ophistic circles believed in a demonic hebdomad (i.e., seven spirits under the dominion of the serpent) side by side with the holy hebdomad under Jaldabaoth. The last-mentioned is the son of fallen wisdom ("yalda bahut" = "son of chaos"), and from him proceeded, in successive generations, Jao (), Sabaot, Adoneus, Elœus, Oreus ("or" = "light"), and Astaphæus, which are said to be manifestations of the God of the Old Testament. The Ophites claimed that Moses himself had exalted Ophis by setting up the serpent, and that Jesus also had recognized it (comp. John iii. 14).*
According to some sources, Ophites respected the serpent as the revealer of gnosis and as an incarnation of the divine wisdom. Ophites took the Philo of Alexanderia's idea of Sophia's being the divine dynamos and used it in a heretical fashion and replaced it with the serpent.

So any ideas and comments on Ophites? They sound quite antinomian to my ears.


*Source: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/artic ... 20-ophites
"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become."
— C.G. Jung

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