Ophites

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A group of Gnostic sects that flourished in the Roman Empire during the 2nd century. They believed the human soul was imprisoned in the body and material world, and can be saved through gnosis, or revealed knowledge of the soul’s transcendent origin. The name comes from the Greek ophis (serpent); Ophites revered the serpent as a symbol of spirituality and wisdom, holding that the serpent in the Garden gave the secret knowledge to Adam and Eve, who were then punished by God. Ophites were nominally Christian, but they repudiated a human Jesus, were considered heretics, and were eventually persecuted out of existence by the early Church.

MLA Citation

  • “Ophites”. New Catholic Dictionary. Saints.SQPN.com. 8 August 2012. Web. 23 July 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com//>