Definitions for ophites
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The Ophites or Ophians were members of a Christian Gnostic sect depicted by Hippolytus of Rome in a lost work, the Syntagma. It is now thought that later accounts of these "Ophites" by Pseudo-Tertullian, Philastrius and Epiphanius of Salamis are all dependent on the lost Syntagma of Hippolytus. It is possible that rather than an actual sectarian name Hippolytus may have invented "Ophite" as a generic term for what he considered heretical speculations concerning the serpent of Genesis or Moses. Apart from the sources directly dependent on Hippolytus, Origen and Clement of Alexandria also mention the group. The group is mentioned by Irenaeus in Against Heresies.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
a sect of Gnostics who regarded the serpent as a benefactor of the race in having persuaded Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in disregard, or rather in defiance, of the warning of the God of the Jews.
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