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Prolegomenous Reflections On Ophidian Iconography, Symbology, And New Testament Theology

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Chapter Summary

The purpose of this chapter is to clarify that while the serpent often has negative connotations and denotations , in the Middle East and in the Bible it frequently symbolizes something good. With the exception of the Egyptian religion in antiquity, the Greeks followed closely behind by the Romans - employed serpent symbolism the most. Both the Greeks and the Romans, of course, were deeply influenced by Egyptian ophidian symbolism. Asclepius almost always appears with a staff around which a serpent is coiled, and Hermes is associated with the caduceus. In summary, the chapter obtains some insights into how ophidian or anguine symbolism was pervasive in the Greek and Roman world. The symbol of the serpent was also widely appreciated in Persia, Egypt, and elsewhere. Only five of the forty-one nouns in ancient Greek to denote various types of snakes appear in the Greek New Testament.

Keywords: Asclepius; Egyptian ophidian symbolism; Greek New Testament; Roman world; serpents

10.1163/ej.9789004143043.i-465.85
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