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The Ophite Seal, Sethian Baptism And The Johannine Prologue

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines what appears to be the only reliable piece of information in the heresiological literature concerning Ophite rituals. Fragment of Celsus is examined in order to determine what kind of ritual or rituals he is actually describing; scholarly opinion is divided here. Then the veracity of this report is assessed by examining Celsus' rhetorical agendas and the question of his sources, and by searching for possible parallels in related literature. Finally, the purported Sethian rituals of baptism and cultic ascent are examined along with their relationships both to the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel, and to the Ophite rituals and baptismal theology.

Keywords: Johannine Prologue; Ophite; Sethian Baptism



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