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Chapter Summary

This book examines the mythology in and social reality behind a group of texts from the Nag Hammadi and related codices as well as from heresiological literature, to which certain leaders of the early church attached the label Ophite. This book is divided into four parts: (I) Introduction; (II) Myth and Innovation; (III) Ritual; and (IV) Conclusion. Part I, the Introduction, consists of this Prologue and Chapter 1. In Chapter 1, the sources and previous research on Ophites and Sethians are examined, and the new category to replace Schenke's Sethian one is introduced. Chapters 2-6, then, constitute Part II: Myth and Innovation. Chapters in this part explore key themes in the mythology of the texts. Step two consists of text comparison. It concludes with Part IV, which consists of an epilogue. It summarizes the main results of the study and addresses introductory questions concerning the provenance of the Ophite evidence.

Keywords: Myth and Innovation; mythology; Nag Hammadi; Ophite; Prologue; Ritual; Schenke's Sethian; texts



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