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Rethinking Sethianism

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Chapter Summary

As Hans-Martin Schenke's theory of Sethian Gnosticism seems to reveal only part of a larger whole to which the Ophite evidence belongs as an organic component, the author argues that without this Ophite evidence, Sethianism and its origins cannot be properly understood. In order to do this, and especially since the terms, Ophite and Sethian, have been used in several different and confusing ways in heresiological and scholarly literature, it is necessary to go through four specific steps in this chapter. First, the author discusses the heresiological reports on the Ophites. Second, heresiological reports and previous research on Sethians, as well as those documents that have been included in various constructions of Sethian Gnosticism, will be examined. Finally, the author talks about the construction of a new category to replace Schenke's Sethian one, by reorganizing and extending his corpus to also include the Ophite evidence.

Keywords: Hans-Martin Schenke; Ophite; Sethian; Sethianism



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