ophite


ophite
ophitic /oh fit"ik/, adj.
/of"uyt, oh"fuyt/, n. Petrol.
a diabase in which elongate crystals of plagioclase are embedded in pyroxene.
[1350-1400; ME ophites < L ophites serpentine stone < Gk ophítes (líthos) serpentine (stone), equiv. to óph(is) serpent + -ítes -ITE1]

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Member of any of several Gnostic sects that flourished in the Roman empire in the 2nd century AD and for several centuries thereafter.

The sects shared a dualistic theology, opposing a beneficent and entirely spiritual Supreme Being to a chaotic and evil material world. To the Ophites, the human dilemma resulted from the mixture of these conflicting spiritual and material elements in human nature. Only gnosis, the esoteric knowledge of good and evil, could redeem one from the bonds of matter. See also dualism, Gnosticism.

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▪ Gnostic sects
      (from Greek ophis, “serpent”), member of any of several Gnostic sects that flourished in the Roman Empire during the 2nd century AD and for several centuries thereafter. A variety of Gnostic sects, such as the Naassenes and Cainites, are included under the designation Ophites. These sects' beliefs differed in various ways, but central to them all was a dualistic theology that opposed a purely spiritual Supreme Being, who was both the origin of the cosmic process and the highest good, to a chaotic and evil material world. To the Ophites, man's dilemma results from his being a mixture of these conflicting spiritual and material elements. Only gnosis, the esoteric knowledge of good and evil, can redeem man from the bonds of matter and make him aware of the unknown God who is the true source of all being.

      The Ophites regarded the Jehovah of the Old Testament as merely a demiurge, or subordinate deity who had created the material world. They attached special importance to the serpent in the biblical book of Genesis because he had enabled men to obtain the all-important knowledge of good and evil that Jehovah had withheld from them. Accordingly, the serpent was a true liberator of mankind since he first taught men to rebel against Jehovah and seek knowledge of the true, unknown God. The Ophites further regarded the Christ as a purely spiritual being who through his union with the man Jesus taught the saving gnosis.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

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  • OPHITE — Nom local donné par A. Lacroix à une dolérite particulière des Pyrénées. Les ophites sont des roches basiques, souvent vacuolaires, d’une teinte verte plus ou moins foncée avec des taches blanches étoilées (d’où leur aspect comparable à celui… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ophite — 1. (o fi t ) s. m. Nom donné à certaines roches trappéennes des Pyrénées, d une composition variable.    Sorte de marbre dont la couleur est d un vert obscur, rayé de filets jaunes qui se croisent. •   Le feldspath et le schorl : ce mélange est… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Ophite — O phite, n. [L. ophites, Gr. ofi ths (sc. ?), a kind of marble spotted like a serpent: cf. F. ophite.] (Min.) A greenish spotted porphyry, being a diabase whose pyroxene has been altered to uralite; first found in the Pyreness. So called from the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ophite — O phite, n. [L. Ophitae, pl. See {Ophite}, a.] (Eccl. Hist.) A mamber of a Gnostic serpent worshiping sect of the second century. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ophite — O phite, a. [Gr. ofi ths, fr. o fis a serpent.] Of or pertaining to a serpent. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ophite — may refer to: Ophites, an ancient Gnostic sect in Syria and Egypt A name for verd antique, a type of serpentinite building stone This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an internal lin …   Wikipedia

  • OPHITE — s. m. Espèce de porphyre antique, ainsi nommé, parce qu il rappelle, par son fond vert tacheté de blanc, la peau bigarrée des serpents. On dit aussi, Du marbre ophite ; et alors Ophite est adjectif …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • Ophite — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ophite (homonymie). L ophite est une dolérite, une roche magmatique compacte, intermédiaire entre le gabbro et le basalte. Il s agit d une dolérite à structure particulière, fréquente dans le Trias supérieur des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • OPHITE — n. m. Sorte de porphyre ainsi nommé parce qu’il rappelle, par son fond vert tacheté de blanc, la peau bigarrée des serpents. Par apposition, Marbre ophite …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • ophite — n. (Min.) 1. Serpentine, ophiolite. 2. Verd antique marble. 3. Green porphyry, oriental verd antique …   New dictionary of synonyms


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