« Cain, Kenites Cainites Caird, John »


CAINITES: According to Irenæus (Hær., i. 31), a sect of the Ophites who worshiped Cain as an instrument of the Gnostic Sophia, treated with hostility by the demiurge. They saw in Judas the one who best of all knew the truth, celebrated his treason as a mystery, and had a "Gospel of Judas." The notices of Pseudo-Tertullian (Hær., vii.), Philastrius (Hær., ii.), and Epiphanius (Hær., xxxviii.) accord with these statements. Cain was generated of higher power than Abel, and Judas was the benefactor of the human race, either because by his treason he frustrated Christ's intention to destroy truth (Philastrius), or because he compelled the archons to kill Christ, and so assisted in obtaining the salvation of the cross (Epiphanius). When Tertullian (Præscriptio hæreticorum, xxxiii.; cf. De baptismo, i.) mentions "Gaiana heresis" he probably refers to the Cainites. Cf. also Clement, Strom., vi. 108; Theodoret, Hær., i. 15; Hippolytus, Phil., viii. 20. For Cainites, descendants of Cain, See Cain, Kenites.

G. Krüger.

Bibliography: Neander, Christian Church, i. 448. 476, 646; Harnack, Litteratur, II. i. 538 sqq.; see literature under Gnosticism; Ophites.

« Cain, Kenites Cainites Caird, John »
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