The Cainites, or Cainians, were a Gnostic and Antinomian sect who were known to worship Cain as the first victim of the Demiurge Jehovah, the deity of the Tanakh (or "Old Testament"), who was identified by many groups of gnostics as evil. They venerated Cain, on the basis that by creating murder Cain allowed men to deny it, and thus have a greater chance at redemption from Original Sin. The sect following was relatively small. They were mentioned by Tertullian and Irenaeus as existing in the eastern Roman Empire during the 2nd century. One of their purported religious texts was the Gospel of Judas.
Source texts on the CainitesEdit
- Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.31.1–2
- Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 38
- Hippolytus, Against Heresies 8
- Pseudo-Tertullian, Against All Heresies 7
- Tertullian, On Baptism 1.
- Cainites is a term used by some adherents of Christian Identity groups to disparage Jews.
- Cainites is an alternate transliteration for Kenites.
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