Gnostic so designated by heresiologists on the basis of the role played by the serpent of Genesis 3 (Greek ophis) in their mythology. In these accounts, the serpent is as the revealer of gnosis (knowledge) to Adam and Eve, and is equated by some with Jesus Christ.

The writer Celsus and Origen refer to certain “Ophians” who also venerated the serpent, and used in their an elaborate diagram depicting the cosmos and the way of ascent for those in possession of gnosis. Epiphanius attributed to the Ophites a involving the worship of a live snake.