The Cainites, or Cainians, were a Gnostic and Antinomian sect who were known to worship
Cainas the first victim of the DemiurgeJehovah, the Old Testament God, 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 Tertullianand Irenaeusas existing in the eastern Roman Empireduring the 2nd century. One of their purported religious texts was the " Gospel of Judas".
Given that the only known references to the Cainites as a sect derive from the writing of anti-heretical theologians (and not, thus, from the Cainites or any other Gnostic sect themselves, nor from anything close to an impartial source,) the possibility remains that the sect may well have been nothing more than the invention of the Orthodoxy (much as, for instance, Catholic theologians of the Middle Ages wrote of psychopathic, cannibalistic and sodomitic devil-worshiping sects whose factual basis was almost certainly nil).Or|date=April 2008
ource texts on the Cainites
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 Identitygroups to disparage Jews.
*"Cainites" is an alternate transliteration for
*"Cainites" is the name given to
vampires in White Wolf Game Studio's role-playing game(see also Cainite Heresy, World of Darkness).
*"Cainite" theology is discussed in the 1919
Hermann Hessenovel, Demian.
In popular culture
*The "Cainites" are referred to in issue 22 (May 1998) of Sandman, a comic published by DC Comics and written by
Neil Gaiman. The description of the sect is inconsistent with this entry's description.
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03143a.htm Overview of "Cainites from the Catholic Encyclopedia]
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