Topic in Antediluvian Patriarchs. By Charles Kamins.

This article is about the third son of Adam and Eve, Seth.
Zhdan Dementiyev 01 Seth (1630)


According to Genesis 4:25[1], Seth was born after the slaying of Abel by Cain, and Eve believed God had appointed him as a replacement for Abel.

Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth (Genesis 5:3)[2].

The Genostics believed that Seth was given as a replacement for Abel and it was said that late in life, Adam gave Seth secret teachings that formed part of the esoteric traditions which were later incorporated into the Kabbalah.

Jewish Tradition

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi refered to Seth as the ancestor of Noah[3] and hence the father of all mankind, all other humans having perished in the Great Flood[4].

Egyptian Gnostics

Abu l-Hasan Al-Masudi[5] writes, "One of the two pyramids (of Giza) is the tomb of Agathodaimon (Seth), the other one is the tomb of Hermes, (Idris, Enoch). Between the two 1000 years elapsed, Agathodaimon was the older one". Additionally, Jean Doresse, in The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics writes, "Seth... is known in Islam, and usually assimilated to Agathodaimon, who is one of the great figures of Hermetic literature. The prophetic prestige with which the Gnostics endowed him, he still possesses, especially in the traditions of various Shi'ite groups, therefore chiefly in Mesopotamia or in Iran. In these particular doctrines the survival of Gnostic themes is ubiquitous..."

Christian Gnostics

  • According to the 2nd century BC Book of Jubilees 4:7-13[6] Seth married his sister in 231 AM, who was four years younger than he was. In the year 235 AM, Azura gave birth to Enos.
  • The Sethians[7] were a Christian Gnostic sect who may date their existence to before Christianity. Their influence spread throughout the Mediterranean into the later systems of the Basilideans and the Valentinians. Their thinking, though is predominantly Judaic in foundation influenced by Platonism. Sethians are so called for their veneration of the biblical Seth, who is depicted in their myths of creation as a divine incarnation; consequently, the offspring or 'posterity' of Seth are held to comprise a superior elect within human society.
  • The Knights of Seth[8] were a 19th-century British-Germann Neo-Sethian group that attempted to resurrect that medieval Gnostic and dualistic Christian tradition.

Generations of Adam

"Generations of Adam" refer to the line of descent going through Seth rather than Cain or any of Adam's other offspring. The Sethite line extends to Noah and his three sons. Lamech, the nineth generation from Adam is described as the father of Noah. {Genesis 4:17:22[9] & Genesis 5:1-32[10])


The Sethians were a Gnostic sect so called for their veneration of the third son of Adam and Eve and the lineal descendants who were considered more originally divine than other men. Iranaeus[11] is the main source of information about the Sethians who were considered a pre-christian Jewish sect.

Sethian Controversy

The Gospel of Judas[12] belongs to a school of Gnosticism called Sethianism, a group who looked to Adam's son Seth as their spiritual ancestor. As in other Sethian documents, Jesus is equated with Seth: "The first is Seth, who is called Christ."

The Cainites

The Cainites were an alleged sect of Gnosticism that especially worshipped Cain as a hero. Irenaeus alleged that the Cainites, like a large number of Gnostic groups, were semi-maltheists believing that the god of the Old Testament—Yahweh—was evil, and a quite different and much lesser being to the deity that had created the universe, and who was responsible for sending Jesus. Such Gnostic groups worshipped as heroes all the Biblical figures that had sought to discover knowledge or challenge Yahweh's authority, while demonizing those who would have been seen as heroes in a more orthodox interpretation.

Sethian texts

Non-Christian texts

  • The Apocalypse of Adam[13] - but surviving with Christian redaction.
Adam tells Seth how he learned a word of knowledge of the eternal God from Eve and that he and Eve were indeed more powerful than their supposed creator. But that knowledge was lost in the fall when the subcreator - the demiurge [14] - separated Adam and Eve. Adam relates how three mysterious strangers brought about Seth's begetting and so a preservation of this knowledge. Adam then prophecies at length attempts of the subcreator god to destroy mankind, including the prophecy of the great Deluge.

Christian texts

  • The Apocryphon of John[15]
  • The Thought of Norea[16]
  • The Trimorphic Protennoia[17]
  • The Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians[18]
  • The Gospel of Judas[19]
  • The Untitled Apocalypse (or The Gnosis of the Light)

Later texts (arguably with a Platonist influence)

See also


  1. Genesis 4:25 -
  3. Noah - Wikipedia
  4. Great Flood - Wikipedia
  5. Al-Masudi Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Mas'udi (c. 896-956) was an Arab historian and geographer (Wikipedia)
  6. Book of Jubilees 'The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913.'
  7. Sethians - Wikipedia
  8. Knights of Seth - Wikipedia
  9. Genesis 4:17:22
  10. Genesis 5:1-32
  11. Iranaeus - Wikipedia
  12. Gospel of Judas - New World Encyclopedia
  13. Apocalypse of Adam - Wikipedia
  14. The demiurge is a concept from the Platonic(SP), Neopythagorean(SP), Middle Platonic(SP), and Neoplatonic(SP) schools of philosophy for an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was subsequently adopted by the Gnostics(SP). Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily thought of as being the same as the creator figure
  15. Apocryphon of John - Wikipedia
  16. Thought of Norea - Wikipedia
  17. Trimorphic Protennoia - Wikipedia
  18. Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians - Wikipedia
  19. Gospel of Judas - Wikipedia
  20. Zostrianos - Wikipedia
  21. Three Steles of Seth - Wikipedia
  22. Marsanes - Wikipedia
  23. Allogenes - Wikipedia

External links