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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Adder, the English name of a kind of serpent. It occurs several times in the English version of the Bible, and is there used not for a particular species, but generally for several of this dangerous class of reptiles. We have before us a list, far from complete, of the herpetology of Palestine, Arabia, and Egypt, in which there are, among forty-three species indicated, about eight whose bite is accompanied with a venomous effusion, and therefore almost all very dangerous. In our present state of knowledge we deem it best to discuss, under the words Serpent and Viper all the Hebrew names not noticed in this article, and to refer to them those occurring in our version under the appellations of 'asp,' 'cockatrice,' etc.; and likewise to review the allusions to colossal boas and pythons, and, finally, to notice water-snakes and muraenidae, which translators and biblical naturalists have totally overlooked, although they must exist in the lakes of the Delta, are abundant on the north coast of Africa, and often exceed eight feet in length.

In this place we shall retain that genus alone which Laurenti and Cuvier have established upon characters distinguished from the innocuous coluber, and the venomous vipera, and denominated naja.

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Adder'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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