(redirected from Adoptionists)
Also found in: Dictionary.


Christian heresy taught in Spain after 782 by Elipandus, archbishop of Toledo, and Felix, bishop of Urgel (Seo de Urgel). They held that Jesus at the time of his birth was purely human and only became the divine Son of God by adoption when he was baptized. Variations of this doctrine had been held as early as the 3d cent. by the TheodotiansTheodotians,
small heretical sect, formed c.190 by Theodotus, a Byzantine. It lasted until the end of the 4th cent. The Theodotians taught that Jesus was a man, who became the Christ only after his baptism (a concept basic both to monarchianism and to adoptionism).
..... Click the link for more information.
, Paul of SamosataPaul of Samosata
, fl. 260–72, Syrian Christian theologian, heretical patriarch of Antioch. He was a friend and high official of Zenobia of Palmyra. Paul enounced a dynamic monarchianism, denying the three Persons of the Trinity.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and by the Nestorians. It reappeared in the neo-adoptionist heresy among the followers of Peter Abelard. Elipandus and Felix were condemned at Frankfurt (794). The vigorous refutation of AlcuinAlcuin
or Albinus
, 735?–804, English churchman and educator. He was educated at the cathedral school of York by a disciple of Bede; he became principal in 766. Charlemagne invited him (781?) to court at Aachen to set up a school.
..... Click the link for more information.
 had much to do with the sect's disappearance in the early 9th cent. See also monarchianismmonarchianism
[Gr.,=belief in the rule of one], the concept of God that maintains his sole authority even over Christ and the Holy Spirit. Its characteristic tenet, that God the Father and Jesus are one person, was developed in two forms in early Christianity.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
But, on the other hand, the "man" in question could be Jesus, or, more precisely, the human nature assumed by the Word.(64) The question then becomes how Irenaeus would have understood the adoption of which he wrote; or, to pose the question as Orbe does, whether Irenaeus is an adoptionist. Thus when Orbe asks if Irenaeus is an adoptionist, he refers to the eighth-century Spanish adoptionism of Elipandus and Felix of Urgel.(67) It was their belief that although Christ, as the Word incarnate, was the eternal Son of God, "Jesus, considered solely from the point of view of his human nature, was an `adoptive' Son of God."(68) Their opponents countered that to predicate sonship of the nature is thus to divide Christ into two persons or two Sons of God.(69) Thus when Orbe asks, "Is it inconvenient that the divine filiation (regeneration) of Jesus the man, at the Jordan, affects according to Irenaeus the human nature?" he has in mind the eighth-century controversy about whether sonship is rightly predicated of the nature or of the person.
He thought this was especially true of the Adversus Felicem libri septem, which he sent to Leidrad of Lyons, Nefridius of Narbonne, and Benedict of Aniane to aid them in their own debates with the Adoptionists of southern Gaul after the Council of Aachen.(41) At the same time, Alcuin reaffirmed his solidarity with them and the many 'catholic doctors' of the Frankish kingdom.(42) The success of these important churchmen in their preaching against Adoptionism in southern Gaul may also have influenced Alcuin to acclaim the victory of the Church's doctors over heresiarchs at the end of the Disputatio de vera philosophia.
Analysis of this new evidence reveals the thoroughly Christian nature of Alcuin's philosophy, suggesting he wrote the Disputatio de vera philosophia in the later 790s, while actively engaged in the Adoptionist controversy and eager to educate a new generation of the Church's doctors to refute heresy.
Second, there is no historical link between earlier and later adoptionism, and one need not posit a historical connection to comprehend the adoptionist controversy in Spain.
But perhaps the most interesting chapter in the book is chapter five on Galen's literary and logical criticism, which both offers a scholarly discussion of Galen's work on the Hippocratic corpus, his literary criticism and logic, and argues convincingly for the extent of his influence on the Adoptionists, whose syllogisms, textual criticism, and surviving exegetical fragments are then dealt with.