Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


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 ?
And at the end he is willing to look sympathetically at both Christologies: adoptionism and Catholicism.
(38.) Adoptionism is the view that Jesus was originally no more than a human being who became divine when God adopted him through a special act, sometimes said to be his baptism or his transfiguration, but usually his resurrection.
Most writers see their teaching as two separate heresies -- Adoptionism and Patri-passionism.
This concentration on the Incarnation may reflect Alcuin's sense that Adoptionism attacked this doctrine.
Such a christology tends towards adoptionism and a subjective approach to atonement, failing to account adequately for how the work of Christ accomplishes salvation.
To conclude the argument for the primacy of Hell, Blake revises the doctrine of Adoptionism to envision a demonic apotheosis which redeems the Messiah: after death he becomes the infernal father.(55)
DeWolfe wants us to "look beyond" the Church's confession and see that there was a time when Jesus "began to be God's Son." This sounds like adoptionism to me and I wonder how anyone who holds such a view can remain a minister of a church in which he is required to sign a statement that he is in essential agreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith.
The major controversies of the period, iconoclasm, Adoptionism, divine predestination, and the eucharistic presence brought Christ's Passion into the focus of Carolingian theological discussion with an intensity that, like so many other phenomena of the era, was unprecedented in the medieval west.
Second, despite C.'s explicit rejection of it (62), the appearance of adoptionism, which stems from C.'s insistence that there is no metaphysical incarnation in the New Testament (14), persists throughout: "In the synoptic theology the unique divine Sonship of Jesus is brought about by the bestowal of the Holy Spirit on him by the Father" (37), and "Jesus is brought into human existence as his [the Father's] beloved Son" (41).
Pittenger has been criticized by David Griffin for not fully utilizing Whitehead's conceptuality to account for a difference in type, which Griffin argues is more in harmony with "the traditional Christian intention, as manifest in its dual rejection of Adoptionism and Pelagianism."(59) Griffin posited that, if Pittenger had used Whitehead's thought in this way, Jesus' uniqueness would arise from the special content of God's agency in relation to him, as well as Jesus' special response.
102) that all hints of adoptionism are removed because the act of anointing with the Spirit creates the humanity of Jesus at the same time as it is united to the divine Son.