Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The term “Adoptionism” emerged in the context of an 8th-century CE Spanish controversy. Its semantic scope was extended to denote what may be seen more as a Christological tendency acknowledging Jesus’ ontological character than as a heresy that might have served to define a group.

Adoptionism is indeed a religious doctrine according to which Jesus only became the Son of God through adoption, in other words, after having been baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist – a baptism that conferred him the status of Filius adoptivus (“adopted son”) following a symbolic struggle agains…

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Mimouni, Simon C., “Adoptionists”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 04 December 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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