1 The heresy, originating in Spain in the 8th cent., according to which Christ, in His humanity, is not the true, but only the adopted, Son of God. Elipandus, Abp. of Toledo, arguing against Migetius, drew a sharp distinction between the humanity of Christ (‘of the seed of David’) and His Divine Sonship, and maintained that the human Jesus was only the adopted Son of God. Elipandus was supported by the Spanish bishops, especially Felix of Urgel, but after he died the heresy disappeared. It was revived in a modified form in the 12th cent. by Abelard, Gilbert de la Porrée, and others.
2 The term (usually spelt ‘Adoptionism’) has also been used of the heretical stream in early Greek theology which regarded Christ as a man gifted with Divine powers.
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