adoptionism, 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 Theodotians, Paul of Samosata, 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 Alcuin had much to do with the sect's disappearance in the early 9th cent. See also monarchianism.
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