[B-Greek] why is hUIOQESIA translated "adoption"?

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Oct 28 17:24:07 EDT 2007

On Oct 28, 2007, at 3:32 PM, Mark Frost wrote:

> I was wondering why most NT translations translate hUIOQESIA (Rom.  
> 8:15 for example) as "adoption", which seems to me to be more of an  
> interpretation than a literal translation of "placing as an adult  
> son".  Is there some extra-biblical Greek writing that uses  
> uihothesia to mean what we know to be adoption, rather than what  
> the Romans of the fist century might have known to be the  
> Liberalia, where the son would receive the toga virilis and  
> ceremonially become an adult son, with all the privileges and  
> responsibilities of adulthood.  I guess what I'm asking is this:  
> Does anyone know if there is any extra-biblical Greek documentation  
> that supports translating the word as "adoption", where someone  
> takes a child as their own who was born to other parents?

It's a Greek word found in extra-Biblical literature and  
inscriptions. Here's the LSJ entry:

υἱο-θεσία, ἡ [hUIOQESIA, hH], adoption as a son, Nic. Dam. 
130.18 J.; in a religious sense, πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας  
[PNEUMA hUIOQESIAS] Ep.Rom.8.15, cf. 23, Ep.Gal.4.5; freq. in  
Inscrr., in the phrase καθ' υἱοθεσίαν [KAQ' hUIOQESIAN],  
GDI2581.218 (Delph., ii B. C.), SIG581.102 (Crete, ii B. C., ὑο-):  
pl., νεανίσκων υἱοθεσίας ποιεῖσθαι  

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Ret)

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