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

Ann Nyland nyland at tsn.cc
Sun Oct 28 17:22:04 EDT 2007

They translate it that way as that is the correct and actual and literal 
translation - "placing as an adult son" is not a literal translation at all, 
and is wrong. (A Greek word is not the sum of its parts, read Carson's 
Exegetical Fallacies, and HUOIS has a wider semantic range than 'son".). 
This is not at all contentious in the scholarly literature, the meaning is 
"adoption". It's a technical adoption term from Greek law. Some like Lyall 
(in the 1960s) initally thought Paul's adoption references were from Roman 
law, but this has been demonstrated not to be the case. HUIOS is actually 
not a gender specific word, cf. P. Oxy. 9.1206; P. Oslo 3 P. Erlangen 28.6 
among many others. HUIOTHESIA was used for both males and females - the word 
TEKNOTHESIA for an adopted daugther doesn't appear until P.Oxy 3271.
Ann Nyland

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Frost" <mark at buildinghishouse.org>
To: "Greek Mail List" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:32 AM
Subject: [B-Greek] why is uihothesia translated "adoption"?

>I was wondering why most NT translations translate uihothesia (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?
> Thank you,
> Mark Frost
> CO
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