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

George F Somsel gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 28 18:06:57 EDT 2007


In the NT it is found only in the Pauline writings.  There is no usage of this word in the LXX nor is it found in the Apostolic Fathers.  BDAG cites a few (very few) instances in Greek inscriptions and pre-NT literature where it is used so it is not overly well attested.  It would seem, however, that adoption is the proper understanding of the term.  I say this partly trusting the competency and integrity of Danker since the citations are not readily available to examine.  I think something can be deduced, however, from the context in which the word is used.  In Rom 8.15 we find 
   
  15 ïὐ ãὰñ ἐëÜâåôå ðíåῦìá äïõëåßáò ðÜëéí åἰò öüâïí ἀëëὰ ἐëÜâåôå ðíåῦìá õἱïèåóßáò ἐí ᾧ êñÜæïìåí· áââá ὁ ðáôÞñ. 
     
  OU GAR ELABETE PNEUMA DOULEIAS PALIN EIS FOBON ALLA ELABETE PNEUMA UIOQESIAS EN hWi KRAZOMEN, "ABBA hO PATHR."
   
  The use of the term "Father" here seems to depend upon the reception of the Spirit of hUIOQESIAN which would be in keeping with the concept of adoption. Yet, in v. 23 we find 
   
  23 ïὐ ìüíïí äÝ, ἀëëὰ êáὶ áὐôïὶ ôὴí ἀðáñ÷ὴí ôïῦ ðíåýìáôïò ἔ÷ïíôåò, ἡìåῖò êáὶ áὐôïὶ ἐí ἑáõôïῖò óôåíÜæïìåí õἱïèåóßáí ἀðåêäå÷üìåíïé, ôὴí ἀðïëýôñùóéí ôïῦ óþìáôïò ἡìῶí.        
  OU MONON DE, ALLA KAI AUTOI THN APARXHN TOU PNEUMATOS EXONTES, hHMEIS KAI AUTOI EN hEAUTOIS STENAZOMEN hUIOQESIAN APEKDEXOMENOI, THN APOLUTRWSIN TOU SWMATOS hHMWN.
   
  This would seem to indicate that the hUIOQESIAN is only accomplished at a later time. 
   
  Note the usage in Rom 9.4
   
  4 ïἵôéíÝò åἰóéí Ἰóñáçëῖôáé, ὧí ἡ õἱïèåóßá êáὶ ἡ äüîá êáὶ áἱ äéáèῆêáé êáὶ ἡ íïìïèåóßá êáὶ ἡ ëáôñåßá êáὶ áἱ ἐðáããåëßáé,        
  hOITINES EISIN ISRAHLITAI, hWN hH hUIOQESIA KAI hH DOCA KAI hAI DIAQHKAI KAI hH NOMOQESIA KAI hH LATREIA KAI hAI EPAGGELIAI.
   
  What is interesting here is th use of hUIOQESIA in conjunction with DIAQHKH.  The DIAQHKH was the instrument by which one disposed of one's property -- in other words, a will.  This would tend to place the term in the same semantic range. 
   
  Another passage of interest is Eph 1.5 where we find
   
  5 ðñïïñßóáò ἡìᾶò åἰò õἱïèåóßáí äéὰ Ἰçóïῦ ×ñéóôïῦ åἰò áὐôüí, êáôὰ ôὴí åὐäïêßáí ôïῦ èåëÞìáôïò áὐôïῦ,        
  PROORISAS hHMAS EIS hUIOQESIAN DIA IHSOU XRISTOU EIS AUTON, KATA THN EUDOKIAN TOU QELHMATOS AUTOU.
   
  This would seem to indicate that this is a relationship which is not established through some natural means but rather as an act of volition on the part of God.  Again, this would be in keeping with the concept of adoption. 









  

Mark Frost <mark at buildinghishouse.org> wrote:

  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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george
gfsomsel

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