Belief that Jesus was born as a normal human being (ie not divine), was supremely virtuous and that he was adopted later as “Son of God” by the descent of the Spirit on him.


1st propounded by Theodotus of Byzantium, a leather merchant, in Rome c.190, later revived by Paul of Samosata. 

Theodotus taught that Jesus was a man born of a virgin, according to the Council of Jerusalem, that he lived like other men, and was most pious; but that at his baptism in the Jordan the “Christ” came down upon the man Jesus in the likeness of a dove.

Theodotus was excommunicated by Pope Victor before 199 and Paul of Samosata. was condemned by the Synod of Antioch in 268.

Alternative names: Psilanthropism and Dynamic Monarchianism. Later criticized as presupposing Nestorianism.

What’s Wrong

The principal problem of Arianism is that it destroys the Christology of the Fourth Gospel, and most especially as demonstrated in the first 18 verses of the Gospel.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.


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