Talk:Apocatastasis

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On December 6 2003, this article was placed on Votes for deletion as follows (the text was copied from a Google cached copy):

* Apocatastasis - orphaned dictionary definition. Copied to Wiktionary via m:Transwiki. -Smack 21:47, 6 Dec 2003 (UTC)
  o Delete. Onebyone 22:00, 6 Dec 2003 (UTC)
  o Delete. Exists at Wiktionary. Angela. 22:13, 6 Dec 2003 (UTC)
      + That's because I put it there :) -Smack 00:20, 8 Dec 2003 (UTC)

The article was re-added on December 17 2003. The Transwiki currently does not contain the opening paragraph. What to do with this article now? I might suggest just using a redirect to Transwiki but what about the opening paragraph which seems it might be worth to keep somehow. RedWolf 08:17, Feb 29, 2004 (UTC)

See Wiktionary:Transwiki:Apocatastasis for current Transwiki page. See Wikipedia:Transwiki log for move. RedWolf 08:27, Feb 29, 2004 (UTC)

There is no reason to delete this. It is a perfectly valid theological concept. I'm sure that it will be expanded when we have someone with expertise in early Christian movements. Eclecticology 09:52, 2004 Feb 29 (UTC)
Why someone would want to delete Apocatastasis? I vote to keep it. Optim 10:14, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I don't think the definition is quite correct. Apocatastasis is a Greek term from the pre-Christians era. In Stoic writings, it's a time when all the stars and planets return to their original cosmological position and then the cosmos will be destroyed by fire and reborn to start again. The opposite term is antapocatastasis where the destruction is by flood. The alignment is with Cancer for apocatastasis and with Capricorn with antapocatastasis. In Gnostic writings, apocatastasis is the freeing from earth (matter) and the return of enlightened or chosen souls to God. Earth bound or unenlighted souls (including the Demiurge, aka the Jewish G_d, YHWH) goes elsewhere. Origen, who was Gnostic, took great exception to that :) Not sure if equating YHWH with the Demiurge came after Christianity began when various groups battled for supremacy in orthodoxy. The Gnostics lost - or did they? :) Dan Brown is proof they did not lose completely. Origen had great issue with the idea that some souls with be saved. His apocatastasis involves everyone even if some souls are so terrible they need several life cycles to become perfect. That doctrine was anathemized and it is debatable whether it was only the reincarnation idea or the reincarnation AND universalism idea that was anathemized.

I think the definition should be refined to show it's connection to mythology, philosophy and religion. It's not a scientific term and should not be connected with astronomy, IMHO. I think it should be done quickly as it's now propogated throughout the web as THE definition of apocatastasis. Caroline1008 13:17, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Was Augustine pronounced Anathema? Incorrect?[edit]

From article: Augustine of Hippo was against the doctrine and wrote against it, and was formally pronounced Anathema by the Synod of Constantinople in 543. Was Augustine pronounced Anathema or was Apocatastasis pronounced Anathema?

In response to that anonymous question, I examined the history of this file to see what was intended. It looks as though a typo was introduced and left uncorrected. Prior to a revision by Geogre at 20:50, 31 March 2005, the passage read thus:
"It is based on the Biblical passage in 1 Corinthians 15:28, and was extensively preached in the eastern church by St. Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th century. It was formally condemned by the Synod of Constantinople in 543."
I have added an "it" into the new sentence to restore this meaning:
"Augustine of Hippo was against the doctrine and wrote against it, and it was formally pronounced Anathema by the Synod of Constantinople in 543."Bob.appleyard 15:42, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Issues with this article[edit]

Though I detect a slight bias in the article it seems to stem from lack of information rather than anything intentional. I would make the changes but being new to wikipedia I would prefer to post something on the discussion page first.

First, there is an implication in the article that Apokatastasis was predominately an eastern theology, but though it could be said to have originated in the School of Alexandria such western fathers as Ambrose of Milan also supported the doctrine, and Jerome supported it at first but later changed his posistion. Basil the Great, who opposed the doctrine, also wrote that the great majority of Christians supported the doctrine during his time. It should also be noted that Gregory the Theologan (Gregory of Nazianzus) is also regarded as a supporter of the doctrine.

Secondly, while Constantinople 543 condemned Apokatastasis it should be noted than though these Anathemas were submitted to the Fifth Oecumenical Synod (Constantinople II, 553) and the Anathema specifically against Apokastasis (or more specifically, against the belief that hell is not eternal) was not ratified, even though it was firmly supported by the Emperor, and is absent from the Anathemas against Origen in Constantinople II.

Thirdly, the origin of Apokatastasis should probably be noted, like much of Alexandrian theology it is a tenant of neo-Platonism and can be found as a central theme in Plotinus' Enneads.

Finally, it should be noted that there is modern support for the doctrine even within more traditional expressions of Christianity. For example the monastic Silouan the Athonite (a highly regarded modern (d. 1938) saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church) supported the doctrine of universal salvation.

What I have written here is somewhat biased in favour of the doctrine I will admit, but it's in the discussion page. Changes should probably be made to the main Article that reflect the heavily disputed nature of this issue during the first eight centuries of Christianity.


  • A pronunciation guide (I don't know thepreferred conventions), at least to emphasis on the antepenultimate syllable, ApocaTASTasis, would aid the reader. --Wetman 05:50, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Yikes, just put up a whole bunch of stuff and totally forgot about the above. Hopefully, someone will do it as I'm off to bed. Stuff full of typos and misspellings but it's late! Caroline1008 06:01, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Okay, anonymous, I've put what you wrote above in the article. Now you have to provide the references. Thanx! Caroline1008 12:59, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Universal reconciliation? Merge?[edit]

I was wondering if this section, or at least the majority of it that concerns Christianity should be merged with the section on Universal reconciliation (not Unitarian Universalism) since they both seem to be very similar. If not, perhaps some clarification should be added to discern the difference between Apocatastasis and Universal reconciliation (right now, the only thing addressing this is the sentence, "A related belief is Universalism, which is the doctrine that all human beings will be saved from eternal damnation or annihilation in hell.") Thank you in advance for considering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 63.231.46.253 (talk) 14:49, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

You bring up a good point. The difference between Apocatastasis and Universal Reconciliation, is Apocatastasis is the restoration of all things (Mankind, Earth, Satan, Angels, etc.); while Universal Reconciliation is the restoration of relationship between man and God. Apocatastasis is broad in it's scope, Universal Reconciliation is specific in it's scope. Apocatastasis is not nessarily a Christian specific doctrine, while Universal Reconciliation is specifically a Christian doctrine.
I am looking at reworking the Universal Reconciliation section to keep it's content and have some of the content from the Christian section of Apocatastasis fit in with Universal Reconciliation section. StudentoftheWord 15:49, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Unsourced / incorrect historical claim removed[edit]

This has been tagged since Oct 2008 "Basil the Great (330-379), who opposed the doctrine, wrote that the majority of Christians believed it. Citation needed|date=October 2008 " this is perhaps traceable to one of the claims of John Wesley Hanson (1899) p.106, but Hanson has no source and misreads Basil, so deleted. In ictu oculi (talk) 14:17, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Present-day understanding of the term "apocatastasis"[edit]

"With confusion between the views of Origen himself, and post-Origen Origenists, and also the confusion between Origen's views and the claims made for Origen as a precursor of Universalism by 19th Century Universalist writers, the definitions given for apocatastasis in theological dictionaries and reference works vary.[citation needed] But most older works, and most popular/pocket dictionaries repeat that Origen believed in the salvation of demons,[citation needed] and that the meaning of apocatastasis is universal reconciliation" (addition by User:In ictu oculi).

Origen lived in the second century, not the third millennium. Discussion of what he believed on apocatastasis belongs under "Patristic Christianity". It is out of place in a section on the meaning attributed in Christian theology today to the word "apocatastasis". All the most recent works, including those that deny that there is any clear evidence that Origen was a proponent of apocatastasis, basically agree that apocatastasis means a form of universal reconciliation. No recent work has been cited that disagrees with that remarkably uniform presentation of the present-day understanding of the term. Esoglou (talk) 12:37, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Esoglou, I get the impression that you're not familiar with the subject but are editing on the basis that the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia entry must be correct. Then please leave the dictionaries in chronological order and have them all agreeing with the Catholic Encyclopedia article. Chronological ordering of reference works restored, please explain why/if you think it necessary to have them out of chronological order. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:24, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
I am certainly not editing on the basis of the non-contemporary 1910 article, based, it appears, on a 19th-century study. I am editing on the basis of present-day sources. It is you who have insisted on keeping the 1910 article and even older sources, and I reluctantly agreed to let them stay in the article. It was to put the stress on present-day sources that I put the sources in reverse chronological order, making immediately clear to the reader what is the view of the most recent writers. Since you are now insisting on having them in direct chronological order, I will reluctantly accept that also.
You have not explained on what grounds you think that, after dealing with early Christianity, with the Protestant Reformation, and with 19th-century Universalism, we should then, on coming to the present-day understanding of apocatastasis, talk about the view of ancient Origen.
Why have you now restored the erroneous spelling "Χριστόν Ἰησοῦν"? Any elementary Greek grammar will tell you it should be corrected to "Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν". And why have you now restored the erroneous indication that English versions put the phrase "ὅπως ἂν ἔλθωσιν καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ κυρίου" at the end of Acts 3:19 and not at the start of Acts 3:20? I already showed that the English Standard Version puts this phrase at the beginning of Acts 3:20 (just check: 3:20). Other English versions that put the phrase in Acts 3:20, not in Acts 3:19, include the New Living Translation (3:20), the Contemporary English Version (3:20), the Common English Bible (3:20), and the GOD'S WORD Translation (3:20). There is no need in the English Wikipedia to cite that text also in German (and not in French, Russian, Spanish ...), especially with the false assertion that German versions (all of them?) put the phrase in verse 20. Take the Hoffnung für Alle translation, which puts it in verse 19. I am therefore removing again the false information about the positioning of the phrase in English versions and, this time, removing also the false statement about German versions. I must adjust even what is said of the Greek division of the verses: it is true that the most modern editions put the phrase in verse 20, but older ones, including the Stephanus textus receptus and the Westcott and Hort edition, put it in verse 19. Esoglou (talk) 11:55, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Esoglou, sorry I'm not really interested in the minor issues above which look to me like a smokescreen, you do as you please. However I note that your main objective, to remove any suggestion that the Catholic Encyclopedia might actually be wrong about something, has again been acheived. Fine, let it rest.In ictu oculi (talk) 23:47, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Esoglou, you say in your reason for deleting an extensive reference from one of the major present day academic references on the subject (at least I know of no other recent text on Gregory of Nyssa's understanding, do you?) that "the present day understanding is what is at issue here". Firstly, when did you decide that "the present day understanding is what is at issue here"? And secondly am I to understand that present day understanding of Gregory is not counted as present day understanding because Gregory of Nyssa does not live in the 21st Century? In ictu oculi (talk) 13:35, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

The information that Ludlow gives about what ἀποκατάστασις meant in the time of Gregory of Nyssa (different, Ludlow says, from what it means today) is given in the section dealing with Early Christianity (and with Gregory in particular). I suppose that's the proper place for it, without repeating it elsewhere. Esoglou (talk) 16:50, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
(1) Firstly there's a problem here because if any modern academic text which goes back to primary historical sources, Norris to Origen, Ludlow to Gregory etc., is excluded from the list of old-new Theological Dictionary defs, then you're also excluding the modern research which suggests the 19th Century traditional Theological Dictionary defs are unsupported by actual real history. This would be fine if you allowed a comment "...but see modern research".
(2) Sorry, I cannot see where this deleted ref is repeated: Ludlow, M. Universal Salvation: Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner p38 "The word apokatastasis is now usually used to refer to a specifically Origenistic doctrine of universal salvation. However, in Gregory of Nyssa's time the Greek word had not yet assumed this very specific, almost technical meaning — although some modern commentators seem to suggest that it had. It is true that the word was sometimes used by Gregory's contemporaries with particular reference to Origen's universalism and to the question of whether the resurrection would be spiritual or bodily. It is also true that later, in the anathemas of Justinian (543) and of the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553), ἀποκατάστασις had virtually become a technical term connected with the Origenistic doctrines of the pre-existence of souls and the salvation of demons. However, until the mid-sixth century usage was very flexible."

In ictu oculi (talk) 23:52, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

(1) The article speaks of how the early Christians understood apokatastasis. It then tells how 16th-century Luther understood the word. Next it tells how the 19th-century Universalists understood it. What follows is about what today, in the 21st century, the word is taken to mean. Ludlow, Norris etc. go back to Origen, Gregory etc. when saying what the word meant in early Christian times, distinguishing that from how the word is used today. Ludlow expressly says that the present-day understanding is not the same as that of the period before the mid-sixth century. The two understandings must not be confused. Discussion of the pre-mid-6th-century understanding belongs under the headings "Early Christianity" or "Patristic Christianity".
(2) Under the heading "Early Christianity", you will find Ludlow cited (with a link to the full text of what Ludlow says) as stating that the word apokatastasis was still very flexible at the time of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, but that in the mid-6th century it became virtually a technical term referring, as usually today, to a specifically Origenistic doctrine of universal salvation.
(3) Shouldn't the "Early Christianity" section and the "Patristic Christianity" section be merged? Esoglou (talk) 10:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
(1) The thing is there is no independent/self-standing "present day understanding" per se.
  • Origen understood ἀποκατάστασις as X1
  • later "Origenists" were accused of understanding ἀποκατάστασις as X2
  • Universalists from Ballou to Knight claimed Origen understood ἀποκατάστασις as Universalist Church belief / X3.
  • Early 20th Century sources such as Batiffol Catholic Encyclopedia followed Gretillat Kostlin etc. that Origen understood ἀποκατάστασις as X4
  • Recent scholarship suggests Origen/Gregory etc. understood ἀποκατάστασις as X5

There is no present day usage of "apokatastasis" without reference to early/patristic history. Except in badly sourced dictionaries which only have a brief paragraph, where the assumed reference is still Origen / Gregory.

  • The only "present day understanding" would be e.g the Greek Orthodox church or others which use Greek.
(2) all these dictionaries are discussing early/patristic Christianity
(3) probably.

In ictu oculi (talk) 01:21, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

(1) The differences you mention in present-day understandings of what Origen meant - not of present-day understandings of the word "apocatastasis" - concern the time of Origen, not today and should be dealt with when considering Origen, not when considering present-day understanding of the word. The numerous quotations given in the article show that, as stated, "apocatastasis" is today generally understood as meaning some form of universal reconciliation, even by those who say it was once understood differently, and by those who deny or doubt that Origen taught universal reconciliation. How Origen understood it is a matter of almost two millennia ago, how Luther understood it is a matter of about half a millennium ago, how the nineteenth-century universalists understood it is a matter of over a century ago. Present-day understanding of the word is not necessarily the same as any of those earlier understandings of it.
(2) All these dictionaries and other studies, you tell me - I haven't checked - discuss early/patristic Christianity. They also indicate how they themselves understand the word "apocatastasis".
(3) Then I may soon merge the two sections dealing with the theological understanding of apocatastasis in early/patristic Christianity. Esoglou (talk) 12:04, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi
(1) Can you give an example of anyone using the word apokatastasis today? Or indeed anyone in the past 1000 years who has used the word apokatastasis independently of talking about Origen and Gregory?
(2) Do they? Ludlow says the word is "now used" recognising that it has been misused, but quickly modern usage is now catching back up to historical research: History, Sophia and the Russian nation Manon de Courten - 2004 - 532 p126 "This is at least what tradition has retained of Origen's ambiguous affirmations. By now evidence has shown that Origen did not mean this." This is a book on a Russian philosopher in 2004. Good research travels fast.

compare randomly and quickly:

  • Karl Barth in the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Andreas Pangritz - 2000 p167 "Perhaps it would be more correct to say the converse: if what apokatastasis means for the Christian-Jewish relationship had been recognized in the past, it could not have been defamed so easily as a frivolous speculation. ..."
  • Fire alarm: reading Walter Benjamin's On the concept of history Michael Löwy, Chris Turner - 2005 - p148 "... attempt at emancipation, however humble and 'minor', will be rescued from

oblivion and 'mentioned in dispatches' (citee a I'ordre du jour), that is to say recognized, honoured and remembered. But apokatastasis means also, literally, "

  • The End Times Passover: Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Joe Ortiz - 2006 ".. Christ concerning His enemies being made a footstool for His feet (Acts 2:34), and also that "Death has been swallowed up in victory, (1 Corinthians. 15:54-55, NIV)." In essence the word apokatastasis means the final establishment ..."
  • The ancient wisdom of Origen John Clark Smith - 1992 - "and Henri Crouzel's response, based on the controversial letter of Origen to Friends of Alexandria, pp. 118-119. 104. Horn. 8.1 in Jer. (3.56.26-30). 105. Since the world apokatastasis means primarily restoration and need ..."
  • Kingdom Living: How to Activate Your Spiritual Authority Jonas Clark - 2007 - "The Greek word apokatastasis means “to return this earth back to its perfect state before the fall.” In keeping with that restoration, there has been a return of modern day apostles and apostolic functions to the Body of Christ and "
  • etc.

Once the misconception of what it meant to Origen and Gregory has gone (which I was quite surprised at actually, until looking at the sources I always assumed it did) the word stops meaning what they were thought to mean. Unless it's Wikipedia's job to preserve something scholars have let go of. In ictu oculi (talk) 18:45, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Look at the most recent sources cited. Nobody denies that the Greek word ἀποκατάστασις basically, originally, literally, means "restoration". But what do they say about how the term "apocatastasis" is actually, practically, concretely, used today? Do they not agree, at least in general, that in actual practice it implies some form of universal reconciliation? That is just what Akin 2007, González 2005, ODCC 2005, Berger 2003, Ludlow 2001, CDT 2000 explicitly state. I don't know where one could have got the idea that Ludlow says that the word has been "misused" from the mid-sixth century right down to today: Ludlow only notes the fact that the meaning attributed to it in Christian theology for the last 13½ centuries (including now) is different from the more elastic meaning it had in the much fewer Christian centuries before that. (Is the present-day meaning of the word "Lent", which is not the same as its original meaning of "Spring", a "misuse" of the word?) As far as I can see, while Clark 2007 does not affirm that "apocatastasis" nowadays implies a form of universal reconciliation, neither does he deny it. Ortiz 2006 says nothing about present-day understanding: he is only talking of the meaning of the word in the New Testament. Löwy & Turner 2005 liken Walter Benjamin's view to the doctrine, mentioned by Benjamin himself, of "certain schools of thought within the Orthodox Church which hold that all souls go to paradise" (p. 35) – surely an explicit statement of the understanding by those Orthodox and by Benjamin himself, especially since, immediately afterwards, they mention Benjamin's remark about Origen's speculations regarding "apokatastasis, the ultimate salvation of all souls without exception". So the examples you have provided actually confirm that today the word "apocatastasis" implies some form of universal reconciliation – some of them even identify the two. Pangritz 2000, writing of Bonhoeffer, by no means denies that the idea of apocatastasis ("of all things", he adds – p. 130) implies a form of universal reconciliation: writing of the same Bonhoeffer, another scholar explicitly identifies the two, commenting: "It is not fully clear how Bonhoeffer guards himself against universalism, for Christ took the flesh of all mankind. It seems that apocatastasis, or universal salvation, is a temptation to him all along." Courten 2004 says nothing about the present-day understanding of the word "apocatastasis": he speaks only about present-day understanding of the ambiguous affirmations of early-third-century Origen, who in the view of many today may not have believed in apocatastasis as now understood; in this Courten is like Ludlow. In short, how many sources say that in present-day usage (whatever about usage of a millennium and a half ago) "apocatastasis" does not imply some form of universal reconciliation? Does even one say so? Esoglou (talk) 07:41, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Pangritz in 1972 did use it in a "modern" sense - but then Origen or at least Leibniz' version of Origen is still firmly in the hintergrund. The fact that Pangritz explains the term as "or universal salvation" (Widerbringung) shows that the term just isn't used in German any more than English. Just as Universalist literature doesn't in the 19th C use a Greek term; the Greek term inevitably relates to Greek texts - either Stoic, NT, Origen or Gregory. There is no non-Greek use of the Greek term divorced from its Greek context. So to speak of "present day use" is meaningless. If there was a "modern" usage we'd have passages like: "The most famous 20th Century proponent of apokatastasis was William Barclay, a widely respected theologian and preacher in the Church of Scotland who died in 1978." (changed) But we don't. That's the point. Find an example of "modern" usage. In ictu oculi (talk) 12:10, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
"Apokatastasis - the conviction that, in the end, all will be saved and the entire creation will be reconciled with God. Luther once observed that he who does not believe this is a fool, but that he who preaches it is an idiot." "A theory, ascribed FALSELY (it seems) to Origen and later condemned as heretical, that all angels and human beings, even the demons and the damned, will ultimately be saved." "It seems that apocatastasis, or universal salvation, is a temptation to (Bonhoeffer) all along." These are all examples of modern writers who do use the term "apocatastasis" and who understand it to mean a form of universal reconciliation. This is not a "modern sense" of the term: it is the sense in which the word has been used at least since the middle of the sixth century. Many more examples could be cited of people who use the word still today. Does even one of them use it in any other sense, unless to say that it was once - a long long time ago - used in some other sense? Esoglou (talk) 16:35, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

The problem is the term you have put in; "present day usage". A historian describing a 4th Century view with a 4th Century term is not "present day usage". If "present day usage" existed we would find sentences like: "The most famous 20th Century proponent of apokatastasis was William Barclay, a widely respected theologian and preacher in the Church of Scotland who died in 1978." (in bold = changed) or "Many UUs in the 21st Century believe in apocatastasis" (invented statement).In ictu oculi (talk) 02:17, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

As to "present day understanding" that's a different issue, "present day understanding" (based on recent research) is now that the views of Origen/Gregory, and the opinions attributed to Origen/Gregory are different.In ictu oculi (talk) 02:21, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Reference works para, change of intro sentence[edit]

Seeing as "present day usage" remains problematic how about removing the term completely and simply have this:

Reference works
In late 19th to 21st Century reference works, as shown in the following works listed in chronological order, apocatastasis is generally defined as involving some form of universal reconciliation, though some more recent works note that this may not be what Origen and others meant by their use of the word.

Is there any problem with that wording?In ictu oculi (talk) 02:28, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I see that you have difficulties with the word "usage", seeing it as implying that apocatastasis is a subject of specific speculation today. Would "understanding" be OK? Is the new text that I have put in the article acceptable? Esoglou (talk) 09:27, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd still prefer 'In late 19th to 21st Century writings' to in 'recent writings' but yes otherwise that's fine. Thanks. In ictu oculi (talk) 10:14, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your understanding. I think "In late 19th to 21st-century writings" would clash with the preceding paragraph's "During the 19th and early 20th centuries". I still don't see the usefulness of citing Gretillat, Köstlin and Batiffol, but if you want them ... Esoglou (talk) 10:44, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Gretillat, Köstlin and Batiffol are relevant because they are part of the regression in knowledge caused by the combination of copyright + Internet + BiblioBazaar etc. Before the Internet "up to date" meant 1990s, after the Internet "up to date" means 1890s. :( In ictu oculi (talk) 12:51, 19 March 2011 (UTC)