Volume 27, Issue 2, Autumn 2022
Selected Phenomenological Studies
The Concept of Apokatastasis as a Symbol of Human Equality and Religious Inclusion
This article analyzes the notion of apokatastasis, first as it appears in the Greek philosophical tradition and then in the context of Christian thought. It shows how the cosmic theory of eternal return unfolded within early currents of Hellenic philosophy, and subsequently how the personal dimension of apokatastasis grew out of those traditions, where questions about the fate of humanity became primary. The article then points to the fundamental philosophical assumptions of apokatastasis in its cosmic and personal forms. Christian thought, in the process of its evolution, made significant use of Greek methodology and concepts. One of the theories transferred to the Christian context concerned the notion of universal salvation (apokatastasis). Such thinkers as Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and John Scotus Eriugena developed the concept into its mature form. Although apokatastasis has been condemned on numerous occasions, it has survived in Christian teaching. From a secular perspective, it can be regarded as a symbol of the equity of all people, beckoning us in the direction of the notion of religious inclusion. As such, it ought to be construed as translating into respect and care for the other person sic et nunc.