Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2011


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

L. M. Harrington

Committee Member

Therese Bonin

Committee Member

James Swindal


Apokatastasis, Eriugena, Peripyseon, Reconciliation, Universal salvation


This dissertation shall examine the claim of John Scottus Eriugena, the ninth century Irish philosopher, that all things must ultimately return to unity with their creator. This is the ancient Greek theme of apokatastasis, which essentially means reconstitution in full to that which was primordial. A special case subsumed under the class of all things is that segment of mankind traditionally understood as being damned, or separated from God. Eriugena holds that no portion of mankind can be so separated for God, as the Word, received the entire human race, not a subset of it.

Although sometimes thought to be at odds with Christianity, it is Eriugena's position that the restoration of separated souls should be embraced. The word apokatastasis appears in both the Old and New Testaments. The first reference is found in Malachi 4:2-6, and speaks of the divine bond between children and their fathers, a them which will have special significance in this dissertation. The New Testament reference is found in Acts 3:21, where Peter affirms the restoration of all things was ordained before the world began.

An additional question that this study seeks to answer is whether man is made happy in this restoration. Eriugena gives no clear answer to this issue. His writing seems top contradict itself, and can reasonably be interpreted either way. Our answer is offered in the affirmative: man is made happy in his restoration. The final chapter of this dissertation examines some of the implications of the answer.