2020 and Eclectic Orthodoxy

Between the pandemic, presidential election, and the Capitol insurrection, who cares how well Eclectic Orthodoxy did during 2020? Life is so much more compelling than an obscure theological blog. On the other hand, who am I to break with an ancient tradition? So let’s review 2020.

It appears that the growth of the blog has finally hit a wall. In 2019 we had 177,872 visitors; in 2020, 165,460 visitors. That represents a decline of 7% (if I’ve calculated correctly). I’ve been wondering when the decline would finally happen. Now it has. As the Calvinist remarked after he fell down the stairs, “I’m glad to get that out of the way.” On the other hand, blog traffic inexplicably increased. In 2019 we had 511,781 views; 2020, 553,480 views—an 8% increase. Go figure.

Now to the interesting info—2020’s most popular postings. Not unexpectedly, David B. Hart securely holds first and second place.

1) “The Edward Feser Algorithm” by DBH

2) “When Only Bad Arguments are Possible” by DBH

For some reason David’s articles are always more popular than mine. Go figure. 😎

3) “Wheels Within Wheels

Really interesting! This article of mine on Ezekiel’s first vision was published a year and a half ago, yet it is still drawing readers. In 2019 it had 1,261 hits, which put it way down in the middle of the pack; but this past year it had 5,425 hits. I have no explanation. Maybe everyone in 2020 was feeling apocalyptic.

4) “The Remarkable Unity of Rhetoric and Dialectic in That All Shall Be Saved” by Jordan Daniel Wood

The popularity of this fine article does not surprise. I wish all reviewers of TASBS would read it before writing their reviews.

5) “Did the Fifth Ecumenical Council Condemn Universal Salvation?

This is a revised, expanded, and retitled version of my article “Apokatastasis: The Heresy That Never Was,” originally published in 2015. Each year it has garnered a high number of hits. Without question it is the most popular article I have written. I’m quite proud of it. If I were a scholar and historian, I would rework it for publication in a scholarly journal, but my incompetence in foreign languages (ancient Greek, Latin, German, French) poses an unfortunate limitation. Sigh. What I can say is that several patristic scholars have read and complimented it. No one has reported any grievous blunders. I have exhausted English scholarship on the Second Council of Constantinople. Hopefully a real scholar will take up the task.

6) “George MacDonald Against Hans Urs von Balthasar on Universal Salvation” by Jordan Daniel Wood

Another fine piece by Dr Wood. I love George MacDonald. I wish all Orthodox and Catholic theologians would read his writings, both fiction and nonfiction. Few have grasped the meaning of God’s love in Jesus Christ as truly as he did.

7) “Divine Retribution, Hell, and the Development of Dogma

Once upon a time, many of the Eastern Fathers taught eternal retributive punishment. Most Orthodox theologians today no longer do. Doctrine develops.

8) “A Reply to N. T. Wright” by DBH

Published two years ago, this article put Eclectic Orthodoxy on the map in the matter of a week. Boom! No other article comes close to the number of views it has received. It appears that folks are still finding it via Google.

9) “Apprehending Apokatastasis: What the Bible Says … and Doesn’t

This article belongs to a series I wrote on That All Shall Be Saved. I put a lot of work into this series. IMHO, it provides one of the best summaries of the book to be found on the web. Check out the series if you haven’t read it yet.

10) “St Maximus the Universalist?” by Mark Chenoweth

Was St Maximus a universalist? This question is debated by scholars. Chenoweth takes us deep into Maximus’ writings in this journal-worthy essay and concludes with a decisive … “maybe.” Read it along with Chenoweth’s companion piece “Was St Maximus Merely a Hopeful Universalist?

11) “Universalism’s Convenientia” by Paul J. Griffiths

Dr Griffiths is a highly respected Catholic theologian, and the publication of his review of That All Shall Be Saved represents a feather in Eclectic Orthodoxy’s cap. Thank you, Paul.

I plan to continue blogging through 2021, but I anticipate far fewer articles. Hopefully others will fill in my slack. I find that both reading and writing takes a lot more time and energy than it used to. I’m at the point where I wonder if I have anything of theological interest left to write. There are days when I feel I’d like to spend a year or two just reading Tolkien and MacDonald. I am feeling my mortality.

Thank you visiting this blog. Thank you for your support, patience, and prayers.

May 2021 prove to be a truly new year for you, for your families, and for the world. God bless us everyone!

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13 Responses to 2020 and Eclectic Orthodoxy

  1. sybrandmac says:

    Between apokatastasis, the Fifth Ecumenical Council, and Ezekiel’s first vision, who cares about the pandemic, presidential election, and the Capitol insurrection?


  2. Robert Fortuin says:

    We, the readers, have decided you are not allowed to stop. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Patrick Halferty says:

    Thank you for your labour of Love! Of all the blogs I frequent, EO is my favorite. God bless.


  4. I suppose the first Maximus article did seem like more of a “maybe,” though I think the next article moved to an “almost certainly.” As I continue through his work into what I’m guessing is going to become a dissertation on his eschatology, I’ve only become more and more confident.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sully says:

    As a non-academic and someone who is naive with most things theological and historical, EO is my favorite blog that I frequent! While I completely understand the reason(s) to write and post less, know there are people like me who love this blog and appreciate it thoroughly! God bless!


  6. myasceticnotebook says:

    You have penned many words, I am awed by the quality and amount. It would take me years to consume it all. But I hope you keep writing such insight and clarity. -Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dee of St Hermans says:

    Dr Fr Aidan,
    I write to encourage your continued writing and maintaining your blog. I look forward to your reflections as I know others do as well.

    Last, please forgive my playfulness as I mention that if I were to throw into your list one article of joy that made my day in a difficult year, it would be the pictorial essay that “all dogs go to heaven”.

    Thank you so much for your work and the work and thoughts you have helped to bring to the public via this blog.


  8. Father Alban says:

    EO is my go-to blog every day, and several times a day. My take-away nugget from 2020 (although some of the articles date from before this), was the thread that explored the theme of gospel as unconditional promise. Inspired.

    Also, your ‘Readings in Universalism’ has been a great resource, and I continue to happily work my way through it. I am especially grateful for being introduced to the writings of George MacDonald and Herbert McCabe.

    Your blog, Father, during what has been a very challenging year, has been a welcome source of intellectual stimulation and spiritual nourishment.

    Actually, your blog has been much more than this. At times the articles and/or responses from readers have been deeply humerous and highly entertaining; and I must confess to experiencing a certain dark anticipatory pleasure whenever I come across new post from DBH replying to reviews of TASBS, knowing that someone, somewhere is about to get a verbal pasting!

    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Father Alban says:

    Someone has just reminded me of the ‘All dogs go to heaven’ thread.



  10. Devin Rice says:

    Peace and blessing for the new year. I hope you continue blogging. But yes, slowing down is sometimes necessary. Perhaps there will be more guest bloggers to fill the void?
    Thank you so much for this blog. One of the highlights of the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. danaames says:

    Grateful for whatever you decide to put up here, Fr Aidan. May the Lord grant you everything you need.



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