It is, I know, a curious thing—to spend three days before and on Christmas revising my world famous (some might say infamous) article on the Fifth Ecumenical Council. But you need to understand: I’ve been working on this darn thing since May 2015! I have tried to read everything available in English that addresses the topic of Origenism, apokatastasis, and the Fifth Council; and if I find something that I deem important to the article’s thesis, I have to sit down and revise it. And so it happened on the 23rd. I came across a 19th century discussion of Fifth Council and the anti-Origenist anathemas. I initially thought that adding a new footnote would suffice. Wrong!
Once I start the process of revision, I can always think of ways to strengthen the arguments or improve the writing, etc., etc. And so on Christmas afternoon I found myself still working on my article, which now exceeds 17,000 words!
If you’re wondering why I have not submitted “Did the Fifth Ecumenical Council Condemn Universal Salvation?” for publication in an academic journal, I did actually make a couple of inquiries a while back, but was told that because it was already published online it would not be a candidate for journal publication. Just as well. I’m a blogger, dammit, not a historian!
Of all the articles I have written for Eclectic Orthodoxy, I am perhaps proudest of this piece. There’s nothing else like it on the web. When the question of universal salvation is raised, folks always invoke Constantinople II. Even serious theologians think that the council bishops addressed and dogmatically resolved the question. But as I have attempted to show, the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Origen may have been named a heretic in canon 11, but that does not prove that the bishops specifically intended to condemn all formulations of universal salvation. According to the synodical minutes, that topic didn’t even come up in the conversations.
Do do take a second look at the article and pass it on to your friends. I’ve added over a thousand words. I hope you will find them worthwhile.