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Every Knee Should Bow

Biblical Rationales for Universal Salvation in Early Christian Thought

Steven R. Harmon

Paperback
In Every Knee Should Bow, Steven Harmon explores the manner in which Clement of Alexandria (ca. 160-215 C.E.), Origen (ca. 185-ca. 251 C.E.), and Gregory of Nyssa (331/340-ca. 395 C.E.) appealed to Scripture in developing rationales for their concepts of apokatastasis, the hope that all rational creatures will ultimately be reconciled to God. Harmon argues that these patristic universalists maintained their hope for "a wideness in God's mercy" primarily because they believed this hope was the most coherent reading of the biblical story. Although Hellenistic thought might also have suggested an eschatology in which the end corresponds to the beginning, the eschatologies of these ancient Christian theologians were shaped mainly by the Hebrew story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation, read through the lenses of the church's experience of God's saving work in the person of Jesus Christ. These early attempts to take seriously the biblical story's affirmations of the divine intention to save all people on the one hand, and of judgment and hell on the other, have a certain timeless relevance. In a context not unlike that of the late antique Christian world, the postmodern church again wrestles with these tensions in the biblical story in the midst of religious pluralism. « less more »
University Press of America
Pages: 180Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
978-0-7618-2719-1 • Paperback • November 2003 • $54.99 • (£37.95)
Subjects: Religion / General
Steven R. Harmon is Associate Professor of Divinity at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.
Chapter 1 Preface
Chapter 2 Abbreviations
Chapter 3 "They Employ These Testimonies:" Apokatastasis and Exegesis: Excursus: The Alexandrian Exegetical Tradition
Chapter 4 "He Indeed Saves All:" Clement of Alexandria: Apokatastasis in the Thought of Clement of Alexandria: The Universal Restoration; The Nature and Duration of Punishment after Death; Apokatastasis and Exegesis: The Use of Scripture
Chapter 5 "That God May Be All in All:" Origen:
Apokatastasis in the Thought of Origen: The Universal Restoration; The Nature and Duration of Punishment after Death; Apokatastasis and Exegesis: The Use of Scripture in the Articulati
Chapter 6 "Salvation Comes through Subjection:" Gregory of Nyssa: Apokatastasis in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa: The Universal Restoration; The Nature and Duration of Punishment after Death; Apokatastasis and Exegesis: The Use of
Chapter 7 "A More Subtle Understanding:" Conclusions: Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index of Ancient and Modern Authors; About the Author
Steven R. Harmon's Every Knee Should Bow (revised dissertation, Southwestern Seminary, 1997) makes for a good read. It is concise and clearly written... I will find the book (Every Knee Should Bow) a valuable resource for the analysis of this issue in my class on the history of Christian thought. It will provide a ready reference to key biblical texts, as well as examples of how selected early Christian thinkers employed these texts. It is always enjoyable to lead students to see that ideas they consider radical (such as universal restoration) are not really new.
J. Bradley Chance, William Jewell College; Journal Of The Nabpr


This book is a joy to read, both because its subject is relevant to the faith and life of the church today and because Harmon has provided so many insights into early Christian universalism, a position he respects though he does not adopt it.
Fisher Humphreys, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Alabama; Review and Expositor


This book is a joy to read, both because its subject is relevant to the faith and life of the church today and because Harmon has provided so many insights into early Christian universalism, a position he respects though he does not adopt it.
Fisher Humphreys, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Alabama; Review and Expositor


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