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(930 words)

The Greek term apocatastasis, like the corresponding verb, is used to express the cure of a disease, the return of goods taken, of a hostage or of an exile, the restoration of a State, or the return of the stars to their previous positions. The restoration need not be a necessary process, it may be the fulfilment of a free promise. The astronomical sense forms part of the philosophical doctrine of the “great year” or of the “eternal return”: the return of the stars to their former positions marks the beginning of a new cycle in the history of the world which reproduces the one that went before.

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Henri Croiizel, “Apocatastasis”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 25 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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