The transition from Victorian to more modern forms of universalism is marked by some changes of which the most important concerns exegesis. Almost all universalists before this century thought it necessary to argue for a universalist interpretation of those texts of the NT which seem to teach eternal punishment or final condemnation, and the standard approach to such texts was to deny the everlasting or final character of the punishment. Texts such as Matthew 25:46 or even Revelation 14:10f. were held to refer to a very long but limited period of torment in hell, from which the sinner will eventually emerge to salvation. The nineteenth-century debates always included extensive exegetical discussions, especially over the meaning of aionios. In [the 20th] century, however, exegesis has turned decisively against the universalist case. Few would now doubt that many NT texts clearly teach a final division of mankind into saved and lost, and the most that universalists now commonly claim is that alongside these texts there are others which hold out a universal hope (e.g. Eph. 1: 10; Col. 1: 20).
–Richard Bauckham, Universalism: a historical survey a Themelios article from 1978 (emphasis mine).