posted on Jul, 6 2005 @ 07:46 AM
Hell, as it exists in the Western popular imagination, has its origins in Hellenized Christianity. Judaism, at least initially, believed in Sheol, a
shadowy existence to which all were sent indiscriminately. Sheol may have been little more than a poetic metaphor for death, not really an afterlife
at all: see for example Sirach. However, by the third to second century before the common era the idea had grown to encompass a far more complex
The Hebrew Sheol was translated in the Septuagint as 'Hades', the name for the underworld in Greek mythology and is still considered to be distinct
from "Hell" by Eastern Orthodox Christians.
This source states that the present-day Hell came from Greek mythology; however, the Israelites came in contact with the Egyptian culture way before
they were exposed to Greek belief.
It makes sense to me that the Hell many Christians believe in today could possibly be derived from an Egyptian hell-like afterlife. The Israelites
were slaves in Egypt and naturally would have been exposed to the Egyptian culture and religion. It does not surprise me that they may have adopted
some beliefs from the ancient empire.
Egyptians believed in a place called Osiris, where a person, when he died, would enter into a great hall of judgement, called Duat. If his life was
viewed favorable, he would be sent to Osiris, the heavenly underworld. But if not, the demon Ammit ate the person's heart and left him to remain in
I don't know much about mythology, much less Egyptian mythology. My facts are probably wrong. But I'd like to know what you think about this.
When did Sheol and Hades of the Old Testament Israelite belief of the place of the dead become the Christian-like Hell that it is today? There are
not many references to this Hell in the Old Testament, and it seems to me as if it is a creation of the New. And Sheol and Hades were for every
single deceased person; there was no heaven for the "righteous" in the OT. If then this is true, when did heaven develop, as well?
I found interesting, though I doubt its credibility.
Has this topic already been discussed? If so, I apologize.