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Sheol, Hades...Hell?

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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 concept.

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 Duat.

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?

Another source I found interesting, though I doubt its credibility.
Has this topic already been discussed? If so, I apologize.

posted on Jul, 7 2005 @ 12:45 AM
Missing a few original words. There is the Hebrew Sheol, which is a best defined as a place where the dead bodies go. Mainly metephorical, but sheol was translated in the Septuagent as the greek word "Hades"

There is also Gehenna which was in a valley and a burning landfill near jeruselam (Now it is a park) and often was used to symbolise the suffering taht would occur when you died, that is often translated into the Greek Hell.

But the question really should be asked.. did the egyptions barrow from the Hebrews? or did the Hebrews barrow from the Egyptions? No one knows, but there is many simularities. Concidering that the Hebrews probly relied on an oral tradition, or tribal scrolls. while the Egpytions could change thier religion upon the death of thier God-king

Since anceint hebrew script is not pictographic I would think that the Egyptions might have barrowed some oral history from the Hebrews

Anceint egyption scholars would probly have a much better idea then you or I

[edit on 7/7/2005 by Jehosephat]

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