The Place Called Hell


Taken from Gehenna: The Orthodox Christian Doctrine about Judgment and Hell, from the Tradition and Holy Fathers and a Historical Survey at Icons of the Last Judgement by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo (here)

“….Latins, and later Protestants, developed their concept of hell (as well as of heaven) from the presuppositions of civil law, Aristotelian rationalism, and to some degree, the elements of Orphic Gnosticism found in Plato with its radical dichotomy between body and soul, and noetos kosmos. There were also aspects of superstition  and the terrors of the pagan world involved – what we have referred to as “folk religion”.  They applied the metaphors and similitudes of Greek sagas to their concepts, although many of the ideas themselves might have been found in the Vedic writings of India, Zoroastrianism or the idolatry of Babylon and Egypt. None of these sources were strangers to the Hellenistic world or to Rome. The most likely source of the idea of a literal place called hell, with its horrors and tortures and chambers, is Zarathustra (Zoroaster). The depictions of hell that appear in Western art and in corrupted paintings in the Orthodox Christian world are found nowhere in Hebrew Scripture or tradition, nor in early Christian iconography or tradition. Rather, they match the descriptions presented by Zarathustra and in some Hindi and Buddhist art.”


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