Thursday, July 22, 2010


Gehenna (Hebrew:גַּיְא geenna, or Gehenom or Gehinom), in Jewish eschatology, is a fiery place where the wicked are punished after they die or on Judgment Day. Gehenna also appears in the New Testament and early Christian writing, and appears in Islam as Jahannam.

The word traces to Greek, ultimately from Hebrew: גי(א)-הינום‎ Gêhinnôm (also Guy ben-Hinnom (Hebrew: גיא בן הינום‎) meaning the Valley of Hinnom's son. The valley forms the southern border of ancient Jerusalem and stretches from the foot of Mount Zion, eastward, to the Kidron Valley. It is first mentioned in Joshua 15:8.

Originally it referred to a garbage dump in a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusalem (in modern-day Israel) where fires were kept burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is also the location where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would be dumped. In addition, this valley was frequently not controlled by the Jewish authority within the city walls; it is traditionally held that this valley was used as a place of religious child-sacrifice to Moloch by the Canaanites outside the city.


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