I was recently asked what the Old Testament teaches about “hell” and whether that’s what “Sheol” refers to.  If not (or if so), what it the view of the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible?   This is a topic I dealt with in my book Heaven and Hell (Simon & Schuster, 2020) and I posted on it some years ago on the blog.  This is what I said.


When trying to figure out where the Christian ideas of heaven and hell came from, an obvious place to start is with the Hebrew Bible.  Jesus himself held to the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures.   To be sure, there was not a completely fixed canon in his day, which all Jews everywhere agreed to.  But virtually all Jews we know of ascribed to the high authority (and Mosaic authorship) of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy); and most Jews  – including Jesus – also considered the prophets authoritative; Jesus also

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