Whatever Became of Hell?

January 2008By Hurd Baruch

Hurd Baruch, a retired attorney living in Tucson, Arizona, is the author of Light on Light: Illuminations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Mystical Visions of the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (Maxkol Communications, 2004).

I went looking for Hell the other day. No, not the one supposedly down there -- that one the demons would have to drag me to, kicking and screaming. I mean the Hell found in Scripture.

Opening the New American Bible, I quickly flipped through some of the verses where I expected to find it, without success. Maybe a computer search would pick up what my eyes were overlooking? No such luck. No wonder I couldn't remember hearing Hell mentioned at Mass for a very long time -- someone has taken the very word out of our Bible!

Thinking about the absence of the word from the New American Bible put me in mind of Dr. Karl Menninger's book Whatever Became of Sin? With popular culture and even some biblical exegetes dismissing the concept of sin as being "judgmental" (a horror greater than that of Hell in their minds), is it any wonder that "Hell" is on its way out, too?

For reassurance, I pulled out the old standard Catholic and Protestant Bibles, the Douay-Rheims American edition and the King James Version, and found Hell just where I remembered it, sprinkled liberally throughout the pages of both. I then set myself to the task of examining each of the dozens of instances of the word in the older Bibles to see what word had now replaced it in the New American Bible (NAB). What I found was not a single substitute, but six different terms, four of which were used repeatedly: "Sheol" (only in the Psalms), "the Pit" (in some Psalms and other Old Testament books), "the netherworld" (in both Testaments), and "Gehenna" (only in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and James). "Hades" is also used twice (in Revelation), and "Tartarus" once (2 Peter).

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I could be wrong about this, but it would appear that "Hell" is mentioned in the Bible as much as it ever was, but that a more accurate translation of the terms Our Lord or the writers of Sacred Scripture actually used, have been put in place of the usual "H word."

So, rest assured, there is still a Hell, and most of us could end up there. And a Hell by any other name...
Posted by: manwithblackhat
January 09, 2008 11:21 AM EST
Please, if Hurd Baruch or someone else could be so kind as to provide the specific reference (para. No. or heading in the Diary) of the quote in the para. immediately before the Conclusion, it would be very helpful. Thank you. Posted by: fallace@optonline.net
January 15, 2008 09:29 AM EST
fallace: Its notebook 2 entry 741. Its on page 296 in my edition. Posted by: eakter
January 17, 2008 05:22 PM EST
eakter, your reference does not provide the words in the penultimate para. as I had asked on the 15th of January; perhaps, you could try again. Thank you. Posted by: fallace@optonline.net
February 06, 2008 11:44 AM EST

I had assumed the quotes are attached. They are not. I located it.

Notebook 2 entry 580 on page 245 in my edition. The entry begins "On a certain occasion, the Lord said to me.." Its towards the end of the paragraph near entry 581.
Posted by: eakter
February 06, 2008 06:02 PM EST
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