Re: Questions about GEENNA

From: Jim West (jwest@Highland.Net)
Date: Mon Feb 08 1999 - 11:42:12 EST

At 02:27 PM 2/8/99 -0500, you wrote:

> It is my understanding that the word GEENNA has some relationship to the
>Hebrew word Gehinnom and an Aramaic word with which I am unacquainted with.

The Hebrew word is a compound- meaning "The Valley of Hinnom"- the small
valley outside of the city of Jerusalem.

> I know that GEENNA is usually translated "hell" as in hellfire. Why is
>it thus translated? I have heard that the valley of Gehinnom was an area
>used for constantly burning refuse.

This is correct- the valley was the place the trash was thrown over the city
wall-- it was constantly on fire- and smelled pretty awful (as you can imagine).

Also- during the Monarchy of Israel, children were sacrificed there. Take a
look at your concordance under hinnom and note the refs to it in the prophets.

>If this is so, would Greek readers of
>the Roman Empire have understood the meaning of this word as relating to

Well, you need to remember that the earliest Christians were Jews. As Jews-
or as proselytes to Judaism, they most certainly would have been familiar
with the Holy City and its environs- including the city dump.

I have been to hell three times now- and it is a beautiful garden spot!!!
The valley of Hinnom is quite lovely since it has been cleaned up.

> Lastly, is GEENNA usually transliterated into English as "geHenna"
>rather than "geenna" because of its relationship to the Hebrew word GeHinnom?


> Thank you for your help,
> James Jackson




Jim West, ThD
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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