According to the views of numerous religions, hell is an inhospitable, otherworldly place of punishment for acts committed in this world that are considered forbidden by the respective faith. Depending on the belief, it is thought of as a place of annihilation , purification or the eternal damnation of the deceased. According to traditional notions of Christianity , it is a place of torment, to which evildoers end up after death , populated by demons and the devil . In modern Christian doctrines, however, this idea has been modified in various ways or even dropped entirely.
The word Hell - Old High German hell (i) a , Middle High German hell , Old Saxon hellja , Old Frisian hell, hille , Anglo-Saxon hell , Old Norse hel , Gothic halja - goes back to the Germanic root * hel, * hal "hide"). Correspondingly, in Old Norse mythology, the name of the goddess of death Hel and the place of the same name in the underworld originally means “[the] mountainous”, “the taking in”.
Christianity teaches the existence of a hell. There are many different ideas about what this means. Traditionally, it is a place of eternal damnation to which the souls of wrongdoers end up after the Last Judgment . It is in contrast to a place of absolute bliss ( paradise , eternal life, heaven ). The purgatory ( purgatory ) occupies an intermediate position as a place of purification.
In the texts of the New Testament , Jesus Christ speaks of a place of damnation when he warns of fire ( Mt 5,22-29f EU ; Mt 13,36-43 EU , Mt 13,47-50 EU ), of darkness , in which weeping and gnashing of teeth reign ( Mt 8.12 EU ) and before the day of judgment ( Mt 10.15 EU ). Christianity, on the other hand, sees itself as a religion of redemption, according to which people who have succumbed to sin and death are saved through the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the teaching and work of Jesus and the apostles (cf. Gal 1.12 EU ) it is proclaimed that Christ came to redeem all people ( Isa 45.23-24 EU , Phil 2.9-11 EU , Rom 14, 11 EU , Rev 15.4 EU ).
The Revelation of John mentions the judgment of all dead. After all have been judged according to their works, “death and the underworld” are ultimately handed over to the “lake of fire”. Rev 20: 13-14 EU .
In Christian iconography, hell is often represented as the jaws of hell , a blazing place of flames and a mountain of hell. Representations of the Orthodox churches also know the flow of fire. Icons representing the Last Judgment show both a stream of light going from Christ to the saints and a stream of fire in the lower part, where the demons and those "who have never repented" are.
Various influences, development
Just like the literal reading of the Revelation of John, the apocryphal revelation of Peter of the 2nd century strongly influenced the later medieval conception of hell as a place of eternal punishment. She describes this in detail, and that the human victims can sometimes even participate in the punishment. Although the script was not included in the biblical canon , some apologists such as Clemens Alexandrinus (150–215) saw it as a testimony of the apostle Simon Peter , so that its influence was significant.
Many church fathers from the first to third centuries (for example Clement of Rome , Ignatius , Justin the Martyr , Irenaeus of Lyon , Tertullian and later Augustine of Hippo ) describe an eternal hell in different forms. In the post-biblical Apophthegmata Patrum , the popular sayings of the desert fathers , most of which come from Christian Egypt in the 4th century , there are very drastic, pictorial descriptions.
Some early theologians such as Origen (185-254) taught universal reconciliation , that is, the return of all creatures to God , which was also adopted by some church fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, such as Gregory of Nyssa , Didymus the Blind , Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia . Through the liturgy of the latter, the Apocatastasis (Reconciliation) was adopted into the Assyrian Church . This view was rejected by the Catholic-Orthodox Reich Church. In a local council which Allversöhnungslehre was 543 sentenced, influenced by the Emperor I. Justinian wrote Liber adversus Origenem . The Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 553 condemned Origen ( edict contra Origenem ) and passed the canon .
In the XVII. Article of the Augsburg Confession of 1530 formulated the Evangelical Lutheran Church:
“It is also taught that our Lord Jesus Christ will come on the last day to judge and raise all the dead, give eternal life and joy to the believers and elect, but condemn ungodly men and devils to hell and eternal punishment. That is why the Anabaptists are rejected, teaching that the devils and damned people will not have eternal torment and torment. "
Hell and similar terms in the Bible, translation problems
In the Old Testament (Ps. 16:10) the term Sheol occurs. According to statements in the book of Kohelet , nothing happens there : “ There is no doing, nor calculation, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol, wherever you have to go” (Ecclesiastes 9:10; after Buber), and “the dead, however, they recognize nothing, and there is still no reward for them, for their memory is forgotten ” (Ecclesiastes 9,5). “The Lord kills and gives life; he leads down into Sheol and leads up ” (1 Samuel 2: 6).
The New Testament Hades is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Sheol . Hades has been translated (sometimes up to the present day) with the term hell . Martin Luther translated it five times with 'hell' (inter alia Mat. 16:18), twice with 'dead', twice with 'world of the dead', once with 'his kingdom'. Newer Bible editions usually do not translate as 'hell', but rather 'world of the dead', 'underworld', 'grave', 'crypt realm' or similar.
Geenna (or Gehenna) is a place name in the Hebrew language and means 'Gorge of Hinnom' ( Ge-Hinnom ). This gorge canstill be visitedsouth of theold cityof Jerusalem today. According to the Bible,children were sacrificed tothe Ammonite god Moloch during rituals in theOld Testament(2 Kings 23:10). This practice was adopted by the Israelites during the reign of Solomon in the 10th century BC. And King Manasseh in the 7th century BC. Chr. Continued in times of crisis until the time of the Babylonian exile (6th century BC). The prophet Jeremiah , who strongly condemned this custom, called the valley “the gorge of perdition” (Jer. 7: 31-32; 19: 5-9). Gehenna later became a central garbage dump, among other things to prevent such customs from being reintroduced. According to some researchers, in the time of Jesus, the corpses of violators of the law were also cremated here after their execution. The idea of burning human corpses therefore inspired both Jewish and then Christian theologians to see here a picture for “hell”. Luther translated Geenna eight times with 'hell' (among others Mat. 5,22,29,30; 18,9; Mk 9,43,45) and four times with 'hellish'. Even more recent Bible translations keep 'Hell' as a translation by Geenna .
Critique of the Enlightenment and the Modern Age
From the Age of Enlightenment to the present day, hell has been criticized or rejected as a fear-inducing world of ideas that was used for worldly purposes or for the submission of believers - with the help of their fear of death and what comes after. The phrase “which would have to be invented if it didn't exist” is characteristic ( Nicolas Sylvestre Bergier in the Encyclopédie Française by Denis Diderot , in 1772).
The world views of theosophy and anthroposophy seek a separate path. The people of the 20th and 21st centuries, with its rapid development of scientific research and its results, are breaking away from traditional religious ideas and are beginning to look for solutions to "Hell on Earth".
Theological Positions in the 20th Century
In the Orthodox Churches heaven and hell are not seen as two different places, but as different states that arise from the same uncreated source and, depending on the inner conditions of the individual, would be experienced as two different experiences.
With reference to the Holy Scriptures and Patristics , which refer to the uncreated light of Christ as "consuming fire and shining light", after the return of Christ all people would see Christ in his uncreated light, which for some would mean the resurrection to life, for the others the resurrection to judgment and fire. Heaven and hell are not simply a reward and advantage in this way, but the way in which everyone experiences the sight of Christ, which is why not all participate in the light of Christ in the same way, but differently.
Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Churches
The teaching of the Catholic Church says that there is a hell and it lasts forever. The Catholic Church understands the term hell as the self-inflicted final exclusion of a person from communion with God, i.e. the experience of ultimate futility. (“Far from God”). For example Pope John Paul II. Non-Christians of good will do not go to hell according to Catholic teaching ( KKK 847). The Catechism of the Catholic Church deals with hell in Article 12 ( “I believe in eternal life” ) under IV: Hell .
“To die in mortal sin without having repented it and without accepting the merciful love of God means to remain separated from him forever by your own free choice. This state of final self-exclusion from fellowship with God and the blessed is called 'hell'. "
Some Catholic theologians such as (indistinctly) Hans Urs von Balthasar or (more sharply) Gisbert Greshake attempted a theological mediation between the theory of all solutions and the definitive dogma of hell: According to this, hell does exist as a “real possibility” ( Karl Rahner ), but it could “end up being empty “Because the eternal damnation of a certain person was never taught bindingly.
Hans Küng agrees with Gisbert Greshake: Hell is not a specific place or time, but rather the moment when a dying person encounters God. In this moment the unfinished and imperfect human being meets the holy, infinite, loving God. This encounter is deeply shameful, painful and therefore cleansing. The word purgatory is a wrong translation of the Latin word purgatorium (purification). Modern Protestant theologians often also take this position. The Catholic theologian Uta Ranke-Heinemann sees it similarly - following Rudolf Bultmann's account that Jesus' threats from hell were only put in his mouth after his death .
In the current theological mainstream, a position is also taken against the threat of fear of punishment or condemnation, because it is incompatible with statements in the Bible or with the attributes of God such as love, mercy and justice . According to this view, the New Testament proclaims the good news of the reconciliation of all, or at least most people, with God instead of any kind of agony in hell.
Other theologians, on the other hand, argue that it is unacceptable to deny the existence of hell. It must be taught as well as the possibility of man to be saved by turning to Jesus Christ. The testimony of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is in this tradition . , who said in his highly acclaimed book of Jesus in 2007 that Jesus Christ came to tell us that he wanted us all in paradise. Hell, which is so little talked about in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their eyes to Jesus' love. In his book Introduction to Christianity from 1968, Ratzinger dealt with the Christian definition of the term hell as a place of solitude, to which love can no longer penetrate.
In the ecumenical version of the Apostles' Creed of 1971, the words of the Latin version “descendit ad inferos”, which Luther had translated with “descended to hell”, were replaced by “descended into the realm of death”.
In addition to the doctrine of hell, two other theological schools of thought have been represented since the beginning of Christianity. These are the interpretations of universal reconciliation (God leads all people to himself) and annihilationism (unbelievers are destroyed).
Individual Christian groups
Strict directions of Calvinism in the tradition of Augustine of Hippo teach that God in a completely free and unsearchable decision only predetermines some people to heaven and others to hell ( doctrine of predestination ). The fateful burden of human beings with original sin excludes free will. Only the God-given belief in the self-sacrifice and the lordship of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God and in his resurrection is the way to be saved.
Other denominations, e.g. B. The Anglican Church , Methodist and Wesleyan Churches and many modern Reformed Churches teach that man must respond freely to God's grace in order to be saved, and therefore that the salvation of the soul ultimately depends on man (as does the Catholic Church) .
The Swedenborgians teach that after death every soul joins the like-minded group in which it feels most comfortable, which is why they see hell not as a place of suffering but of bliss for the souls of those who enjoy evil.
The Catechism of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America teaches that hell denotes the state of eternal death in the rejection of God.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( Mormons ) refers to two different places as hell: on the one hand, the place of the disobedient spirits in the spirit world (if they repent there they come to one of the three kingdoms of glory ), and , on the other hand , the place where where people who deny the Holy Spirit despite better knowledge would be, sometimes referred to as " outer darkness ." These eternally damned are called "sons of perdition." According to the Mormon view, the “sin against the Holy Spirit” presupposes so much knowledge that most cannot commit it. Examples of this are Satan and Cain .
Some groups of the Advent movement , as well as the Bible Students , the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Christadelphians teach annihilationism , according to which the wicked would be completely destroyed in body and soul at the final judgment. More recently, some evangelical theologians, including the Anglican author John Stott , have shown some degree of sympathy for this doctrine.
Other religions and cultures
In ancient Egyptian belief , the end of life was the journey to Sechet-iaru , the land of light in the realm of the dead. The realm of the dead is divided into several areas, for example the Duat and the Hetemit extermination site . In the dark region of the extermination site there is a lack of everything, water, bread and light. Demonic beings chop off heads, separate necks from torso, tear hearts from their chests, and cause bloodbaths. Only the existence of the negative confession of sin in the Hall of Complete Truth , the seat of the judgment of the dead , could prevent the banishment to the extermination site.
In the imagination of the Mithras cult , at the end of the world there is a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. For believers who had joined the dogmas of the priests of the god Mithras, there was the possibility in this “last judgment” to join the “spirits of light” and be saved with it, or as rejecters of this worldview together with the evil spirit Ahriman and the fallen angels, female guardian spirits who had failed to sink into pitch and sulfur in a throat of fire (see also: Frashokereti ).
Greek and Roman mythology
In Greek and Roman mythology , if the deceased were buried ritually and could pay the ferryman Charon , they crossed the River of the Dead into the underworld - otherwise their souls had to flutter around the banks of the river for a hundred years before Charon allowed them to cross the river . According to some ancient authors, for particularly serious wrongdoers, the Tartaros existed in the deepest part of the underworld , which was enclosed by a wall. Zeus had banished the Titans in Tartaros , including Arke , Tantalus , Sisyphus , Tityos , Ixion (King of the Lapiths) , Oknos , Phlegyas , Salmoneus , the Aloids and the Danaids . In the Platonic doctrine of the soul , Tartaros represents a place of punishment for the unjust, in which the stay, depending on the severity of the guilt, is temporary or permanent.
In the Germanic myths there was a cold, monotonous place in the underworld, ruled by the death goddess Hel . The place was also called Hel . It was in the Niflheim area and was bordered by the Gjọll river . In the Edda the Náströmnd ("corpse beach") is described as a place of punishment within Hels.
In Hinduism , the idea of hell ( Naraka ) plays a subordinate role. Nevertheless, Indian mythology knows various horrific hells which, according to some Hindus, represent part of the infinite cycle of reincarnation . Accordingly, the deceased experiences great suffering here until their bad karma , the negative consequences of their actions, are used up. After a while, the individual returns to earth to be born again and again - until final salvation ( moksha ).
The sojourn in hell is not seen as an eternal damnation but as a temporary process within almost all directions of Hinduism. The only exception to this is the Dvaita-Vedanta of the Hindu philosopher Madhva . Madhva also sees the stay in hell for sinners such as thieves and drunkards as limited in time, but this does not apply to those who harbor eternal hatred of God, the Dvaita gurus or the Vedas . These are the souls of the worst people and a number of evil spirits, including the demon Kali , who is the worst of all beings. They would sink into the hell area of Andhantama, which would continue to exist even after the end of the world, regardless of any Kalpa . The torments there were so bad that the damned would lose their intelligence and their eyesight, which according to some Dvaita followers, however, is a sign of universal goodness because this corresponds to the nature of the damned, just as the neem tree prefers bitter minerals to thrive.
While some Indian scriptures describe hells as a place of torment and heaven as a joyful place, others speak of spiritual properties and states of consciousness, the gunas . Krishna explains in the Uddhavagita, a part of the Bhagavatapurana (chap. 19.42-43): “Hell is the expansion of tamas (indolence, spiritual darkness). Heaven is the expansion of sattva (inner harmony, unity with the self). "
The Buddhism took over in modified form the Hindu ideas of reincarnation and hell (the same applies to the Jainism and Sikhism ). Similar to Hinduism, the torments that a sinner suffers in the respective “determinations” serve to purify and free these factors of existence by being able to see the general sentence “All life is Dukkha ” much more easily than in this world. Through this he can then be reborn on a higher level. The lowest of the six realms of the Buddhist wheel of life is the "realm of hell". Like many other things in Buddhism, such teachings are understood by many Buddhists rather symbolically. The deepest level of Buddhist hell is called Avici .
In the cosmogony of Tengrism there are three worlds: the heavenly world (Uçmag) , the earthly world and the underworld (Tamağ) . There are different descriptions of the underworld, most of them describe it as hot and fiery. Accordingly, the criminals would be punished there before they were brought to the third floor of heaven. The lord of the Tengristic underworld is called Erlik. In addition, some tribes believe that the underworld is also guarded by a being called Tami Han .
According to the pre-Christian religion of the Fijians , a deceased had to pass several tests on the Path of Souls (Sala Ni Yalo). Unmarried men apparently had no chance because even if they could escape the Big Woman, she would eat the monster Nangganangga, from which no one had ever escaped before. Married men could survive the path if they could survive the pandamus tree and the giant armed soul slayer. After that, if they were wealthy chiefs with many women who had destroyed several cities, killed enemies and ruled a powerful tribe, they would be advised not to try the lake that led into the underworld Murimuria , to cross. All others would therefore end up where some of them would be punished if they had not killed an enemy in their life, had their ears pierced or, as women, had not been tattooed .
In Judaism , the idea of hell only becomes tangible in the apocryphal writings that were not later included in the Tanakh , such as in the Book of Enoch (written between 130 and 68 BC). There the whereabouts of the deceased is described with four deep cavities, three of which are dark and one light. The sinners would be in the dark rooms, the light section is for the righteous. The unrighteous would be brought to a place by angels to be prepared for judgment. It is said: “According to the deeds of the wicked they will burn in blazing flames worse than fire” (100.9) and “no one will help them” (100.4). “And be aware that they [the angels] put your souls in the Sheol [Heb. for "Hades"] and they [the souls] will suffer evil and endure a severe trial in darkness, fetters and burning flames ”(103.7).
"Despite its purely monotheistic foundation and basic monotheistic ideas, the Jewish faith already had mystical images in its biblical epoch that are alien to the belief in the only Jewish God."
Many terms in the Hebrew Bible, such as Gehenna (21.10) and Sheol, which were originally assigned quite differently, were transformed into terms for different places in which people were tormented with fire, provided that they were in debt to something in life. Three different groups were distinguished (22.13): the righteous, the sinners who have not yet been punished in life, and the "perfect criminals" (the completely wicked). The historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes in his description of the realm of the dead from Abraham's bosom and the great gap between the various common rooms. This also apocryphal Abraham legend describes that the patriarch descend into the Sheol and should pick up the souls of the wicked to be if they had atoned enough and atoned for their sins.
“Regarding the specific topic of the concept of hell, one must say that many fantasies of Parsism have overflowed into Judaism. But they could not fundamentally shake Jewish rationalism . Maimonides , the great theologian and philosopher (12th century), declares them to be inventions that arose out of pedagogical motives in order to encourage immature humanity to fulfill the divine commandments. (...) The mystical thoughts have experienced different expressions in the course of Jewish history. Depending on the time and person, they were more or less decorated. The Kabbalists created whole worlds in their imagination, although there are hardly any differences between the Jewish mystics and those of other religions. "
In his treatise on Chapter 10 (Perek Helek) of the Sanhedrin Mixed Nativity, Maimonides states that the punishment of the unjust does not consist in damnation in hell, but in their exclusion from eternal life. Unlike those of the righteous, their souls would not partake of the resurrection of the dead, but would be destroyed. These statements are also part of the 13 beliefs of Maimonides (11th and 13th), which are of great importance for Orthodox Judaism .
In Islam , hell is thought of as a fiery abyss over which the narrow bridge as-Sirāt leads to heaven. All souls of the dead must cross this bridge, and the damned would fall down into the fire if they were not redeemed by the grace of Allah . There are about ten different names for hell in the Koran, the most common of them being “fire” ( Arabic نار nār ) and jahannam . The fire, which symbolizes the bad earthly deeds, can alreadybe seen by thedeceased in the Barzach , so that through the emotional pain suffered in this way, there is the possibility of a purification of their souls.
The Koran repeatedly speaks of paradise and hell, for example in Sura 23 , 103: “But those who have light scales have then lost themselves. They will dwell in hell forever ”, and in sura 11 , 106-107:“ The unhappy will then be in hellfire, where they howl loudly and scream out, and where they stay as long as heaven and earth last - as far as your Lord can do not want otherwise. Your Lord does what he wants. ”A very concrete idea of the hell punishment can be found in sura 4 , 56:“ Those who do not believe in our signs, we will let them burn in the fire: As often as their skin is burned, we give another skin for them, so that they may taste the punishment. Verily, Allah is Mighty, Wise. "
In Islam, hell does not last forever, as it does in Christianity, but only as long as Allah wills it ( sura 6 , 128 and sura 11,107). Here, too, different degrees of torment are differentiated, depending on the deeds on earth, with this life being seen as a test and heaven and hell as their consequences.
A well-known prophetic word is that there are more women than men in Hell. According to Ulrike Mitter, this assumption was already widespread in the second generation of Islam.
In Bahaitum , the conventional descriptions of hell and heaven are viewed as symbolic representations of spiritual states. According to the Baha'i scriptures, proximity to God equates to heaven, while distance from God equates to hell. According to the founder of Baha'ity , Bahāʾullāh , the soul of man strives for the presence of God even after death, until it will finally reach it.
The Mandaeans believe in a purification of the souls inside the Leviathan , which they also call the Demon Ur . There are guardhouses (so-called mattarathas), in which the souls of sinners are tormented so much that they wish for a second death, which, however, does not (yet) come over their spirits. At the end of the days, the souls of those Mandaeans who could be purified would be freed from Hibil from Ur's throat . After that, Ur, together with the souls remaining in it, will be wiped out, since all demons and unrefined dead die the second death, so that “whoever does not strip off the dirt goes out [...] and perishes”, “as if he had never been there would."
According to the Meivazhi, a monotheistic , syncretistic religion founded by the Muslim-born Indian Brahma Prakasa Meivazhi Salai Andavargal, the purpose of all religions is to lead people to heaven. However, those who do not seek closeness to God and are not blessed by him will be condemned to hell.
According to the European Values Study , almost a third of the 40,000 or so Europeans surveyed in 1999 believed in the existence of a hell; in Germany around 15%. Belief in a hell is most widespread in Turkey (90%), Northern Ireland (60%), Romania and Poland (55% each), least in Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands (around 10%).
According to a survey of 1003 people in Germany in March 2019, 13 percent believe in the existence of hell.
Artistic representations of hell
Hell has been the subject of painting over the centuries. Well-known representations come from Hieronymus Bosch (1450–1516), Hans Memling (probably 1433 / 1440–1494), Luca Signorelli (probably 1445 / 50–1523), Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510) .
Dante's Divine Comedy
Hell also became the subject of literary works. One of the best known is the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri from the 14th century.
Dante's main work, The Divine Comedy, is a kind of literary journey through hell, purgatory and paradise. Hell there is that "impact crater" that Satan left behind when he fell out of paradise (fall from hell ). One comes into this hell funnel through the hell gate. This is followed by a kind of intermediate realm, where those are plagued who were too cowardly in life to choose between good and bad . After the passage of the hell river Acheron follows the limbo , where the virtuous heathen in grief-stricken longing, but without physical suffering, eke out their shadowy existence. In the following second circle of hell the lustful are tormented, in the third the gourmets. Then follow the circles of the stingy and wasteful as well as the irascible and lazy. District 5 is also the location of the Hell River Styx and the city of Dis. Heretics and wicked live in the sixth circle , murderers, suicides, blasphemers, sodomites , usurers in the seventh circle . The eighth circle is reserved for couplers , seducers, flatterers, whores. The following are also gathered here: the corrupt in church or public offices, Simonists , magicians, fortune tellers, hypocrites, thieves, robbers, false advisers, heretics and dissidents. In the ninth circle, in the center of the earth, is the worst devil, Lucifer , and torments the worst sinners in human history: Judas , Cassius and Brutus , the murderers and traitors of the heavenly and earthly emperor. From there, Dante and his guide Virgil go to the southern hemisphere and the purgatory , after which they finally go to paradise.
- German-language literature
- Hans Urs von Balthasar : What can we hope for? Johannes-Verlag, Einsiedeln 1989, ISBN 3-265-10304-8 .
- Hans-Werner Deppe : How will it be in Hell? Bethanien-Verlag, Oerlinghausen 2005, ISBN 3-935558-11-2 ( evangelical ).
- Gisbert Greshake (Ed.): Uncertain Beyond. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory . Patmos, Düsseldorf 1986, ISBN 3-491-77645-7 (with contributions by Joachim Gnilka, Leo Scheffczyk, Werner Ross and Gisbert Greshake).
- Bernhard Lang : Heaven, Hell, Paradise. Beyond worlds from antiquity to today . Beck, Munich 2019, ISBN 978-3-406-74241-5 .
- Sven Loerzer, Monika Berger: Reports from the beyond. About the afterlife . Pattloch, Augsburg 1990, ISBN 3-629-00561-6 .
- Herbert Vorgrimler : History of Hell . Fink, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-7705-2848-4 .
- Georges Minois : Hell. Small cultural history of the underworld . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2000, ISBN 3-451-04778-0 .
- Jorge Luis Borges , Adolfo Bioy Casares : Book of Heaven and Hell . Edition Weitbrecht , Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-522-70040-6 .
- English-language literature
- Mary K. Baxter: A Divine Revelation of Hell . Whitaker House, New Kensington 1993, ISBN 0-88368-279-6 .
- Rob Bell : Love Wins. Harper One, 2011, ISBN 978-0-06-204964-3 (German translation: The last word has love. Brunnen, Gießen 2013, ISBN 978-3-7655-4186-5 .)
- Alan E. Bernstein: The Formation of Hell. Death and retribution in the ancient and early Christian worlds . Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY 1993, ISBN 0-8014-2893-9 .
- Francis Chan : Hell light: What God says about hell - and what we made of it. With Preston Sprinkle. Gerth, Asslar 2012, ISBN 978-3-86591-669-3 (original title: Erasing hell ).
- William V. Crockett, John F. Walvoord , Zachary J. Hayes, Clark H. Pinnock: Four Views on Hell . Zondervan Publishing, Michigan 1996, ISBN 0-310-21268-5 .
- Alice K. Turner: The History of Hell . Hale, London 1995, ISBN 0-7090-5688-5 .
- French-language literature
- Nicolas Sylvestre Bergier : Enfer. In: Denis Diderot , d'Alembert : Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers . Briasson and others, Paris 1751–1780.
- CP Ragland: Hell. In: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy .
- Thomas Talbott: Heaven and Hell in Christian Thought. In: Edward N. Zalta (Ed.): Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy .
- Pope John Paul II: The afterlife catechesis on heaven, hell and purgatory
- Current literature on hell
- Raimund Schwager: Eschatology - Hell
- Friedrich Kluge : Etymological dictionary of the German language. 19th edition. Berlin 1963, p. 314.
- Georgios Metallinos, Paradise and Hell according to the Orthodox tradition , http://www.oodegr.com/oode/esxata/kol_par1.htm
- See also Ps. 89:49; 139.8; Numbers 16.30
- Georgios Metallinos, Paradise and Hell according to the Orthodox tradition , http://www.oodegr.com/oode/esxata/kol_par1.htm
- hell. In: German Bishops' Conference (ed.): Catholic Adult Catechism. 1985, Volume 1, pp. 423f.
- Pope John Paul II on the Nature of Hell - General Audience, July 28, 1999 . Vatican website, German-language edition, accessed on December 28, 2012.
- KKK 1033 ff: IV Hell
- Hans Küng : Eternal Life? 6th edition. Piper-TB, Munich 1996, in the chapters Jesus and Hell and Hell - Eternal? esp.ISBN 3-492-20364-7 , p. 179.
- Rudolf Bultmann: History of the synoptic tradition. Goettingen 1931.
- Uta Ranke-Heinemann: No and Amen. My departure from traditional Christianity. Heyne, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-453-21182-0 .
- Benedict XVI. : Jesus of Nazareth. From the baptism in the Jordan to the transfiguration . Herder, 2007, ISBN 978-3-451-29861-5 , p. 128.
- offTheLeftEye: The Good Thing About Hell - Swedenborg and Life , YouTube.com, March 14, 2016.
- The Episcopal Church: The Book of Common Prayer (PDF), p. 862: “by hell, we mean eternal death in our rejection of God”.
- The the Scriptures , Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003.
- Spencer W. Kimball : The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 123.
- Jeremy Black, Anthony Green: Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. An Illustrated Dictionary, London 1992, pp. 180-181.
- Virgil , Aeneid 6, 324-329.
- Gylfaginning , 52.
- Völuspá , 38-39.
- Helmuth von Glasenapp : Der Hinduismus. Religion and Society in Today's India, Hildesheim 1978, p. 248.
- Helmuth von Glasenapp: Madhva's philosophy of the Vishnu belief , Geistesströmungen des Ostens Vol. 2, Bonn 1923, pp. 103-105.
- Glasenapp: Madhva's Philosophy of the Vishnu Belief, pp. 65-66.
- Sri Vadiraja: Bhugola Varnanam , come. u. trans. v. V. Badaryana Murthy, Bangalore 1988/89, pp. 60-63.
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