Paradise And Hell in Later Thought
From the Encylopaedia Judia 13:82
|Paradise and Hell,
the place of reward for the righteous and punishment for
the wicked after death, are traditionally refferred to as
the Garden and Gehinnom respectively. In the Bible
these two names never reffer to the abode of souls after
death; nevertheless, the idea of a fiery torment for the
wicked may have been by Isaiah 66:24. The earliest
possible allusion to Gehimmom in the new sense as found
in the Apocrypha in which the general phrase
"assursed valley" is used to describe the place
where the wicked will be judged and punished (I En.
The name Gehenna (Gehinnom) first appears in the New Testament (Matt. 5:22-29ff) as does "Paradise". the abode of the blessed (e.g. Luke 23:43). The word pardis ("park" "orchard") occurs in bibical the talmudic sources, but rarely if ever in the sense of "heavenly abode". The oldest Jewish source to mention Garden of Gehinnom is probably a statement of Johanan b. Zakka at the end of the first century C.E.. "There are two ways before me, one leading to Paradise and the other to Gehinnom" (Ber. 28b).
Jewish teaching about a future life was never systematized, and the varied statement in rabbinic literature cannot be combined into a consistent whole. "days of the Messiah" and "World to come" are sometimes sharply distinguished, sometimes virtually identified. Some passages indicate that righteous and wicked will enter eden and Gehinniom only after the resurrection and last judgement; in others, the departed take their assigned places immediately after death other descriptions of future bliss and punishment make no mention of locale.