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Hades

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n classical mythology, Hades is the god of the underworld and also the name for the realm or state of departed spirits. The word was used in Greek translations of the Bible for the Hebrew Sheol (the dark, silent place of the dead) and appears in the New Testament as the after-death location of both the good and bad, who await the Resurrection of the Dead. The specific place where the wicked are punished is a related but separate location, called Gehenna , or *hell. Early Christian theologians frequently debated the nature of Hades, and whether or not (as some maintained) the *souls of the righteous, or especially the martyrs, bypassed Hades and went directly to *heaven, or paradise. In the writings of western theologians by the twelfth century, Hades evolved into the concept of purgatory, an interim after-death location of temporary punishment (purging, cleansing, or purifying) for souls not immediately assigned to hell or heaven. Illustrations of the *Anastasis (Harrowing of Hell; Descent into Limbo) depict Hades as the abode from which *Christ extracted Old Testament persons who had lived justly or who had anticipated Christ in some way. Christ is shown breaking open the jaws or gates and pulling figures out, leaving the *Devil   (Satan or Hades) in the wreckage behind.
Hadfield, Sir Robert (Abbot) [next] [back] Hadamard, Jacques

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