Tracing the Road to Gehenna:
I have just published a new article on the www.afterlife.co.nz website on Gehenna.
It has been popularly said that the Lord Jesus borrowed the imagery of Gehenna from a perpetually lit rubbish dump outside Jerusalem that was used for consuming the cities rubbish and even to destroy the godless. It is understood that such graphic imagery would have helped Jesus to convey what the end-time judgment will be like. Apparently this idea was first written about in a commentary by a Rabbi by the name of David Kimhi who lived around A.D. 1200.
However, this notion of Gehenna as a perpetual rubbish dump has been contested by some notable scholars. Herman Strack & Paul Billerbeck, scholars of Judaism and its related writings, state that there is neither archaeological nor literary evidence to support this claim in either the early intertestamental literature or later rabbinic sources. In 1986 Lloyd R. Bailey in his book “The Topography of Hell” came to the same conclusion…
So if the Lord Jesus did not draw his imagery from the popular concept of the “rubbish dump” where did he draw the concept from?
To answer this question we now turn to the OT account of Genesis to see if we can find any reference to its origin there.
I think Armand is saying that Jesus chose not to use Hades ( the Greek translation of sheol in the Septuagint) to his Jewish audience because the meaning of Hades carried with it so much baggage and Gehenna did not. And he suggests that Gehenna is an exclusive transliteration of a Jewish place which became a Jewish metaphor for Jerusalem’s judgment.
Here are some links about the Gehenna rubbish dump myth: