Letter: Hell: on the Jewish model

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the Independent of 15 December the former Bishop of Birmingham Hugh Montefiore is quoted as saying that the idea of Hell as a place where an angry God exacts eternal retribution from transgressors is found in the New Testament. He implies that this belief is derived from the Hebrew Bible.

Judaism believes that there is a moral order in the universe and that righteousness is rewarded and evil punished. The Hebrew Bible also contains references to Sheol, the Nether World. The concept of Hell as a place of eternal damnation, however, is unknown to it. Indeed, it is contrary to an essential feature in Judaism which postulates belief in God as a loving father who concerns Himself with the welfare of all humanity and who is ready to forgive.

Yours faithfully,


London, W5

20 December