Heaven and Hell in Jewish Orthodox Tradition

Paul’s influence on Jewish eschatology

It is difficult to dismiss the influence of Paul on Jewish orthodox eschatology. Many Jewish and Christian leaders have argued that Paul’s message is anti-Judaism and outside of Judaism. Indeed, this prevailing narrative has caused long-standing divisions between Jews and Christians. It is crucial to change the prevailing narrative on Paul’s relationship to Judaism if we are to advance the kingdom of God.

The Talmud contains an account of Rabbi Gamaliel, a Hellenist who studied Hebrew and did not rely on the Greek translation of the Scriptures known as the Septuagint. In contrast, Paul was Jewish and spoke Hebrew with his own people. It is also possible that Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel but was never explicitly mentioned by name. In this case, Paul’s teachings are more important than his followers’, but there is no consensus on the specifics.

Moreover, the prophets adapted this theory to their own situations, changing the names of the four kingdoms in the Bible to reflect their own circumstances. In Zechariah, for instance, the prophets changed Joshua son of Jehozadak to Zerubbabel. In Daniel, the same strange symbolism reverberated in the eschatological imagery of that book.

Despite the enduring influence of Paul on Jewish eschatology, it should not be overlooked. Several intertestamental writings have survived the centuries since the destruction of the Second Temple. Christian scribes interpolated Christian concepts into these Jewish compositions. As such, it is possible to distinguish the original text from the later Christian texts. For instance, many Jews believed that the world would end in a catastrophic event, a period that occurred many years before Christ’s ascension.

However, some Jews also held that apocalyptic literature had been used by the prophets of Ezekiel. This literature is considered apocalyptic, and was often copied by Jewish writers until the Second Temple was destroyed. The author of these writings, Isaiah, and Daniel, interpreted the events of his time as a cosmic transformation. In other words, Paul’s influence on Jewish orthodox eschatology explains the evolution of Jewish thought in this period.


One of the most influential thinkers of the Jewish tradition, Moses Maimonides, wrote the Treatise on Resurrection. Maimonides affirmed the concept of the afterlife, but he explained that the soul is a form of God’s intelligence and will be informed by the Creator in the same way that heavenly bodies are informed. Righteous people will share in this divine intelligence, while wicked people will cease to exist once they die.

As with the idea of an afterlife, the definitions of Heaven and Hell are not entirely clear. Jewish scholars adopted language from other philosophical schools in the Middle Ages, including the neo-Platonic school, which adopted Aristotle’s ideas of heaven. The following descriptions are the result of their work, and their exegesis may not be entirely accurate. Nonetheless, Maimonides’ essay on Heaven and Hell is the most influential work on afterlife concepts in the Jewish orthodox tradition.

The definition of hell varies greatly from rabbinic tradition. Some sources hold that the soul of the utterly wicked does not enter the Garden of Eden at the end of the year. Others maintain that they continue to exist after purgation. In either case, Jewish tradition contains a range of views on heaven and hell. While the majority of modern Jewish thinkers have avoided the discussion of hell, there are some ramifications for addressing the issue of heaven and hell.

The most popular Jewish concept associated with the end of times is the olam haba. This concept is mentioned in early rabbinic sources as the ultimate reward for individuals and righteous gentiles. It is difficult to know exactly when this world will exist, though some sources compare the World to the physical pleasures of sex and Torah study. While it is not clear when it will exist, the Talmud does contain scattered descriptions of this world. Although it is not clear when this world will exist, Nahmanides believes that the World to Come is a new era ushered by the resurrection of the dead. The souls of the righteous are reunited with the spirits of the dead.

In the medieval period, scholars sought to formulate a basic set of Jewish beliefs. Philo of Alexandria attempted to enumerate the five articles of faith. They include the principle that God is one, created the world, and rules the world. They also rejected the idea of chosenness as morally defunct. Further, the mystical aspect of God’s existence is a problem.

Rabbi Gaon

One of the most influential works on eschatology was Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon’s Book of Beliefs and Opinions. The author believed that the soul was created in the womb, and that after death it reunited with its body in a state of spiritual bliss. The ideas of reincarnation and heaven and hell were also influential in medieval Jewish thought.

The modern Reform movement eliminated the idea of an afterlife and replaced it with a belief in m’chayay hakol, “the giving of life.” They also rejected the idea that souls go to a place called Gehinnom, a real valley located south of Jerusalem. In addition, it was known as wadi al rababah, which is also known as “the accursed valley” because child sacrifices were conducted there.

Maimonides surveyed the beliefs of rabbinic Judaism at that time and classified them into five categories. He also rejected all belief in the resurrection. He argued that the only reliable source was the book of Daniel, in which the dead are physically resurrected. However, it was unclear if this resurrection was possible, and he did not elaborate on it.

The modern Orthodox and Haredi schools of thought maintain that the Written Torah is the same as that received by Moses. They also maintain that there are scribal errors in the Torah. However, the Masoretes made an authoritative text based on all of the known variations. Thus, the Torah is not letter-perfect, but word-perfect. This text is referred to as the textus receptus.

The debate between the two schools of thought was often centered on the issue of reincarnation. Many Jews believed that the physical world was not the afterlife, and that the soul was eternal. Others believed that a soul could return to the physical world and live for eternity. The debate over reincarnation prompted the introduction of the philosopher Maimonides to the discussion. It was also important to note that the modern world is not the only place where reincarnation takes place.

Whether there is a heaven or a hell is another matter. While Jews differ about this, many believe that the soul will return to God once the body is raised. Despite this disagreement, there are some Jewish mystical traditions that point to the existence of heaven and hell. Some believe that people travel to the cave of the patriarchs after death, and that the light of Adam re-appear in the form of a being of light.

Paul’s views on Sheol

In the Jewish orthodox tradition, Paul’s views on Sheol and the abyss are a matter of debate. The Old Testament, for example, has more positive things to say about this place. According to modern critical scholarship, however, ancient Israel never affirms that there is an afterlife or that the dead are remembered by God. Rather, they believed that death is a place of darkness, where God is still the King.

Jewish orthodoxy views of the afterlife include an emphasis on the notion of a higher, more perfect life, where the dead will be resurrected. Paul’s theology speaks of an age that is passing and a new world-age dawning. The Bible portrays the apocalyptic concept of the resurrection, which implies that there will be a second coming of Christ. Nevertheless, Paul’s theology does not speak of a hell for the unregenerate.

The Old Testament does not teach anti-Semitic ideas. While God rules the entire universe, He rules over the chosen people in the Promised Land. This rule extends to the enemies of Israel on earth as well as to the depths of Sheol, the underworld. It seems that these principles of God’s sovereignty are reflected in the New Testament. And the Jews of the Old Testament did not believe in anti-Semitism.

Main Menu