Glossary of Terms



Harper’s Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

You are strongly recommended to add to your library the excellent revised edition of Harper's Bible Dictionary titled, The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition [book review], edited by Paul J. Achtemeier, with the Society of Biblical Literature (NY: Harper Collins, 1996). It is currently the best one-volume Bible dictionary in English, and it is available at Border's Books, Christian Science Reading Rooms,, or

Sheol, a biblical term for the netherworld. In some sources, particularly poetic and prophetic ones (cf. Deut. 32:22; Amos 9:2), the reference is simply to the deep depths of the earth. More commonly, Sheol is the underworld where departed spirits go (Prov. 9:18). Some of the biblical texts preserve a distinct mythological flavor, where Sheol is a power that can destroy the living (cf. Isa. 5:14). The etymology of the word is still in question. As a gloomy netherworld for departed spirits Sheol is the counterpart of Hades and Tartarus.

Michael Fishbane


Topical index of terms
Edited for by Robert Nguyen Cramer
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