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The concept of hell can be traced to the OT belief that the dead continued to live a shadowy life in a nether region of darkness and silence known as Sheol. However, it was not a place of torment or retribution. In later Judaism, at the end of the OT period, concepts of final judgment and retribution led to belief that the righteous were separated from the unrighteous in Sheol. Belief in Gehenna, a blazing hell of punishment, likely reflects the influence of Iranian ideas of punitive judgment by God for the wicked. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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