The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(1,595 words)

1. The word ‘hell’ (from Old English hel, in turn from helan, ‘to cover,’ ‘to conceal’) in Germanic languages denotes a ‘hidden’ realm of the dead. The corresponding words in romance languages mean, more precisely, a ‘subterranean realm’ (Lat., infernum, akin to Eng. ‘infernal’; Fr., enfers). In the earliest traditions, the underworld is the region where all of t…

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Herzog, Markwart, “Hell”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 27 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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