The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Medieval Pilgrims to Jerusalem in the Quest for Hell

The lecture explores the Early Medeival pilgrim texts, particularly the accounts of Christian pilgrims, who searched for Hell in Jerusalem. Beginning from the VI cemtury new locations for Hell were added to the biblical valley of Gehenna in Jerusalem. There appear a group of text that claim that the Hell could be heard in different parts of the city and the tradition continued well after the Middle Ages. The pilgrim accounts describing the abyss under the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem will be explored as having a direct interrelation with the ancient tradition of the water abyss under the Jerusalem Temple. Texts from the Second Temple period, describing the place for the dead form the illuminating context for the Early Christian developments.