What do J. I. Packer, Rob Bell, and Edward Fudge have in common about Hell? They're wrong! Gehenna was NOT a rubbish dump outside Jerusalem. [I must confess that I too at one stage believed this myth.]
The simple fact is that there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that this is true in the first centuries. There is no archeological or literary support for this claim. So where did the idea come from? It appears to have come from a Rabbinic commentary on Psalm 27:13, written in 1200 CE!
- Peter Head, “The Duration of Divine Judgment in the New Testament” in The reader must understand: Eschatology in Bible and Theology. eds. K.E. Brower and M.W. Elliott; (Leicester: Apollos, 1997), 221-227.
- G. R. Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom of God. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 376n.92.
- Hermann L. Strack and Paul Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud and Midrasch, 5 vols. (Munich: Beck, 1922-56), 4:2:1030.
- Lloyd R. Bailey, “Gehenna: The Topography of Hell,” Biblical Archeologist 49 (1986): 187-191.