Video Lecture: “The Origin of Heaven and Hell”

Learn all about the what, how, and why of heaven and hell

Heaven and hell have long been controversial, but as Bible scholars, we want to first understand the origin of heaven and hell—that way, we’re not only better educated about their original meanings but also prepared to grasp how modern cultures view and interpret these two distinct and powerful concepts.

The age-old human question of “Where do I go when I die?” is an everlasting one—and it’s not simply an answer based on being a “saint” or a “sinner.” It’s a complex topic, and an authoritative online video lecture by a renowned Biblical scholar is in order here, to help you become an expert on the origins and meanings of heaven and hell.

With “The Origin of Heaven and Hell” online video lecture, you get a detailed, illuminating, and engrossing look at heaven and hell—hosted by Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) Editor Robert R. Cargill, a recognized Biblical archaeologist and professor of religious studies at the University of Iowa.


You’ll learn how heaven and hell came to exist so prominently in Jewish and Christian literature in the first place. In this online video lecture, follow along with Professor Cargill as he tackles some initial questions about heaven and hell, including:

  • • What are heaven and hell?
  • • How is the afterlife different from heaven and hell?
  • • Where are heaven and hell, exactly?
  • • Who gets to go to heaven?
  • • What can happen to you in hell?
  • • What do major religious texts say about heaven and hell?
  • • And more questions—with answers from Professor Cargill!

This online video lecture will keep you captivated all the way to the end—so you can learn all about the origin of heaven and hell. You’re certain to discover new aspects of this topic that you’ve never heard before. And Professor Cargill will help you “connect the dots” about varying—and sometimes conflicting—depictions of heaven and hell.

Plus, you’ll get a whole series of online videos—and much more, including the entire vast searchable library of articles, online videos, photos, and maps —when you join the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) as an All-Access member today. More about that in a minute.


Explore the world’s most intriguing Biblical scholarship

Dig into more than 7,000 articles in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s vast archive with a Library Explorer pass.



The origin of heaven and hell explained in full detail

In this video lecture, Professor Cargill starts off describing all the various religious descriptions about the heavens—and you’ll discover how varied and confusing this can be!


Wood engraving by Gustave Doré depicting Dante’s Inferno, Canto XXXIV, in which Dante and Virgil encounter Satan in the ninth circle of hell.

Because there was no concept of an afterlife in early Israelite religion, there was no concept of a heaven or hell. But following the exile and return from Babylon and the coming of the Greeks, Jewish literature suddenly began to contain references to heaven and hell.

Wow is it different how various religious sects—and even within a particular religion—viewed the concept of heaven and hell! Professor Cargill walks you through, with specific examples, how all of this evolved.

And you’ll even see a visual depiction, according to the ancient Jewish worldview, of Earth with God and the heavens above and “the Great Deep” below—Professor Cargill explains it all in thorough detail.

You’ll learn all about key Biblical characters with a heavenly link, such as Enoch, Elijah, and Melchizedek. And all about apocalyptic literature with descriptions of heaven and hell. And then you’ll hear Professor Cargill explain the “seven heavens” and what all that means.

Have you ever heard of the “Apocalypse of Peter,” the first Christian writing to describe a journey through heaven and hell? You’ll learn all about its description of the Earth’s destruction by fire, the last judgment, and the eternal torments of those condemned to hell.

And in vivid detail (some of which is just simply horrifying), you’ll learn about the specific punishments for specific behavior as described in the “Apocalypse of Peter”—murderers will be “set in worms like clouds of darkness”; women who adorn themselves for adultery will be “hanged by their hair above boiling mire”; women who conceive out of wedlock will be “up to their necks in discharge and stench”; and those who bear false witness will suffer “gnawing their tongues and having flaming fire in their mouths.”

After hearing about all the punishments, you’ll know that the hell described is definitely a place to avoid!

Riveting. Revealing. Even revolting. You’ll get the most scholarly and in-depth look at the origin of heaven and hell with this online video lecture, “The Origin of Heaven and Hell”—watch it today!


Explore the world’s most intriguing Biblical scholarship

Dig into more than 7,000 articles in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s vast archive with a Library Explorer pass.


When you join as a BAS All-Access member, you’ll get 22 online video lectures, including “The Origin of Heaven and Hell” by Robert R. Cargill—the popular University of Iowa religion professor who is a probing and entertaining presenter as well as a Biblical archaeologist.

The BAS Library is full of other online videos about Biblical archaeology and history—world-renowned master teachers present video lectures on the latest key issues in archaeology and the Bible, including “The Archaeology of Jewish Christianity and “Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” In addition, BAS founder Hershel Shanks hosts a series of informal interviews with five prominent Dead Sea Scrolls scholars, all in online videos.

Other online videos available to BAS All-Access members include:

And the big bonus: As a BAS All-Access member, viewing all these online videos is FREE—unlimited viewing, time after time, while you’re a member. In fact, you’ll have unlimited access to everything in the BAS Library when you join now—over 29,000 searchable articles, online videos, photos, and maps … all just a few clicks away for you and available 24-hours-a-day, plus upcoming issues of Biblical Archaeology Review—only for BAS All-Access members!

Discover all this and more—but only if you subscribe right now!

As fascinating as these articles are, the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extraordinary, 44+-year-old Library is about so much more. Indeed, this is just 1 of 50 Special Collections designed to allow deeper study into specific topics and includes just a fraction of the incredible insights to be found in the BAS Library using your All-Access pass.

The BAS Library includes online access to more than 7,000 articles by world-renowned experts and 22,000 gorgeous color photos from…

  • 44+ years of Biblical Archaeology Review
  • 20 years of Bible Review, critical interpretations of Biblical texts
  • 8 years of Archaeology Odyssey, exploring the ancient roots of the Western world
  • The fully-searchable New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, an authoritative work of the past century of archaeological study
  • Video lectures from world-renowned experts
  • Four books published by BAS and the Smithsonian Institution

Plus, you get access to so much more from your All-Access pass:

Biblical Archaeology Review print edition:

Enjoy the same current issues in glorious, traditional, full-color print …

  • 6 print issues of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine

Biblical Archaeology Review tablet edition:

Stay on top of the latest research! You get …

  • 6 bi-monthly issues of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, all on your iPad, Android or Kindle Fire
  • Instant access to the complete tablet edition back-issue catalog of BAR from the January/February 2011 issue forward

Of course, you’ll receive all of the above, for only $1.25 a month! All of this rich and detailed scholarship is available to you—right now—by buying a special All-Access pass.


Special limited-time offer — save 80%! Get your BAS All-Access pass—just $1.25 a month for an entire year of access to our vast library of content on Bible history and archaeology, as well as convenient tablet access and six fascinating print issues delivered straight to your door. That’s an 80% savings off the total value, and it’s a limited-time offer you should take advantage of right now!

That’s right: Right now, you get a ticket to four decades of study, insight and discovery. Why not join us right now and start your own exploration?

Whether you’re researching a paper, preparing a sermon, deepening your understanding of Scripture or history, or simply marveling at the complexity of the Bible – the most important book in history—the BAS All-Access pass is an invaluable tool that cannot be matched anywhere else.

You’ll get to experience all the discoveries and debate in beautiful clarity with Biblical Archaeology Review, anytime, anywhere! And the Library is fully searchable by topic, author, title, keyword, and by Special Collection.

One last word: Please note that studying Biblical history and archaeology with our All-Access pass can lead to uncontrolled diversion from your original search, excessive browsing and the swift passage of surprising lengths of time.

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