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Our Old Haunts

“Thus, in 1 Peter 3:19, Jesus is actually declaring victory over the demonic realm; he is not preaching to the righteous dead. The second passage, 1 Peter 4:6, on the other hand, does say that the gospel was preached to the dead.” Thus say Heidi J. Hornik and Mikeal C. Parsons, in a study titled The Harrowing of Hell, which appeared in Bible Review in June 2003. The authors cite St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Melito of Sardis, the Odes of Solomon, the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, and many other sources — establishing that the credal statement “He descended into hell” has a remarkable patristic pedigree. They won’t say, in the end, whether they consider it the Fathers’ “misreading” of the Scriptures. For some of us, the councils have settled that question by affirming the creeds. In any event, Jesus is indeed victorious over the demons, and He has indeed preached to the righteous dead. So happy Halloween, everyone!

One thought on “Our Old Haunts

  1. If you do an image search on “harrowing of hell”, you’ll find some pretty cool stuff. Generally, the mouth of Hell is indeed depicted as a big critter’s mouth, out of which Adam and Eve are climbing along with other notables.

    But in “The Descent of Christ into Limbo”, Jesus has kicked down the door of Hell and is standing on it! Also, a devil trapped underneath! :)

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