Transliteration vs. Translation vs.Travesty vs. Allegory
Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom or Djennem or Hell?
Through the prophecy and book of Jeremiah the Valley of Hinnom (ge hinnom) east of Jerusalem became a synonym for a place of curse and death and destruction. In the Aramaic targumim it was then added as explanatory to texts like the last verse of the earlier book of Isaiah (fire and decomposition). The meaning then seemed to have changed in the course of time so that an apokryphal (fairy-tale type) book of Judith (16:17) speaks of torment and eternal howling with pain, which is quite different from that original meaning with Jeremiah (ch.7) and Isaiah (ch.66). In the interpretation of the Greek books of Matthew, Luke, Mark, which used (in parts) Aramaic/Hebrew as source language, Later church commentators and teachers obviously were more inclined towards an understanding that - in terms of natural justice and human sense - went far beyond the goodness of the average sensible person - in the opposite direction. Is - after all - the parable told by Christ about the self-infatuated and content rich pious man not rightly to be viewed rather as a sharp and cutting parodism than as a parable in the narrow sense of the word? In order to conclude: How can a valley with such a clearly depicted significance like that of Hinnom (respectively of his sons) end up as we find it still in our days and bibles: a hell of a cruelty worse than all Nazi and Stalin and any terror you could name and think of? Neither Paul nor Moses seem to know anything of that sort of device God supposedly contrieved against enemies of his. Was this the task of the Son of Man: to correct the prophets in their misled mildness (i.e. merely curse and death after disadvantageous judgement) and teach and inspire the wording of the Quran, which did not fail to leave nothing to doubt about the meaning of dschehennem in the centuries to come after bringing to an end the curse of the law. For the purpose of liberty for churches and bible translators to teach after their own pleasure? The law certainly seemed too weak to some to be taught as a standard of justice against perpetrators, especially for such ones of the stature of a Calvin in Geneva or a Luther in Germany and certain popes before and after them?
How would a sensible translation of the (in Greek merely transliterated from Aramaic/Hebrew) Valley of Hinnom term this place and put its significance (better than the traditional one)?
The question is a hermeneutic and interpretatory one: Can we know today what the notion and his meaning was when Jesus according to Matthew 5:22 (compare verses 29, 30) spoke the judgement of (Aramaic/Hebrew) ge henna /ge hinnom against a hateful offender? Did he think in terms far beyond Law and Prophets or in accordance with them (assuming they do not talk of our antique, medieval, modern hell)? The question may seem ridiculous.(Flavius Josephus writes that Pharisaic religion and thought was inclined towards eternal things like soul and judgement, the latter more for others.It may have seemed ridiculous to them as well, but not to everyone's pleasure.)