Fun and entertaining article on, you guessed it — hell!
Hell, being based on such appalling vengeance, needed to be hot: as hot as the divine wrath that created it. The name for Hell, in most cultures, meant a hole or hidden place, and this soon became a hole of fire. The Jewish Gehenna, mentioned by Jesus, was no more than the smouldering rubbish tip outside Jerusalem where the bodies of criminals were thrown. The Egyptian Hell, however, was a fiery pit in which people were not merely burned, but hacked into small pieces by “the Commander of Fire” and “the Eater of Entrails”; and both the Hindu and Buddhist Hells put sinners in cauldrons, or on spits basted by many devils, the better to feel the heat.
[via The Economist]