Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Movember Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Black Friday Deals Shop Now DOTD

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $22.00
  • Save: $6.15 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The History of Hell has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The History of Hell Paperback – October 13, 1995

39 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$2.94 $0.49

"Humans of New York: Stories" by Brandon Stanton
Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor. See Details
$15.85 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The History of Hell
  • +
  • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics
Total price: $28.03
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an arresting journey through the netherworld, Playboy fiction editor Turner explores the landscape and dynamics of Hell as envisioned by writers, artists, theologians and thinkers from Plato and Augustine to Milton, Calvin, Byron and T. S. Eliot. Starting with the worlds of the dead of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Zoroastrians, Greeks, Romans and Jews, Turner moves on to the sketchy biblical basis for Christian Hell and its increasing importance in thinking about the afterlife. After the fact of Hell was settled, it was up to writers like Bede, Gregory the Great and most of all Dante to give the graphic descriptions of an infernal region where the wicked endure torments. Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire poured cold water on the idea of Hell, yet, as Turner shows, Hell, far from disappearing in the 20th century, has been one of its central metaphors. Scores of intriguing black-and-white plates reveal how Bosch, Giotto, William Blake, Michelangelo, Rodin and others have shaped popular images of the underworld. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Turner, the fiction editor of Playboy magazine, takes the reader on more of a geographical than a theological tour of hell. She begins her examination of the concept of hell in ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies, tracing its evolution into that held by the Christian Church. She considers the devil such a complex subject that he remains peripheral to her discussion. The study emphasizes the depiction of hell by such artists as Virgil, Dante, Michelangelo, Milton, and Blake and the bewildering assortment of hells within the history of Christianity. Turner remains alert to the humor lurking behind many depictions of hell, such as in medieval mystery plays. Her scholarship is thorough but not obtrusive. Suitable for informed lay readers.
- Richard S. Watts, San Bernardino Cty. Lib., Cal.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st Harvest ed edition (October 13, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156001373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156001373
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Will Errickson on February 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
A beautifully illustrated work of witty, perceptive and wide-ranging scholarship, Turner presents a multi-faceted Hell that one can't help but be drawn to. The chapters are fairly short and readable--this is no heavy, dry academic tome, although you'd have to be a complete bore to make this subject anything less than fascinating--at least for me. There's not much of hell at all in the Bible; most of our perceptions of hell were indeed formed by Milton and Dante and other works outside the Christian biblical canon. Turner concentrates on how images of the infernal place have changed over centuries, and how our philosophies of what is human, what is good, etc. change and adapt. She's a sharp, insightful writer, although I suspect her sometimes irreverent, agnostic tone may turn off some readers. I could be wrong though! I recommend this along with Jeffrey Burton Russell's "Prince of Darkness" (perhaps the single best book on the Devil himself, from 1988); Paul Carus' "The Devil"; and Lauren Paine's "The Hierarchy of Hell." Together these books are a long gaze into the abyss....
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on December 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Alice Turner's "History of Hell", while a seemingly glossy coffetable book, turns out, in fact, to be a well written introduction to the history and mythology of the Underworld as it appears throughout many cultures and religions over the past 5000 years.
The book begins with the earliest recorded tradtions of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians and their ideas of the afterlife and the Underworld and how these notions greatly influenced later cultures and religions like Ancient Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christiantiy, and Islam. She relates the traditions of the Greco-Roman Underworld and all the attendant gods and goddesses and how it is with Greek and Roman literature that the Infernal regions begin to grow in prominence. It is however in Chritianity that the notion of an Infernal Underworld of pain, torture, and enternal suffering for sinners and evil-doers comes to the real forefront. Christianity is the only religion that seems to place such heavy emphasis on the existence of a place of eternal damnation, where demons torture the souls of the deceased and the Devil presides over all. Turner examines the literature of St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Milton, and others, as the myths of Hell grow and change over time to become the popular notion we still hold today of Hell as a place of fire, brimstone, and torment, as well as the effect of art in the common perceptions of Hell. It is quite an intersting fact that while we should aspire to the paradise of Heaven, it is the Inferno that continues, after all this time, to fascinate and captivate our imaginations.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
70 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Davenport on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
The subject matter on this book is, by nature, rather on the dark side. I had to take it in small doses because it can be depressing to focus heavily on this sort of thing. On the other hand, it was well researched, thorough, and highly-informative.

Where I think Ms. Turner lost some direction is in her conclusion that Christianity teaches the doctrine of a fiery, burning hell. Yes, I know - many churches in Christendom do teach this as a doctrine - and most Bible translations translate the original language words 'hades', 'Gehenna', and 'sheol' as "Hell" or "Hellfire". but with careful (and honest) research, it becomes apparent that Bible translators (Not the bible writers)have been heavily influenced by paganism and writers such as Dante (1265 to 1321 AD).

Consider, for example one of the Greek words translated as "Hellfire": 'Gehenna' This is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew, "ge-Hinnom", or the "Valley of Hinnom". This valley, located southwest of Jerusalem, takes its name from a man, whose name was Hinnom and his sons who apparently came to own this property. It was in this valley that wicked kings, Ahaz and Manasseh sacrificed their children in the fire as an offering to Baal (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6). Of this practice, God said, "To burn their sons and their daughters with fire, which I did not command, nor did it come up on My heart." (Jeremiah 7:31). In this valley, these kings also practiced witchcraft, sorcery, divination, and also built up "high places" in worship of false Gods. Later, Josiah had parts of this valley polluted to render it unfit for any such practices in the future. In Jesus' day, the Valley of Hinnom was being used as a garbage dump.

There is a curious anomaly however, that seems to affect many, if not most translations of the Bible.
Read more ›
10 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dubious Disciple on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is not a new book; I dug it from my shelves just to write this review. It's not a scholarly-looking book; the oversize cover, glossy pages, and color pictures on every other page make it look more like a children's book than a theological treatise. It's not the work of a notable scholar; Ms. Turner is better known for her fiction and as an editor for Playboy. So what is this review doing on my blog today?

Against all odds, this is an important book about an important topic. Is it Alice's fault that she manages to turn it into a fun read as well?

The History of Hell begins at the beginning, with the earliest religious beliefs of an underworld. You'll explore the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Zoroastrianism. You'll move forward in time to the Greek understanding of Hades, the Platonic description of Hell, and the Hebrew teachings of Sheol. As these ideas merge into one, you begin to see glimpses of today's Christian version of Hell emerging.

In time, Purgatory arrives. Christian ideas continue to evolve through the centuries, giving birth to artwork and stories like Dante's Inferno, as imaginations let loose. Satan, once destined to chains in a dark netherworld transforms before your eyes into an evil taskmaster. Now, trident in hand, he gleefully tortures lost souls in a lake of fire forever and ever, amen.

You continue to travel through the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, through the 19th century, and on into today's time, as Hell continues to evolve. Why is this journey important? Why put yourself through Hell? Because, as Christians, it's vitally important to our spiritual well-being to understand that we have made our own version of Hell.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The History of Hell
This item: The History of Hell
Price: $15.85
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: were hell, k. sterling books, us history textbook, the doctrine of hell, bayle dictionary