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Abyss (from Greek ἄβυσσος = "bottomless", "the bottomless pit") may mean:

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  • In heraldry, the abyss is the middle of an escutcheon
  • Abyss Web Server, a web server commercially developed by Aprelium

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ABYSS (Gr. a-, privative, fivo-abs, bottom), a bottomless depth; hence any deep place. From the late popular abyssimus (superlative of Low Latin abyssus) through the French abisme (i.e. abime) is derived the poetic form abysm, pronounced as late as 1616 to rhyme with time. The adjective "abyssal" or "abysmal" has been used by zoologists to describe deep regions of the sea; hence abysmal zone, abysmal flora and fauna, abysmal accumulations, the deposit on the abysmal bed of the ocean. In heraldry, the abyss is the middle of an escutcheon. In the Greek version of the Old Testament the word represents (I) the original chaos (Gen. i. 2), (2) the Hebrew tehom (" a surging water-deep"), which is used also in apocalyptic and kabbalistic literature and in the New Testament for hell, the place of punishment (cf. Eurip. Phoen. for the "yawning chasm of Tartarus"); in the Revised (not the Authorized) version abyss is generally used for this idea. Primarily in the Septuagint cosmography the word is applied (a) to the waters under the earth which originally covered it, and from which the springs and rivers are supplied, (b) to the waters of the firmament which were regarded as closely connected with those below. Derivatively, from the general idea of depth, it acquired the meaning of the place of the dead, though apparently never quite the same as Sheol. In Revelation it is the prison of evil spirits whence they may occasionally be let loose, and where Satan is doomed to spend 1000 years. Beneath the altar in the temple of Jerusalem there was believed to be a passage which led down to the abyss of the world, where the foundation-stone of the earth was laid. In rabbinical cosmography the abyss is a region of Gehenna situated below the ocean bed and divided into three or seven parts imposed one above the other. In the Kabbalah the abyss as the opening into the lower world is the abode of evil spirits, and corresponds to the opening of the abyss to the world above. In general the abyss is regarded vaguely as a place of indefinite extent, the abode of mystery and sorrow.

See G. Schiaparelli, Astronomy in the Old Testament (Eng. trans., Oxford, 1905).


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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

(Greek abyssos).


Abyss is primarily and classically an adjective, meaning deep, very deep (Wisd., x, 19; Job, xxxviii, 16). Elsewhere in the Bible, and once in Diog. Laert., it is a substantive. Some thirty times in the Septuagint it is the equivalent of the Hebrew tehom, Assyrian tihamtu, and once each of the Hebrew meculah, "sea-deep", culah, "deep flood", and rachabh, "spacious place". Hence the meanings: (1) primeval waters; (2) the waters beneath the earth; (3) the upper seas and rivers; (4) the abode of the dead, limbo; (5) the abode of the evil spirits, hell. The last two meanings are the only ones found in the New Testament.

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.

Term for the (missing hebrew text) (Gen 7:11) of the Old Testament, used in the apocalyptic, New Testament, and cabalistic literature for the place of punishment of the wicked; hell; the abode of certain demons. As such the Abyss of Fire is mentioned in the Book of Enoch (xviii. 11-16, 19; xxi. 1-6; xc. 21-25) as the prison-house of impure angels (compare Lk 8:31; Rev. ix. 1; xi. 7—Abyss, the seat of the dragon; xx. 3, where "Satan is cast into the abyss, shut up and a seal set upon him"). According to the Prayer of Manasseh, verse 3, the Lord has closed and sealed up the Abyss by His awful and mystic name. There was a place beneath the altar of the Temple at Jerusalem believed to lead down to the very Abyss of the world, the foundation-stone of the earth being placed there (Suk. 49a, 53a; see Targ. Yer. Ex 28:30, and Zohar, iii. 61). In the cosmography of the rabbis (Midr. Konen) the Abyss forms part of Gehenna; it is beneath the ocean, and consists of three, or seven, departments, one above the other. In the Cabala the opening of the great Abyss in the lower world, sealed with the seal that bears the Holy Name, plays a great rôle as the seat of the evil spirits, and with it corresponds the opening of the great Abyss in the upper world as a cosmogonic element. See Gehinnom; Sheol.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.







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