Did He say Hades?


In the Luke 16 account of Dives and Lazarus, did Jesus actually use the Greek word Hades? Or did He use the word Sheol or an Aramaic equivalent? Will we ever know?

My thoughts are: 1) if Jesus used the word Hades (already established as a mythological Greek realm) then it better fits into the view that the account is a parable not meant to reveal fine details of the afterlife. 2) if Jesus used the word Sheol, then He adds another significant dimention to Hebraic teachings of the afterlife.

One could argue that the Gospel writers were under the inspration of the Holy Spirit and they used the Greek word Hades. But is the original already a translation? Will we ever know? And there’s the view that Jesus made usage of previously circulated folklore and merely added a plot twist. But did Jesus actually mix his metafores like that: Abraham’s Bosom is a Jewish concept, Hades is Greek.

And of course: does it matter which word He uttered?


I have a difficult time imagining Jesus walking through Israel, teaching in Greek. I think it quite likely that He used the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew word, sheol. (That Hebrew word is translated as hades in the Septuagint.)