harrowing of hell
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- (mythology, theology) A raid into the underworld by a heroic figure.
1977, Raphael Werblowsky, Joseph Karo: lawyer and mystic, 2nd ed. edition, pages 44:
- Not the direct vision of the harrowings of hell as reported, for example, by many Christian visionaries, but accounts given by the departed souls themselves are more frequent and typical features of Jewish moralist writing.
2003, Robert J. Andreach, Drawing upon the Past: Classical Theatre in the Contemporary American Theatre, pages 36:
- Of the four harrowings of hell that are cornerstones of Western literature […] , we can eliminate the oldest.
2007, Sophie & Michael Coe, The True History of Chocolate, pages 39:
- […] the Hero Twins go on to defeat Xibalba and its ghastly denizens, a true Harrowing of Hell.
- This phrase often specifically denotes the freeing of the souls of the dead from the underworld by Christ between his death and resurrection.
- Catholic Encyclopedia