Abyss is primarily and classically an adjective, meaning deep, very deep (Wisdom 10:19; Job 38:16). 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.
APA citation. (1907). Abyss. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01075d.htm
MLA citation. "Abyss." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01075d.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Stephen Patrick Wilson. Dedicated to Paul James Wilson.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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