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. Retrieved April 26, 2010 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01075d.htm
MLA citation. "Abyss." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 26 Apr. 2010 <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.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.