(In medieval Christian theology) the defeat of the powers of evil and the release of its victims by the descent of Christ into hell after his death.
- The Harrowing of Hell was much more important to medieval theology, and is largely defunct now.
- The cycle of 47 plays, telling the Bible story of mankind from the Garden of Eden to the Harrowing of Hell, had not been performed since 1580.
- The only time most modern Christians refer to the Harrowing of Hell is when they recite the Apostles' Creed: "and descended into Hell," where Christ was believed to have wrested the souls of good people such as Abraham and Isaac from the clutches of the devil on Holy Saturday and released them to Heaven.
Middle English: harrowing from harrow, by-form of the verb harry.
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