Heaven and Hell is Swedenborg’s most popular book and his fullest report of his experiences in the other world. In it he describes heaven, hell, and the world of spirits that lies between them, and he recounts in detail the process of passing from life to afterlife, as well as the subsequent experiences of the soul. He counters certain traditional views by maintaining that angels (and devils) are not a separately created genderless race but people (both male and female) who once lived in the physical world. These spirits end up either in heaven or in hell depending upon the lives they have led and the choices they have made on earth. Infants and children of any and all religious backgrounds—atheistic, agnostic, non-Christian, or Christian—enter heaven and grow up to young adult age after death, while adults maintain or regain a state of healthful youth. Swedenborg colors his account with abundant details concerning the nature of the spiritual world—having to do not only with angels and their powers, their language, their homes and clothing, but also with the circumstances of devils and evil spirits.
In many respects, Heaven and Hell is “the place to start” for those who wish to become acquainted with Swedenborg’s rich account of the afterlife. Over the years this volume has been much sought also by readers who have an interest in near-death experiences or who seek consolation for the loss of a loved one.
About the Deluxe Edition
Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell: Drawn from Things Heard and Seen, by Emanuel Swedenborg. Originally published by Swedenborg in London in 1758. Translated by George F. Dole by the Swedenborg Foundation in 2000. This Deluxe volume includes a translator’s preface; an introduction by Bernhard Lang; an explanation of conventions used in the series, along with a list of works by Swedenborg referred to in the volume; the complete, newly translated text of Swedenborg’s work; twenty-nine pages of endnotes by George F. Dole, Robert H. Kirven, and Jonathan S. Rose; a bibliography of works cited in the notes; an index to the preface, introduction, and notes; an index to scriptural passages in Heaven and Hell; a table of parallels between Heaven and Hell and Swedenborg’s other theological works; an index to Heaven and Hell; and a biographical note on Swedenborg. 2000.