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 Hell 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.

About the Author

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish scientist, nobleman, and theologian who spent his life investigating the mysteries of the soul. Born in Stockholm to a staunchly Lutheran family, he graduated from the University of Uppsala and then traveled to England, Holland, France, and Germany to study the leading scientists of the time. He gained favor with Sweden’s King Charles XII, who gave him the position of overseer of the Swedish mining industry. Later, he was given a seat on the Swedish House of Nobles by Charles XII’s successor, Queen Ulrika Eleonora. Between 1743 and 1745 he began to have visions of heaven, hell, and Jesus Christ which resulted in a stream of books about the nature of God, the afterlife, and the inner meaning of the Bible. He devoted the last decades of his life to studying Scripture and presenting his own unique theology to the world.


George F. Dole holds a BA from Yale, an MA from Oxford, and a PhD from Harvard. Now professor emeritus, Dr. Dole taught ancient languages, the Bible, and theology at the Swedenborg School of Religion in Newton, Massachusetts. He is also the author of Freedom and Evil, Sorting Things Out, and A Book about Us. He lives in Bath, Maine.


“Emanuel Swedenborg’s work is a vast, complex, dazzling world, filled with lands and seas of extraordinary beauty and richness. . . . Now George F. Dole has swept away the stuffiness and stiffness of earlier [translations] and given us Swedenborg as he is meant to be: a thrilling visionary, a poetic seer of the first order. In every respect, this is a triumph.”

—Philip Zaleski, The Best Spiritual Writing series

“The Swedenborg Foundation has done handsomely by its eponymous visionary with this first volume in a new 25 part set of translations for his of his work. They have begun with a fine new translation of Emmanuel Swedenborg’s most famous work, a description of the many heavens and hells that make up the great 18th-century thinker’s cosmology, at once perfectly logical and perfectly eccentric. Swedenborg’s afterworld is a kind of reflection and amplification of our own, and his vision of moving and active collective of heavens, occupied by the very real blessed dead, has been a tremendous influence on Goethe, Emerson, and Jorge Luis Borges, among many others. Dole’s translation has the clarity and simplicity of Swedenborg’s Latin, and the notes and supplementary material are wonderfully balanced and informative. Highly recommended.”

Library Journal

“Anyone interested in Western spirituality and esotericism should read Swedenborg. He is a Master. Western culture after his passage was transformed. Those who read him will likewise be transformed. This new translation—crisp, accessible, and even elegant—is a blessing.”

—Christopher Bamford, review in Parabola

About the New Century Edition

The New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg presents a modern-language, scholarly translation of Swedenborg’s theological works. The series’ easy-to-read style retains the dignity, variety, clarity, and gender-inclusive language of Swedenborg’s original Latin, bringing his thought to life. Introductions and annotations by eminent, international scholars place Swedenborg’s writings in their historical context and illuminate obscure references within the text, enabling readers to understand and trace Swedenborg’s influence as never before.

Learn more about the New Century Edition

New Century Edition Subscriptions

If you would like to receive each hardcover Deluxe volume as it comes out, you can become a New Century Edition subscriber.

All subscribers get 30% off the purchase price. Instead of $29.95 per volume, you will be billed $20.95, plus shipping.

If you become a member of the Swedenborg Foundation for $25, you will also receive an additional 20% discount on this and all other purchases of books published by the Swedenborg Foundation when you order from us. When ordered as part of a subscription, the New Century Edition volumes will then cost $14.95 each, plus shipping.

To enroll for a subscription, phone the Foundation at 610-430-3222, ext 100, or e-mail us at Include your name, address, city, state, zip, home phone, work phone, and e-mail address with your request. Please also let us know whether or not you wish to purchase any of the volumes that have already been published. You may subscribe for the full series or only for the remaining volumes that have not yet been published.

With a subscription, you will receive with our compliments the companion to the New Century Edition, sold separately for $29.95: Emanuel Swedenborg: Essays for the New Century Edition on His Life, Works, and ImpactYou may cancel your subscription at any time without penalty and keep the premium Essays volume as our gift.

Contents of the Deluxe Edition

Translator’s Preface, by George F. Dole
Works Cited in the Translator’s Preface
Selected List of Editions of Heaven and Hell
On Heaven and Hell: A Historical Introduction to Swedenborg’s Most Popular Book, by Bernhard Lang
Appendix 1: Some Baroque Ideas on Life after Death, and on Heaven and Hell
Appendix 2: Chronological Table
Works Cited in the Introduction
Short Titles and Other Conventions Used in This Work

Part I. Heaven and Hell

§1       [Author’s Preface]
[1]       §§2–6 / The Lord is God of Heaven
[2]       §§7–12 / It is the Lord’s Divine Nature That Makes Heaven
[3]       §§13–19 / The Lord’s Divine Nature in Heaven Is Love for Him and Thoughtfulness toward One’s Neighbor
[4]       §§20–28 / Heaven Is Divided into Two Kingdoms
[5]       §§29–40 / There Are Three Heavens
[6]       §§41–50 / The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities
[7]       §§51–58 / Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form
[8]       §§59–67 / The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual
[9]       §§68–72 / Each Community in the Heavens Reflects a Single Individual
[10]     §§73–77 / Therefore Every Angel Is in Perfect Human Form
[11]     §§78–86 / It Is Owing to the Lord’s Divine Human That Heaven, in Its Entirety and in Its Parts, Reflects a Person

References to Passages in Secrets of Heaven Concerning the Lord and His Divine Human

[12]     §§87–102 / There Is a Correspondence of Everything in Heaven with Everything in the Human Being
[13]     §§103–115 / There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly
[14]     §§116–125 / The Sun in Heaven
[15]     §§126–140 / Light and Warmth in Heaven
[16]     §§141–153 / The Four Quarters in Heaven
[17]     §§154–161 / How the States of Angels in Heaven Change
[18]     §§162–169 / Time in Heaven
[19]     §§170–176 / Representations and Appearances in Heaven
[20]     §§177–182 / The Clothes Angels Appear In
[21]     §§183–190 / Angels’ Homes and Houses
[22]     §§191–199 / Space in Heaven
[23]     §§200–212 / Heaven’s Form, Which Determines How People Associate and Communicate There
[24]     §§213–220 / Forms of Government in Heaven
[25]     §§221–227 / Divine Worship in Heaven
[26]     §§228–233 / The Power of Heaven’s Angels
[27]     §§234–245 / The Language of Angels
[28]     §§246–257 / How Angels Talk with Us
[29]     §§258–264 / Written Materials in Heaven
[30]     §§265–275 / The Wisdom of Heaven’s Angels
[31]     §§276–283 / The State of Innocence of Angels in Heaven
[32]     §§284–290 / The State of Peace in Heaven
[33]     §§291–302 / The Union of Heaven with the Human Race
[34]     §§303–310 / Heaven’s Union with Us through the Word
[35]     §§311–317 / Heaven and Hell Come from the Human Race
[36]     §§318–328 / Non-Christians, or People outside the Church, in Heaven
[37]     §§329–345 / Children in Heaven
[38]     §§346–356 / Wise and Simple People in Heaven

References to Passages in Secrets of Heaven Concerning Different Types of Knowledge

[39]     §§357–365 / Rich and Poor People in Heaven
[40]     §§366–386 / Marriages in Heaven
[41]     §§387–394 / What Angels Do in Heaven
[42]     §§395–414 / Heavenly Joy and Happiness
[43]     §§415–420 / The Vastness of Heaven

Part II. The World of Spirits and Our State After Death

[44]     §§421–431 / What the World of Spirits Is
[45]     §§432–444 / Each of Us Is Inwardly a Spirit
[46]     §§445–452 / Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life
[47]     §§453–460 / After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form
[48]     §§461–469 / After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body
[49]     §§470–484 / Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World
[50]     §§485–490 / After Death, the Pleasures of Everyone’s Life Are Turned into Things That Correspond
[51]     §§491–498 / Our First State after Death
[52]     §§499–511 / Our Second State after Death
[53]     §§512–520 / Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven
[54]     §§521–527 / No One Enters Heaven on the Basis of Mercy Alone
[55]     §§528–535 / It Is Not So Hard to Lead a Heaven-Bound Life as People Think It Is

Part III. Hell

[56]     §§536–544 / The Lord Governs the Hells
[57]     §§545–550 / The Lord Does Not Cast Anyone into Hell: Spirits Cast Themselves In
[58]     §§551–565 / All the People Who Are in the Hells Are Absorbed in Evils and Consequent Falsities Because of Their Love for Themselves and the World
[59]     §§566–575 / Hellfire and Gnashing of Teeth
[60]     §§576–581 / The Malice and Unspeakable Skills of Hellish Spirits
[61]     §§582–588 / The Appearance, Location, and Number of the Hells
[62]     §§589–596 / The Equilibrium between Heaven and Hell
[63]     §§597–603 / Our Freedom Depends on the Balance between Heaven and Hell

References to Passages in Secrets of Heaven Concerning Our Freedom, Inflow, and the Spirits Who Are the Means of Communication

Notes and Indexes

Works Cited in the Notes
Index to Preface, Introduction, and Notes
Index to Scriptural Passages in Heaven and Hell
Table of Parallel Passages
Index to Heaven and Hell
Biographical Note

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