Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg

Do you wonder what happens after we die?

Who doesn’t!?

Here is the most extensive eyewitness account of the spiritual world ever published:

Heaven and Hell
By Emanuel Swedenborg

Heaven and Hell was originally published in Latin in 1758. I recommend the New Century Edition linked here for the most readable and accurate modern translation. It is also available in a deluxe hardcover edition.

From the back cover:

This fresh, vivid, and highly readable translation of a spiritual classic enhances our understanding of life both here and hereafter.

This new translation of Emanuel Swedenborg’s most popular work paints a detailed picture of life in the spiritual realms. Swedenborg, a Swedish Enlightenment scientist of extraordinary accomplishment, underwent a spiritual crisis that led to an unparalleled series of paranormal experiences. He spent his last twenty-seven years in almost daily experience of heaven and hell, recording his observations and conversations, many of which are reported in Heaven and Hell. This sustained and detailed description of the nonphysical realms has left its impression on the minds of many great thinkers, including Goethe, Blake, Coleridge, Emerson, Borges, and Milosz.

George Dole’s translation removes the barriers to understanding imposed by the ponderous translations of the past. It retains the dignity, variety, clarity, and gender-inclusive language of the original Latin, bringing Swedenborg’s thought to life.

An introduction by the eminent historian of religion Bernhard Lang sets Heaven and Hell in its historic and cultural context, while Swedenborgian scholars Dole, Robert H. Kirven, and Jonathan S. Rose annotate and elucidate the text for our time. In its own right, the copious index, with over two thousand individual entries, is a powerful new tool for understanding the work.

Translated by George F. Dole and published in 2000
by the Swedenborg Foundation, West Chester, Pennsylvania

You can purchase print and Kindle editions direct from the publisher, or download free epub and PDF versions, at this link:

Heaven and Hell


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in Books and Literature, The Afterlife
12 comments on “Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg
  1. jahnosecret says:

    Thanks, I might get the edition you refer to as the version I bought is a little heavy going! Peace and blessings.

    • Lee says:

      You won’t regret getting this edition. Swedenborg is brain-bending enough without an archaic translation! Also, this edition has footnotes that help you through some of the rough spots.

      Just to be sure you get the right edition, I’d suggest buying from Amazon itself rather than from a third-party seller. There are many, many editions and translations of Heaven and Hell out there. Third-party sellers won’t necessarily list the one they have under the correct ISBN.

      You can also purchase it direct from the Swedenborg Foundation in the U.S., or the Swedenborg Society in the U.K. If you order by phone, ask for the full paperback New Century Edition, not the “Portable Edition,” which is cheaper, but does not have the very helpful introductions and footnotes.

      If you happen to be independently wealthy, you can also order the deluxe hardcover, which is quite posh! However, the full paperback has everything the hardcover does except for the fancy hardcover binding.

      So there you have it! The inside scoop on buying Heaven and Hell. 😉


  2. Ben says:

    Hi Lee! I’m not sure where the best place on your blog would be to post this comment (so feel free to delete it), but have you ever read “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton? I think you might get a lot out of it. Have a good day!

  3. Minister David says:

    what does judgement day really means.if not in the physical,then what will be its purpose.Thanks

    • Lee says:

      Hi Minister David,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your question.

      One way of looking at judgment is that it is a matter of clearly identifying and separating good from evil, and truth from falsity. God’s judgment shows clearly what is good and true, and what is evil and false, both in us individually and in the whole human community.

      Though there are many judgments that take place in this world, the ultimate judgment is the one that takes place in the spiritual world after death. That is when, in the light of heaven—which is God’s truth—it is clearly seen whether we have devoted our lives to what is good and true or to what is evil and false. The very act of shining the light of God’s truth on our lives makes that judgment. And then, in that clear light, we find our place either in heaven or in hell.

      For more on how this happens for us as individuals after we die, please see the article, “What Happens To Us When We Die?

      At various points in human history there are also general judgments on humanity as a whole that bring one spiritual era to an end, and start a new spiritual era. One of these took place at the time the time of the Lord’s life on earth. And many Christians look forward to another general judgment that they believe is coming soon. For a different view of that, please see my article, “Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?

  4. Mustapha Kiazolu says:

    if believing in Jesus is the only way to heaven, where are the people of Moses, Noah etc:

    • Lee says:

      Hi Mustapha Kiazolu,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question. On that subject please see this article: “Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?

      Short version: Although, being a Christian, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, I completely disagree with the vast bulk of my Christian brothers and sisters who think this means that only Christians can be saved. Instead, I believe that Jesus Christ, who is God himself come to us in human form, loves and saves people of all religions who believe in God and live a good life according to the teachings of their own religion. And I believe that this is the clear teaching of the Christian Bible as well.

      Here is one other article that might also help with your question: “If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?

      If you have any further questions as you read these articles, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Godspeed on your spiritual journey!

  5. lori jordan says:

    I was baptized but not in the church, I don’t belong to any church. my mom believed in god and my dad prayed off and on, but also did not go to church anymore. Someone told me if you are not baptized you go to hell, Iam suffering now thinking that like the catholics do we still go to a good place even if we don’t do all of the stuff the catholic church does.

    • Lee says:

      Hi lori,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      In response to your fears: Nobody goes to hell just because they aren’t baptized. The Bible doesn’t say that anywhere.

      Baptism is not some voodoo ritual that magically staves off the gaping jaws of hell. It is a richly symbolic sacrament that represents our need to be spiritually washed of our wrong, selfish, and sinful ways, and become a new, more thoughtful and loving person instead. For more on this, please see:
      The Meaning and Power of Baptism

      I hope this article will allay your fears, and give you a new depth of understanding of what baptism is really all about. And if you have any questions as you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Meanwhile, Godspeed on your spiritual journey!

      • lori jordan says:

        Thank you, I did not think so either, but I was not there when my mom passed, and she was in the hospital nobody got there quick enough before she passed. My husband was raised catholic and his mom passed at home and they did the last rights, so it bothers me that she did not go to a better place, but she was a very sweet women. I saw the priest come and they prayed over my husbands mom and I got scared.

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