The Heavenly City: A Spiritual Guidebook, by Emanuel Swedenborg

The Heavenly City is Swedenborg’s own brief introduction to his religious ideas, translated into readable modern English. If you want to get the basics on Swedenborg in his own words, without having to struggle through old-fashioned translations, this is the book for you!

The Heavenly City
By Emanuel Swedenborg
Translated by Lee Woofenden

The Heavenly City was originally published in Latin in 1758. It was previously published in English under the title The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine. This modern translation assumes no previous knowledge of Swedenborg or of the vocabulary traditionally used in translating Swedenborg’s works.


Introduction: The New Sky, the New Land, and What “The New Jerusalem” Means

Preface: A Comparison of Ancient and Present-Day Religion

Part I: Our Inner Structure
1. Goodness and Truth
2. Motivation and Understanding
3. Our Inner and Outer Selves

Part II: Our Different Loves
4. Love in General
5. Selfishness and Materialism
6. Loving Other People, or Kindness

Part III: Our Spiritual Life
7. Faith
8. Religious Devotion
9. Conscience
10. Freedom
11. Taking Credit for Our Actions

Part IV: Our Spiritual Development
12. Regretting our Faults and Giving Them Up
13. Rebirth
14. Inner Struggles

Part V: Christian Observances
15. Baptism
16. The Holy Supper

Part VI: Life After Death
17. Rising from Death
18. Heaven and Hell

Part VII: Facets of Religion
19. The Christian Religion
20. The Bible: A Holy Book
21. The Lord’s Provision for Us
22. The Lord
23. Religious and Political Government

Reviews from the back cover:

“In an age of ecumenism, this readable translation makes available a spiritual vision that was in principle ecumenical and saw no incompatibility between science and religion. Swedenborg’s teachings on kindness and his critique of materialism are especially relevant today in the midst of the complex dynamics drawing us toward a global community. At the same time, his teachings on personal immortality can inspire hope in an age when many are entrapped in exclusive temporal concerns.”
—Professor Ewart Cousins
Fordham University

“This felicitous translation makes Swedenborg’s little gem, The Heavenly City, accessible to the general reader. Like our dreams and creative productions, the sacred scriptures for Swedenborg carry deep psycho-spiritual truths about their source—the Creative Mind at the heart of the universe. Swedenborg moves from the visionary image of the Holy City in the Revelation of John into a compelling essay on the growth and development of the soul.”
—Stephen Larson
Author, The Shaman’s Doorway

Translated by Lee Woofenden and published in 1993
by the Swedenborg Foundation, West Chester, Pennsylvania

To purchase The Heavenly City directly from the publisher, the Swedenborg Foundation, click on the cover image above or on any of the title links.

The Heavenly City is available in previous printings from at this link.

The Heavenly City is also available on the web at this link.


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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