Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heaven and Hell” as Want to Read:
Heaven and Hell
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Heaven and Hell

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  441 ratings  ·  38 reviews
What happens to us when we die? Are heaven and hell real? If so, what are they like? Heaven and Hell contains the answers to these questions as seen by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

This new translation of Swedenborgs most popular work paints a detailed picture of life in the spiritual realms. A Swedish Enlightenment scientist of extraordinary accomplishment, Swedenborg
Paperback, portable new century, 401 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Swedenborg Foundation (first published 1758)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  441 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Heaven and Hell
Natacha Pavlov
I found the book to be easy to read, interesting and very enlightening. Granted, I say this not really having a preconceived notion of what heaven or hell is/should be like (although like everyone else, I have/had my own ideas too). It is my opinion that what Swedenborg presents sounds very plausible and I find his interpretation as further proof of Gods infinite lovewhich is what I tend to look for when reading spiritual works. I was delighted to find the book both mystical in nature but also ...more
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
Forgot religious dogma and pure rationalism, this guy is brilliant in a lot of ways...

First off, I'm not quite halfway finished with this text, but I feel ready to review. Second, I hope and trust and believe there will be no Swedenborg adherents who will come to this review to 'Boo' it as there was some time back when I called out Mormon apologists in my review of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet (which wasn't that good otherwise). I assure everyone that I have no antipathy or
Tom the Mesa Engineer Haws
Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell is now 250 years old, but it's still fresh in it's implications for personal spirituality.

Swedenborg, in a matter-of-fact and humble way, rambles on and on about endless details of the afterlife. Some of his explanations seem a little odd. But scattered through the book are passages where his penchant for detail and his uncommon focus, breadth of purview, and length of attention span give fresh perspectives on deeply human questions.

I am learning from Swedenborg how
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Swedenborg poses some interesting and provocative theories in this book. Yet ultimately he is inconsistent, especially concerning bible passages. He claims the Word should be read not literally, but in the spiritual sense. Often times he provides a literal interpretation of the Word to support his arguments though. He also tends to rely a lot upon repition. Given, this makes his arguments more persuasive, but towards the end it becomes more and more of a nuisance (although that is probably also ...more
Doug Webber
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have heard of the Near Death Experience, and the light that everyone encounters at the end of the tunnel, this work describes what happens AFTER that, when one enters the realm of light. Probably the most comprehensive account of the afterlife ever written, based on over 25 years of visions of the author. All other accounts offer only brief glimpses of this other spiritual reality.
Raine Raine
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I TOTALLY recommend this book to any serious spiritual seeker.

It is totally enlightening and will be a cornerstone throughout my life.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a reader of Swedenborg since high school, appreciating his honest enthusiasm for things spiritual. Recently, after the loss of my 32-year old son, I began casting about for fresh reflection on the subject of life after death.

I'm a masters and doctoral degree graduate of mainline theological seminaries, and for something over twenty-four years, served as a mainstream Protestant pastor. Still, when death came unexpectedly to my door, I wanted something more.

Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ralph Waldo Emerson called Swedenborg a mystic in his Representative Men. I can't tell why. This is a straight forward description of Heaven and Hell with some interesting twists (God rules both heaven and hell, so there is no devil; you attain heaven after basically going through "training" by spirits right after you die; you keep your body and have a job, house, all the things you had in life...). Anyway, unless you're really interested in the people who influenced the spiritualism that ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't believe I actually finished this. This is very important if you wish to understand the magical writings of Balzac, Baudlaire, and especially Blake.
read the Portable Blake then this, then started The Modern Library's Selected poems and prose of William Blake. The texts popped after reading Swedenborg.
A one-of-a-kind work setting out the discoveries of an 18th-century Swedish scientist's extended forays into the spirit realm. Swedenborg gives detailed descriptions of what happens to us after we die, and the process that leads to our being drawn to either heaven or hell as our ultimate and permanent destination.

Swedenborg, the son of a Lutheran bishop, presents an eschatology that is consistent with his faith. According to him, if you're a Catholic you face serious obstacles to gaining
Daniel Rekshan
I picked this up because of Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

It is very, very interesting. Based on Blake's criticism of the work, I expected a boring work of scholarly theology. It definitely is not.

Swedenborg claims to have spoken with the angels and visited the many levels of heaven and hell. He claims that he was given this privilege because people on earth have forgotten the spiritual realms and we need to remember them.

These are big claims. The book comes through in a big way. It is
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was in great good luck the day I grabbed this wonderful book. This book has in-depth information on the wonders of heaven and it also puts in to light the practicalities of life in heaven. Kingdom of heaven has been misunderstood quite a lot, but the book very clearly explains that to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven, one must be guided by the King of heaven, the Supreme, the one great god. The book is very interesting and also explains the law of God. No one is accepted in Heaven only by ...more
Katherine Holmes
I ran into a mailman I used to have and he, with good intentions, gave me this book. I've been studying the ideas about hell in past centuries. Heaven too, of course. Swendenborg wrote in the 1700s. I only read the first pages of this book. Swendenborg claimed he talked with angels. He claimed that anyone who believed in the Trinity instead of one god wouldn't get into heaven. Also, anyone who only believed in human good works couldn't get there. That was in the first few pages.

I didnt read on.
Dave Summers
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent introduction into ES thinking and approach. Struck by it's continuity, vision, but most of all, it's optimism.
Little Miss Esoteric
Dnf. Perhaps I'll give this one another go some day, perhaps not.
Steven Felicelli
interesting gobbledygook - actually have a friend who was raised Swedenborgian

hanging around the canon on the coattails of william blake
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book every other year. It helps to keep me oriented in a material world.
Sep 24, 2014 marked it as my-library  ·  review of another edition
I wish they had editors back in 1758...
Mikki Alhart
I loved how Swedenborg added the element of the medical community in how her explains how each person will survive after death to enter the spiritual world, and describes details concerning the process of dying which were later confirmed in the twentieth century with the discovery of the Near Death Experience . I fully integrated my understanding of Heaven is a realm in which there is no space and no time, where societies are formed according to one's ruling love, and everyone's internal ...more
Penny Van Horn
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SEE FOR YOURSELF, he just hands over the keys to the kingdom.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zz-swedenborg
Deep thinking. thought provoking
Emanuel Swedenborgs Heaven and Hell [full title Heaven and its Wonders and Hell From Things Heard and Seen] was originally published in 1758. The new NW Century Edition is a wonderfully formatted version for those using tablets and phones.

Essentially, Heaven and Hell is concerned with the description of the afterlife and how people live there. At heart Swedenborg was a Christian mystic but his version of Heaven is very different from what most people today would view as Heavenor Hell for that
Joseph Schrock
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am greatly fascinated with Emanuel Swedenborg's writings. "Heaven and Hell" is the second book of his I've read -- the first one being "Divine Love and Wisdom". Swedenborg's intelligence is not to be seriously questioned. However, one might be seriously justified in questioning just how much of his insight into the spiritual realms was genuine reality and how much was fantasy, illusion, or (maybe) some elements of hallucinations. As someone who is devout in the spiritual path, I loved to read ...more
Jason Yeager
Certainly this can be viewed as a mainstream thought process in early US Christian Religions as it had been interwoven into some spiritual discernment and descriptions of its day. Read in the the early eastern New York (Burnt out District) of the United States it was not exactly accepted as common thought as conversion to a religion was focused on feeling to define truth vs. intellectual understanding of religous rights at the time.

Interesting but should be read with an open mind.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This eighteenth century author claims to have had multiple visions/visits in Heaven and Hell and describes what he learned and saw. Although some of what he witnessed doesn't fall in line with my understanding of the afterlife, I loved reading this book and could jump around to the chapters that most interested me. The chapters were arranged topically which was very helpful. I'm not sure which translation I read, but the version I read was about 700 pages.
Jonathan Widell
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like a Lutheran version of Dante's Divine Comedy. Out goes the poetry but in comes the precision, logic and soberness. At this point of my life, this is the answer to my prayers. Earlier, it would not have cared less as it may come across as too weird. The moral message is robust: it is not hard to get to heaven but you cannot get their by pretending to live by faith alone and living wickedly.
Matthew Retoske
Jul 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Insomniacs Spiritualists Seekers
This is not the snappiest prose you'll ever come across, but it's a genuinely worthwhile books. I read it gradually, and in small pieces over the course of a few months. It's dense writing, but brilliant, odd, broadbrush metaphysics.
Tamra Amato
It wasn't a quick read but interesting considering the time it was written and knowing the life history of the author.

Gunvi Sund
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good read and interesting description of the lower planes and the beings there.
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone interested in someone's views on the afterlife and/or an intro to Swedenborgs writings, needs to read this book! Perfect for the student of theology and/or psychology.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman
  • King Rat (Asian Saga, #4)
  • Chant and be happy
  • Epätasaiset runot
  • Shane
  • L'elisir di Mantova (Leggereditore)
  • Ricordi del paradiso
  • The Four Noble Truths (The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • Aion (Collected Works 9ii)
  • The Chinese Cinema Book
  • The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering
  • The Lunation Cycle: A Key to the Understanding of Personality
  • Der Ackermann: Frühneuhochdeutsch/Neuhochdeutsch
  • Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion, and Theme
  • Under the Volcano
  • Embraced by the Light
  • Lessons From a Scarlet Lady (Northfield, #1)
See similar books…
Emanuel Swedenborg (born Emanuel Swedberg; February 8, 1688March 29, 1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, Christian mystic, and theologian. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. At the age of fifty-six he entered into a spiritual phase in which he experienced dreams and visions. This culminated in a spiritual awakening, where he claimed he was appointed by the Lord ...more

News & Interviews

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
77 likes · 18 comments
“We do need to realize, though, that it is the quality of our love that determines the quality of this life.” 12 likes
“Anyone can see that intending and not acting when we can is not really intending, and loving and not doing good when we can is not really loving.” 8 likes
More quotes…