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Heaven and Hell, New Century Edition Paperback – November 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

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.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Heaven and Hell is a classic, mind-altering canonical text of Western spirituality. -- Christopher Bamford, author of The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Wisdom
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Swedenborg Foundation Publishers (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877854769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877854760
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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125 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Attila on May 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I spent years researching the five major religions and have read all of their main sacred texts, yet I never seemed to find clear answers to my questions or an explanation to the frustrating contradictions between common religious beliefs. Heaven and Hell put all that frustration to rest. This magnificent work presents a coherent theological model in which all major religions find a place and answers all questions people typically have about faith such as: why religions sometimes contradict; why people in various cultures developed a belief in reincarnation; the cause of gender and sexual love; what the concept of "eternity" truly means; why evil is permitted in this realm and so on. Swedenborg was the most powerful psychic in known history, someone whose work cannot be ignored by any serious student of religion or philosophy. Another book I recommend by him is "Conjugal Love," which offers amazing insights into the secrets of gender and human sexuality.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Nell on May 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you really want to know what Heaven and Hell are like, sit down and read this. He talks about Heaven like he is visiting a foreign country. It is very matter of fact, very practical and tangible. In regard to spiritual truth, it's as rich as cheesecake. Angels and devils are seen simply as people who have passed on to the other side and chosen Heaven or Hell. Hell is not seen as a place of punishment, but one chosen by those who love evil. Similarly, Heaven is chosen by those who have loved goodness. It's very simple and profound. He speaks of marriage as an eternal union of true love. In fact, everyone in Heaven is supposedly married. Heaven is seen as a place where people are still people, who continue to work and do what they love. Hell is seen as a place where people spend their time alone in fantasy. Since they are not allowed to act out, this is what they end up doing. There's so much in here that you've got to read. Have you ever asked, "why hasn't anyone come back and told us about it." Well, this guy claims he's been there, and it makes lots of sense. Everyone who plans on dying some day will find lots of comfort in this book.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Clifford A. White on January 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I throughly enjoyed this book by Emanuel Swedenborg. I myself had an NDE like experience and visited Heaven and Hell. I found enough similarity in this book to know that the author has made a genuine attempt to truthfully convey his experiences.

I recommend this book for anyone who might be in search of a guidebook in this life for the next life. Don't be swayed by bad reviews because as Swedenborg says in the last paragraph.."What has been said in this work about heaven, the world of spirits, and hell, will be obscure to those who have no interest in learning about spiritual truths, but will be clear to those who have such an interest"

I was agnostic before my experience but I cannot now deny that Heaven and Hell do exist.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book offers the only logical explanation for hell. Hell exists because it is the only place where evil people are comfortable. In heaven they would suffocate because of the sphere of love and goodness. The creation of hell was an act not of punishment but of Divine Mercy. Learn what life is actually like in the other world. Swedenborg recounts first-hand of his experiences in both heaven and hell.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Reader on February 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
The most remarkable thing about this book, is that its focus is on Heaven and Hell and yet it is primarily useful now...in this world! Swedenborg writes: "we have presented these matters to let people know that a heaven-bound life is not a life withdrawn from the world but a life involved in the world" (p443). Swedenborg talks about the qualities of Heaven, how we are connected to Heaven, the fact that anyone (of any religion) can lead a life to Heaven, marriage in Heaven, the wisdom of angels and so much more. This book and others by Swedenborg have had a profound impact on my life.
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88 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Toscana Videgaray on March 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a virtual atheist I wanted to believe that all in Heaven and Hell was a mad fantasy... and yet... I couldn't. Swedenborg's sobriety, lack of pressure, consistency and intellectual integrity have put me against the wall and made me face the fact, for the first time in my life, that the Bible might be something more than merely the culture of a particular group of people form antiquity.
It explains very obscure passages in the Bible and very subtly makes you understand that the fundamental reason we are attracted to hell is love of oneself. Heaven and Hell gives you a shattering insight into why it is of primary importance to "love your enemies" (as Jesus Christ instructs us to do in the Bible). This characteristic (of loving your enemies) is probably the fundamental difference between people going to heaven or to hell. As Swedenborg explains, loving your children is like loving yourself and this won't save you from hell.
Even though Swedenborg states that the true religion is the Christian religion, he does describe that there are Jews, Muslims and even atheists in heaven. Rich people also reach heaven since the fundamental issue that drives you to hell is love of self (lack of love for God and your enemies) and love of the world.
Swedenborg has harsh criticism of the churches ("they know nothing about heaven and hell"), but at the same time his book is like an amplification of the Bible, explaining it, giving much more detail, making it more credible.
Although Heaven and Hell is 500 pages long, it is only a minute fraction of Swedenborg's total output about heaven, hell, God and the Bible: I understand it adds 15,000 pages.
It is impossible to transmit in a brief review the feeling and ambience in Heaven and Hell, but it has given me the shock of my life.
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