Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


Study Question's for

Emanuel Swedenborg's

Heaven and Hell

(1758, age 70)

Assigned readings:

  • Introduction
  • Chapters 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 23, 27, 28, 31, 35, 39, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 49, 50, 55, 57, 58, 63

Note: There are 63 chapters in the entire book of Heaven and Hell. Each chapter has many different paragraphs (¶) in it. Your assignment is to read the chapters listed above. (See table of contents for chapter numbers.) One study question will also ask you to read a couple of additional short paragraphs (viz., ¶ 29 and 30).

  1. What did you learn about Swedenborg in the Introduction that was noteworthy and interesting to you?

  2. ¶ 29 is describing the three heavens that Swedenborg experienced, and ¶ 30 is saying something about the inner reality of persons. Do you see any parallels?

  3. Describe in your own words what you understand "the principle of correspondence" to be, in chapters 12 & 13.

  4. Why, according to ¶ 87 & ¶ 115, is that principle so little understood today?

  5. According to chapter 15, what do light and warmth "correspond" to?

  6. According to chapter 22, what does space "correspond" to?

  7. In chapters 27 & 28, what are one or two of the main points Swedenborg makes about how angels speak?

  8. What exactly are angels, anyhow? (cf. chapter 35.)

  9. What is important in chapter 39, about the rich and the poor in heaven?

  10. a) What is important in chapter 40, about marriages in heaven?
    b) Does that sound good to you or not?

  11. According to chapter 42, what does Swedenborg say real heavenly joy consists of? And what does it definitely not consist of?

  12. What exactly is the "world of spirits," according to chapter 44?

  13. Chapters 48, 49 & 50 are about life in heaven, at least as far as Swedenborg experienced it.
    a) What are the main characteristics of this life in heaven?
    b) How is it different that life on earth?
    c) How is it the same as life on earth?

  14. In ¶ 477 - 484 in chapter 49 Swedenborg talks about the "ruling love" of a person's life. What does he mean by the "ruling love."

  15. a) What is the main message of ¶ 528 in chapter 55?
    b) What do you think Arthur Schopenhauer would think of that message?

  16. a) What is do you think is the main message of ¶ 534?
    b) Do you think that is a good message?

  17. 17. In chapter 57 Swedenborg says that people cast themselves into hell.
    a) Does he mean this is the case in this life's hells or in the afterlife's hells?
    b) How does he explain why people would cast themselves into hell?

  18. Chapter 58 (and 57) describe something about what hell is like. In your own words, describe what Swedenborg says hell is like.

  19. See chapter 63. In what sense does Swedenborg say man is free?

  20. What are your general overall impressions of Swedenborg's world view?