What happens to us after we die? What is heaven like? How do angels live? In his classic work Heaven and Hell, Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg gives readers a detailed road map to the afterlife, describing the process that our soul goes through after death, the nature of heaven and hell, angels and demons, all in meticulous detail. Afterlife is an abridged version of Heaven and Hell, with passages specially chosen to highlight the essence of Swedenborg's work.
The first, complete English translation of the ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books
The ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books, important compositions that decorated the New Kingdom royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, present humanity's oldest surviving attempts to provide a scientific map of the unseen realms beyond the visible cosmos and contain imagery and annotations that represent ancient Egyptian speculation (essentially philosophical and theological) about the events of the solar journey through the twelve hours of the night. The Netherworld Books describe one of the central mysteries of Egyptian religious belief—the union of the solar god Re with the underworldly god Osiris—and provide information on aspects of Egyptian theology and cosmography not present in the now more widely read Book of the Dead. Numerous illustrations provide overview images and individual scenes from each Netherworld Book, emphasizing the unity of text and image within the compositions. The major texts translated include the Book of Adoring Re in the West (the Litany of Re), the Book of the Hidden Chamber (Amduat), the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns, the Books of the Creation of the Solar Disk, and the Books of the Solar-Osirian Unity.
Accessible presentations of the main concepts of the Netherworld Books and the chief features of each text
Notes and commentary address major theological themes within the texts as well as lexicographic and/or grammatical issues
An overview of later uses of these compositions during the first millennium BCE
The Pyramid Texts are the oldest body of extant literature from ancient Egypt. First carved on the walls of the burial chambers in the pyramids of kings and queens of the Old Kingdom, they provide the earliest comprehensive view of the way in which the ancient Egyptians understood the structure of the universe, the role of the gods, and the fate of human beings after death. Their importance lies in their antiquity and in their endurance throughout the entire intellectual history of ancient Egypt. This volume contains the complete translation of the Pyramid Texts, including new texts recently discovered and published. It incorporates full restorations and readings indicated by post-Old Kingdom copies of the texts and is the first translation that presents the texts in the order in which they were meant to be read in each of the original sources.
James P. Allen provides a translation of the oldest corpus of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the six royal pyramids of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties (ca. 2350–2150 BCE). Allen’s revisions take into account recent advances in the understanding of Egyptian grammar.
Sequential translations based on all available sources, including texts newly discovered in the last decade
Texts numbered according to the most widely used numbering system with new numbers from the latest 2013 concordance
Translations reflect the primarily atemporal verbal system of Old Egyptian, which conveys the timeless quality that the text’s authors understood the texts to have
In this much-needed examination of Buddhist views of death and the afterlife, Carl B. Becker bridges the gap between books on death in the West and books on Buddhism in the East.
Other Western writers have addressed the mysteries surrounding death and the afterlife, but few have approached the topic from a Buddhist perspective. Here, Becker resolves questions that have troubled scholars since the beginning of Buddhism: How can Buddhism reconcile its belief in karma and rebirth with its denial of a permanent soul? What is reborn? And when, exactly, is the moment of death?
By systematically tracing Buddhism’s migration from India through China, Japan, and Tibet, Becker demonstrates how culture and environment affect Buddhist religious tradition.
In addition to discussing historical Buddhism, Becker shows how Buddhism resolves controversial current issues as well. In the face of modern medicine’s trend toward depersonalization, traditional Buddhist practices imbue the dying process with respect and dignity. At the same time, Buddhist tradition offers documented precedents for decision making in cases of suicide and euthanasia.
Of all the ancient peoples, the Egyptians are perhaps best known for the fascinating ways in which they grappled with the mysteries of death and the afterlife. This beautifully illustrated book draws on the British Museum's world-famous collection of mummies and other funerary evidence to offer an accessible account of Egyptian beliefs in an afterlife and examine the ways in which Egyptian society responded materially to the challenges these beliefs imposed.
The author describes in detail the numerous provisions made for the dead and the intricate rituals carried out on their behalf. He considers embalming, coffins and sarcophagi, shabti figures, magic and ritual, and amulets and papyri, as well as the mummification of sacred animals, which were buried by the millions in vast labyrinthine catacombs.
The text also reflects recent developments in the interpretation of Egyptian burial practices, and incorporates the results of much new scientific research. Newly acquired information derives from a range of sophisticated applications, such as the use of noninvasive imaging techniques to look inside the wrappings of a mummy, and the chemical analysis of materials used in the embalming process. Authoritative, concise, and lucidly written, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt illuminates aspects of this complex, vibrant culture that still perplex us more than 3,000 years later.
Eternal Life and Human Happiness in Heaven treats four apparent problems concerning eternal life in order to clarify our thinking about perfect human happiness in heaven. The teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas provide the basis for solutions to these four problems about eternal life insofar as his teachings call into question common contemporary theological or philosophical presuppositions about God, human persons, and the nature of heaven itself. Indeed, these Thomistic solutions often require us to think very differently from our contemporaries. But thinking differently with St. Thomas is worth it: for the Thomistic solutions to these apparent problems are more satisfying, on both theological and philosophical grounds, than a number of contemporary theological and philosophical approaches.
Christopher Brown deploys his argument in four sections. The first section lays out, in three chapters, four apparent problems concerning eternal life—Is heaven a mystical or social reality? Is heaven other-worldly or this-worldly? Is heaven static or dynamic? Won’t human persons eventually get bored in heaven? Brown then explains how and why some important contemporary Christian theologians and philosophers resolve these problems, and notes serious problems with each of these contemporary solutions. The second section explains, in five chapters, St. Thomas’ significant distinction between the essential reward of the saints in heaven and the accidental reward, and treats in detail his account of that in which the essential reward consists, namely, the beatific vision and the proper accidents of the vision (delight, joy, and charity). The third section treats, in five chapters, St. Thomas’ views on the multifaceted accidental reward in heaven, where the accidental reward includes, among other things, glorified human embodiment, participation in the communion of the saints, and the joy experienced by the saints in sensing God’s “new heavens and new earth.” Finally, section four argues, in four chapters, that St. Thomas’ views allow for powerful solutions to the four apparent problems about eternal life examined in the first section. These solutions are powerful because, not only are they consistent with authoritative, Catholic Christian Tradition, but they do not raise any of the significant theological or philosophical problems that attend the contemporary theological and philosophical solutions examined in the first section.
Imagine that you've just died. An angel appears in front of you, ready to guide you to the next life. You say to him, "I want to go to heaven." His reply, "OK, let's go!"
In this light-hearted tour of the afterlife, based on the writings of Swedish scientist-turned-seer Emanuel Swedenborg, Albrecht H. Gralle takes the reader on a tour of heaven, hell, and the spaces between. What is it like in heaven? What about hell? What happens to people who have suffered horribly in this life? How do we reconcile that suffering with the idea of an all-loving God? What happens to people who simply don't believe in anything beyond this world? What happens to the people who do? Is there sex in heaven? What about tea?
During pauses in the tour, Gralle poses some hard-hitting questions about the nature of belief that speak directly to people who wonder how a modern, rational person can have faith in the absence of proof. The result is at once humorous and thought-provoking.
HEAVEN AND HELL
EMANUEL SWEDENBORG Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2000 Library of Congress BX8712.H513 2000 | Dewey Decimal 236.24
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 Swedenborg’s most popular work paints a detailed picture of life in the spiritual realms. A Swedish Enlightenment scientist of extraordinary accomplishment, Swedenborg 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.
This deluxe edition contains an introduction by religious historian Bernhard Lang setting the volume in the context of its time.
The New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg is a modern-language, scholarly translation of Swedenborg’s theological works. The series’ easy-to-read style retains the dignity, variety, clarity, and gender-inclusive language of Swedenborg’s original Latin, bringing his thought to life. Introductions and annotations by eminent, international scholars place Swedenborg’s writings in their historical context and illuminate obscure references within the text, enabling readers to understand and trace Swedenborg’s influence as never before.
The purpose of this little book is to answer certain questions that many people have about the nature of death. Most people feel that there is something wrong about death. We all want to live a happy life and we do not want to die. Life is experienced as something very good and we want to preserve it. But the reality is that man is by nature mortal, which means that he is destined to die sooner or later. The fact is that we begin to die the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb.
Man is unlike all other animals, because he has a soul endowed with intelligence and free will. Because man’s soul is spiritual, it is immortal. Death is the separation of that soul from the body; the body decays and returns to the dust from which it was taken, but the soul continues to live and is in the hands of God. But what happens to the soul after death? There are two possibilities—heaven or hell. We know from divine revelation and from the infallible teaching of the Church that the soul after death goes immediately to heaven (perhaps first for a time to purgatory to be totally cleansed and sanctified), or immediately to hell, a state or place of eternal misery.
The next life is a life without time—it is a perpetual now, with no before and after. It has a beginning but not end. It is also unchangeable, that is, souls in heaven are there forever and they cannot lose it; souls in hell are there forever and they can never be freed from it.
This is a very serious and certain reality for each one of us. The most important thing we will ever do is to die, and to die in the state of God’s grace so that we are his friends and will be admitted to his presence, which is what is meant by heaven. Therefore we must prepare ourselves to die in the grace of God, which is our ticket to heaven. We do that by doing God’s will for us, which means to keep his commandments, especially to love God above all things and practice love of neighbor.
This short book will help people think about their death and how important it is for their permanent happiness. It will help them to arrange their life in such a way that they will live it as God wants them to live it and so ultimately obtain eternal life with God because: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
A Tablet Book of the Year
Marking a departure in our understanding of Christian views of the afterlife from 250 to 650 CE, The Ransom of the Soul explores a revolutionary shift in thinking about the fate of the soul that occurred around the time of Rome’s fall. Peter Brown describes how this shift transformed the Church’s institutional relationship to money and set the stage for its domination of medieval society in the West.
“[An] extraordinary new book…Prodigiously original—an astonishing performance for a historian who has already been so prolific and influential…Peter Brown’s subtle and incisive tracking of the role of money in Christian attitudes toward the afterlife not only breaks down traditional geographical and chronological boundaries across more than four centuries. It provides wholly new perspectives on Christianity itself, its evolution, and, above all, its discontinuities. It demonstrates why the Middle Ages, when they finally arrived, were so very different from late antiquity.”
—G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books
“Peter Brown’s explorations of the mindsets of late antiquity have been educating us for nearly half a century…Brown shows brilliantly in this book how the future life of Christians beyond the grave was influenced in particular by money.
—A. N. Wilson, The Spectator
NAOMI GLADISH SMITH Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2011 Library of Congress PS3619.M5923S43 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
The third book in Naomi Gladish Smith’s acclaimed series about souls in the afterlife follows a new group of seekers on their journey to heaven—or hell.
Kate Douglas, who spent a lifetime on earth teaching young students, in death finds herself at the Academy, a school for new arrivals in the afterlife. Barely accustomed to her new existence, she’s confronted with the soul of her troubled nephew Dan, who took his own life. Dan struggles to find his path in this new world, encountering the innocent Birgit, who in life was an abused girl, and the beautiful Pegeen, who draws him into the dangerous territory bordering hell. But even as Kate teams up with her friend Frank and budding angel Percy to try to help Dan face his inner demons, Kate must deal with her own issues: her helplessness at watching her husband Howard, still on earth and dying of a degenerative disease; her attraction to Frank; and an assignment to guide a particularly difficult new arrival named Janet. Their fates intertwine as each searches within to discover whether they ultimately bound for heaven or hell.
Inspired by Emanuel Swedenborg’s descriptions of the afterlife, Smith paints a vivid picture of the world of spirits, a spiritual realm between heaven and hell where inner truths are revealed and the distance between any two people is no more than a thought.
Three Spiritualist Novels
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3142.A6 2000 | Dewey Decimal 813.4
This volume brings together for the first time three novels that illustrate the distinguished American writer Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's enduring interest in the afterlife. The daughter of a Calvinist minister, Phelps could not reconcile herself to the idea of a heaven full of spirits who had cut their ties to those left behind on Earth. Rather, she became convinced of the viability of the Spiritualist view that a vital link to earthly life continues in the hereafter.
Articulating an alternative to conservative church doctrine, Phelps assured her readers--many of them women bereft of their loved ones by the Civil War--that Spiritualist ideas about the afterlife were not fundamentally at odds with Scripture. Like the protagonist of The Gates Ajar, these readers wanted to believe "something actual, something pleasant" about the world to come, not "glittering generalities" about a "dreadful Heaven" where their loved ones were too busy singing and worshiping to have any thought of those left behind.
All three of the novels collected here--The Gates Ajar (1868), Beyond the Gates (1883), and The Gates Between (1887)--describe heaven as a perfected version of earthly life and the afterlife as a chance to make up for opportunities squandered on Earth. A grieving sister finds consolation in the Spiritualist idea of a continued connection with her beloved brother; a dying woman finds her soulmate in the afterlife; an erring husband makes amends across the line between the living and the dead.
Tremendously popular in Phelps's lifetime, these novels offer a way of reconciling human beings to earthly loss and sorrow, assuring readers of an afterlife both restorative and compensatory. They also provide an intriguing look at a phenomenon that preoccupied nineteenth-century America and continues to fascinate us in the twenty-first century.
From the experience of dying to awakening to tunnels, bright lights, unfamiliar realms, life reviews, and different levels of consciousness, Leon Rhodes takes the reader on a great adventure into the unknown. An officer in the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), Rhodes recounts the stories of near-death experiences (NDEs) that people have shared with him over the years. The profound changes in their lives after their discoveries are chronicled as a source of inspiration.
In addition, the fascinating parallels between NDEs and the spiritual world, described over two hundred years ago by Emanuel Swedenborg, provide many insights into the transition from this life to the next world. Rhodes' unique Swedenborgian perspective broadens the discussion over the significance of the near-death phenomenon.
This Spanish edition of the English-language Afterlife takes the essence of Emanuel Swedenborg’s classic Heaven and Hell and presents it chronologically, starting with the process of awakening after death and then taking the reader on a journey through both heaven and hell. This shorter format provides an eye-opening introduction to Swedenborg’s philosophy.
“A través de mucha experiencia, se me ha demostrado que cuando somos trasladados del mundo natural al espiritual, lo cual ocurre al morirnos, nos llevamos todo lo que pertenece a nuestro carácter menos el cuerpo terrenal. Lo que es más, cuando entramos en el mundo espiritual o en nuestra vida después de la muerte, estamos en un cuerpo como cuando estábamos en este mundo. No parece haber ninguna diferencia, puesto que no sentimos ni vemos que nada haya cambiado. . . . Entonces, cuando nos hemos convertido en espíritus, no tenemos la sensación de que ya no estamos en el cuerpo que habitamos en el mundo, y por consiguiente, no nos damos cuenta de que hemos muerto.”
– Emanuel Swedenborg, Un recorrido por los cielos y sus maravillas
NAOMI GLADISH SMITH Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2007 Library of Congress PS3619.M5923W36 2007 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
What might a spirit feel on first awakening in the afterlife? Fear, confusion, denial?
When Maggie Stevens, a former world-class gymnast, first awakens in a hospital bed, she is amazed that her body is pain-free. After all, she fell off a balance beam during a competition and crashed head-first onto the auditorium floor. What Maggie doesn't at first realize is that the hospital is like no place on earth. She meets other newly arrived "patients": Kate Douglas, a no-nonsense academic who suffered a heart attack; Ryan James, a handsome musician, who is recovering from a motorcycle crash; Frank Chambers, an ex-cop from Chicago, and Patrick Riley, a church organist, both of whom arrived from a Swiss cancer clinic; and Claire and Swen, a young couple running away from the army. When they all learn that they didn't recover from their illnesses and injuries, they go on an adventure to discover the nature of their new reality. Each must discover that their earthly choices and intentions paved the way for their final destination.
WINDOW TO ETERNITY
BRUCE HENDERSON Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2010 Library of Congress BX8729.F8H46 2010 | Dewey Decimal 236.2
What happens to us when we die? Is there really a heaven and hell? Are there angels watching over us? These questions follow us from early childhood to old age, particularly in moments when we’re confronted with the loss of a loved one.
In Window to Eternity, Bruce Henderson draws from the teachings of visionary Emanuel Swedenborg to paint a vivid picture of heaven and hell, where the souls of the departed become angels and demons and indescribable wonders await. But far from being a distant destination, Henderson shows that heaven is a choice that each of us makes every day—ours to have or to turn away from, regardless of our background or religious upbringing.