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After LivesA Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory$
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John Casey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195092950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.001.0001

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Heaven Heard and Seen: Swedenborg

Heaven Heard and Seen: Swedenborg

(p.337) 15 Heaven Heard and Seen: Swedenborg
After Lives

John Casey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Swedenborg aims vividly to describe his encounters with angels in the various “heavens” he claims to have visited. His heavens and hells might be called “real,” in that they correspond to psychological states. Swedenborg has been called the inventor of the modern heaven. The human soul contains powers and possibilities that accord with the Romantic doctrine of man as microcosm of the universe. There is an affinity of mystics such as Blake with Swedenborg. Heaven is not a reward for goodness, or hell a punishment for evil. In so far as we are good and filled with love, we are in heaven. Swedenborg's heaven is not God‐centered. There is no place for original sin in his philosophy, or for the ascetic. His is an optimistic vision, thoroughly Pelagian. Marriage and the erotic—even in heaven—is at the center of his thought, with an emphasis on “conjugial” love.

Keywords:   Emmanuel Swedenborg, various heavens, psychological states, conjugial love, angels, William Blake, Romantic, microcosm, optimistic, erotic

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