Swinden 401G An enquiry into the nature and place of hell.
Swinden 401G An enquiry into the nature and place of hell.


The Place of Hell
The Place of Hell

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

In the Old Testament, the word translated “hell” is Sheol; in the New Testament, it’s Hades(meaning “unseen”) andGehenna(“the Valley of Hinnom”).Sheolis also translated as “pit” and “grave.” Both Sheol and Hades refer to a temporary abode of the dead before judgment (Psalm 9:17;Revelation 1:18). Gehenna refers to an eternal state of punishment for the wicked dead (Mark 9:43).

The idea that hell is below us, perhaps in the center of the earth, comes from passages such asLuke 10:15: “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell” (KJV). Also, in1 Samuel 28:13-15, the medium of Endor sees the spirit of Samuel “coming up out of the ground.” We should note, however, that neither of these passages is concerned with the geographic location of hell.


401G  Swinden, Tobias.  1659-1719   An enquiry into the nature and place of hell.DSC_0067
London : printed by W. Bowyer, for W. Taylor, and H. Clements, 1714.    $2,800

Octavo, 7.25 X  4.5 .  First edition  A-T  U   two double-page engrave plates one of the Heliocentric universe and the other a map of the sun (with sun spots) after Kircher and Scheiner according to their 1635 observations.

Cambridge-style full paneled calf, spine in six compartments between raised bands, red morocco lettering piece gilt.

An excellent copy with moderate marginal browning (heavier to several signatures) and very faint tide mark to bottoms of some DSC_0071pages, else square, tight and unmarked. Front and back covers stamped in blind with H and F, with the armorial book plate and shelf inventory sticker of Humphrey Fowle to front paste down and his signature to front fly leaf. (Perhaps Humphrey Fowle (1682-1756) of Rotherfield, in East Sussex, or Humphrey Fowle, who, in 1688, was High Sheriff of Sussex, James II’s representative in the county for all matters relating to the judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.)

The unusual nature of his speculation, however, is that the most probable location for Hell is none other than the Sun itself. Swinden touches on some remarkably advanced astronomical concepts such as the idea that stars may be other suns, and even postulates that there may be life on other planets.
Swinden, a Church of England clergyman, maintained in his enquiry that hell is an actual place and its torments eternal, and “conjectured that it was located in the sun. Drawing on classical, scriptural, and patristic authorities, it [the enquiry] applied traditional Christian teaching concerning hell to a Copernican universe.” (ODNB)
Maslen & Lancaster. Bowyer ledgers, 199