Paradise is a word of Persian origin (Persian: پردیس, "Pardìs") that is generally identified with the Garden of Eden or with Heaven. Originally meaning a walled garden or royal hunting grounds, the term entered Jewish (and eventually Christian) beliefs as a Greek translation for the Garden of Eden in the Septuagint. It is sometimes also identified with the bosom of Abraham, the abode of the righteous dead awaiting Judgment Day. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a penitent criminal crucified alongside him that they will be together in paradise that day.


The word "paradise" entered English from the French "paradis", inherited from the Latin "paradisus", which came from Greek "παραδεισος" (royal garden). [New Oxford American dictionary] The Greek word came from the Persian Avestan word "pairidaêza-" (an Eastern Old Iranian language) = "walled enclosure", [New Oxford American dictionary] which is a compound of "pairi-" (= "around") (a cognate of Greek polytonic|περί "peri-") and "-diz" (= "to create, make"), a cognate of English "dough".

An associated word is the Sanskrit word "paradēsha" = "foreign country" or "supreme country" from Sanskrit "para" = "beyond" (Greek περα "perā") and "dēsha" = "land, country".

The word also entered Semitic languages: Akkadian "pardesu", Arabic "firdaws" (فردوس), Aramaic "pardaysa" (ܦܪܕܝܣܐ), and Hebrew "pardes".

Paradise gardens

Sources as early as Xenophon in his Anabasis report the famed Persian "paradise" garden. In Achaemenid Persia, possibly earlier (in Mesopotamia?), the term was not just applied to 'landscaped' gardens but especially to royal hunting grounds, the earliest form of wildlife reserve, destined for hunting as a sport; in various cultures in contact with nature, paradise is portrayed as eternal hunting ground, not just in relatively primitive cultures (e.g. native American) but also in more advanced, essentially agricultural civilisations, e.g. the Egyptian Reed fields and the Greek Elysian fields.

Religious use


The form of the word that is now understood as "heaven or any environment that is ultimately pleasurable" is derived from the Greek "polytonic|παράδεισος" "paradeisos" Persian loanword used in the Septuagint (LXX) Bible translation to mean the Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, "paradise" meant a paradise restored on Earth (Matthew chapter 5, verse 5 - "the meek shall inherit the earth"), similar to what the Garden of Eden was meant to be. However, certain sects actually attempted to recreate the garden of Eden, e.g. the nudist Adamites. On the cross, Jesus told Dismas that he would be with him in "paradeisos" (Luke 23:43). There are two other references to Paradise in NT: 2 Cor. 12:4 (there are things beyond human expression), and Rev. 2:7 (there is a tree of life).

In the 2nd century AD, Irenaeus distinguished paradise from heaven. In "Against Heresies", he wrote that only those deemed worthy would inherit a home in heaven, while others would enjoy paradise, and the rest live in the restored Jerusalem. Origen likewise distinguished paradise from heaven, describing paradise as the earthly "school" for souls of the righteous dead, preparing them for their ascent through the celestial spheres to heaven. [ [ Church fathers: De Principiis (Book II) Origen] ]

Fra Angelico's "Last Judgement" painting shows Paradise on its left side. There is a tree of life (and another tree) and a circle dance of liberated souls. In the middle is a hole. In Muslim art it similarly indicates the presence of the Prophet or divine beings. It visually says, 'Those here cannot be depicted.'


In the Qur'an, Paradise is denoted as "Firdous", the etymologically equivalent word derived from the original Avistan counterpart, and used instead of Heaven to describe the ultimate pleasurable place after death, accessible by those who pray, donate to charity and read the Qur’an. Heaven in Islam is used to describe the Universe. It is also used in the Qur'an to describe skies in the literal sense, i.e., above earth.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God's purpose was from the start, was and is, to have the earth filled with the offspring of Adam and Eve as caretakers of a global paradise. After God had magnificently designed this earth for human habitation. Also that the wicked people will be destroyed at Armageddon and that many of the righteous (those faithful and obedient to Jehovah) will live eternally in an earthly Paradise. (Psalms 37:9, 10, 29; Prov. 2:21, 22). Joining the survivors will be resurrected righteous and unrighteous people who died prior to Armageddon (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15). The latter are brought back because they paid for their sins by their death, and/or also because they lacked opportunity to learn of Jehovah's requirements prior to dying (Rom. 6:23). These will be judged on the basis of their post-resurrection obedience to instructions revealed in new "scrolls" (Rev. 20:12). This provision does not apply to those that Jehovah deems to have sinned against his holy spirit (Matt. 12:31, Luke 12:5). ["What Does the Bible Really Teach?" (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 2005), Chapter 7] ["Insight on the Scriptures" (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1988), 783-92]


In Latter Day Saint theology, paradise usually refers to the spirit world. That is, the place where spirits dwell following death and awaiting the resurrection. In that context, "paradise" is the state of the righteous after death. In contrast, the wicked and those who have not yet learned the gospel of Jesus Christ await the resurrection in spirit prison. After the universal resurrection, all persons will be assigned to a particular kingdom or degree of glory. This may also be termed "paradise".


ee also

*Third Heaven
*Jannah Muslim concept of paradise
*Paradise garden
*Paradise Lost epic poem by John Milton
*Spirit World (Mormonism)
*Willow Grove Park, named Paradise
*72 Virgins
*Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador
*Fiddler's Green

External links

* [ Etymology of "paradise"]
* [ Fra Angelico's Last Judgement]
* [ Etymology OnLine]
* [ Kashmir paradise]
* [ Kashmir The Paradise on earth]
* [ Home - Paradise Philippines]
* [ Aquinas on Paradise (parallel Latin English text)]
* [ World of Dante] Multimedia website that offers Italian text of Divine Comedy, Allen Mandelbaum's translation, gallery, interactive maps, timeline, musical recordings, and searchable database for students and teachers. Includes map of Dante's Paradise and recordings of hymns.

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  • Paradise — Par a*dise (p[a^]r [.a]*d[imac]s), n. [OE. & F. paradis, L. paradisus, fr. Gr. para deisos park, paradise, fr. Zend pairida[=e]za an inclosure; pairi around (akin to Gr. peri ) + diz to throw up, pile up; cf. Skr. dih to smear, and E. dough. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • PARADISE — PARADISE, the English derivative of Παράδειοος, Greek for garden in the Eden narrative of Genesis 2:4b–3:24 (see garden of eden ). One of the best known and most widely interpreted pericopes in the Bible, this narrative is at the same time one of …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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