He was born at Salonica in April 1743, the son of Peter Paradise (died 1 February 1779), English consul there. He was educated at Padua, then lived in London for most of his life in London. He knew ancient and modern Greek, Latin, Turkish, French, Italian, and English. In correspondence with Thomas Jefferson in the 1780s, Paradise assisted Jefferson in studying the Greek language.
On 14 April 1769 Paradise was created M.A. of Oxford University, and on 3 July 1776 the degree of D.C.L. was conferred on him. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society on 2 May 1771. His house was open to men of letters, and he entertained leading literary figures. Samuel Johnson dined with him, and on one occasion met Joseph Priestley there at dinner. When Johnson started an evening club at the Essex Head Tavern in Essex Street, London, in December 1783, Paradise was one of the regular attendants. Sir Joshua Reynolds, when discussing the club, enumerated him among the "very learned". He was one of the mourners at Johnson's funeral.
Paradise, a friend of Sir William Jones, was described as very silent, modest, and amiable. He lived at one time in Charles Street, Cavendish Square; he died at Great Titchfield Street, London, on 12 December 1795. He left money to buy mourning rings to nine: Isaac Hawkins Browne, Nathaniel Burwell, Bennet Langton, Samuel Horsley, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Warburton Lytton, Frederick North, William Windham, and Mikhail Woronzow.
Paradise on 18 May 1769 married Lucy Ludwell (1751–1814), daughter of Philip Ludwell III, a plantation owner from Virginia. Around 1805 she went with her children to America, where she owned property.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Paradise, John". Dictionary of National Biography. 43. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Archibald Bolling Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg (Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1942), 212.
- s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Paradise, John
- Gleb Struve, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 57, No. 4 (Oct., 1949), pp. 355–375. Published by: Virginia Historical Society. JSTOR 4245654
- Haigh, John D. "Paradise, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21258. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)