The essays in this volume testify to the far-reaching effects of Emanuel Swedenborg's works in Western culture. This book serves as a self-contained resource on Swedenborg's life and thought and as a gateway into further exploration of the labyrinthine garden of Swedenborg's works. It includes: a biography; lively overviews of the content and history of Swedenborg's writings on spiritual topics; and, essays tracing Swedenborg's impact in various regions of the world. Three generous bibliographies round out the volume with data on recommended texts, on Swedenborg's own extensive life works, and on the many sources cited in this volume itself. Copious notes and a thorough index assist the reader in mining the wealth of facts, themes, and personalities discussed in this one-of-a-kind book.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688A-1772), a truly remarkable visionary, began his career as a Swedish mining official and member of parliament and became well known throughout Europe as a scientist and prolific writer on scientific and philosophical subjects. After a series of profound religious experiences during midlife, he devoted the remaining twenty-seven years of his life to being a servant of the Lord@ and wrote energetically to communicate a spiritual vision of reality. Since then, the rigid theologies of the eighteenth century have steadily yielded, and the foresighted lucidity of his perspective has gained widening recognition. The fresh and contemporary appeal of Swedenborg's insights arises from the respect he showed for all religious faiths that stress a useful and loving life.