Friday, July 7, 1995

I am a newcomer to Russian studies, with a great deal to learn, still very largely

dependent on secondary sources.[1] What I have discovered that prompts me to make a

presentation is that when the Russian intelligentsia were exploring Western thought during

the nineteenth century, Swedenborg was one of the thinkers who attracted special

attention. To quote Anders Hallengren,

Toward the close of the eighteenth century, many translations came from the circle around

Nikolai Ivanovitch Novokov. These were works of the Bavarian mystic Friedrich Christoph

Oetinger (1702-1782), Emanuel Swedenborg's well-known friend by letter and translator, who

had a good deal to say about Swedenborg in his works. This was equally true of Heinrich

Jung-Stilling (1740-1817), in whom Tsar Alexander I came to be particularly interested,

and whose output was considerable. As the author of Scenes from the Spiritual World and

Spiritual Teachings, Jung-Stilling was known for his citation and documentation relating

to Swedenborg's paranormal abilities and his contacts with the other world. By these

routes, at first indirectly, Swedenborgian texts were introduced and found interested

individuals both in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also outside Russia proper, in the


He found attentive readers. To quote Hallengren again,

Other cultural contributors who served as channels of Western impulses were Nikolai

Strakhov, the philosophical mentor of Dostoevsky and Tolstoi, the spiritualist Aleksandr

Aksakov, who translated Swedenborg into Russian, and the Ukraine's great philosopher, P.

D. Yurkevitch, who ranked Boehme, Leibniz, and Swedenborg as the West's last great


Given these indications of Swedenborg's relevance, and given his relative obscurity in

academic circles, I hope I may be of service as one who has hold of the Swedenborgian end

of the string, so to speak. What was Swedenborg's relevance or appeal? Certainly some of

the individuals who became involved with him were also involved in spiritualism, as was A.

K. Aksakov, who translated Swedenborg's Heaven and Hell into Russian. Russian philosophy,

however, was wrestling with far deeper issues, to some extent stimulated by the challenge

of Western thought.

Specifically, the results of Western empiricism and rationalism were impressive; and yet

in Russia as in the West itself, they seemed to threaten dearly held religious and ethical

values. The centrality of this issue may be represented in Solovyov's insistence that the

whole truth could be attained only when empiricism, rationalism, and mysticism were

brought into complementary rather than competetive relationship.[4] I suspect that some of

the appeal Swedenborg held for Russians may be traced to the distinctive way in which

these three approaches came together for him.[5] The major purpose of this paper is to

sketch this "way."

The empiricism-spirituality issue is presented in striking, almost typological form in

Swedenborg's youth. His father, Jesper Swedberg, was a Lutheran clergyman of strong

Pietistic leanings. That is, he had little use for the exclusive stress on orthodoxy of

belief that characterized the main stream of post-Reformation Lutheranism,[6] but insisted

on what he regarded as Christ-like living. Perhaps as a legacy of Scandanavian folklore

and shamanism, there was an accompanying vivid belief in the presence of spiritual beings

and forces in the mundane world of everyday dealings. Jesper was by all accounts a

forceful individual, and Swedenborg reports his own childhood engagement in the

theological discussions that took place in their home.[7]

However, when Swedenborg was eleven and a student at Uppsala University, his father was

made bishop of Skara and moved to his new responsibility. He left Emanuel with his sister

Anna and her new husband, Erik Benzelius, then Uppsala's librarian. Benzelius was an avid

Cartesian,[8] and Swedenborg chose to study with the faculty of natural philosophy rather

than with the faculty of theology. He would later refer to his brother-in-law as his

"second father," as one who understood and appreciated his scientific interests in a way

in which Jesper apparently did not.[9]

Following his graduation, he followed a course of action which demonstrated his

entrancement with empirical science. As soon as the means were available, he travelled to

London, where he "read Newton daily," repeated Boyle's chemical experiments, made

astronomical observations at Flamsteed's observatory, and served as a kind of overseas

purchasing agent for his University's scientific library and laboratories. He followed

similar interests on the Continent; and when he finally returned to Sweden in 1714, he did

so with a portfolio of mechanical inventions as evidence of his learning.

His most earnest desire was to found a Swedish observatory, but Sweden was impoverished by

the imperial ambitions of Charles XII, and nothing so "impractical" had any chance of

funding.[10] He wound up working as a civil engineer for Sweden's most prominent inventor,

Christopher Polhem (also spelled Polhelm and Polhammar), and founding Sweden's first

technical journal, Daedalus Hyperboreus.

He was eventually appointed to the Bergskollegium, the Swedish federal department of

mines, and would serve it with distinction until 1746. One of his major contributions was

a definitive study of European smelting technology, parts of which were translated into

French.[11] His clear intent was to enable his resource-rich but technologically backward

country[12] to compete with the Continent. The volumes in fact established him as a

scientist of international repute.[13]

After his father's death in 1735, while he continued his government work, his private

investigations took a different turn. His desire to reconcile science and religion

surfaced in earnest, and in an explicit "search for the soul" he undertook an exhaustive

study of human anatomy. What better place to find the soul than in "her kingdom," the

body?[14] In the course of this work, he would make the fundamental discovery that the

blood was purified in the lungs by an interchange with air. He would identify the

functions of the ductless glands and locate some motor functions in the cortex of the


His first published effort was favorably reviewed, but he himself regarded it as having

failed in its primary purpose.[16] He had not found the soul in her kingdom: the most that

could be said was that he had described a kingdom in which a soul could be at home. He

resolved to try again, this time looking at the data more closely, and published three

volumes out of a proposed series of eleven. He was in his early fifties by this time, and

there was little indication as yet of the spiritual contacts for which he was to become

famous. To all intents and purposes, he was a prominent government figure, with an

international reputation in empirical science.

However, he had begun to have and to trust occasional experiences of photism--seeing a

vivid mental "light" when he arrived at a valid insight. He now spoke of going a step

further: "The faculty of apprehending the goodness of all forms, consequently also the

secret delights of truth, is inherent and as it were connate in our senses . . . . the

rational mind . . . unhesitatingly distinguishes the truths of things . . . for they

sweetly soothe and please, and call forth deeply hidden affections."[17]

He was on the verge of a major transition. He began to record his dreams, and to interpret

them as offering guidance for his researches.[18] Again, it seems typological that he

recorded his dreams in the same little notebook he used for keeping a diary of his

travels--the empiricist is at work still, but in a different realm. During the Easter

weekend in 1744, he had a Christ-vision calling him to some unspecified new task, and a

year later, in London, he had a second vision which included a specific call to a new

career as expositor of spiritual meaning of Scripture and which marked the beginning of

some twenty-seven years of paranormal experience.

He proceeded cautiously. He went back to work at the Bergskollegium for more than a year,

kept a running record of his experiences of the spiritual world, reviewed his college

Greek and Hebrew, and compiled his own Bible index. He drafted the beginnings of a

substantial Bible commentary, which he left incomplete.[19] His "spiritual diary," the

record of his paranormal experiences, shows him reflecting on their meanings and

systematizing what he was learning from them.[20]

It was not until 1749, four years after the pivotal London vision, that the first of his

theological volumes was published.[21] This was the first of an eight-volume,

verse-by-verse, often word-by-word exegesis of Genesis and Exodus predicated on the

assumption that everything earthly has its spiritual counterpart, and that there is a

consistent "language" of interpretation.[22]

He had learned this language through his paranormal experiences, and would frequently

gloss his interpretation with remarks such as "When lambs appear in the World of Spirits,

they know that the [attendant but invisible] angels are talking about still deeper forms

of the good, and about innocence."[23]Equally significantly, he began using the chapter

breaks to present material in topical rather than Biblical sequence, and the first topic

he chose, which ran for twenty-two chapters, was the spiritual world. He was aware that

this would strain credulity, but in his view, this was his empirical base.[24]

It was also the point at which Kant attacked him. In his satirical Dreams of a

Spirit-Seer,[25] there is a great deal of name-calling, but little systematic critique.

He raises the fundamental empirical issue in his preface, as follows:

Shall he [the philosopher], on the other hand, admit even one of these stories [of

spiritual experience]? How important would be such an avowal, and what astonishing

consequences we should see before us, if we could suppose even one such occurrence to be


In fact, he acknowledged a strong similarity between Swedenborg's metaphysical system and

his own:

Moreover, I undergo this misfortune, that the testimony which I have stumbled upon, and

which resembles so uncommonly the philosophical creation of my own brain, looks

desperately misshapen and foolish, so that I must rather expect the reader to consider my

reasons as absurd on account of their relation to such confirmations, than that he will

consider these latter reasonable on account of my reasons. I therefore declare without

more ado that in regard to the alleged examples I mean no joke, and I declare once for

all, that either one has to suppose more intelligence and truth to be in Swedenborg's

works than a first glance will reveal, or that it is only chance when he coincides with my

system; . . .[27]

In fact, the association of Swedenborg with spiritualism and clairvoyance all too readily

obscures his dedication to disciplined and critical thinking. It is worth noting that in

treating the "laws of divine providence," the first "law" listed is that we should act

"from freedom, according to reason," and freedom and rationality are described as gifts of

God, which providence guards as sacred.[28] We may see in this his rejection of

ecclesiastical superstition and obscurantism as well as his distaste for monarchical

absolutism. Free inquiry might threaten the church, but not the essence of Christianity as

Swedenborg saw it.

For Swedenborg's sense of the convergence of empiricism and theology, a comparison of two

of his late works is informative. In his Divine Love and Wisdom (1763) and True Christian

Religion (1771), he made very similar statements about the nature of the Divine. The

former work, however, begins with a disquisition on the nature of love--everyone knows

that it exists, but not what it is.[29] He argues from this experiential/empirical basis

to the spirituality and infinity of the Divine. In the opening chapter of the latter work,

he comes to the same conclusions, but does so on the basis of copious Biblical passages.

It seems clear that a) the one work is addressed to the empirical thinker, and the other

to the convinced Christian, and b) that in Swedenborg's view, empiricism and Scripture

yield the same message.

The last image I would present of the way in which the heritages of Swedenborg's "two

fathers" came together is one particularly dear to Swedenborgians. It is a from a vision

he reports in True Christian Religion, ¶ 508: He tells of seeing a temple in heaven, which

he describes in some detail. Then,

. . . when I came closer, I saw this inscription over the door--Now it is permitted; which

meant that now it is permitted to enter the mysteries of faith with one's intellect.[30]


Thus far I proceed with some confidence, with a sense of having a firm grasp on my end of

the string. Nothing is further from my intent than to demonstrate Swedenborg's "influence"

on Russian thought. This tends to suggest that Russian thought is the passive element in

the relationship, which is surely not the case at all.[31] I suspect rather that there may

be that kind of consonance of minds which prompts clarification and discovery, which

challenges as much by provocative disagreement as by direct enlightenment because there is

a sense that "we are talking about the same thing, we are talking the same language."

I am struck, for example by Berdyaev's description of Solovyov's epistemology: "Thus, in

his theory of apprehension, empiricism, rationalism and mysticism are abstract principles

which are false in their exclusive self-assertion, but do contain partial truths which

enter into the integral apprehension of a free theosophy."[32] I hope I have managed to

indicate that empiricism, rationalism, and mysticism all made their contributions to

Swedenborg's thought. In reading Solovyov's treatment of Swedenborg in the

Brockhaus-Ephron Encyclopedia, I am intrigued by what information he had and did not have.

His comments on the theology are accurate and insightful, he is aware of some surprisingly

small details, and yet there are gaps in unexpected places. I hope to track down enough of

the nineteenth century sources he lists to see what may lie behind this combination. The

evidence of appreciation is there, and may well be worth exploring.[33] In specific regard

to the confluence of empiricism, mysticism, and rationalism, Solovyov's epithets for

Swedenborg suggest that he saw the Swede as just such a "triple threat": ******

***********; ************* ********** * ***** ************* (***** ***** ****) ******

****** *******--"learned naturalist, later spirit-seer, and (after Jakob Böhme) most

remarkable theosoph of the new era."

I suspect that in its own way, Russian spirituality felt itself threatened by Western

science. That threat had been felt in Sweden as well, and Swedenborg devoted his life to

bringing science and spirituality out of opposition and into alliance. The threat was

certainly felt in the nineteenth-century Europe that beckoned to the Russian

intelligentsia, and Swedenborg was mined especially by individuals with interests in

spirituality. Friedemann Horn has traced this process in regard to Schelling, and in so

doing illuminates a network that included Oetinger, Goethe, and Jung-Stilling as well.[34]

Swedenborg would have agreed wholeheartedly with Solovyov that if mysticism rejected

rationalism or empiricism, if rationalism or empiricism rejected mysticism, the search for

truth was hobbled. I doubt that this is any less true, or any less relevant, at the close

of this century than it was at the close of the last.


I am grateful to Prof. Lawrence G. Jones for generous help with Russian texts.

Anders Hallengren, "Swedenborg i Östeuropa," in Väldarnas Möte No. 1,2, (1992), pp. 19f. (tr. GF Dole). Cf. also Hallengren's

"Russia, Swedenborg, and the Eastern Mind" in The New Philosophy Vol. XCIII No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1990), pp. 391-407.

ibid., p. 20.

Cf. Jonathan Sutton, The Religious Philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov: Towards a Reassessment (New York: St. Martin's Press,

1988), p. 49: "He did not consider it appropriate for the theologian to ignore the findings of the natural scientist or the

philosopher, nor that any of these three specialists should regard their own work as self-sufficient."

While Swedenborg did not see himself as a rationalist in the strictest sense of the term, he does make use of a priori

arguments on occasion. It may be noted that Solovyov characterized the cosmological schema of Swedenborg's (pre-theological)

Principia as following the rationalism of Leibnitz and Wolff. Cf. his article *********** in the Brockhaus-Ephron Encyclopedia

(1900), p. 75, col 2. I have only a photocopy of this, and therefore no bibliographical data. The relevant passage is cited in n.

13 infra.

Cf. Robert D. Preus, The Theology of Post Reformation Lutheranism (St. Louis: Concordia, 1970).

Cf. Cyriel Sigstedt, The Swedenborg Epic (New York: Bookman Associates, 1952), p. 5. Cited there from Rudolph L. Tafel,

Documents concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg (London: Swedenborg Society, 1875, 1877 [Vol II]); II, pp.


Descartes had visited Sweden in the previous century, and in fact had died there. Swedish excitement over his thought and

resistance to it may in some ways parallel Russian ambivalence about Western thought. In 1689, Charles XI had decreed that

scientific thought should be free of religious control on the one hand, but that it should not intrude itself into matters of

faith on the other. This left theology free to be dogmatic and irrational, and science free to be materialistic and amoral.

Whether or not they in fact were so, each has at times seen these characteristics in the other.

ibid., p. 16.

The turning point in Charles' career was, of course, the battle of Poltava in 1709. Swedenborg's attitude toward this

charismatic monarch is worthy of separate investigation. The reader is referred to two excellent studies of early (1714-15) works

of Swedenborg (or more properly at this point in his life, Swedberg: his name was changed when the family was ennobled in 1719)

recently published in Sweden, Festivus applausus in Caroli XII in Pomeraniam suam adventum. Ed., with introduction, translation,

and commentary by Hans Helander (Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 1985), and Emanuel Swedenborg: Camena Borea, Ed., with

introduction, translation, and commentary by Hans Helander (Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 1988). The former is a paean

of praise to the monarch after his escape from Turkish imprisonment, while the latter is a set of allegories clearly implying

that his militarism had proved ruinous.

This was a three-volume work. The first volume, Principia rerum naturalium sive novorum tentaminum phaenomena mundi

elementaris philosophice explicandi ("The principles of natural things, or of new efforts to explain the phenomena of the

material world philosophically"), presents a scientific cosmogony beginning at "the infinite," and includes a clear nebular

hypothesis as well as conjecture that matter is energy (conatus) in vortical motion. The second volume, Regnum subterraneum sive

minerale de ferro deque modis liquationum ferri per Europam passim in usum receptis; deque conversione ferri crudi in chalybem;

de vena ferri et probatione ejus; pariter de chymicis praeparatis et cum ferro et victriolo ejus factis experimentis, etc. ("The

subterranean or mineral kingdom in respect to iron and the methods of smelting it which are in use throughout Europe; further the

method of converting crude iron to steel; the various methods of assaying iron ore; likewise chemical preparations and

experiments made with iron and its vitriol, etc., etc."), deals with the technology of iron and steel processing, and the third,

Regnum subterraneum sive minerale de cupro et orichalco, deque modus liquationum cupri per Europam passim in usum receptis; de

secretione ejus ab argento; de conversione in orichalcum, inque metalla diversi generis; de lapide calaminari; de zinco; de vena

cupri et probatione ejus; pariter de chymicis praeparatis, et cum cupro factis experimentis, etc., etc. ("The subterranean or

mineral kingdom in respect to copper and brass, the method of smelting copper in use throughout Europe; its separation from

silver; the conversion of copper into brass and metals of various kinds; calamine stone; zinc; copper ore and how to assay it;

likewise various chemical preparations and experiments made with copper, etc., etc.") deals with copper in the same way. The

three volumes were published in 1734 by Friedrich Hekel of Leipzig and Dresden. Further details, including information on English

translations, may be found in William R. Woofenden, Swedenborg Researcher's Manual (Bryn Athyn, PA: Swedenborg Scientific

Association, 1988).

He was by this time an active member of the Riddarhus, the House of Nobles, and his efforts to advance Swedish technology are

quite evident in his memoranda to that body. Again, there may be parallels between this Swedish self-image and that of Russia in

the nineteenth century. If so, it would contribute to a subtle sense that this thought was congenial--"we folk who are trying to

catch up to Europe, we folk on the fringes, understand each other."

Solovyov took note of this in his article on Swedenborg in the 1900 edition of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia (I am not able to

reproduce completely the orthography): ** 1733-36 **. *** ***** ************** ** *****i* * ******i*; *** ****** **** < philosophica et mineralia>>. ****** *** **** *********, ***** ************ ****** ************ ********** (*** **** *. **********

** ********-************ ***i********), *************** ******* ******** ********* ******* ********i*. ** **** ******* ***** *.

********** ****** ****** ******i* ** *****i* *****. ********** ****** ****, ** ****** ****i*** ** ********** *******i*, *********

*. ********** ******** *************i*. ****i* ****** ******** * *. *********i* ****i* ******** * ******i***. ****** ******* *.

******* ***** ***** ********* ******* ** ******** **** * ****** ******** ******** *** ********i* ********** ****** ******

******** ***** ************ ********** ******* ************ ** *****. *** ****i* **** ********* **** ****i******* ********** **

*********i*. *****i* <> ********* *. ******* ************ ** ******* *i**; *** **** ******* ** ******** *****

************* ******i* *****. ("In 1733-36 he again travelled in Bohemia and Germany, where he published his `Opera Philosophica

et Mineralia.' The first of these volumes included, after establishing general philosophical principles (for which Swedenborg

espoused the rationalism of Leibnitz and Wolff), independent decisions on special questions of scientific cosmology. In this

area, Swedenborg's work retains major importance to this day in the history of science. The famous chemist Dumas, in his lectures

on chemical philosophy, called Swedenborg the actual founder of crystallography. Other scientists have noted in Swedenborg

anticipations of the theories of Dalton and Berzelius. Before Herschel, Swedenborg identified the place of our solar system in

the Milky Way, and he showed before Lagrange that the deviation of the planetary orbits had a tendency to return to their norms

after stated intervals of time. The two other volumes contained a series of tracts on mineralogy. The publication of the "Opera"

gave Swedenborg widespread renown in the learned world; he was elected to honorary membership in the St. Petersburg Academy of

Science.") The New Jerusalem Magazine of November 1830 cites the "forty-fifth number of the Foreign Quarterly Review (London)" as

reporting Dumas' statement. I have not yet tracked it down.

On this matter, Solovyov seems to have missed the point. The Latin title of Swedenborg's work, Oeconomia regni animalis in

transactiones divisa: quarum haec prima, de sanguine, ejus arteriis, venis, et corde agit: anatomice, physice, et philosophice

perlustrata. Cui accedit Introductio ad psychologiam rationalem (The dynamics of the soul's domain, divided into transactions:

this first of which deals with the blood, its arteries, veins, and heart: explored anatomically, physically, and philosophically.

To which is added an Introduction to a rational psychology." The second volume was subtitled quarum haec secunda de cerebri motu

et cortice, et de anima humana agit: anatomice, physice, et philosophice perlustrata ["this second of which deals with the motion

of the brain and its cortex and the human soul: explored anatomically, physically, and philosophically"]), indicates clearly that

the regnum animale he is talking about is not "the animal kingdom" in the usual (English) sense of that phrase, but rather "the

kingdom of the soul"--drawing a meaning for animale directly from the cognate anima, "soul." Solovyov cites the title in Russian

(*** ******i* ********* *******), probably drawn from the English translation he mentions (The Economy of the Animal Kingdom, far

more misleading in English than is the Latin). He then feels it necessary to explain that the book is not about zoology: **

****** *i************ *******i*** *. ** ******** *********** * ******i* *********; ** ******i* ** ************* ****** *** *****

** *********: ("In these two biological studies, Swedenborg was not concerned with categorizing and describing animals--to

zoology in the usual sense they make absolutely no reference"). Brockhaus p. 76. col. 1.

Swedenborg commented that he had decided to lay aside the scalpel and rely on the discoveries [i.e., the empirical findings]

of others, since he had noticed a tendency to value the results of his own dissections more highly than those of others. This

self-evaluation probablly lies behind Solovyov's remark that the anatomical works contained no new discoveries--**** ******

******* **** ******** ***** **** *****************; ** ***** ******** ****** ******i*; *** ***** ******** ** ********* ** ****

******* ************ ("The author himself counted his comprehensive work only as preparatory: not making new discoveries in any

respects, he everywhere relied on the most recent scientific advances available to him."). Brockhaus p. 76, col. 1.

Cf. Emanuel Swedenborg, The Animal Kingdom, Considered Anatomically, Physically, and philosophically, tr. James John Garth

Wilkinson (London: W. Newbery, 1843), ¶ 19.

ibid., ¶ 2. In the prologue of this work, Swedenborg emphatically rejects a priori rationalism under the name of "synthesis"

and emphatically espouses empiricism under the name of "analysis." SYNTHESIS, quae a Causis & Principiis rationum suarum filum

auspicatur, & usque ad Causarum Effectus . . . [est] non nisi quam Analysis proletaria, praecox & vaga . . . ¶ 7. This is

because Sola mente divinare Principia, & exinde se per consequentia certo tramite deducere ad posteriora, est modo Entium &

Potentium Superiorum, Spirituum, Angelorum, Ipsiusque Omniscientis Numinis, qui scilicet summam incolunt lucem (¶ 10). In

contrast, ANALYSIS a Causatis, Effectibus, & Phoenomenis per viam sensuum Corporis ingressis telam suae ratiocinationis inchoat,

& usque ad Causas causarumque causas . . . procedit (¶ 11). Haec via sola ducit ad Principia atque Veritates, seu ad Superiora, &

fere ad Coelestia, nec alia nobis Terrigenis aperta esse videtur (¶ 12). "SYNTHESIS, which picks up its thread of reasoning from

causes and principles, and [proceeds] from there to the effects of the causes . . . ]is] nothing but lower-class, premature, and

rambling analysis;" because "To divine principles by means of the mind alone, and to travel down from there on a proven pathway

through corollaries to consequences, is a property of higher beings and spirits alone and and of the omniscient deity himself,

who of course dwell in the highest light." In contrast, "ANALYSIS picks up its thread from things caused, from effects and

phenomena that come into us through our physical senses, and proceeds . . . from there to causes and to the causes of causes."

"This way alone leads to principles and truths, or to the higher and almost heavenly things; nor does any other way seem to be

open to us earth-born creatures." The capacities of the mind to intuit truths must have solid data to work with. As is customary

in Swedenborgian studies, references are not to pages but to paragraph numbers, which Swedenborg used faithfully, and which are

uniform in all editions.

The dreams have recently been republished in English translation with a very thoughtful commentary by Wilson Van Dusen

(Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams, 1743-1744 [New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1986]).

This has been published in Latin under the title Adversaria in libros veteris testamenti, 4 volumes, ed. J. F. I. Tafel

(Tubingen: 1847-54), and in English translation as The Word of the Old Testament Explained, nine volumes, tr. & ed. by A. Acton

(Bryn Athyn: Academy of the New Church, 1928-51).

J. F. I. Tafel, ed., Eman. Swedenborgii Diarii spiritualis, 5 parts (London: Wm. Newbery, 1843-47). For an English version,

cf. W. H. Acton, A. W. Acton, and F. Coulson, trs., The Spiritual Diary. Records and Notes made by Emanuel Swedenborg between

1746 and 1765 from his experiences in the spiritual world (London: Swedenborg Society, 1962, reprints). A new critical, Latin

text has been completed by J. Durban Odhner and is in process of publication in Bryn Athyn, PA, Tafel's edition being long out of

print. There are also plans for Dr. Odhner to make a new translation on the basis of the revised text.

Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, quae in Scriptura Sacra seu Verbo Domini sunt, detecta ("Heavenly mysteries disclosed,

which are in Sacred Scripture or the Word of the Lord") 8 vol's. (London: 1749-56).

This is the language of "correspondences" treated in Appelgren's and Hjern's papers. It attracted the attention of Baudelaire,

and might be worthy of attention by someone familiar with the Russian symbolist poets.

Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia (New York: Swedenborg Foundation, frequent reprints), ¶ 2179:2.

Cf. op. cit., ¶ 68: Non me latet quod plures dicturi, quod nusquam aliquis loqui possit cum spiritibus et angelis quamdiu in

corpore vivit; et plures, quod phantasis sit; alii, quod talia tradidero ut fidem captem; alii aliter; sed haec nihil moror, nam

vidi, audivi, sensi. "I am not oblivious to the fact that many people will say that no one can talk with spirits and angels

during this physical life; and many will say that this is hallucination. Some will say that I relate these things to gain

credence, and others will have other explanations. But I am in no way deterred by this, for I have seen, I have heard, I have


The English translation used here is that of Emanuel F. Goerwitz, Dreams of a Spirit-seer, Illustrated by Dreams of

Metaphysics (London: New-Church Press, 1915).

Goerwitz, op. cit.,, p. 38. "Soll er auch nur eine einzige dieser Erzahlungen als warscheinlich einräumen? wie wichtig wäre

ein solches Geständnis, und in welche erstaunlichen Folgen sieht man hinaus, wenn auch nur e i n e solche Begebenheit als

bewiesen vorausgesetzt könnte?" The German is cited from Immanuel Kant, Träume eines Geistersehers, erläutert durch Träume der

Metaphysik, herausgegeben von Karl Kehrbach (Leipzig: Philipp Reclam jun., n.d.), p. 4.

Goerwitz, op. cit., pp. 100f. "Zudem habe ich das Unglück, dass das Zeugniss, worauf ich stosse und was meiner philosophischen

Hirngeburt so ungemein ähnlich ist, verzweifelt missgeschaffen und albern aussieht, so dass ich viel eher vermuthen muss, der

Leser werde, um der Verwandtschaft mit solchen Bestimmungen willen, meine Vernunftgründe für ungereimt, als jene um dieser willen

für vernünftig halten. Ich sage demnach ohne Umschweif, dass, was solche anzügliche Vergleichungen anlangt, ich keinen Spass

verstehe, und erkläre kurz und gut, dass man entweder in Swedenborgs Schriften, mehr Klugheit und Wahrheit vermuthen müsse, als

der erste Anschein blicken lässt, oder dass es nur so von ohngefähr komme, wenn er mit meinem System zusammentrifft . . . .",

Kant, op. cit.,, p. 51.

[27]: The issue of Swedenborg's "spiritual empiricism" and Kant's reaction to it has been ably explored by Robert H. Kirven,

"Swedenborg and Kant Revisited: The Long Shadow of Kant's Attack and a New Response," in Erland Brock et al., eds, Swedenborg and

His Influence (Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy of the New Church, 1988), pp. 103-120. A doctoral dissertation by Gottlieb Florschütz is,

I believe, in process of publication in Germany. This deals in considerable detail with the position taken by Kant later in his

life, as reconstructed from notes on his lectures. Two articles by Florschütz summarizing the main points have been published in

the Zürich Swedenborgian periodical Offene Tore, and the Swedenborg Foundation expects to publish an English translation in

monograph form during the present year.

Emanuel Swedenborg, Sapientia Angelica de Divina Providentia (Amsterdam, 1764), (____________, The Divine Providence [New York:

Swedenborg Foundation, frequent reprints]) ¶ 71: Quod lex divinae providentiae sit, ut homo ex libero secundum rationem agat,

"That it is a law of divine providence that a human being should act from freedom according to reason." Cf. ibid. ¶ 73: . . .

quod binae illae facultates sint a Domino apud hominem, "that these two abilities are from the Lord in/with the human being"; and

¶ 96, quod Dominus binas illas facultates apud hominem illibatas ac ut sanctas in omni Divinae suae Providentiae progressione

custodiat, "that the Lord keeps these two abilities in/with the human being unimpaired and guards them as sacred through the

whole course of his divine providence." The centrality of human freedom to issues of heaven and hell should be borne in mind in

connection with Alexander Mouravyov's efforts toward the abilition of serfdom. Cf. Hallengren, "Russia, Swedenborg, and the

Eastern Mind," p. 399.

"Homo novit quod amor sit, sed non novit quid amor est." Emanuel Swedenborg, Sapientia Angelica de Divino Amore et de Divina

Sapientia (Amsterdam: 1763) ¶ 1.

" Postea, cum propius accessi, vidi Scripturam super porta, hanc, Nunc licet; quod significabat, quod nunc liceat

intellectualiter intrare in arcana fidei." Emanuel Swedenborg, Vera Christiana Religio (Amsterdam: 1771), ¶ 508.

This thought struck me as particularly important in regard to the relationship between Swedenborg and Blake, where there is no

doubt that the latter engaged himself with the former. "It is demeaning to Blake to describe the relationship in terms of

`influence,' as though Swedenborg were the master and Blake the student, the one active and the other passive. It is truer to

human experience simply to say that Swedenborg's descriptions helped Blake to understand his own experience, that in a way, Blake

recognized himself in Divine Love and Wisdom. He would not have been Blake had he not also rebelled abainst Swedenborg, had he

allowed his own creative integrity to be violated by submission to authority" (George F. Dole, "Introduction," in Harvey F.

Bellin amd Darrell Ruhl, eds., Blake and Swedenborg: Opposition is True Friendship [New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1985], p.


Nikolai Berdyaev, The Russian Idea, R. M. French, tr., (Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1992), p. 184.

I am grateful to Leonard Fox for a reference "from Dmitrij C*iz*evskij's article "Swedenborg bei den Slaven," in his book Aus

zwei Welten (`S-Gravenhage: Mouton & Co., 1956)," pp. 279f.: "1877 schreibt er [Solovyov] (am 27. April), dass er nach seinen

Studien der Boehmianer Gichtel, Gottfried Arnold, Poradge, doch nur Paracelsus, Boehme, und Svedenborg als `wirklich bedeutend'

(********* ****) ansehen könne." By personal letter, 24 November 1992.

Friedemann Horn, Schelling und Swedenborg: Ein Beitrag zur Problemgeschichte des deutschen Idealismus und zur Geschichte

Swedenborgs in Deutschland: nebst einem Anhang über K. C. F. Krause und Swedenborg sowie Ergänzungen zu R. Schneiders Forschungen

(Zürich: Swedenborg-Verlag, 1954). The epistemological issue was a live one, and Swedenborg's case was taken seriously. For

information about life after death, Schelling wrote in Clara, one must either have died and returned like the Armenier in Plato,

or else "like the Swedish spirit-seer, who ventures to speak about it in greater detail, have had one's internals opened in some

other way, so as to be able to look into that other world" [. . . oder wie der schwedische Geisterseher müsste ihm auf andere Art

sein Inneres geöffnet werden, üm in jene Welt hineinschauen zu können, der hiervon genauer zu reden sich unterstände." Cited from

Horn, op. cit., p. 13.

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