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Final Revised Calendar


Assignment for Response Paper Two

DUE: April 27th (extension!)

First, please take the time to browse and read through your colleagues’ response papers posted on the blog under “2015 Forum.”

Write a response on any aspect (problem, question, interesting point) from the secondary and/or primary readings we’ve had from March 16th onwards.

In your response, integrate a point-of-view, an observation, or a remark from one of your peer’s prior response papers posted on the blog. You can’t use your own response (!); try to substantially engage in a meaningful way with the content of the other person’s statement.

Your response should be at least three pages (double-spaced, 12 point font).

Thoughts on Heaven and Hell?

We had so much to talk about last class in regards to Albanese — if you had particular thoughts or questions from the primary readings in Heaven and Hell, please put them here as a comment! (it might take a bit of time for your comment to appear, as I have to approve it as a moderator).

Swedenborg, Body, the “Grand Human”

New Resource Added

Hey everyone —

I just wanted to bring to your attention the fantastic Swedenborg Library Digital Collections hosted by Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania. It is full of tons (and I mean tons) of 18th and 19th century archival material, scanned and turned into easily searchable PDFs. All the major 19th century New Church periodicals are on there, among other goodies (like scanned Swedenborg original manuscripts).

So, if you are interested in “digging” deeper into a historical topic for your final paper, this is an immediate first-stop resource, especially if you are keen to follow how the Swedenborgian denomination(s) responded to various cultural pressures–like slavery and Abolitionism–and topics such as Spiritualism and communal living (Fourierism, etc).

Go hereto start playing around.

Titlepages from the Principia, Arcana, and Conjugial Love

Hi folks —

As discussed in the mini-lecture, here are the images I want you to be keeping in mind, and thinking about Swedenborg’s presentations of himself (as author, as exegete, as man of science, etc) in his day, in his published work. It’s easier for me to put the images here in a separate post on the front page, rather than as embedded images in comments below the minlecture video. The first two images are taken from the Principia–the title page with its grandiloquent authorial presentation, and accompanying portrait–the later images are all pages of the first editions of the Arcana and Conjugial Love.

Swedenborg and the Madness Question

Swedenborg winking?! Yes, this tongue-in-cheek photoshopping of a well-known Swedenborg portrait is effective P.R. for an upcoming exhibit of contemporary artists in England that are using the old question of whether or not Swedenborg went through a period of temporary insanity as an opportunity for artistic exploration. Click here for more info. on the show, which opens in London this upcoming Saturday, and yet again demonstrates how the artistic engagement with Swedenborg (be it his persona or his ideas), is not something relegated to the nineteenth century: that he continues to remain a point of interest for a number of contemporary artists.

The madness question came up in our readings–however briefly–for this week as well. Though there are certain provenance and reliability issues with the original testimony of Brockmer (who apparently witnessed Swedenborg running around naked in the muddy streets of London, and declaring himself to be the Messiah), as Smoley admits, some more recent scholars have given some weight to Brockmer’s original claims. Van Dusen’s explorations of hypnagogia and trance states–and how important these were for ES–also point out that there “is a high correlation between the content of psychotic hallucinations and trancelike material” (28). And Smoley also remarks how “psychiatry has come to recognize the ‘spiritual emergency’ as a unique psychological category in its own right…. In traditional cultures, this can produce ‘shamanic crises,’ in which the aspirant may feel he is being attacked by spirits or even disassembled and restructured” (23).

At any rate, the ambiguity around the 1744 incident has provoked a fascinating reverberation in contemporary art, 268 years later.