Swedenborg in the New York Times

In regards to our conversations about church polity, Swedenborg’s New Jerusalem, and the so-called SBNR demographic (“spiritual but not religious”), check out this article from Saturday’s New York Times

Gary Lachman, if you will recall, appears in the Swedenborg documentary you can watch under the “Videotheque” (the same one where I briefly appear as a “talking head”).

Minilecture 8 / 9: Last Judgement and New Jerusalem

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.

Minilecture 7: Swedenborg and Spiritualism

Follow-up to Monday’s Conversation

Hi all —

A new minilecture / Reading Forum will be up and coming tomorrow (Friday), but in the meantime: just to follow up, as promised, in response to our conversation via Adobe connect earlier in the week–

First of all, it is important for us to be thinking about what Swedenborg means by the “New Church” and the “New Jerusalem” as we explore these contexts of polity, and the early debates within Swedenborgianism about separatism. How do Swedenborg’s hermeneutics of the Book of Revelation lead to his announcement that his work heralds the dawn of the new jerusalem, foretold in the Apocalypse? As we had discussed, Elaine Pagels has just published a new book on Revelations, and you can hear an interesting interview on NPR here with Pagels. How does this historical approach square (or not) with a Swedenborgian take on Revelations?

We also discussed the cognitive impact of reading fictional prose — the ways that Swedenborg’s use of the “memorable relation” is embedded in this larger moment in the 18th century where lots of new interesting stuff was happening with novelistic prose. Here’s the article I had mentioned that appeared last week in the New York Times, which affirms the substantive power of the imagination in our consciousness, and how it works.

I’ll leave the comment section open if you have any thoughts as to either of these strands.

More soon…

Response Paper 1

Due: March 19th

Please select one of the critical secondary texts we have read this semester, anything that has appeared in the syllabus thus far. Perhaps choose the reading that you have most enjoyed, or found most interesting. Write a two page (minimum) response to this particular secondary reading that reflects on the following questions:

  • What kind of methodology does the author use to make his/her argument about their topic? What kinds of sources do they refer to (primary, secondary)? Are there particular disciplines they seem to draw on, or frameworks they prefer deploying (theology, history, sociology, science, etc.)?
  • What did you think of how the article connected or contextualized Swedenborg?
  • The word “interest” comes from Latin roots that imply being “in between” two different things, and becoming striking, different. If you found this article interesting, what did it draw you out towards? Did it strike ideas towards something else, a new perspective on Swedenborg or his contexts? Is there a “between” the article suggests for you, somewhere else you want to look into more, or dig deeper into, when it comes to Swedenborg and/or the 18th century?

Please integrate relevant quotes from your selected article. Should be in normal academic format (typed, double-spaced).

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.