The Swedenborg Collection article

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angle-left The Swedenborg Collection article

A collection of over 2,000 books by and about the Swedish philosopher and theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).


About Emanuel Swedenborg

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Emanuel Swedenborg

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish theologian, scientist, philosopher and mystic. His work was of immense important in European culture and his writings influenced many famous figures including William Blake, Honoré de Balzac, W.B. Yeats and Carl Jung.

Swedenborg claimed to have had a vision of the Lord in 1744, and from then on, he began to print and publish secrets revealed to him in these visions. The first announcement of his theological writings was made in 1750 by John Lewis, the printer and publisher for the first number of Arcana Coelestia, or Heavenly Secrets. This work is contained in two sections, one of the five volumes and the other of three volumes. The first section contains an unfolding of the internal sense of Genesis; the second, that of Exodus.

In 1758, Swedenborg visited London and, during his period of residence there, he published 5 volumes of theological works written in Latin. He presented copies to all the English bishops and Protestant members of the house of Lords. Three of those books are to be found in the Library’s collection: Heaven and its wonders and Hell from things heard and seen; The last judgment and the Babylon destroyed; The New Jerusalem and its heavenly doctrine.


About the collection

In 1879, Councillor WRW Smith of the Swedenborg Society donated 42 volumes of the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, founder of the New Church, and since then the society has been responsible for many gifts to the Library. The Swedenborg Collection in the Library was greatly enriched in 1975 by the purchase of over 2000 books, pamphlets and periodicals from the Scottish Association of the New Church. This latter addition relates to the list and writings of Emanual Swedenborg and to the history and theology of the New Church. It is intended to add to the Collection from time to time, as new material is published.

The earliest work in the collection is Daedalus Hyperboreus which Emanuel Swedenborg wrote in 1716. It is an exposition of his mathematical experiments and ideas. His Opera philosophica et mineralia published in 1734 in 3 volumes, expounds his theories on the existence of the finite from the infinite, solar and stellar vortices and the phenomena of the magnet, the causes and mechanism of magnetic forces, the diversities of worlds, chaos, the origin of planets, ether, air, fire, water, etc.

Many other important works by and about Emanual Swedenborg and the New Church are contained in the extensive collection including his Brief exposition of the doctrine of the new Church, 1769, and The true Christian religion, 1771, and seventeen volumes of photographed manuscripts.


Finding aid

Online catalogue


Further reading

Wikipedia "Emanuel Swedenborg"

Swedenborg Society


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