In this meticulous study, Wouter Hanegraaff examines the structure, themes and development of Emanuel Swedenborg’s massive work Arcana Coelestia, published between 1749 and 1756. Written as a work of biblical exegesis (of Genesis and Exodus), Swedenborg also interpolated material on his visionary experiences, which have long fascinated readers.
In the second part of the study, Dr Hanegraaff examines the contemporary reception of the multi-volume work, particularly the critical reactions of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Christoph Oetinger. He finds that Swedenborg’s biblical exegesis, so important in his divine calling, was largely ignored in favour of the mystical experiences.
WOUTER HANEGRAAFF is professor of History and Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam. He has published widely on historical and theoretical aspects of the study of Western esotericism, including a recent study of the fifteenth-century Hermetic philosopher Lodovico Lazzarelli and a highly acclaimed publication New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought.
This book can be purchased from the Swedenborg Society in London, however, if you are in the USA, you can order directly from the Swedenborg Foundation.