Swedenborg's Theology: A New Christianity

Swedenborg understood himself as a radical reformer of Christianity. His theological writings evaluate historical theology and in many cases offer innovative new constructions. In time, his theological (or theosophical) thought spawned a church movement emphasizing his critiques of Christian orthodoxy. His final work, True Christianity (1771), composed primarily in preparation for his heresy trial that began in 1769, is a systematic presentation of what later adherents would call “the new Christianity.” His runaway all-time bestseller, however, is his 1758 Heaven and Hell, which fashions a vast narrative of the cosmos including both the visible phenomenal world as well as unseen yet guiding realms he claims are senior to the material dimension.  


Prominent topics in Swedenborgian thought are the unity of God, divine providence, the nature of living faith, regeneration and personal spiritual development, the theology of history that comprises his eschatology, and biblical hermeneutics.

Select Bibliography

A Concise Overview of Swedenborg’s Theology by Robert Kirven (Ph.D., Brandeis University), Professor of Theology at Swedenborg School of Theology from 1965-1992 http://swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/kirv/kirvtc.htm

A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, compiled by Samuel Warren http://swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/comp/compendtc.htm

Ernst Benz. Emanuel Swedenborg: Visionary Savant in the Age of Reason, trans. and intro. Nicholas Goodricke-Clarke. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2002/1948.

Henri Corbin. Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam, trans. Leonard Fox. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 1995.

Wouter J. Hanegraaff. Swedenborg, Oetinger, and Kant: Three Perspectives on the Secrets of Heaven. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2007.

Wilson Van Dusen. The Presence of Other Worlds: The Psychological/Spiritual Findings of Emanuel Swedenborg. New York: Harper and Row, 1974.