James F. Lawrence

Swedenborgian Church of North America


1784:  James Glen, a young Scotsman with plantations in Guyana, visited Philadelphia and gave the first known public addresses on Swedenborg’s writings in America. Boxes of Swedenborg’s books from England led to reading circles, which proliferated considerably and grew into congregations along the upper seaboard (Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts).

1817 (January):  The Philadelphia Swedenborgian congregation opened the first Swedenborgian-designed church building in North America, the New Jerusalem Temple, modeled after a temple Swedenborg claimed to see heaven and described in True Christianity, since razed.

1817 (May):  The first American gathering, or convention, of organized Swedenborgian societies, met in the new Philadelphia temple with representatives from seventeen congregations. The final order of business was to hold the next summer’s convention in Baltimore, an annual tradition that has continued unbroken to the present time. A constitution was adopted, thus marking the collective organization of what became the Swedenborgian Church of North America.

1850:  Swedenborgians in Ohio founded a denominational liberal arts college, Urbana College in Urbana, Ohio, which became Urbana University in 1985 and was acquired as a branch of Franklin University (Columbus, Ohio) in 2014, while yet retaining its historic identity as Urbana University.

1861:  The denomination formally incorporated in Illinois as the General Convention of the New Jerusalem. Though the Swedenborgian Church of North America is its formal title, the denomination has always been referred to as “Convention” among Swedenborgians worldwide in other branches.

1890:  The historic peak of number of Swedenborgian churches was achieved in the U.S. at 187 societies and 111 ordained ministers.

1890:  A formal schism occurred when the erstwhile Pennsylvania Association seceded from Convention to become a separate denomination, the General Church of the New Jerusalem, today located in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

1893:  Swedenborgian attorney and layperson Charles Carroll Bonney proposed and presided at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions at the World’s Columbian Exposition hosted in Chicago, bringing considerable prominence to the denomination; Bonney is credited as the first pluralist interpreter of Swedenborg.

1894:  The Swedenborgian national cathedral, Church of the Holy City, was completed and opened in Washington D.C. and remains in operation today within sight of the White House.

1895:  The Second San Francisco Society of the New Jerusalem (today the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church) opened with widespread architectural acclaim and became the only nationally landmarked house of worship in San Francisco.

1896:  Arthur Sewall, a prominent industrialist and Swedenborgian layperson in the Bath, Maine Swedenborgian church, ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the Democratic Party ticket with William Jennings Bryan.

1897:  The first Swedenborgian multi-generational summer religion camp opened in Almont, Michigan (still in operation). Others followed this distinctive approach, most notably the Fryeburg New Church Assembly in Maine

1900:  A high mark in total denominational legal membership was achieved, tabulated at about 7,000 members.

1904:  The National Alliance of New Church Women was established.

1967:  The denomination was admitted into the National Council of Churches despite being far short of the required minimum membership threshold of 50,000.

1975:  The first female minister was ordained, the Rev. Dr. Dorothea Harvey, a professor of religious studies at Urbana College.

1997:  The first openly gay ordinand, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mitchell, was ordained and later voted by colleagues to the office of chair of the Council of Ministers for several years.


Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a prominent Swedish natural philosopher who took a mystical turn in mid-life and published an extensive body of spiritualist theosophical books that harshly critiqued the prominent branches of Christianity and presented an alternative spirituality he called the New Church.

Swedenborg [Image at right] assumed his reformation of Christianity would eventually change the major branches of Christendom and took no action in word or deed to establish a separate ecclesiastical organization. Nevertheless, a separatist controversy broke out among the enthusiastic readers of his books in England where he had lived for a total of thirteen years, and some adherents organized in 1789 as General Conference of the New Jerusalem, a Nonconformist sect (Duckworth 1998:7-25; Block 1932:61-73). The Swedenborgian church organizations in both England and the United States are considered new religious movements due not only to fundamentally heterodox elements in their beliefs, but also because they were not schisms from other denominations. In England those who organized a new ecclesiastical religious movement came from several other Christian traditions, and the Swedenborgian Church of North America itself was not connected to the new Swedenborgian church movement in England, but was also a local and domestic movement whose earliest organizers came from several Christian denominations.

There are approximately seven Swedenborgian denominations internationally with a total membership of 50,000, the largest groups being in West Africa and South Africa. The American Swedenborgian Church of North America (incorporated as the General Convention of the New Jerusalem) is the second oldest, after the English movement. All Swedenborgian denominations use the phrases “New Jerusalem” or “New Church” in their incorporated name, and most self-describe simply as “the New Church” and use the phrase New Church in local church names. The Swedenborgian Church of North America, however, widely altered its public identity during the second half of the twentieth century with many ministries self-describing as Swedenborgian, including the current title of the denomination. This trend towards at least colloquial identification as “Swedenborgian” is becoming widespread everywhere.

The American movement dates to in the summer of 1784 when James Glen, a British plantation owner in Guyana, brought copies of Swedenborg’s theological writings to Philadelphia and gave public lectures. Reading groups for these books began organizing soon thereafter, with some reading circles evolving into churches with religious services and consecrated leadership. Though early on the church in Baltimore had the most members of a single church, Philadelphia remained ground zero for the first quarter-century with the largest number of groups. The Quaker strength in Pennsylvania proved useful as both movements share similarities in discussing the inner light, and both have been grouped by some religion historians in what has been termed “the spiritualist option” in Reformation currents (Gutierrez 2010:249-58). Quakers in the earliest phase provided the most significant channel of conversions into the new fledgling Swedenborgian societies.

The first church building commissioned by Swedenborgians was in Philadelphia and opened on New Year’s Day 1817. It was modeled after the Nunc Licet temple described in True Christianity (2006:508):

One day a magnificent church building appeared to me; it was square in plan with a roof like a crown, with arches above and a raised parapet running around . . . Later, when I got closer, I saw there was an inscription over the door: NOW IT IS PERMITTED. This meant that now it is permitted to enter with the understanding into the mysteries of faith.

In that same year, since many societies had cropped up around the eastern seaboard, the idea was sprung to have a general convention of representatives from the groups, and they met on May 15, 1817 (the Day of Ascension in the Christian calendar) in the new Nunc Licet temple. Their closing piece of business was to set the second annual meeting also for the Day of Ascension 1818 to be held in the Baltimore church, and the denomination has continued to hold an annual summer convention.

The first significant active Swedenborgian in America was Francis Bailey (1744-1817), a prominent printer in Philadelphia to whom the Founding Fathers turned to publish the Articles of Confederation (the first American Constitution). He had started the first Swedenborg reading circle and began printing the earliest American Swedenborgian tract literature and later the first American printer of Swedenborg’s writings. His political radicalism helped his printing business  thrive, but his religious radicalism severely damaged his membership base over time. The most colorful Swedenborgian in the early history of the new movement was one of Bailey’s adherents, John Chapman (1774-1845), also known as Johnny Appleseed. [Image at right] In the early westward expansion, the itinerant nurseryman was also known as a proselytizer for Swedenborg’s version of Christianity. His hallmark was occasional open-air preaching and handing out small batches of Swedenborgian literature to settlers from whom he would collect them when coming back through to give to others and leave something new.

A foremost challenge the new movement faced in its first half-century involved the push-andpull of whether to adopt a more centralized government or maintain complete autonomy for local “societies.” Established in 1817 as the General Convention (of the New Jerusalem), the loose federation functioned under the congregational form of polity (local groups owned and operated their own ministry). A broad desire for more coordination and shared standards, partly to increase identity and presence in the public square, vied with commitments to freedom and fears of coercion by the stronger regions running roughshod over smaller ones. The Boston-centered New England region led by Thomas Worcester of the Beacon Hill church was the most powerful in both numbers and personalities. [Image at right] Worcester ended up serving as president of the denomination for more years (thirty-four) than any other.

In 1838 Worcester tried to impose an episcopal form of church government upon the diffuse gaggle of Swedenborgian congregations. In what infamously became known as “the squeezing rule,” at the twenty-second annual convention Worcester engineered an edict requiring all societies to become organized according to a new Rule of Order by the following year or be dropped from the rolls of Convention. Furor erupted outside of the upper seaboard. Resistance took two forms: against centralization in the Midwest and against Worcester in a mid-Coast region anchored by Philadelphia. Breakaway regional Conventions called the Western Convention and the Central Convention subsequently organized to resist the New England-centered General Convention, called by some the Eastern Convention. The Western Convention represented the least interest in centralized government, while the Central Convention represented an ever greater interest in an episcopal form of government, but not under the power of Worcester. It took decades for it all to settle down. The Western Convention came back into the fold and accepted some aspects of General Convention governance, such as the path to ordination, and the General Convention settled into a decentralized congregational polity over a centralized episcopal one. The core of the Central Convention, however, became a sprouting root that led to the eventual secession in 1890 that became the General Church (of the New Jerusalem) with an episcopal form of government (Block 1932:170-204).

There has long been a commitment in the Swedenborgian Church of North America to ecumenical and pluralist relations. A Swedenborgian, Charles Carroll Bonney, [Image at right] conceived of the first Parliament of the World’s Religions for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and he presided over the now legendary event that first formally introduced Buddhism and Hinduism, among many other traditions, to the general American public. In 1966, the denomination was admitted into the National Council of Churches despite having a membership total less than the usual threshold of 50,000 members and continues to be active every year in the meetings. The Swedenborgian Church has been identified as the only esoteric or new religious movement to have been included in the NCC (Booth 2007:27). In 2001, the denomination’s seminary left Boston after 135 years of operations and re-established as an integral part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, the largest pluralist academic consortium in North America.


The Swedenborgian movement has clearer parallels in belief constructs to historic Christian orthodoxy compared to such later nineteenth-century American Christian new religious movements as Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Science. This is due to Swedenborg’s hope to renovate the major branches of Christendom. Outside of the occasional enthusiastic reader among the rank and file clergy of American mainline traditions, however, Swedenborg never gained much traction in the large standard bearer traditions of Christianity. His longest cultural reach came through Romance artists and poets who found potent visionary material in his sweeping cosmology and panentheistic metaphysics (Williams-Hogan 2012).

Despite deep critiques of such major orthodox Christian ideas as the vicarious atonement, Trinitarian theology, salvation by faith through grace, and focus on the plain sense of scripture, Swedenborgian churches nevertheless have promoted familiar Christian narratives. These include a high Christology, a focus on biblical approaches to understanding spiritual formation, and a public worship pattern following the typical Christian calendar year. Such general similarities, however, should not obscure the extent of alternative positions on major issues.

Consistent with Swedenborg’s role in the rise of modern spiritualism, Swedenborgians have been active in publishing much detail about the future beyond death. Swedenborg’s runaway bestseller from his own lifetime on into the present moment has been his spiritualist tome, Heaven and Hell, that is replete with spiritualist information (Swedenborg 1758/2001). [Image at right] Swedenborgians have been active in the Near-Death studies movement, publishing numerous works in support of surviving death and hosting groups in their churches that feature speakers who claim to have had experiences with “the other side” in a near-death occurrence.

Equally at the top of the best-known features of Swedenborgian beliefs is the idea that the Bible contains a hitherto unknown code to the literal text for breaking the seal on its real meaning. Nearly half of the total pages of Swedenborg’s published theosophy that runs to approximately thirty volumes (depending on which edition) involve verse-by-verse commentary that provides the “inner sense” meaning of the literal text. The interpretive move on the text happens through a style of symbolism Swedenborg called “correspondences” through which the nouns and verbs of the plain sense are read in a spiritually allegorical way that consistently shape a particular Christian theosophy conveying a perspective on the three themes of God’s selfhood and relationship with humanity, the spiritual history of humanity, and the reader’s personal soul journey. Swedenborg’s interpretive technique is considered by a number of scholars to be related to the long-standing earlier sensus spiritualis methods of biblical allegoresis once practiced by dozens of significant figures in Christian history (Lawrence 2012).

Another prominent belief involves a far-reaching Oneness metaphysic that results in a unitarian (small “u”) characterization of the Trinity in such a heterodox way that Swedenborgians often have been labeled by orthodox Christians as anti-Trinitarian. Also central is a redefinition of faith from the orthodox formulations. Swedenborg attacked “faith alone” ideas of salvation with such ferocity that the church movements have always emphasized language of spiritual growth and regeneration, which are actual processes of formation and the only “way” to a positive destination in the afterlife.  When answering his heresy trial charges with his final major work, True Christianity, Swedenborg composed a litany of his doctrinal reformations utilizing the structure of a typical Lutheran systematic. For each doctrinal category he describes “the old church” view and the “New Church” view (Swedenborg 1771/2006).

Despite the claims of most sectarian adherents that Swedenborg had no earthly sources for his revelations on the true meaning of scripture and the theology and theosophy it contains, numerous religious historians characterize Swedenborg as influenced by and resonant with several inter-related historical currents of thought: Neoplatonist, Augustinian, theosophical, hermetical, kabbalist, Pietist, and Neo-Cartesian (Lamm 2000:50-122; Jonsson 1971:41-118; Larsen 1984:1-33; Lawrence 2012:147-233). In addition to constructions of the complex interdiscursivity in which Swedenborg was embedded, considerable primary source evidence establishes him as knowledgeable of concepts and frameworks from these historical currents that are basic to his mature system of thought. These materials include numerous notebooks found in his papers and the catalog of his library estate sold after his death (Lawrence 2012:114-17, 130-36).

In terms of Swedenborg’s reception and influence for his ideas, a number of historians of religion assess Swedenborg’s role in shaping Western religious thought as noteworthy, especially in nineteenth-century England and the United States (Ahlstrom 1972: 600-04, 1019-24; Schmidt 2000; Albanese 2007:136-44, 170-01, 303-11; and Goodrick-Clarke 2008:152-78).


The spiritual practice that has dominated the history of this group has centered on liturgical worship. Music, prayers, and liturgical responses support the central event: an interpretive sermon rationally interpreting how to live through an explication of various inner levels of meaning in scripture. Swedenborgians may be the only tradition that begins every service with a ritual opening of the Bible on the altar and ends after the benediction with ritual closing of the Bible (Lawrence 2005:605-08). Recently, the majority of churches have become increasingly “low church” and contemporary in worship style. Outside of worship, study and discussion groups on Swedenborg’s works and Swedenborgian secondary literature have been the primary form of practice, though in the past few decades there has been a conspicuous increase incorporating numerous other thinkers, teachers, and traditions.

While Swedenborg holds the status of prophet among most Swedenborgians worldwide, in this most liberal branch he is regarded more as “the best among many” worthy spiritual resources. American psychologist Wilson Van Dusen in the latter decades of the twentieth century developed a widely popular approach to Swedenborgian spiritual practice that is informed by Swedenborg’s own spiritual practice, and he moved significant numbers toward meditation, dream work, and reliance upon direct personal experience with the divine (Van Dusen 1974, 1975, and 1992).


The denomination is democratically governed by the rank-and-file membership through a representative government headed by a General Council. [Image at right] Currently as of 2018 comprised of seven members, four of whom are officers, all General Council members are elected in a term-limit system at the annual summer convention. Voting delegates are determined by regional Associations who are allotted delegates in a proportional formula based on the membership totals in the Associations. The Associations are comprised of constituent societies of 501(c)(3) organizations within that geographic region.

There are also five Standing Committees comprised of three to five people who are also elected by delegates to serve terms. These are working groups that function throughout the year handling responsibilities for financial functions, publishing (online and print), educational events and support resources, information management, and nominations for the upcoming convention.

The other important body is the Council of Ministers, who have powers over the standards and process for ministry training and who provide counsel and guidance for the spiritual work of the denomination. Ordained clergy have automatic voting rights at the summer convention and are kept on a separate roll from the laity delegates from the Associations.


Swedenborgianism in many peoples’ minds was associated with the spiritualist movement that fascinated the public starting in the 1830s with the Fox sisters. Though most Swedenborgian thought leaders eschewed spiritualist practices, the conflation was impossible to avoid due to Swedenborg’s own declarations about himself. Beginning with his first published volume of theosophy, his magnum opus, Arcana Coelestia (Secrets of Heaven), Swedenborg made claims of direct access to the spiritual realms, as well as to the mind of God, and thus was able to convey information from the spiritual world (Swedenborg 1749-1756/1983). Though the eight volumes were published anonymously from 1749-1756, Swedenborg’s identity as the author became known after he became something of a psychic sensation due to three particular highly public episodes in 1760 and 1761 involving some well-known witnesses (Sigstedt 1952:269-86).

Overnight he became something of a controversy with significant friends in important places, such as the Prime Minister Anders von Hopkins, but many detractors who considered him a charlatan. Cartoons making fun of him became common, as well as testimonies from reputable people who knew him. Immanuel Kant went to considerable lengths to investigate the stories of Swedenborg’s alleged clairaudience and clairvoyance, sending a trusted envoy to Sweden so as to better reckon whether such theoretical channels of knowing could be considered in his philosophy of epistemology (Sigstedt 1952:303-04).

Swedenborg’s spiritualist narratives are presented to the reader as actual experiences Swedenborg had in the spiritual world, and this published material is why he acquired the moniker “seer.” He claimed to friends and later to inquirers as well as in his books that by permission and ability from the Lord he was able to explore the spiritual world while still in the earthly world. This was allowed in order to see more deeply into the nature of life and to answer questions of doubts that were driving people to unbelief and the established churches into grievous errors (Tafel 1875-1877: I, 92, 207). As his posthumously discovered and published private journal (Swedenborg 1883) reveals, he wrote copiously of these experiences immediately after the time he claims to have been intromitted to the spiritual world in 1745 and continued to do so for twenty more years up to Apocalypse Revealed when he began publishing accounts more transparently. Such radical and seemingly preposterous claims coupled with a biography of extraordinary accomplishments and significant influence in modern Western history, has led to a long history of discussion regarding Swedenborg’s psychological disposition.

In Secrets of Heaven Swedenborg had begun the practice of what has been conventionally referred to as his “memorabilia” or “memorable relations.” These are theological essays concluding each chapter of exegesis of Genesis and Exodus (about ninety in all) whose topical approaches are informed, as the seer consistently makes clear, by his experiences in the spiritual world. Because these topical essays do not usually relate closely to the inner sense meanings of the chapter to which they are appended, the memorabilia have commonly been regarded as “inter-chapter material” to distinguish them from the biblical commentary per se.  Didactic and instructional, the memorabilia of Secrets of Heaven form the basis of his five 1758 works, which are described as derivative works for this reason (Swedenborg 1848).

After these public sensations, Swedenborg published his fifth major work, Apocalypse Revealed, which contains appended to every chapter of interpretation of the Apocalypse, sections of spiritualist information on the afterlife and the nature of the spiritual world (Swedenborg 1766/1855). Throughout his publications he often used the phrase “things seen and heard” (ex auditis et visis) about his spiritual world experiences. Somewhat like a coda, nearly always they are placed at the end of the chapter’s commentary and usually have their own point to make not closely related to the subject proper of his Apocalypse exegesis.

His spiritual world experiences thus became more explicit and pedagogical with teaching points to be drawn from them. With that pivot, Swedenborg more dramatically entered a style of writing that became the first text in the modern genre of spiritualist literature. History of religion scholars have often argued he is the first spiritualist author (Schmidt 2000:200-46; Block 1932: 56-57; Goodrick-Clarke 2008:152-78; Doyle 1926:1:1-18). Aldous Huxley gauges Swedenborg as dramatically distinctive for his unusual access to spiritual phenomena (Huxley 1956: 13-14), and historian of nineteenth-century America Bret Carroll details the origin of spiritualism in claims of direct and retrievable discourse with personalities now living in the spiritual world as a tradition that began with Swedenborg and “a veritable Swedenborgian subculture in Transcendentalist America” (Carroll 1997:16-34).

Organizational strife characterized much of the first century. This oldest American branch endured a large-scale schism at the end of the nineteenth-century in a classic liberal-conservative split characteristic of many American Christian movements at the time. The long rising liberal tendencies in religion across the United States (and Europe) spurred many efforts to conserve and retrieve original traditions, often in the form of purist or Fundamentalist rhetoric. In American Swedenborgianism, what became known as the Academy Movement originated mid-century and culminated with a formal schism in 1890 (Williams-Hogan and Eller 2005:183-92). The core principle involved the infallibility of Swedenborg (Block 1952:205-32). A prominent contentious issue emblematic of the difference between the two branches involved whether Swedenborg’s writings are themselves scripture. The older branch does not speak of Swedenborg’s writings as scripture, whereas the younger branch calls them the Third Testament.. As such, the General Church regards Swedenborg’s writings as a Third Testament and read from them in services as part of the Word along with Old and New Testament readings. In addition, whereas the older branch was congregational in polity, meaning that local congregations controlled the operations of the ministry including doctrinal interpretations, the new branch adopted episcopal polity with operational and doctrinal authority stemming from the Executive Bishop.

Centered in Pennsylvania, what became the General Church of the New Jerusalem ultimately built the largest non-African Swedenborgian branch in the world. The headquarters in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, evolved to include one of the most studied and remarkable cathedrals in America [Image at right] (the second largest church building in Pennsylvania and the closest American cathedral built according to medieval techniques and craftsmanship) and also a four-year liberal arts college. The two branches have continued to represent a classic liberal-conservative schism to the present time with the older liberal branch ordaining women since 1975 and openly gay ordinands since 1997, whereas the younger conservative branch has consistently resisted efforts to ordain women and has never allowed the question of gay ordination to be discussed in any open forum. Despite the gap in interpretation styles on Swedenborg, there are ways in which the two branches cooperate, especially in publishing ventures and occasionally at local levels when churches of each branch are in close proximity.

The conservative branch endured its own schism in the 1930’s as a group taking the name The Lord’s New Church Which Is Nova Hierosolyma (usually called The Lords New Church or Nova) broke away over its claims that because Swedenborg’s writings are the Third Testament and therefore sacred scripture, they, too, must contain an inner sense. This group, though small in the United States, has an international profile with churches in Holland and the Ukraine especially (Williams-Hogan and Eller 2005:292-94).


Image #1: Emanuel Swedenborg by Carl Fredrik von Breda.
Image #2: Johnny Appleseed Museum at Urbana University.
Image #3: Hiram Powers bust of Thomas Worcester, 1851.
Image #4: Charles Carroll Bonney, [seated] at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Image #5: Front cover of Swedenborg’s book Heaven and Hell.
Image #6: Swedenborg Church of North America logo.
Image #7: The Cathedral in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.


**Swedenborg wrote all his works in Latin. Swedenborg references are to available subsequent English translation, but include the publication year of the originals.

Acton, Alfred. 1958. The Life of Emanuel Swedenborg: A Study of the Documentary Sources of His Biography Covering the Period of His Preparation, 1688-1744, Four Volumes. Unpublished but widely referenced manuscript, located at the Swedenborgian Library Collection at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, and at the Swedenborg Library, Bryn Athyn College, Bryn Athyn, PA.

Acton, Alfred. 1927. Introduction to the Word Explained: A Study of the Means by which Swedenborg the Scientist and Philosopher became the Theologian and Revelator. Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy of the New Church.

Ahlstrom, Sydney E. 1972. A Religious History of the American People. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Åkerman-Hjern, Susanna. 2017. “De Sapientia Salomonis: Emanuel Swedenborg and Kabbalah.” Pp. 206-19 in Lux in Tenebris: The Visual and the Symbolic in Western Esotericism, edited by Peter Forshaw, Leiden: Brill.

Albanese, Catherine. 2007. A Republic of Mind and Spirit. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Anton Pacheco, Jose Antonio. 2000. Visionary Consciousness; Emanuel Swedenborg and the Immanence of Spiritual Reality. Charleston, SC: Arcana Books.

Benz, Ernst. 2000. “Swedenborg as a Spiritual Pathfinder of German Idealism and Romanticism,” parts one and two, trans. George F. Dole,  Studia Swedenborgiana 11:4 (March):61-76 and 12:1 (December):15-35.

Benz, Ernst. 1948/2000. Emanuel Swedenborg: Visionary Savant in the Age of Reason. Original in German. Translation and Introduction by Nicholas Goodricke-Clarke. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Bergquist, Lars. 2001. Swedenborg’s Dream Diary. Translation by Anders Hallengren. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Bergquist, Lars. 1999/2004 Swedenborg’s Secret, a Biography. Original in Swedish. Translation by Norman Ryder. London: Swedenborg Society.

Beswick, Samuel. 1870. The Swedenborg Rite and the Great Masonic Leaders of the Eighteenth Century. Kila, MT: Kessinger Publishing Co.

Beyer, Gabriel Andrew. 1770/1823. A Declaration Respecting the Doctrines Taught By Emanuel Swedenborg, (The Messenger of the New Jerusalem Dispensation;) with a List of His Theological Writings: Delivered in Obedience to the Royal Command, the 2nd of January, 1770, to His Majesty, Adolphus Frederick, King of Sweden, Second Edition. London: Missionary and Tract Society of the New Jerusalem Church.

Block. Marguerite Beck. 1938. “Scientist into Seer: The Psychological Problem Presented by Swedenborg.” The Review of Religion 2:412-32.

Block, Marguerite Beck. 1932. The New Church in the New World: A Study of Swedenborgianism in America. New York: Henry Holt.

Booth, Mark. 2008. The Secret History of the World. New York: The Overlook Press.

Brock, Erland, ed. 1988. Swedenborg and His Influence. Bryn Athyn, PA: The Academy of the New Church.

Carroll, Bret E. 1997. Spiritualism in Ante-Bellum America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Clissold, Augustus. 1851. The Spiritual Exposition of the Apocalypse: As Derived from the Writings of the Hon. Emanuel Swedenborg, Illustrated and Confirmed by Ancient and Modern Authorities, Four Volumes. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans.

Cole, Stephen. 1977. “Swedenborg’s Hebrew Bible.” The New Philosophy (June):28-33.

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

De Boismont, Alexandre Brierre. 1859. On Hallucinations. Translation by Robert Hulme. London: H. Renshaw.

Dole, Andrew. 1997. “Re-evaluating Allegorical Interpretation in Swedenborg,” Studia Swedenborgiana 10:1-71.

Dole, George. 2005. “Swedenborg’s Modes of Presentation,” Pp. 99-115 in Emanuel Swedenborg: Essays for the New Century Edition on His Life, Work, and Impact, edited by. Jonathan S. Rose, Stuart Shotwell, and Mary Lou Bertucci, West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Dole, George. 2002. Freedom and Evil: A Pilgrim’s Guide to Hell. West Chester, PA: Chrysalis Books.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. 1926. The History of Spiritualism, Two Volumes. New York: George H. Doran.

Duckworth, Dennis. 1998. A Branching Tree: A Narrative History of the General Conference of the New Church. London: General Conference of the New Church Press.

Garrett, Clarke. 1984. “Swedenborg and the Mystical Enlightenment in Late Eighteenth- Century England,” Journal of the History of Ideas 45:67-81.

Goerwitz, Richard L III. 1988. “Thoughts on Early Modern Hieroglyphic Theories and Their Impact on Swedenborg’s Intellectual Milieu,” Studia Swedenborgiana 6:9-16.

Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas. 2008. Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gutfeldt, Horand. 1988. “Swedenborg and the Egyptian Hieroglyphs,” 393-401 in Emanuel Swedenborg: A Continuing Vision, edited by Robin Larsen, Stephen Larsen, James Lawrence, and William Woofenden. New York City: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

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

Hessayon, Ariel. 2007. “Jacob Boehme, Emanuel Swedenborg, and Their Readers” Pp. 17-56 in The Arms of Morpheus: Essays on Swedenborg and Mysticism, edited by Stephen McNeilly. London: Swedenborg Society.

Hitchcock, Ethan Allen. 1858. Swedenborg, A Hermetic Philosopher. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

Horn, Friedemann. 1997. Schelling and Swedenborg: Mysticism and German Idealism. Translation by George F. Dole. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Johnson, Gregory R. 2001. A Commentary on Kant’s “Dreams of a Spirit-Seer.” Doctoral dissertation. Catholic University of America.

Johnson, P.L. 2008. The Five Ages: Swedenborg’s View of Spiritual History. London: Swedenborg Society.

Jonsson, Inge. 2004. Drama of Creation: Sources and Influences in Swedenborg’s Worship and Love of God. Trans. Matilda McCarthy. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Jonsson, Inge. 1999. Visionary Scientist: The Effects of Science and Philosophy in Swedenborg’s Cosmology. Translation by Catherine Djurklou. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Jonsson, Inge. 1971. Emanuel Swedenborg. Translation by Catherine Djurklou. New York: Twayne Publishers.

Kingslake, Brian. 1991. Swedenborg Explores the Spiritual Dimension. San Francisco: J. Appleseed & Co.

Kirven, Robert H. 1986. “Theological Context of the Life and Work of Emanuel Swedenborg.”  Studia Swedenborgiana 5:7-22.

Klein, J. Theodore. 1998. The Power of Service: A Swedenborgian Approach to Social Issues in the Twenty-first Century. San Francisco: J. Appleseed & Co.

Lamm, Martin. 1915/2000. Emanuel Swedenborg: The Development of His Thought. Translation by Tomas Spiers and Anders Hallengren. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Lawrence, James F. 2012. And Speaking of Something Else: Swedenborg, Biblical Allegoresis, and Tradition. Doctoral dissertation. Berkeley, CA: Graduate Theological Union.

Lawrence, James F., ed. 2010. Principles in Play: Essays in Honor of George Dole’s Contributions to Swedenborgian Thought. Berkeley: Studia Swedenborgiana Press.

Lawrence, James F. 2005. “Swedenborgian Spirituality.” Pp. 605-08 in The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, edited by Philip Sheldrake. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

Lawrence, James F., ed. 1994. Testimony to the Invisible: Essays on Swedenborg. West Chester, PA: Chrysalis Books.

Madeley, Edward. 1848. The Science of Correspondences Elucidated: And Shown to be the True Key to a Right Interpretation of the Word of God. London: J.S. Hodson.

Noble, Samuel S. 1829. On the Word of God: And on the Doctrine or Science of Analogy or Correspondence between Natural and Spiritual Things, According to which it is Written, and by Means of which its Internal or Spiritual Sense May Be Unfolded. London: London Missionary and Tract Society of the New Jerusalem Church.

Odhner, Hugo. 1965. “Emanuel Swedenborg: The Relation of His Personal Development to His Work as Revelator,” New Church Life 85:6-14, 55-62.

Schmidt, Leigh Eric. 2000. Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Schuchard, Marsha Keith. 1999. “Emanuel Swedenborg: Deciphering the Codes of Celestial and Terrestrial Intelligence.” Pp. 177-208 in Rending the Veil: Concealment and Secrecy in the History of Religions, edited by Elliot R. Wolfson. New York: Seven Bridges Press.

Schuchard, Marsha Keith. 1989. “Leibniz, Benzelius, and Swedenborg: The Kabbalistic Roots of Swedish Illuminism,” Pp. 84-106 in Leibniz, Mysticism, and Religion, edited by Allison P. Coudert, Richard H. Popkin, and Gordon M. Weiner. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sigstedt, Cyriel Sigrid Ljungberg Odhner. 1952. The Swedenborg Epic: The Life and Works of Emanuel Swedenborg.  New York: Bookman Associates.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1986. Swedenborg’s Journal of Dreams, 1743-1744. Translation by J.J.G. Wilkinson, editing by W.R. Woofenden, commentary by Wilson Van Dusen. New York: Swedenborg Foundation.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1962. The Spiritual Diary: Records, and Notes Made by Emanuel Swedenborg between 1746 and 1765 from his Experiences in the Spiritual World, Five Volumes. Translation and editing by W.H. Acton, A.W. Acton, and F. Coulson. London: Swedenborg Society. Posthumous publication.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1976. A Philosopher’s Notebook: Excerpts from Writers with Reflections and Notes. Translation and editing by Alfred Acton. Bryn Athyn, PA: Swedenborg Scientific Association.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1948. Letters and Memorials of Emanuel Swedenborg. Two Volumes. Translation and editing by Alfred Acton. Bryn Athyn, PA: Swedenborg Scientific Association.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1928-1951. The Word of the Old Testament Explained. Nine Volumes. Translation by Alfred Acton. Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy of the New Church. .

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1923. Psychologica: Notes and Observations on Christian Wolff’s Psychologia Empirica. Translated by Alfred Acton. Philadelphia: Swedenborg Scientific Association.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1911. The History of Creation as Given by Moses, a Posthumous Work of Emanuel Swedenborg. Translation by Alfred Acton. Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy of the New Church.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1887. Rational Psychology: The Soul or Rational Psychology. Translation and editing by Frank Sewall. New York: New-Church Press.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1883. The Spiritual Diary of Emanuel Swedenborg: Being the Records during Twenty Years of His Supernatural Experience. Five Volumes. Translation by George Bush and John Smithson. London: James Speirs.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1882-1888. The Brain: Considered Anatomically, Physiologically, and Philosophically, Two Volumes. Translation by R.L. Tafel. London: James Speirs.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1848. Selections from the Memorabilia of Swedenborg, edited by George Bush. New York: John Allen.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1847. Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Mysteries: By Way of Representations and Correspondences. Translation and introduction by James John Garth Wilkinson. London: William Newberry.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1771/2006. True Christianity. Two Volumes. Translation by Jonathan Rose and introduction by R. Guy Erwin. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1769/1976. The Intercourse between the Soul and the Body. Translated by John Whitehead. New York: Swedenborg Foundation.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1763/2003. Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence. Translation by George F. Dole. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1758/2002. Heaven and Hell: From Things Heard and Seen. Translation by George F. Dole and introduced by Bernhard Lang. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1758/1907. Concerning the White Horse Described in the Apocalypse, Chapter XIX. Translation by John Whitehead. Boston: Massachusetts New-Church Union.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1749-1756/1983. Arcana Caelestia: Principally a Revelation of the Inner or Spiritual Meaning of Genesis and Exodus, Eight Volumes. Translation by John Elliott. London: The Swedenborg Society.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1745/1925. The Worship and Love of God. Translation by Alfred Acton and Frank Sewell. Boston: Massachusetts New Church Union.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1745/1949. The Messiah About to Come. Translated by Alfred Acton. Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy of the New Church.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1740/1955. Economy of the Animal Kingdom, Three Volumes. Translation by Augustus Clissold. Bryn Athyn, PA: Swedenborg Scientific Association.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1740/1843-1844. Animal Kingdom: Considered Anatomically, Physically, and Philosophically. Translation by John J.G. Wilkinson. London: W. Newberry.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1734/1913. Principia: First Principles of Natural Things. Translation by Isaiah Tansley. London: Swedenborg Society.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. 1734/1965. A Forerunner of a Reasoned Philosophy Concerning the Infinite, the Final Cause of Creation; Also the Mechanism of the Operation of the Soul and Body, Third Edition. Translation by John James Garth Wilkinson and introduced by Lewis F. Hite. London: Swedenborg Society.

Synnestvedt, Sig. 1970. The Essential Swedenborg. Woodbridge, CT: Twayne Publishers.Three Volumes. London: Swedenborg Society.

Toksvig, Signe. 1948. Emanuel Swedenborg: Scientist and Mystic. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Trobridge, George. 1907. Emanuel Swedenborg: His Life, Teachings, and Influence. New York: F. Warne.

Van Dusen, Wilson. 1975. The Presence of Other Worlds: The Psychological/Spiritual Findings of Emanuel Swedenborg. New York: Harper and Row.

Van Dusen, Wilson. 1974. The Natural Depth in Man. New York: Harper and Row.

Wilson Van Dusen. 1992. The Country of Spirit: Selected Writings. San Francisco: J. Appleseed & Co.

White, William. 1856. Emanuel Swedenborg: His Life and Writings. Bath, England: I. Pitman, Phonetic Institution.

Wilkinson, James John Garth. 1849. Emanuel Swedenborg: A Biography. Boston: Otis Clapp.

Wilkinson, Lynn Rosellen. 1996. The Dream of an Absolute Language: Emanuel Swedenborg and French Literary Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Williams-Hogan, Jane. 1998. “The Place of Emanuel Swedenborg in Modern Western Esotericism,” Pp. 201-53 in Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion, edited by Antoine Faivre and Wouter J. Hanegraaff. Leuven: Peeters.

Williams-Hogan, Jane. 2012. “Emanuel Swedenborg’s Aesthetic Philosophy and Its Impact on Nineteenth-Century Art.” Toronto Journal of Theology 28:105-24.

Williams-Hogan, Jane, and David B. Eller. 2005. “Swedenborgian Churches and Related Institutions in Great Britain, the United States, and Canada.” Pp. 245-310 in Emanuel Swedenborg: Essays for the New Century Edition on His Life, Work, and Impact, edited by Jonathan S. Rose, Stuart Shotwell, and Mary Lou Bertucci. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation.

Wilson, Colin. 1971. The Occult: A History. New York: Random House.

Woofenden, William Ross. 1985. “Swedenborg’s Use of Language.” Studia Swedenborgiana 5:29-47.

Wunsch, William F.  1929. The World within the Bible: A Handbook to Swedenborg’s “Arcana Coelestia.” New York: New-Church Press.


Arrhenius, Svante. 1908. Emanuel Swedenborg as a Cosmologist. Stockholm: Aftonbladets Tryckeri.

Boisen, Anton T. 1936. The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience. Chicago: Willett, Clark & Company.

Carroll, Bret E. 1997. Spiritualism in Ante-Bellum America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. 1926. The History of Spiritualism, Two Volumes. New York: George H. Doran.

Foote-Smith, E. and T. J. Smith. 1996. “Emanuel Swedenborg,” Epilepsia 37.

Gabay, Alfred J. 2005. The Covert Enlightenment: Eighteenth Century Counterculture and its Aftermath. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.

Gonzalez, Justo L. 2010. The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day, Volume Two, Revised. New York: HarperCollins.

Gross, Charles G. 1998. Brain, Vision, Memory: Tales from the History of Neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.

Huxley, Alduous. 1954. The Doors of Perception. New York: Harper and Row.

Jaspers, Karl. 1949/1977. Strindberg and Van Gogh: An Attempt at a Pathographic Analysis with Reference to Parallel Cases of Swedenborg and Hölderlin. Translation by Oskar Grunow and David Woloshin. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Jones, Simon R. and Charles Fernyhough. 2008. “Talking Back to the Spirits: The Voices and Visions of Emanuel Swedenborg.” History of the Human Sciences 21:1.

Jung, Carl. 1971. Psychological Types. Revised by R.F.C. Hull and translation by H.G. Baynes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Larsen, Stephen. 1984. “Introduction.” Pp. 1-33 in Emanuel Swedenborg: Universal Human and Soul-Body Interaction. New York: Paulist Press.

Lindroth, Sten. 1952. “Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).” Pp. 50-58 in Swedish Men of Science, 1650-1950, edited by Sten Lindroth. Stockholm: The Swedish Institute.

Maudsley, Henry. 1869. “Emanuel Swedenborg,” Journal of Mental Science 15.

O’Brien, Justin. 1996. A Meeting of Mystic Paths: Christianity and Yoga. St. Paul, MN: Yes International Publishers.

Pihlaja, Paivi Maria. 2005. “Sweden and L’Academie des Sciences.Scandinavian Journal of History 30:271-85.

Schuchard, Marsha Keith. 2012. Emanuel Swedenborg, Secret Agent on Earth and in Heaven:  Jacobites, Jews, and Freemasons in Early Modern Sweden. Leiden: Brill.

Smith, Huston. 2001. “Intimations of Immortality: Three Case Studies.” Ingersoll Lecture for 2001-2002. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Divinity School Bulletin (Winter):12-15.

Valery, Paul. 2000/1936. “Thoughts after Reading Martin Lamm’s Swedenborg,” Translation by  Tomas Spiers, Pp. vii-xxiii in Emanuel Swedenborg: Development of His Thought. West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, xvii-xxiii.

Publication Date:
12 April 2019